City finance, recreation departments garner awards

ALBANY -- Two city departments have been recognized for their achievements in 2008.

The city's finance department was recognized by City Manager Alfred Lott at Tuesday's Albany City Commission meeting after being awarded a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting by the Government Finance Officer's Association.

The award recognizes government finance departments that strive to continually improve and implement successful reporting strategies, Finance Director Kris Newton said.

"It's an award that helps us gauge our success in our financial reports," she said. "It means that, as a team, we have done everything we can to continually improve."

The department has earned the award every year since 1991, she said.

Additionally, Newton recognized 10 employees who completed the certified local government finance officer program's Level 1.

The program required more than 100 hours of classroom time to complete and focuses on different facets of government financial practices, Newton said.

"We did this so that when we all talk, we all are speaking the same language, which will enhance the department," Newton said. "Government accounting is different than what most of these people learned in schools."

Additionally, the city's recreation and parks department received recognition from the Georgia Recreation and Parks Department for two major events the department hosted.

The department was recognized for the city Independence Day Celebration, which was honored in the Innovative Program category for special events. It also received recognition for its Special Olympics Fitness & Wellness program, which earned honors for an innovative program recognition.

Additionally, volunteers and employees of the department were honored including Franessa Salter, who was given the Jim "Buck" Goff Distinguished Professional Award; Burt Rushton, who received the William "Cut" Edwards Athletics Award; and Tom Newton, who was named the district's Volunteer of the Year.

"It's flattering any time that the hard work of our employees and volunteers is noticed," Recreation and Parks Director Suzanne Davis said. "It's definitely a team effort, and we'll continue to work hard to bring home more awards next year."

Albany is part of the GRPA's third district.