NASACT Announces 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees
Shown above: J.D. Williams, James F. Antonio, Marti York (accepting on behalf of Minnie Mitchell) and Tom Allen
Four individuals were recognized during a Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on Tuesday, August 14. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the annual conference of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers in Salt Lake City, Utah. The inductees were:
- James F. Antonio, former state auditor of Missouri and the first chairman of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
- Tom L. Allen, former state auditor of Utah and the second chairman of the GASB.
- Minnie Mitchell, former state auditor and state treasurer of the state of Wyoming, and the first female president of NASACT. Accepting the award on behalf of Minnie Mitchell (deceased) was her granddaughter, Marti York.
- J.D. Williams, former state controller of Idaho and private sector thought leader.
The NASACT Hall of Fame was conceived as a way to honor those who have made major and enduring impacts on state government financial management. The Hall of Fame is meant to memorialize the vision, accomplishments, and lasting impacts of leaders among the Association’s membership and the broader NASACT community.
Nominees to the Hall of Fame were evaluated on four main criteria.
- Promotion or enhancement of government accountability, efficiency or effectiveness.
- Improvement of state government.
- Impact upon the lives of citizens or upon those employed by state governments.
- And peer recognition of excellence and achievement.
ABOUT THE RECIPIENTS
James F. Antonio began his career in the private sector and academia. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He worked for several of the country’s major CPA firms, and also taught accounting at the universities of Illinois, Missouri and South Florida. He left the academic world in 1974 to begin his service in state government as deputy state auditor in Missouri. He was elected as Missouri’s state auditor in 1978 and re-elected in 1982.
An active member of NSAA and NASACT, Antonio was aware of discussions surrounding the concept of establishing an independent body to set accounting standards for government. Having served in academia, the private sector, and government, he had definite ideas about the shortcomings of the standards. It wasn’t until 1983 that he learned about a unique opportunity to be a part of a new standards-setting body, and he became excited by the institutional challenges that forming such an entity posed.
In 1984 Antonio became the first chairman of the newly-established GASB. He presided over the Board during its formative years, from its inception until June 1995. He played a key role in developing and prioritizing the original GASB agenda, which included topics that had been discussed by government accountants for years.
In addition to responding to longstanding issues, Antonio’s era at the GASB saw the issuance of other major standards, including Statements 3, 9 and 14. The founding Board, under Antonio’s leadership, can be credited with achieving and maintaining the legitimacy of the GASB as the recognized governmental accounting standards‐setting body.
Antonio served as vice chairman of the Mid-American Intergovernmental Audit Forum and was a member of the National Intergovernmental Audit Forum.
He was one of two state auditors serving on the joint state and federal steering committee charged with implementing the national single audit concept, which standardized audit requirements for states, local governments, and entities receiving federal financial assistance.
Jim Antonio’s curiosity, vision and perseverance served him well during America’s shift to the modern era of governmental accounting and auditing, and his influence is still felt today in these underpinnings of current government financial management practice.
After working in public accounting as a federal contract auditor, Tom L. Allen joined the Utah Office of the State Auditor in 1973, and held various posts over the years, including deputy auditor. He was elected state auditor in 1984 and was re-elected twice. Allen was a member of NASACT’s Executive Committee and an active participant in both NSAA and NASACT during his time as state auditor.
Also during that time, Allen was appointed to be a member of the GASB, a position he held for one year before resigning as state auditor and accepting the role of GASB chairman.
The Allen era at GASB, from July 1995 through June 2004, is probably best remembered for two major projects: the financial reporting model, better known as GASB 34, and postemployment benefits other than pensions, or OPEB. With these two standards, state and local governments now report on all major obligations: infrastructure assets and employee healthcare promises.
Following his tenure at GASB, Allen joined the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board in January 2006 and served as Chairman from 2007 through 2015. Major improvements in federal reporting during that time included sustainability and reporting on Social Security and other social insurance programs. He also served on the accounting faculty at Weber State University. He was on the AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board, as well as its Ethics, and Government Accounting and Auditing committees.
