AICPA names three recipients for 2007 Outstanding CPA in Government Award

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has announced the three 2007 recipients of the Outstanding CPA in Government Award. The awards recognize CPAs working in the federal, state and local levels of government who have made significant contributions to increased efficiency and effectiveness of government organizations and to the growth and enhancement of the profession.

The awards were presented by Susan S. Coffey, AICPA senior vice president – member quality and state regulation, at the AICPA's 24th Annual National Governmental Accounting and Auditing Update Conference being held in Washington, D.C. This is the second year the AICPA has selected a winner at all three levels of government; in prior years, one award was granted each year on a rotating basis among the different levels of government.

Ian Dingwall, winner of the federal award, is chief accountant of the United States Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) where he has been instrumental in developing and implementing programs and initiatives to ensure that EBSA is successful in its mission, which is to protect the integrity of pensions, health plans, and other employee benefits for more than 150 million people. Dingwall's long history of public service includes receiving the "Hammer" award from then Vice President Al Gore for helping to "build a government that works better and costs less." Dingwall has shown significant commitment to customer service and public outreach by establishing a toll free telephone number for the EBSA "Help Desk," which has handled approximately 400,000 inquiries since it was established in 2000, and he played a major role in developing the DOL/IRS electronic filing system known as EFAST.

Walter Kucharski, winner of the award at the state level, is the auditor of public accounts for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Kucharski's contributions to Virginia's fiscal well-being include maintaining Moody's AAA rating, which has resulted in millions of dollars of taxpayer savings in interest payments for public spending initiatives. Holding the Commonwealth's departments accountable for their financial statements, he has ensured that sound government spending is the norm, has contributed to Virginia's consistent ranking as a top state for business as identified by such organizations as and Pollina Corporate Real Estate, and has helped keep the tax burden on its citizens among the lowest in the nation. Kucharski was recently awarded the "William R. Snodgrass Distinguished Leadership Award" by the Association of Government Accountants in recognition of his leadership in promoting excellence in government financial management.

Max Stephanie Duplant, the winner of the Outstanding CPA in Government Award at the local level, is CFO of the City of Beaumont, TX and the president-elect of the Government Finance Officers Association of Texas. Since becoming Beaumont's CFO is 2002, she has been instrumental in restoring the city's financial condition. The city's fiscal year 2003 had a beginning fund balance of only 9 percent of total annual expenditures, but four years later the fund balance was 26 percent of annual expenditures, even after weathering Hurricane Rita in 2005. It was Duplant's initiatives that enabled the city to sustain its operations and meet the demand of recovery and restoration following the storm's devastation. Duplant has also shown quick and decisive leadership in rallying opposition, both in government and the CPA community, to the proposed legislation to ban Texas governments from implementing GASB 45 dealing with other post employment benefits.

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