One Night in Nashville

By Force, Marie S. | The Journal of Government Financial Management, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

One Night in Nashville


Force, Marie S., The Journal of Government Financial Management


In the fall of 2000, I traveled to Nashville to interview William R. Snodgrass as part of our 50th Anniversary celebration. Snodgrass, along with his late director of state audit, Frank L. Greathouse, were two of five people to receive AGA's 50th Anniversary Special Recognition Award for lifetime achievements. My hosts were Past National President Charles L. Harrison, CGFM, CPA, and then-President-Elect Richard V. Norment, CGFM, CIA, both of whom worked for Snodgrass for more than 30 of the 44 years he served as Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury.

Upon my arrival in Nashville-my first visit to Music City USA-Charles and Richard greeted me with bad news: Mr. Snodgrass and most of his family were down with the flu. At that time, I had two babies at home and a husband who was afloat somewhere in the Persian Gulf on an aircraft carrier. Being exposed to the flu wasn't high on my to-do list!

Luckily, I had gone to Nasnville with a secondary goal in mind. I was curious about this group of people in the James K. Polk building who are known throughout the government finance community as an example of how to do it right. Greathouse's name adorns the conference room at the National Office as well as one of AGA's most prestigious awards. Two comptroller staffers had or would soon serve as National President. The Nashville Chapter is one of our most dynamic. In fact, before the PDC attendance exploded to its current numbers, Nashville was the one place outside of Washington, D.C. where we could count on a huge turnout. What's going on in Nashville? I wondered.

It didn't take long for me to see that all the successes and energy could be traced right back to Bill Snodgrass-The Boss, as he was known. Mr. Snodgrass passed away at his home in Nashville on April 20 after a brief illness.

That first time I met him, two years after his retirement as comptroller, he rallied to come to dinner with his wife Faye at the Norments' home, but was unable to stay for very long. The next morning, Charles and Richard picked me up at the hotel and took me to Snodgrass Tower, located just a block from his former office in the state capitol. The naming of the office building was one of many honors bestowed upon Snodgrass at the time of his retirement. We took the elevator to his top-floor office, which was full of memorabilia from his long career. "Have a seat," Charles said, gesturing to the large executive chair behind the desk. …

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