Springfield, MA – Mayor Domenic J. Sarno is proud to announce that Chief Administrative and Financial Officer (CAFO) TJ Plante has been recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) with the prestigious 2022 GFOA Hero Award. The award recognizes finance officers who have demonstrated extraordinary actions during a time of health, financial, natural or human-made crisis. CAFO Plante is one of five individuals to be honored with the GFOA’s Fourth Annual Hero Award.
Mayor Sarno states, “Congratulations to my CAFO TJ Plante on this tremendous achievement and honor – I am not surprised. Under CAFO Plante’s fiscal leadership, the City of Springfield has weathered numerous natural and man-made disasters while maintaining core city services for our residents and business community. This sound, responsible and compassionate fiscal stewardship is a hallmark of my administration. I commend CAFO TJ Plante and the entire finance team, who are tested and true, for their continued hard work and dedication to my administrations continued commitment to fiscal excellence, transparency and accountability – especially during these challenging and surreal times as we try to navigate and balance our budgets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since taking office, my administration has been committed to establishing a long-standing resiliency by investing in our city’s future, while being mindful of the current economic climate. We will continue to be prudent and compassionate while managing our city’s finances as we move forward during these uncertain times. Again, to CAFO TJ Plante, congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!”
On awarding CAFO Plante this award, the GFOA stated that Springfield, “once being on the brink of financial collapse (i.e., facing a $41M deficit in 2004), Springfield is far ahead of the curve in its recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and shows a commitment to building back even stronger. TJ has helped the city overcome tremendous fiscal challenges.”
The GFOA continued listing some of the accomplishments:
- In 2021, the City pushed forward multiple development projects, including the completion of a new elementary school, and acquired three buildings downtown to generate additional market-rate housing, office space, and restaurants. And according to Springfield’s Multi-Year Financial Plan published March 2022, the City’s reserves equal $49.3M and are poised to grow as TJ commits to transferring free cash to the reserves each fiscal year.
- Technology upgrades, process improvements, and extensive collaboration and relationship-building with public and private leadership over the past decade have empowered the City to maintain core services in the face of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, while also providing vital programs and services without implementing any layoffs. The City has been able to place continued emphasis on public health and safety, education, healthy neighborhoods, and community services all without the use of City’s stabilization reserve fund.
- Under TJ’s financial leadership, the city has an AA-bond rating from Standard and Poor’s and A2 rating from Moody’s. (From 1997-2007, the City had a Baa3 credit rating, equating to junk bond status.)
CAFO Plante stated, “I am humbled and honored with this award and recognition. I want to thank Mayor Sarno for his continued leadership and support in my abilities to serve as the city of Springfield’s Chief Administrative and Financial Officer. Special shout out to my dedicated finance team – this is a team effort and without their services, our city’s fiscal health and budgeting would not be where it is today. Under the Sarno administration, the city continues to strive for financial excellence, even during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this award validates the tremendous work our city’s finance team is doing.”
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) is a major professional association serving the needs of nearly 20,000 appointed and elected local, state and provincial-level government officials and other financial practitioners in North America. The association is headquartered in Chicago, IL, with offices in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit: http://www.gfoa.org/.