FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Volume 5, Number 37,
September 12, 2008
This week, Floridians honor the memories of
September 11 victims and their families. Many of Florida’s
firefighters and law enforcement officers gave their time
and their hearts to help our fellow citizens following that
sad day in 2001.
In light of those contributions, the New York Fire Commissioner donated an iron memorial to Augie Valdes, Fire Protection Specialist, and the Tampa
State Fire Marshal’s office in remembrance of the fallen
heroes that served our country in an hour of great need.
Above the memorial hangs our nation’s flag which carries the
names of each firefighter and law enforcement officer that
lost their lives in an effort to save others during the
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves
as the State Fire Marshal, holds a special place in her
heart for those men and women who risked their lives for
others during the events of September 11, 2001.
Participating in Jacksonville's Fallen Heroes Breakfast
sponsored by the Jacksonville Firefighters' and Policemen's
Pension Fund, CFO Sink said, “The numbers 9/11 will
forever be of historical significance to our country.
But, the numbers we all need to remember are 24/7 –
the numbers that represent the dedication and spirit of our
professional and volunteer firefighters and volunteers who
are committed to serving our country every day of every
week, two Lauderhill firefighters were declared heroes when
they didn’t hesitate to run into a burning house to save a
10-month-old baby girl. After the rescue, the firefighters,
Jacob Mardhese and Anthony Busk, told reporters covering the
scene that they love their job because of the chance to
rescue someone, to save a life. Busk said, "It feels good."
The State of Florida is forever grateful for the service and
commitment of our firefighters and law enforcement officers.
Let this seventh anniversary of 9/11 be a reminder of
what they do on our behalf every day.
CFO SINK: FLORIDA TREASURY FIRST TO REVIEW
Florida establishing new benchmark for climate risk and opportunity
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced that Florida is the first
Treasury in the nation to formally analyze investments for the financial
impacts of climate change. In an effort to better protect the Treasury
portfolio from emerging risks, CFO Sink has launched a semi-annual
review process to assess how public fund managers incorporate climate
risk in portfolio holdings as part of prudent investment management.
CFO Sink has partnered with RiskMetrics Group to analyze the corporate
bond holdings of 20 external fund managers and one internal fund
manager. Corporate bonds represent approximately $3.4 billion of
Florida’s $24 billion in Treasury funds. Fund managers that have higher
composite scores on their corporate investments have selected companies
with governance practices in place that make them better positioned to
meet the challenges and opportunities related to climate change.
“Climate risks are converging not only on our state, but also on the
investments we manage on behalf of our citizens,” said CFO Sink, who
oversees the Treasury and Department of Financial Services. “As
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, I’m constantly looking for new tools
to identify emerging financial risks to better protect taxpayer dollars
in the Florida Treasury.”
The assessment process is guided by “Climate Change Governance
Framework,” an emerging standard endorsed by CFO Sink and the Investor
Network on Climate Risk, a national network of investors focused on the
business impacts of climate change. This framework connects corporate
governance and climate change through examination of board oversight
activities, management execution, public disclosure, emissions
accounting and strategic planning, with an emphasis on targeted
greenhouse gas emission reductions and pursuit of new climate-oriented
By scoring Florida’s fund managers on portfolio climate risk, CFO Sink
is establishing a benchmark that will be tracked over time. While
financial returns will remain the primary consideration in evaluating
fund manager performance, climate risk is being added as an integral
component of prudent portfolio management. During the semi-annual review
process, Treasury fund managers will be asked about their methods and
capabilities to analyze climate risks, with an expectation that they
will be able to demonstrate improvement in scores over time.
