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2014 Conference Registration Now Open!

STARTING TODAY, registration is open for the 2014 ABFM Annual Conference, scheduled for October 2nd-4th at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, MI.

We look forward to seeing hundreds of faculty, students, researchers and practitioners attend, present and participate in three great days of workshops, discussions, networking opportunities and more.

Registration rates for this year's conference have not changed from last year. Check out the table below for Early and Regular Registration Prices:

Click Here to Register Electronically
for the Conference

Payment can be made either by check (Payable to "ABFM") or credit or debit card (via Paypal). Information on payment addresses will be included in an invoice once online registration is completed.

Rooms at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel are available at the conference rate of $134/night (plus tax). Click here to reserve your room now, or call 800-253-3590.

2014 Conference Registration Now Open!

Individuals, schools, publishers, consulting firms, nonprofit organizations and anyone else interested in promoting public sector budget and financial management are invited and encouraged to contribute as sponsors for the 2014 ABFM Conference.

Click Here for Information on Sponsorship Levels & Benefits

Sponsorship opportunities are available at multiple levels with varying amenities and benefits, including:

  • Publication of Ad in Conference Agenda Book, distributed to all attendees in hard copy and electronic formats;
  • Title sponsorship of conference, luncheon, socials and plenary sessions;
  • Complimentary registrations for the ABFM Conference;
  • Access to individual display tables for product and services; and
  • Access to post job openings in the “Daily Line Item” email distributed each day (Wednesday thru Saturday) to conference attendees and ABFM members.

This year, sponsorship opportunities are available with respect to naming and recognition of support for specific conference services and amenities, including:

  • “Daily Line Item” email newsletter;
  • Conference agenda mobile app;
  • Meeting room and session technology; and
  • Meeting room sponsorship
Click Here for Information on Sponsorship Levels & Benefits

To secure a sponsorship for the 2014 ABFM Conference, please contact: Kenneth Hunter kenneth.hunter@nclgba.org (252) 343-5522. Sponsorships should be made payable to “ABFM” and will be sent directly to ABFM this year, either by check or electronically via PayPal (information forthcoming).

In order to secure printing of ads in the Conference Agenda Book, sponsorship pledges must be made no later than September 5th.

Chair's Column
By Charles Menifield, University of Missouri

By all accounts, summer is well underway and planning for the 2014 ABFM Conference in Grand Rapids is moving forward. For the second year in a row, we had a record number of paper and panel proposals submitted. As a result, we will have five panels during the periods where we normally have four panels. In addition, we added a third day to accommodate the presentations. I hope an increase in conference presentation leads to an increase in ABFM membership.

For those of you who are not aware, membership in ASPA as well as all of the individual sections has decreased dramatically over the last ten years. Despite these decreases, ABFM remains the largest section of ASPA and has a large opportunity to rebound given the dramatic increase in conference participation. On behalf of ABFM leadership, I would like those of you who have contributed to this increase in conference participation. In harmony with this and other recent events, ASPA will hold a meeting of all section and chapter leaders on September 6, 2014 to:

“engage in a strategic conversation aimed at identifying ways that ASPA can be more responsive and service oriented to members; to develop approaches to facilitating greater Section-to-Section and Chapter-to-Chapter communication and collaboration; and to determine effective practices that individual Sections and Chapters use that could be a model for others.”

I would like to take this opportunity to not only discuss ASPA’s strategy for growth, but also to address any concerns that you may have. Hence, if you have any suggestions or recommendations that you would like for me to communicate to ASPA please let me know by August 31, 2014, as I would like to utilize my time in the most efficient manner and focus on things that are important to ABFM.

Last, for those of you who are not aware, the federal government made some changes in the law that negatively affected the tax exempt status of all ASPA sections a few years ago. Since then, most of the ASPA sections have completed paperwork that should reinstate their tax exempt status. I am pleased to report that we have completed the paperwork and should be fully reinstated by the time that we meet in Grand Rapids.

I hope all of you have a great summer and look forward to seeing you in October.
If you have not done so, please register for the conference and book your rooms as soon as possible.
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ABFM is a research section of the American Society for Public Administration

About ABFM
We aim to promote the professional development of budgeting and financial management in the public and non-profit sectors. Embracing both theorectical and operational concerns, ABFM addresses issues in budgeting processes and practice in financial management.


