Magazine article Government Finance Review

2012 Annual Conference Recap: Winds of Change: Public Finance in Transition

Magazine article Government Finance Review

2012 Annual Conference Recap: Winds of Change: Public Finance in Transition

Article excerpt

The GFOA held its 106th annual conference, 'Winds of Change: Public Finance in Transitions' in Chicago, Illinois. More than 6,200 delegates, exhibitors, and guests participated in the conference at McCormick Place West on June 10-13, 2012, making this the GFOA's largest conference in several years.

GENERAL SESSIONS

Toni Preckwinkle, Board President, Cook County, Illinois, welcomed delegates to Chicago. She encouraged the audience to establish strategies that are more effective and efficient to ensure better stewardship of government services.

GFOA President Linda C. Davidson thanked the GFOA state and provincial associations for inviting her to attend their meetings. During these visits, she noted a common challenge faced by public finance officers: the need for greater fiscal responsibility and accountability on the part of government officials. She urged delegates to develop the next generation of finance officers by offering mentorship and training. (You can watch the video at www.gfoa.org.)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, addressed delegates as the keynote speaker at Monday's general session. He spoke about building stronger foundations with public finance, discussing the challenges Chicago faces and Emanuel's vision for the future. He also spoke about the city's infrastructure plans and how they relate to increased commerce, jobs, and the city's long-term viability. Emanuel also stressed the need for strong financial leaders in government.

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Mark Shields. On Tuesday, political analyst and commentator Mark Shields relayed personal anecdotes and injected humor into his presentation, "Politics and Policy: How Will History Judge 2012?" He reviewed past elections to provide insight into the upcoming election, including observations that "voters look for a party that offers optimism," and "when the economy is bad, the economy becomes the only issue." He also urged delegates to "pay attention to the presidential election in the State of Ohio--a state that voted for the winner in the past 12 elections."

CONCURRENT SESSIONS AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

The 2012 conference offered 80 concurrent sessions, covering all major public finance disciplines: accounting, auditing, and financial reporting; budgeting and financial planning; debt management; management and policy; pension and benefit administration; technology and digital government; and treasury and investment management. There were also seven discussion groups, giving attendees a greater opportunity to collaborate with fellow delegates on in-depth topics.

Whether or not you attended the annual conference, you can bring the conference right to your office with CDs of the conference sessions. These MP3 recordings allow you to refresh your knowledge of today's most talked-about public finance topics or share the CDs with staff. (CDs are available by going to the GFOA's e-store at www.gfoa.org.)

Sponsors. The GFOA would like to thank all of this year's sponsors for helping make the conference a success. (For the list of sponsors, visit www. gfoa.org and click on the "Annual Conference" link.)

Exhibit Hall. There were 159 companies exhibiting at this year's Exhibit Hall. Attendees had the opportunity to view products, ask questions, and watch live demonstrations of the latest products and services to save their governments time and money. (For the exhibitor directory, visit www.gfoa.org and click on the "Annual Conference" link. …

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