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1999 Annual Report
Systems Services: Financial
Management and Administrative Services
In 1999 Financial Management and Administrative Services (FMAS) developed a number of measures to improve financial and accounts reporting and began using several new electronic commerce tools. FMAS also maintained leases, provided telecommunications support and advice, upgraded office equipment, and ordered stationary supplies for members and staff.
The branch successfully entered budget information for the current fiscal year into the Legislative Assembly Management Information System (LAMIS) early in the year and provided Treasury with 1999-2000 budget information for production of the Assembly estimates book and for consolidation with government budget figures. In addition, quarterly budget and expenditure forecasts and actuals continued to be produced for Treasury as required by legislation. In November the branch also processed internal budget adjustments for the Assembly's independent member.
FMAS completed its budget preparation for the upcoming fiscal year in the fall of 1999 and assisted the Speaker and the Members' Services Committee during the budget approval process when the committee met in December. By June work on fiscal year-end was successfully completed, including all year-end accruals, and by the end of August the branch completed a full reconciliation of balance sheet financial information to March 31, 1999, to ensure the accuracy of financial reporting for the LAO. Staff worked with the Auditor General's Office to prepare the LAO's annual financial statements. This was a learning process designed to help branch staff complete future statements more easily and quickly in future.
FMAS continued to control the LAO bank account for accountable advances and the account holding funds voted to the LAO by the Legislative Assembly. The branch is responsible for the accounts, including monitoring their reconciliation, which is done by PSC Payment Systems Corporation. Continued attention was given to completing ongoing, as opposed to periodic, financial and bank account statement reconciliations because of the increased responsibility of having an independent financial system and LAO bank account. The branch procured foreign exchange currency or money orders for authorized travel or purchases by branches, legislature committees, or for expenses related to the Assembly's participation in interparliamentary activities.
Service to MLAs, Legislature, and constituency office staff continued to be timely, helpful, and accurate. This year the branch improved its accounts reporting by creating a new management report on members' non-financial information, a summary report of monthly Members' Services allowance balances, and added information about members' remuneration for MLA expense and allowance reports for the fiscal year 1998-99. Staff followed up on financial records requests by members subsequent to MLAs receiving these reports. Ministerial and government committee remuneration were again processed through the payroll system and charged back to departments. FMAS tracked, receipted, and credited back all the charge-backs.
Administrative staff provided patient, friendly, and informative services to clients and ensured all administrative activities were accomplished in a timely and comprehensive manner. Staff helped the director determine the impact of Y2K on constituency and LAO operations, evaluating equipment for Y2K readiness and keeping members informed. Upgrades to the LAMIS system were implemented periodically throughout the year with the assistance of branch and Information Systems Services (ISS) staff. These upgrades ensured programs were Y2K compliant.
FMAS administered and maintained leases, including renewals, cancellations, or amendments for approximately 90 locations. The branch also provided property management services for constituency offices, made physical arrangements for moving office equipment and furnishings for five offices, and addressed insurance issues and maintenance concerns for members and their staff. Staff also continued to act as the LAO liaison with the Risk Management and Insurance branch of Treasury. They assisted branches and constituency offices with claims arising from thefts and damage to property as a result of flooding and vandalism. Branch staff also provided assistance with policy and procedure questions.
The branch provided telecommunications advice to members regarding cellular equipment and peripherals; reviewed air time programs and adjustments as required; reviewed constituency offices for consideration of equipment or service upgrades, including one upgrade to the Centrex system and three upgrades to alternate systems; negotiated the best toll program for all residential and business phones; and liaised with Alberta Infrastructure telecommunications staff. FMAS also provided input to Public Affairs Bureau staff for a new RITE directory format and streamlined and enhanced telephone directory advertising systems for members and their constituency offices.
Staff kept up with telecommunications technology and regulatory changes such as the abolition of mobile service and provided telecommunications troubleshooting and information on the new northern Alberta area code change and its implications. FMAS worked with Telus to ensure their new billing systems would be implemented properly for the Assembly. Throughout the year administrative staff co-ordinated necessary telephone relocations, helped accounts staff clarify or troubleshoot administrative invoices or statements, and administered the calling card and credit card programs for long distance tolls and MLA gasoline purchases and travel.
The branch provided information and assistance with upgrades to photocopiers and faxes and continued the upgrade of constituency office photocopiers. Administrative staff were instrumental in the selection and installation of new photocopier equipment and related staff training for LAO branches throughout the year.
Accounts and administrative staff studied and implemented the use of several electronic commerce tools and databases, including Diners Club/enRoute Globalvision, Telus Bill 2000, PHH on-line billing information, and MasterCard. In particular, extensive work was done with the Bill 2000 program to generate calling card usage reports for members. Administrative staff also developed a new fixed assets tracking program, which was implemented during the summer.
The branch purchased letterhead, business cards, and other stationery and supplies items for MLAs, their staff, and their constituency offices and arranged for bulk orders in 1999 in anticipation of the provincial area code change. Staff provided more than 200 stationery and office supply items to 95 percent of constituency offices and all LAO branches and administered the Legislature lounge supplies program during the spring and fall sittings of the Legislature.
FMAS also continued to liaise with private sector vendors interested in providing goods and services to the Assembly.
Individual staff workloads were reviewed and adjusted based on changing work volumes, clients' needs, and requirements for cross training. Branch staff continued to develop their skills through participation in projects and external training with vendors as well as through academic and professional courses. In overall staff changes, an FMAS member providing leave cover-off moved into a position as a human resource assistant.
Along with staff from ISS, records management, and human resources, the branch conducted constituency office staff information sessions in Calgary and Edmonton. Besides presenting general information, staff were able to answer questions and meet with constituency staff in a relaxed atmosphere. This proved useful for both constituency and branch staff.
The branch participated in the development of the Assembly's internal web site. Using input from all branch staff, the administrative team developed, organized, and composed the FMAS page, which includes extensive materials on policies and procedures, contact information, and on-line forms. Since the site was launched, FMAS staff have continued to add information of interest to members and Assembly staff. Representatives from the branch also served as members of the EDP committee, the Under the Dome editorial board, the ergonomics committee, the United Way committee, provided support for the staff recognition dinner, and volunteered for events such as the Speaker's Cup golf tournament. Staff also provided back-up assistance during orientations and meetings that took the attention of management away from the branch as well as assisted with the preparation of materials for those events.
The electronic copy of the Legislative Assembly Office Annual Report is UNOFFICIAL and is provided for information purposes only. The printed version is the OFFICIAL Annual Report.