Magazine article Government Finance Review

GFOA, Now More Than Ever

Magazine article Government Finance Review

GFOA, Now More Than Ever

Article excerpt

It is a great honor and professional privilege to serve as your president and to follow in the footsteps of those leaders who have addressed this organization over the past century:.

We can all think of those who have offered us guidance and direction over the course of our careers, and I would like to acknowledge a few people who have been instrumental in my development as a government finance officer. First, I must recognize the leadership example and encouragement offered by three past GFOA presidents from the state of Oregon, particularly my former boss, mentor, and friend, Tim Grewe. I also thank Charles Cox and Tom Glaser, as well as Nancy Zielke and Carla Sledge, and the Executive Board members I have served with over the years, for your support and advice. Finally, I would not be where I am today but for the patience and support of my wife, Patti Tigue, whom I first met in 1994, when she served as staff to GFOA's Debt and Fiscal Policy Committee. As I have since learned, GFOA brings people together in many different ways.

As government finance officers, we certainly are living in challenging times. The national economic slowdown is already squeezing resources for our governments; the inflation dragon, thought by many to have been slain, appears to have re-emerged and is creating a new kind of fiscal pain for us to grapple with; excesses in the housing industry are now coming home to roost; and the list goes on.

Now more than ever, the work of the GFOA in the form of recommended practices, publications, and training becomes even more relevant. I encourage you to take advantage of these resources to enhance your skills and to learn tools and techniques to help manage your finances during these times of fiscal stress.

During the course of the next year there are several items that will be priorities for me.

First, I will continue GFOA's successful efforts to ensure that accounting standards provide uses and benefits to decision makers, not just to the promulgators of those standards. As GFOA's representative on the National Performance Management Advisory Commission, I will work to make sure that this effort reflects the GFOA's long-standing position on this subject: Performance management and evaluation needs to be integrated within the budget and resource allocation process, not as part of after-the-fact reporting.

We must ensure that these standards reflect the needs of our various members--large and small, general government and special districts--that they are reasonable, and that they can ultimately be implemented in a cost-effective manner. Bottom line, performance management must prove its value with practitioners, elected officials, and citizens in order for it to be deemed a success.

A second priority is to continue GFOA's efforts at the federal level to oppose "reforms" to the municipal bond market that fail to distinguish between private corporations and state and local governments. It seems that every time the SEC rattles its regulatory saber about the need to protect investors in the securities we issue, far greater problems of investor abuses and lack of appropriate controls emerge in the private capital markets.

The current sub-prime, special investment vehicle, hedge fund liquidity crisis again shows us why the SEC's focus on increased regulatory oversight of the municipal bond market is misplaced. …

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