“Sea level rise and increased hurricane activity pose serious physical
risks to a coastal state like Florida,” said Doug Cogan, Head of Climate
Risk Management at RiskMetrics Group. “Savvy financial leaders also
recognize the monetary risks and opportunities presented by climate
change making this the time to align investment strategies with a
CFO Sink endorsed the fund manager engagement process at the Investor
Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations in February 2008, attended
by more than 450 financial advisers and corporate leaders from around
the world. CFO Sink also joined with state treasurers and pension fund
leaders with more than $1.5 trillion in assets under management from
California, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Illinois
and a half-dozen other states to sign on to a “Climate Change Action
Plan” to boost fund investments in energy efficiency and clean energy
technologies as well as require tougher scrutiny of carbon-intensive
investments that may pose long-term financial risks.
CFO SINK PROMOTES MONEY SMART FINANCIAL
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink this week
promoted the importance of increasing financial literacy at
instructor training sessions in Pensacola and Jacksonville.
Working in partnership with the United Way of Santa Rosa
County, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and
the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – New Orleans Branch,
CFO Sink delivered opening remarks to the training
participants in Pensacola on Wednesday.
On Thursday, CFO Sink
opened the program in Jacksonville in
partnership with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
(FDIC) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta –
Participants learned the FDIC’s Money Smart program,
which helps adults with little or no banking experience
enhance money skills, build financial knowledge, develop
financial confidence and use banking services effectively.
Volunteers from various non-profit and community
organizations who completed the training were certified to
give one-hour financial literacy courses using the FDIC’s
Money Smart Curriculum.
CFO SINK LAUNCHES LUNCH AND
LEARN SERIES TO HELP STATE EMPLOYEES STRETCH HOUSEHOLD
As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink’s job is to
safeguard tax dollars and “count the beans” for the state’s
government. Knowing that many state employees – like the
government they work for – are struggling with rising costs
and budget crunches, Sink has launched a series of lunchtime
programs to help state employees become the CFO of their
The Lunch and Learn series began in the summer and,
following rave reviews, a third was held in the Cabinet Room
of the Capitol. Participants brought their lunch and the
program was broadcast on the Florida Channel.
“All Floridians are feeling the economic pinch and none more
so than our state employees, who will receive no
cost-of-living increases in their salaries this year,” said
CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services.
“We all could benefit from tips on how to cut costs, stay
within a budget and continue to provide for our families.”
The title of Friday’s program is “Become the CFO of Your
Family - Slice Your Grocery Bill in Half.” The program will
be televised to all Capitol employees via The Florida
Channel and will be posted on the department’s website.
Additional programs are planned to be held quarterly on a
variety of topics.
CFO’s Deputy CFO Tammy Teston initiated and leads the
series. A former banker and businesswoman, Teston served as
the senior vice president and market director for Bank of
America Investment Services in Sarasota. She now helps Sink
oversee the following divisions: Agent and Agencies;
Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services; Rehabilitation and
Liquidation; and the My Safe Florida Home program.
SAVING ENERGY, SAVING MONEY
Energy tips for Florida families - these actions
represent ways to behave kindly toward Mother Earth,
AND save money as well as
CFO Alex Sink's science advisor Meg Lowman, Ph.D.,
on the faculty at New College of Florida. Dr. Lowman has
written numerous award-winning books and is an
expert on the rain forests of the world.
Install a rain barrel.
In these times of water-use restrictions and
energy-conscious water consumption many Floridians struggle
to keep their lawns and gardens green and healthy. One
solution is the use of a rain barrel. Rain barrels are a thing
of the past that can be put to good use today.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates that
seven billion gallons of water a day are used in landscaping
and gardening. They have also estimated that the average
American family uses approximately 400 gallons of water a
day, 30-40 percent of which goes towards lawn and garden
In one summer alone, a rain barrel can catch up to 3,000
gallons of water. Not only is the water caught by a rain
barrel a great way to cut back on consumption and water
bills, but rain barrels also help prevent pollutants from
reaching our local waterways.
Consumers can build their own rain barrels using a plastic
garbage can and several pieces of hardware that can be found
at your local hardware store. Keep several things in mind
when considering building your own rain barrel:
- Place it where water can flow into the barrel from
your downspout and/or gutter
- Install an overflow valve to release excess water
should it become full
- Attach a spigot so that you can put a watering can
underneath and fill it up
- Place a cover on your rain barrel so
that bugs and other wildlife can’t get inside
- Never drink the water from your rain barrel or
the water to your pets due to pollutants from your roof.
STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE ASSISTING IN
THIRD ANNUAL VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER TRAINING
The memories of 9-11 will never be forgotten and have
become synonymous with the dedication of our nation’s
firefighters. In honor of those who gave everything they had
to rescue their fellow citizens, the third annual Northwest
Florida Volunteer Firefighter Weekend will be held September
19 -22, 2008, at the Okaloosa/Walton College, 100 College
Blvd., in Niceville, Florida.
Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as
State Fire Marshal and oversees the Florida State Fire
College, is a proud supporter of the annual Florida
Volunteer Firefighter Weekend. The event offers Florida’s
volunteer firefighters access to training, keeping them
up-to-date on new firefighting techniques so they can better
protect their communities and themselves.
“The State Fire Marshal’s office looks forward to playing
a key role in this annual training experience,” said CFO
Sink. “It is a pleasure knowing we are able to give back, in
the form of free training, to our many dedicated volunteer
firefighters who give so much to Florida communities.”
Starting Friday evening, firefighters from across Florida
will kick-off the weekend of free training with an
extrication extravaganza. A record number of participants is
expected. Participants will have the opportunity to view and
use some of the newest technology available for rescuing
those trapped by accidents and disasters, manmade or
A new 40-hour Fire Service Course Delivery class is being
offered this year that starts on Wednesday, Sept. 17. The
weekend portion hosts classes ranging from four to 16 hours
in length. Live fire evolutions, a National Fire Academy
program, a wild lands fire class, a firefighter safety and
survival program and a highway safety operations class are
just a few of the program’s offerings.
CFO SINK ADDRESSES TALLAHASSEE WOMEN LAWYERS
On September 10,
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink served as the keynote speaker for
the Tallahassee Women Lawyers (TWL) monthly membership meeting. CFO Sink
spoke on the theme "Balancing It All While Ascending the Corporate Ladder."
The theme coincides with the platform of TWL President Kim Driggers –
“Pursuing a Healthy Balance between Self, Family & Career.”
The Tallahassee Women
Lawyers group was established in 1980 and exists to promote the status of
women in the legal community and to create, improve, and maintain supportive
networks among women in the legal profession through mutual cooperation,
respect, and good friendship.
Are you the chief
financial officer of your family? Are you always
looking out for the best deals, wise investments and
smart moves for your family's financial security?
As your family's fiscal
watch dog, keep an eye on
this column for money-smart ideas from the Chief
Financial Officer of Florida,
Take advantage of coupons
This week’s financial tip comes straight from a Department
of Financial Services employee. Deputy Chief Financial
Officer Tammy Teston has helped numerous state employees cut
their monthly grocery bills nearly in half with her “Become
the CFO of Your Family” lecture series.
Many people have access to, and are even inundated with,
grocery store coupons. Taking advantage of the retailer and
manufacturer coupons can help us cut our costs in the
One of Tammy’s greatest pieces of advice is this: Instead of
making your grocery list and then digging through the
coupons to find some that work, build your list around the
coupons that you have. This is the best way to maximize your
savings. Also, items that you use on a regular basis should
be bought while they are on sale or while there is a coupon
available - called stockpiling.
For the best coupons available, search Sunday’s paper, and
be sure to get your hands on the biggest paper in your area
for the best deals. Also, the next time you walk into the
grocery store or the drug store, pick up the circular ad for
special prices. There are also a plethora of Web sites with
coupons and special discount codes to be used for online
shopping. Sign up for your favorite stores' email
lists and print out the coupons before you shop - 40 percent
off that book you want can make your day!
So, next time you see that two-for-one sale on paper towels
pick up four, and when you’re making your grocery list on
Sunday morning, do it with the newspaper open to the
Consumer Services Helpline