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Dear ABFM Members:

The start of a new year provides an opportunity to say thanks and to update ABFM members on relevant news. First, a hearty “thank you” to three outgoing Executive Board members for their dedicated service the past three years: Gang Chen (University of Albany), M. Peter van der Hoek (University of Economics), and Wie Yusuf (Old Dominion University). Also, Jonathan Justice (University of Delaware) concludes his term as the Association’s chair and now enjoys the distinction of being past chair. Thank you all for devoting your time and expertise to advancing ABFM’s commitment to good practices in public and nonprofit finance.

Welcome to three new Executive Board members, elected this past year, who began their three-year term on January 1st: Christopher Goodman (Northern Illinois University), Michelle Lofton (University of Georgia), and Wie Yusuf (Old Dominion University). In addition, a hearty welcome to Christine Martell (University of Colorado at Denver) who begins her term as vice chair of the association, succeeding Jerry Zhao (Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China) who begins his term as chair-elect.

The Association benefits greatly from the labors of several other members of its leadership team, notably David Guo (Florida International University) who ably serves as treasurer and assisted by Kelly Shi (University of North Texas). Bob Buschman (Georgia State University) serves in a new contractual role as the Association’s secretariat, a role that he and his team have ably stepped into this past year. Sarah Larson (University of Central Florida) and Andy Crosby (Northwestern) once again achieved extraordinary success in soliciting sponsorships for the annual conference. Membership Chair Kate Yang (George Washington University) and her colleagues identified and implemented several ways to maintain and grow ABFM’s membership. Finally, and notably, thank you to Newsletter Editor Ken Hunter (City of Rocky Mount, NC) for the innumerable tasks he undertakes to help with communications and a successful annual conference.

Updates to ABFM By-laws
This past year, the Executive Committee discussed several ways to broaden the Association’s benefits to its members, especially those in the early stage of their career. Several of these initiatives were presented by Justin Ross (Indiana University) at the town hall meeting held during the annual conference in D.C. The Committee also discussed recommendations from the Financial Audit Committee, presented by Thad Calabrese (New York University) at the town hall meeting, on formalizing the Association’s budget process. These changes necessitate amending the Association’s by-laws.

In the next few days, ABFM members will receive an email from Jonathan Justice with the proposed changes, endorsed by the Executive Committee, to the Association’s by-laws. Accompanying the email will be a ballot link for your approval of the proposed changes. If approved, these initiatives will be implemented this year.

2022 ABFM Conference
Please mark your calendar for the 2022 annual conference September 22-24, 2022, in Miami, Florida. David Guo and Florida International University will be hosting the conference, and Jerry Zhao will be the conference chair. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to share cutting-edge research, celebrate the achievements of distinguished members of our profession, and network with colleagues from around the world.

Other Priorities for 2022
While COVID has slowed our progress, it does not deter us from our commitment to excellence in public finance. Toward that end, the Executive Committee will be tasked with several initiatives to broaden ABFM’s impact and strengthen our operations. The town hall meeting at the 2021 conference revealed support for expanding our web presence, better integrating professionals into the Association particularly the conference, forming partnerships with other academic and practitioner associations, improving communications on renewing ABFM membership, and strengthening our budget position regardless of where the conference is held.

In addition, we will sustain the recurring activities of hosting a first-rate conference, selecting recipients for the Association’s existing and new awards (pending by-law ratification), selecting a conference host for 2023, conducting elections for new officers, and maintaining the practitioner-academic exchanges.

This is a great time to be in public finance and to be involved in ABFM. If you would like to serve on a committee or be involved in other areas of service to ABFM, please let me know. We need your expertise and talent to sustain our noble purpose of public service. Be sure to check the ABFM website (abfm.org) for updates and a recap of the 2021 conference.

Bob Bland
ABFM Chair
University of North Texas