Among many awards, he was named the Outstanding State or Local Government Fiscal Officer by the AGA and is a recipient of the prestigious Donald L. Scantlebury Memorial Award for distinguished leadership in financial management improvement.
An educator, a public servant, and a leader who focused on compromise and common sense to improve government, Tom L. Allen has served with dignity and integrity during his noteworthy career.
Minnie Mitchell was referred to by many as “the grand old lady of Wyoming politics.” In her nearly 20 years in public office, she marked many firsts while serving the citizens of her state.
Mitchell arrived in Wyoming by covered wagon with her family in 1896. She later became the very first teacher in the town of Arminto, Wyoming, simultaneously editing and publishing the local newspaper.
When she was appointed to serve as state treasurer in 1952, Mitchell became the first woman to serve in that role. In 1954, she was elected as state auditor, a position she held until 1967, also a role in which she was the first woman to serve.
As state auditor, Mitchell proudly promoted revising and modernizing accounting procedures, including using computer systems to provide an audit trail. She instituted a daily balancing of state accounts and brought in the office’s first check protectograph. Despite an increase of 14 percent to her office’s workload during her first year, there was no increase in staff. As a testament to her character during this time, Mitchell was named “Executive of the Year” by the Cheyenne National Secretaries Association in 1961.
In 1965, Mitchell was selected to serve as president of NASACT, presiding over the association’s 50th annual conference in that same year. Once again, she was the first woman to hold this esteemed role.
Mitchell was well known for the integrity and kindness she brought to public service. She once stated that “there should be no fringe benefits of holding public office, other than those of friendships gained and prestige earned.”
During a time when there were few women in politics, Mitchell championed equality on the public stage, speaking at a 1967 Republican Women’s Conference to encourage more women to run for office.
After 12 years as state auditor, Mitchell ran for state treasurer, a position she held until her retirement in 1971. At that time, Governor Stanley Hathaway honored her by naming her “State Treasurer Emeritus.”
Minnie Mitchell’s many accomplishments during her lifetime demonstrate the strength of her pioneering spirit. Her lasting example as a trailblazer for women in politics, and as an advocate for government efficiency and civility, is still relevant today.
In 1989, J.D. Williams gave up positions as mayor of Preston, Idaho, and as partner in his law firm, to assume the duties of state controller. He was elected three times, and served as state controller from 1989 through 2002.
He became an active participant in the NASACT community, serving as president of NASC and as vice president of NASACT.
Williams was at the forefront of conversations and activities to examine the role of the Internet and e-commerce in government. He championed new technologies during an era of rapid change and development, an era that ultimately led to many of the efficiencies we now take for granted.
He chaired the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council, which worked to promote and implement e-commerce. He was a member of the Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services in Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and was co-chair of the Government Forum of the Internet Council of NACHA, a public-private partnership exploring new standards, delivery mechanisms, and ways to facilitate the cost-effective use of e-commerce.
He is an editor and co-author, spearheading the development of nine thought leadership books on “21st Century Government,” with the first being released in 2002 and the latest in August 2017 at the NASACT annual conference.
In 2002, Williams left public office and began a consulting career with PeopleSoft, Oracle, and Infor, a career that he continues to this day.
He has received multiple awards over the years, among them three NASACT President’s Awards, the prestigious Louis L. Goldstein Leadership Award from NASC, and a Distinguished Service Award from NASACT.
Throughout his career, Williams has been a role model, encouraging others to serve and to aspire to greatness. He set the highest standards of integrity, public service, and best practices, and has relentlessly promoted these principles in his home state of Idaho and in his consulting career.
J.D. Williams has used his vision and wisdom to improve government. However, his generosity and kind spirit have also touched the hearts and minds of thousands of public service professionals, inspiring them to do better in whatever they choose to pursue. His signature phrase, “onwards and upwards,” reminds us of his never-ending pursuit of excellence.