Click here for membership information.
ABFM Board of Directors
 
2014 Chair
Charles Menifield
University of Missouri-Columbia

Chair-Elect
2015 Chair

Robert Kravchuk

Indiana University


Vice Chair
2016 Chair

Carolyn Bourdeaux
Georgia State University


Immediate Past Chair
2013 Chair

Scott Pattison
NASBO

Secretary & Archivist
Meagan Jordan
Old Dominion University


Treasurer
Deborah Carroll
University of Georgia

Newsletter Editor

Kenneth Hunter
City of Rocky Mount, NC

Executive Committee
2012-2014 Term
Thad Calbrese, New York University

Helisse Levine, Long Island University
Dan Smith, New York University


2013-2015 Term
Ben Clark, Cleveland State University

John Gilmour, William & Mary
Kenneth Hunter, City of Rocky Mount, NC

2014-2016 Term
Christine Martell, Colorado-Boulder

David Matkin, University of Albana-SUNY
Zhirong "Jerry" Zhao, University of Minnesota
 
Career Opportunities
Click Here for Job Postings


Assistant/Associated Professor, Public Administration, Governors State University

Project Manager, GASB

Director of Finance & Administration, Seattle University

Economist or Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Research Assistant, Congressional Research Service

Members with announcements can have them posted for free. Email them to kenneth.hunter@nclgba.org.

Contributions for Teaching Database Accepted

Our Teaching Database is once again available online, and we are now accepting submissions for new material we will add to the database over the summer.  This project serves as a collection of teaching materials from graduate level courses related to Public Budgeting and Financial Management.

Items that will be considered include: course syllabi, reading and textbook lists, assignments, student project ideas, lectures, handouts and reading assignments.

Submissions should be made electronically to Kenneth Hunter, kenneth.hunter@ nclgba.org. The subject of the email should include "ABFM Teaching Database Submission," and the message should include a brief description of the submitted items (attached files).

Open source data sets will also be considered.


Click Here for the Teaching Database
Resources






ABFM's website is made possible by a grant from Public Financial Publications, Inc., a nonprofit corporation & publisher of Public Budgeting & Finance
COMING IN JULY
ABFM Officer &
Executive Committee Elections


Stay Tuned for More Information on
Candidates and Election Process
Making Sense of Public Finance by Increasing Financial Literacy

By Meagan Jordan, Old Dominion University, and ABFM Secretariat

Our 26th annual conference theme is “Fiscal Sustainability in Hard Times”.  With hard times comes public scrutiny. The public has witnessed districts, municipalities, and states struggle from the results of previous decisions regarding debt accumulations, tax cuts, and investments.  Often the question is asked, “Didn’t they see this coming?” or “How could they let this happen?”  The warning signs of fiscal stress may be there but the understanding of those signs or of the long-term implications of complex financial choices is not. Part of the problem is financial illiteracy.

The benefits of financial literacy are not only better decision making but also better communication of financial choices to the public who also lack basic financial knowledge.  It is not enough to have a knowledgeable financial professional on staff (although it is a necessity) because that expert staff member works for elected officials who may be more cognizant of political ramifications than long-term financial ramifications.

The answer to financial illiteracy is education. But to whom and by whom?  Education is essential for elected officials, non-financial managers, and the public.  Financial professionals can educate the elected officials through internal reports and presentations.  Non-financial public managers can also receive training from financial managers. However, there is also the opportunity to add financial literacy training to management/leadership development programs run by human resource departments.  These programs often bring people in from outside or from within the government to train on various managerial topics. Of course, non-financial public managers, staff, and the public can receive additional formal education from public administration programs.  Finally, public financial managers can educate the public with popular financial reports like the Citizen Centric Report advocated by Association of Government Accountants and the Popular Annual Financial Reports advocated by Government Finance Officers Association.  The marketing of such reports is critical.

Enhancing the skills of the elected officials who are making financial decisions and the knowledge of the public that they represent is an avenue for increasing the quality and level of communication about public finance.  However, the time commitment for all of this financial literacy training is daunting. In addition to time, superior communication skills are required.  Therefore, the financial professionals may need to partner with public relations or communications staff or with external resources.

ABFM is in the unique and perfectly placed position to advocate for and support financial literacy because its members are currently involved in formal education, consulting, on-the-job training, and the production of financial reports. 
GASB Update
Information Shared on OPEB Reporting Improvements

(PRESS RELEASE) The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) today published two proposed Statements intended to significantly improve financial reporting by state and local governments of other postemployment benefits (OPEB), such as retiree health insurance. The GASB also published a third Exposure Draft that would establish requirements for pensions and pension plans that are outside the scope of the pension standards the GASB released in 2012.

The three proposals, which were approved on May 28, are available to download at no charge on the GASB website.

