Three CPAs received the 2009 AICPA Outstanding CPA in Government Awards, which were to be presented in August at the Governmental Accounting and Auditing Update Conference in Washington by AICPA Chairman Ernie Almonte. The awards recognize CPAs working in local, state, and federal government who made significant contributions to increased efficiency and effectiveness of government organizations and to the growth and enhancement of the profession.
Robert F. Dacey, chief accountant at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), received the federal-level award.
Dacey made significant contributions to the GAO’s efforts to serve Congress and improve financial and information security management throughout the federal government. He led the first and subsequent financial audits of the consolidated financial statements of the federal government and other key agencies, identifying significant financial management challenges, which led to the passage of the Government Management Reform Act and the Improper Payments Information Act; developed financial and information security audit methodologies that are generally accepted throughout the government audit community; reviewed federal information security and identified critical issues, leading to the passage of the Federal Information Security Management Act, the Government Information Security Reform Act and the Taxpayer Browsing Protection Act; and helped develop the 2007 and 2008 Citizens Guide, which provided summary financial information on the federal government to Congress and the public in a short, easily understandable format.
Under Dacey’s leadership, the GAO has produced more than 100 reports and testimonies, including more than 2,400 recommended actions, both financial and operational. More than 90% of these recommendations are being implemented or are in progress.
Thomas H. McTavish, auditor general for Michigan, received the state-level award.
Since his appointment in 1989, he has helped build Michigan’s Office of the Auditor General (OAG) into one of the country’s most effective and highly regarded state audit departments, according to recommendation letters by Andy Dillon, speaker of the House for the state of Michigan, and Michael D. Bishop, state senator and majority leader. McTavish achieved two objectives originally established for him by the state’s Legislature: produce more audit reports that focus on performance rather than financial operations and improve communication between the OAG and the Legislature. The National Legislative Program Evaluation Society recognized the OAG with its Impact Award in all nine years that it has participated in the awards program. Also, in 2006, the OAG earned two National State Auditors Association Excellence in Accountability Awards.
McTavish currently is president of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers.
Lena H. Ellis, financial management services director and CFO for Fort Worth, Texas, received the local-level award.
Ellis, who was appointed CFO in 2008 and holds a leadership role with the city’s Audit and Finance Advisory Committee, was originally recruited in 2007 by Fort Worth’s assistant city manager to help tackle the Finance Department’s problems, including the inability to issue a comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). Under Elllis’ leadership, the city became current on the CAFR in June, for the first time in four years. She has 25 years of experience in government and is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association’s Committee on Accounting, Auditing and Financial Reporting and the AICPA’s Government Performance and Accountability Committee’s task force that produces the Audit Committee Toolkit for government organizations.