By Joshua Winata
The Cove Herald
After proving responsible money management by winning the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting for the 17th consecutive year, the department of finance for the city of Copperas Cove hopes to continue the tradition under new leadership.
The city received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association, which ensures compliance with all accounting standards and evaluates information provided by governmental entities. The award recognized the city’s comprehensive financial report for the 2005-06 fiscal year, which ended in September.
“Receiving the GFOA Award of Excellence indicates to the citizens that the city meets the standards set forth by GFOA and adheres to generally accepted accounting practices,” said City Manager Andrea Gardner, who served as Director of Finance at the time the report was submitted.
In 2005, about 350 entities in Texas, including city and county governments, school districts, colleges, pension and benefit systems, authorities, commissions and administrative agencies, received the award.
The comprehensive annual financial report must include include all funds and component units of the entity and include an independent auditor’s report. Beyond the number crunching, Gardner said the most challenging part of meeting the program’s demands is complying with the specific format and GFOA display and disclosure requirements.
Judging is conducted by GFOA staff and a special committee composed of out-of-state accounting professionals and academics.
On Monday, Wanda Bunting began work as the city’s new director of finance, filling the vacancy created after Gardner was named to the city manager position at the end of September.
Among other accomplishments as the director of finance, Gardner produced the city’s first Budget Highlights brochure and revised the format and presentation of both the annual budget and the comprehensive annual financial report during the two years that she has been with the city. She has pulled multiple duties, at times serving simultaneously as the director of finance, assistant city manager, interim city manager and, later, the city manager.
Bunting said her goal in taking over the finance position is simply to “do what’s best for the citizens out there and help them fund the city’s needs to best provide the services to the citizens.”
Bunting, a certified public accountant, received her associate’s degree in business from Central Texas College and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from The University of Texas at Austin. She previously served in Killeen as a management accountant, and prior to that, worked with the Texas Education Agency for seven years. After living in larger cities like Austin and Killeen, Bunting, who grew up in the Lampasas area, said she is looking forward to returning to a small town environment.
Beyond the requisite accounting background, Gardner said that she was impressed with Bunting’s “willingness to work with others” and a “desire to continue for the forward progress within Copperas Cove.”
Gardner said she will be offering her assistance to Bunting during the transition to ensure continued success. Much of the training will be hand-on for the new director of finance as she adjusts to the broad array of responsibilities under her purview.
“I am very much somebody who takes the initiative and likes to get out there and dig in. It will just take me some time to figure it out. First I’ve got to catch up,” Bunting said.
Bunting has lived in Copperas Cove for two years with her husband, Philip. She enjoys hiking and arts and crafts shows.
Contact Joshua Winata at email@example.com or call (254) 547-6481