By Helisse Levine
As we struggle to maintain footing amid fiscal cliffs, budget shortfalls and natural and human disasters, the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM) serves to inform, educate, inspire and enlighten those of us who seek to share ideas, academic papers, and professional insights and experiences in the field.
In its 37th year as ASPA’s section on public budgeting and financial management ABFM was established in 1976 as the Section on Budgeting and Financial Management (SBFM). It continues to successfully promote the professional development of budgeting and financial management in the public and non-profit sectors.
From its well recognized Public Budgeting and Finance Journal, to a host of activities, including discounts for academic conferences and symposia, past chairs, officers, and committee members have been diligent in building a “place to call home” for all academic, professional and government folks interested in the budgeting and finance of public funds.
ABFM started the year off with its annual conference held in the heart of the “Big Apple” at the New York Marriott East Side. Hosted by the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, conference registrations were the highest number of the past six conferences. More than 300 public finance professionals attended. There were more than 100 paper and research presentations. As noted by James Savage, ABFM’s immediate past chair, “New York registered the highest attendance and produced our largest registration revenues and donor sponsorships of our past six conferences.”
From panels on health care and citizen participation, to fiscal challenges in state and local governments, plenary speakers included Dall Forsythe, former budget director of the State of New York and Special Counsel Deborah Bachrach, as well as former New York State Medicaid Director, Deputy Commissioner of Health for the New York State Department of Health, Office of Health Insurance Programs. We are already busy planning for the October 2013 conference in Washington, D.C. and look forward to and anticipate another successful and exciting event.
As part of ABFM’s mission in promoting the professional development of budgeting and financial management in the public and non-profit sector, ABFM recognizes students, practitioners, researchers and professors annually for their outstanding work and excellence. This year, ABFM presented Forrest Longman, a student at the University of Washington with the Michael Curro Student Paper Award for his work on “Small Town Bond Default and Financial contagion: Did the Greater Wenatchee Public Facilities Default Cause Financial contagion?”
Dr. Philiip Joyce, Professor of Management, Finance and Leadership at the University of Maryland was honored with the 2012 Wildavsky Lifetime Achievement Award for his achievements and life-long commitment and work in government budgeting and financial management
Dr. Roy W. Bahl, Jr. Regents Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus at Georgia State University, received the S. Kenneth Howard Award, recognizing his achievements as a practitioner in the field of finance and budgeting. Notably, Professor Bahl also received the Wildavsky Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 – the first person to be recognized with both the Wildavsky and Howard Awards.
ABFM members are also excited to have Scott Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) and former Virginia Budget Director take the reigns as chair of ABFM in 2013. Given Pattison’s experiences and dedication to the field, he will no doubt be a critical and welcome force in effectively bringing together practitioner and scholarly efforts in the year ahead.
In an age of social media and networking, kudos and thanks go out to our very own Kenneth Hunter, Budget Manager for Rocky Mount, North Carolina for his exceptional work in designing our new website found at: http://abfm.org. Filled with informative content including conference updates, teaching databases, academic and practitioner job postings, membership information, ABFM activities, and live links to a wealth of sources, we welcome and encourage you to come visit us on our new website… and don’t forget to “like us” on Facebook and join us on Twitter and Linked In.
Although most who are reading this have, at the very least, heard of, if not already read, Public Budgeting & Financial Journal (PB&F), ABFM’s seminal journal published quarterly both in print and online. In times of economic downfalls and pension concerns to name just a few, PB&F is a must read for all who take part in the management and administration of the public sector. Co-sponsored with The American Association for Budget and Program Analysis, manuscripts published in PB&F address issues in the practice and study of budgeting and finance at all levels of government, both domestic and abroad.
I’d like to end on a personal note. As a relative newcomer to ABFM and female, I was rather curious to know how the numbers were stacked up in terms of females in the field of finance. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reports that over the past four academic years (2006/2007 – 2009/2010) women had out-numbered men in earning Master’s degrees in Accounting and Finance by a ratio of 2 to 1. For those recent female graduates and all graduates, students, professionals and scholars alike, join the ABFM community, as I did, as we celebrate its 37th year. I remind you of the words of ABFM’s first Chair, Dennis Lynch, who, in 2003 remarked that even after more than 30 years ABFM had become, just as it was first envisioned, “a direct dynamic force for the greater professionalism of public budgeting and financial management in America and an indirect influence in the world.”
For membership information, please visit http://www.aspaonline.org/abfm/test/?page_id=49