  • The first Exposure Draft related to OPEB, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions (OPEB Employer Exposure Draft), proposes guidance for reporting by governments that provide OPEB to their employees and for governments that finance OPEB for employees of other employers.
  • The second Exposure Draft related to OPEB, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans (OPEB Plan Exposure Draft), addresses the reporting by the OPEB plans that administer those benefits.
  • The third Exposure Draft, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions and Financial Reporting for Pension Plans That Are Not Administered through Trusts That Meet Specified Criteria, and Amendments to Certain Provisions of GASB Statements 67 and 68, would complete the pension standards by establishing requirements for those pensions and pension plans that are not administered through a trust meeting specified criteria.

To help users, preparers, and auditors of financial statements familiarize themselves with the proposals, the GASB developed an OPEB web page that features new “plain English” resources:

  • An article outlining the key ways that the OPEB proposals will change how governments calculate and report the costs and obligations associated with OPEB
  • An article oriented to financial statement users that addresses how the proposed changes would affect the information that users receive about a government’s OPEB
  • A video featuring GASB Chairman David Vaudt discussing the key principles of the OPEB proposals
  • A fact sheet answering frequently asked questions, and
  • The summary and the full text of the proposals.

Stakeholders are encouraged to review the proposals and provide comments by August 29, 2014.

The GASB will host public hearings on the Exposure Drafts on September 10, 11, and 12, 2014. Locations and other details, including instructions for registering to participate, are highlighted in the Exposure Drafts.

The GASB will be conducting two webinars about the proposals:

  • A CPE webinar on July 30, 2014, beginning at 1:00 pm Eastern
  • A webinar for financial statement users on August 8, 2014, beginning at 1:00 pm Eastern, that will be followed by a survey to collect feedback from users on the proposed standard
Still Time to submit 2016 Conference Proposal, Deadline July 30th
Click Here for RFP Hard Copy (PDF)

The Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM) requests persons interested in forming a host committee for the 2016 Annual Conference submit proposals to the Conference Selection Committee.  The 2016 conference will be located outside of Washington, DC. The deadline for submissions is July 30th of this year.

The host committee’s duties for the proposal include:

  • Identify the host committee members and their affiliations.
  • Select a city that is accessible by economical air transportation and offers sufficient amenities for the conference.
  • Select a hotel for the conference that can accommodate the conference meeting and room requirements.
  • Secure economical price quotations based on set requirements in the RFP, and calculate total estimated hotel cost to the association.
  • Provide information, including cost, on transportation options from the closest airport to the conference hotel. Be sure to state whether the hotel has shuttle service.
  • Briefly describe a plan to market the conference to potential attendees in the area who are not members of ABFM, and identify potential local sponsors (including governments, associations, and other universities)
  • Prepare a list of amenities that are available near the conference hotel
    • Restaurants
    • Attractions
    • Shopping

The Conference Site Selection Committee consists of Carolyn Bourdeaux (chair), Benjamin Clark, David Matkin, Olga Smirnova, Charles Menifield (ex officio), & Deborah Carroll (ex officio).

Please submit a document detailing this information by July 30, 2014 to Carolyn Bourdeaux at cbourdeaux@gsu.edu.

Click Here to View Complete RFP Article on ABFM Website
Boston Fed takes look at State Debt Affordability

(PRESS RELEASE) New research from the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston explores the different ways to assess the affordability of state debt and uses those findings to offer guidance to states in examining their own debt burdens.

State governments commonly issue debt to finance the construction of roads, schools, and other investments in infrastructure that are important for economic growth and competitiveness.

“While borrowing funds can facilitate these investments, there is also a danger in allowing debt to grow unchecked,” said the report’s author, Senior Policy Analyst Jennifer Weiner. “If debt service is too high, it can crowd out other public spending or increase taxes and fees, so policymakers must carefully balance a state’s capital needs with efforts to keep debt levels affordable.”

Click Here to Learn More
Washington Update
Senate Finance Committee Unveils Short-Term Fix for Highway Trust Fund


Yesterday, Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) released the framework for a proposal to raise additional revenue to shore up the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and extend the current surface transportation authorization (MAP-21) through the end of calendar year 2014. This would allow lawmakers until the lame duck session following the November elections to reach agreement on a long-term bill for surface transportation programs.

Senator Wyden’s bill, entitled the 
Preserving America’s Transit and Highways (PATH) Act, calls for modifying five tax provisions and using the 10-year budget savings from the changes to offset a $9 billion cash infusion into the HTF. Specifically, the measure proposes to increase the cap on annual use taxes for heavy highway vehicles, change mortgage reporting requirements with respect to debt secured by real property, clarify the six year statute of limitations in cases of overstatement of basis, deny or revoke passports in cases of certain delinquent tax debts and modify the required distribution rules for inherited retirement accounts.

