Two individuals were recognized during a Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on Tuesday, August 23. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the annual conference of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) in Charleston, South Carolina. The inductees were:
- William G. Holland, former auditor general of Illinois
- Richard D. Johnson, former state auditor of Iowa and former FAF trustee
|Shown left to right: Kinney Poynter, William G. Holland and Richard Eckstrom.||Shown left to right: Kinney Poynter, JoAnn Leach, DeAnn Thompson, Marjorie Johnson, David Johnson, LeAnn Houlette, and Richard Eckstrom.|
ABOUT THE RECIPIENTS
William G. Holland served as Illinois Auditor General for 23 years. As the state’s longest-serving auditor general, his career spanned the administrations of five governors, five state treasurers and six state comptrollers, building him a well-earned reputation for fairness, objectivity, and the highest ethical standards.
Before becoming Auditor General, Holland worked his way up through various roles with the Illinois House Majority Appropriations Committee. He was the first director of the Illinois General Assembly’s Washington Office and served for almost 10 years as chief of staff for the Illinois Senate President.
Soon after his first Auditor General appointment in 1992, Holland chaired Illinois’ Blue Ribbon Committee on the State Procurement Code. This effort modernized Illinois purchasing laws and led to taxpayer protections, establishing a strong foundation for standards of procurement and ethics in the state.
In late 2008, incumbent Governor Rod Blagojevich was charged with federal crimes and subsequently impeached, convicted and removed from office. Holland’s reputation for integrity, his coherent recitation of the facts, and the professionalism of his staff provided key evidence upon which the Illinois General Assembly could safely rely to reach its momentous decisions in this case.
Holland was committed to NSAA and NASACT and to the value that such fellowships can afford its members, both individually and collectively. He was president of both NSAA and NASACT, and served on numerous committees and led roundtable discussions on complex issues over the years.
He conceived the idea for NSAA’s Excellence in Accountability Awards Program, which after almost 20 years is still going strong and providing well-deserved recognition for the nation’s most innovative performance and forensic audits and special projects.
He was a member of the U.S. Comptroller General’s Domestic Working Group. He led during the implementation and subsequent audits by states of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, an unprecedented effort of collaboration between state and locals and the federal government. He was on the NASACT task force charged with navigating the complexities of finding an acceptable solution to funding the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. And he was on the task force that recommended purchasing a NASACT headquarters office in 2005, a step that proved to be a sound financial decision for the organization.
He has been recognized by peers for his thoughtful and innovative leadership with numerous awards, including two NASACT President’s Awards, the NSAA William R. Snodgrass Distinguished Leadership Award, and many others.
Holland capped his career in 2015 by hosting NASACT’s 100th anniversary conference in Chicago, directing the publication of a commemorative book documenting the association’s evolution over the years, and bringing together most living NASACT presidents for a very special centennial celebration.
A trusted public servant and a stellar example of fairness and integrity, Bill Holland’s thoughtful leadership and visionary foresight provided a secure space for his staff and his association peers to do their best work, and that is, perhaps, his greatest accomplishment.
Richard D. Johnson spent his life embodying honor and integrity, with distinguished careers in both government and the private sector.
He was a true believer in public service. While working in Des Moines for one of the nation’s largest accounting firms, he also served his small community of Sheldahl as city clerk and as mayor. He moved on to become director of audits for the Iowa State Auditor’s Office and was also director of finance with the Iowa Highway Commission. In 1974, when the state’s Department of Transportation was organized, he played a key role in establishing the financial and administrative structure of the new agency and was selected to be its first director of administration.
He was appointed to be state auditor in 1979 by Iowa’s governor and went on to become a six-time winner of the office, never losing an election. He was the first CPA to serve in the role, and he made it a priority to professionalize the office and make it less political. He became known for calling it like he saw it, no matter which political party was in power.
As state auditor between 1979 and 2003, Johnson played a key role in the development of standards and procedures for government accounting during some very formative years for state government. He was president of both NSAA and NASACT and was recognized by his peers with awards from each association, including NSAA’s William R. Snodgrass Distinguished Leadership Award and NASACT’s Special Recognition Award.
He believed in setting a good example and sharing knowledge to foster better government practices not only in the United States, but also abroad. He was active in NASACT’s early international efforts in the early 2000’s. He was later commissioned by the U.S. Department of State to help develop accounting and financial systems in new democracies in the former Soviet Union, including Slovakia, Bosnia and Kyrgyzstan.
Johnson served on a number of committees for the AICPA, including a three-year term as a member of the Auditing Standards Board. While on the ASB, he chaired the subcommittee that developed the first compliance standards for government auditing ever issued by the AICPA.
He was also a trustee of the Financial Accounting Foundation between 2001 and 2006.
While Johnson’s technical prowess and political savvy saw him reaching the highest levels of service in state government, he was also dedicated to community. He was a member of the U.S. National Guard for 34 years, ending his military career at the rank of colonel. He was a farm owner and operator, and he was a volunteer for civic organizations in his community throughout his life.
Known in each circle in which he operated as a friendly and caring individual, Johnson was dedicated to public service. His unwavering integrity garnered general respect and admiration from all those with whom, and for whom, he worked, and he leaves behind a lasting legacy of respect and admiration.