Leading the Way to Excellence in Government Financial Management

Article excerpt

It is a privilege and an honor to have been elected to serve this great Association as its 45th president. Since my election as your president, I have taken the opportunity to reflect on the past accomplishments and my 25 years in AGA. Because of the hard work of the leaders and members over the past few years, this organization is not only sound, it is strong. It has a solid financial footing and enjoys respect throughout the financial community, particularly the government financial community. I pledge to build upon the success of such outstanding former national presidents as Jeff Steinhoff, Charles Harrison, Dick Kusserow and Virginia Robinson and provide the continuity of leadership that will help AGA reach new heights.

We should feel proud when we reflect on the steps we have taken to improve our Association and increase the professionalism of government financial management. But our work must intensify. Today, our organization, and our profession, are greatly challenged. First, constrained resources, enormous government deficits and debts, and political pressures demand high quality, responsive and responsible financial management. Second, the climate for government employees is somewhat hostile: the public's perception of government service--especially related to the spending and managing of public resources --is not good: government service is no longer considered the prestigious, honorable, respectable endeavor it once was. Government accountability, accuracy, efficiency and resourcefulness have been prime targets of criticism in the press.

I am proud that we, the members of AGA, and the work that we do, stand in sharp contrast to that negative public perception of government in general. As I look across the membership of this great organization, I see a collection of hardworking, talented, innovative government financial managers. During the 1994-95 year and beyond, AGA must concentrate on a twofold mission, First, we must intensify efforts to attract and retain members and we must provide high-quality services and value to each member through effective professional development, training and networking opportunities. Second, our organization must work to reverse the negative public image of government by highlighting the work and achievement of public sector financial managers and by infusing AGA's aggregate expertise, innovation and entrepreneurialism to influence and improve financial management policy and public service.

The participation of all the integral parts of AGA--the National Board of Directors, National Executive Committee, national office staff, regional vice presidents (RVPs), national committees, chapter officers and most Importantly, the membership--are essential to ensure organizational success. My greatest challenge is to devise a strategy that identifies, harnesses and focuses the talent that already exists in AGA. In this spirit, I offer my list of goals and objectives for the 1994-95 year. Consider this presentation "a first bid," of sorts--a collection of programmatic ideas which promises to be flexible and responsive to your perceptions of need, your creative ideas and suggestions.

I. GOAL: INCREASE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR AGA MEMBERS

Objective: Sustain and Expand High-Quality and Cost Effective Training for AGA Members.

Over the past few years, AGA has established a professionally rewarding niche by offering high-quality financial management education. Yearly, AGA shines with its commendable annual Federal Leadership, State and Local Leadership and Professional Development conferences. I pledge to personally work with the three committees responsible for the planning and management of these conferences so that these events are second to none. To attract new members. to fully serve and retain our current members and to maintain and even bolster our profile in the financial community, professional training programs must continue to be an AGA priority, on the national, regional and local levels. …