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to mark up the bill 
this Thursday. According to reports, Senate Republicans, who reject the bill’s reliance on tax increases as spending offsets, are working on an alternative proposal and hope to finalize it soon. It is widely believed that Congress will have to act before departing for the August recess to address the looming HTF shortfall and prevent potential negative consequences. Without action by lawmakers, the highway account of the fund is still projected to dip below the critical threshold of $4 billion in late July, which will trigger the Department of Transportation (DOT) to implement certain cash management strategies that will likely include delaying some reimbursements owed to states.


Click Here to Subscribe to NASBO's Washington Report
GFOA provides Guidance on Selecting, Managing Municipal Advisors

(PRESS RELEASE) On July 1, 2014, the SEC’s Municipal Advisor Rule will take effect. The rule imposes a fiduciary duty on municipal advisors to their government clients and changes the manner in which underwriters and other professionals are permitted to interact with issuers. While the rule does not regulate issuers directly, there are numerous indirect implications that governments should be aware of.

To help GFOA members prepare for the rule’s fast approaching implementation date, the GFOA has developed a suite of resources, which are available at the GFOA’s Municipal Advisor Rule Resource Center. The resource center provides members with a brief background and overview of the Rule, links to the MA Rule Alert and a 10-page issue brief, as well as links to the SEC’s frequently asked questions documents that provide interim guidance on the rule.

The resource center also includes links to three best practices, which GFOA updated with recommendations to governments about hiring and managing municipal advisors and underwriters after July 1. These best practices include Selecting and Managing the Engagement of Municipal Advisors,Selecting and Managing Underwriters for Negotiated Bond Sales, and Selecting and Managing the Method of Sale of Bonds. The GFOA’s existing recommendations were already largely consistent with the new rule, advising governments to use a municipal advisor when considering a bond transaction unless the government has sufficient internal expertise. However the best practices were also updated to alert issuers to changes including:

  • Municipal advisors have a new fiduciary responsibility to issuers.
  • Underwriters do not have this fiduciary duty to issuers.
  • While municipal advisors can play a key role on an issuers team in approaching and executing a bond transaction, the issuer must remain in control of the decision-making process, define the scope of work, and control the engagement with the municipal advisor.

Beyond these best practices, the GFOA also recommends that issuers of new bonds also review the other best practices in this series, which include Selecting Bond Counsel and Pricing Bonds in a Negotiated Sale.

First-Time Winner of Cash Basis Reporting Award Announced

(NEWS RELEASE) The GFOA Award Program for Small Government Cash Basis Reports is happy to announce a first-time winner of the award: the City of Junction City, Oregon. Receiving this award demonstrates Junction City’s exceptional dedication to transparency, accountability, and financial reporting on a modified cash basis. All staff involved in attaining this distinction for the city should be commended for their accomplishment, and the GFOA offers its congratulations.

The Award Program for Small Government Cash Basis Reports aims to improve the quality and consistency of financial reporting for small governments. It is designed for the thousands of small governments for which financial reporting in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles is not a viable option. For some participants, the program may be a first step toward GAAP financial reporting.

Junction City, along with Cashion, Oklahoma, are the first two winners of the award for fiscal year 2013. 

Go to the Award Program webpage to download an application. Checklists are also available for general-purpose governments, school districts, and stand-alone business-type entities, along with a sample small government annual financial report. Questions? E-mail cashbasis@gfoa.org. For information on volunteer opportunities, e-mail cashbasisreview@gfoa.org. We look forward to your participation.

2015-16 Fulbright Scholar Program Accepting Applications

The Fulbright Scholar Program offers teaching, research or combination teaching/research awards in more than 125 countries for the 2015-2016 academic year. Opportunities are available for college and university faculty and administrators as well as for professionals, artists, journalists, scientists, lawyers, independent scholars and many others.
 
Of the 583 awards being offered this year, there are over 66 awards available in the field of Public Administration.  Moreover, there are 367 All Discipline awards that welcome teaching and/or research proposals in any area of study, including interdisciplinary projects. These awards are offered in various regions around the world.
 
In order to meet the changing needs of academia and develop new options to accommodate better the interests and commitments of today’s scholars, the program has introduced several innovations to the 2015-2016 program, including: 
Interested faculty and professionals are encouraged to learn more about these opportunities, and hundreds of others, by visiting the Catalog of Awards.
 
The application deadline for most awards August 1, 2014.  U.S. citizenship is required.  For other eligibility requirements and detailed award descriptions visit our website at http://www.cies.org/us_scholars/us_awards/
or contact us at scholars@iie.org.
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