2015-2016 President
                           Raymond Calame
                                  Treasurer
                            Village of Hempstead

                             Acceptance Speech
                           59th Annual Meeting
              Lake Placid, New York September 29, 2015

Good afternoon, it was once suggested to me that when you address any group, it is wise to “BEGIN, BE- BRIEF AND THEN -- BE GONE.  I will take that suggestion today.
I would like to begin by saying I am humbled to accept the honor and privilege to serve our Society as President for 2015 – 2016. If someone told me that my professional path would have led me in the direction of local government as a finance officer, I most certainly would not have believed them, how fortunate and grateful I am for that opportunity and privilege.
After spending the majority of my career in the Public Sector, most of it in Banking, I had the opportunity to join my current employer, The Village of Hempstead as Treasurer.  I had no idea the challenges in store for me, but I do believe everything in life happens for a reason and this was no different. I will admit to you that in those first few weeks after I started, I did wonder what I had gotten myself into. 
I started working at the Village in early October so I had just missed Fall School that year. Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from a member of this Society, someone who seemed to know quite a bit about what I, as someone new to the world of Municipal Finance, was going through and how I was probably feeling.  He shared some of his insights and encouraged me to take advantage of the many educational opportunities that are afforded all of us.  He offered to be there if I had any questions or needed some help, I  remember that call, almost as if it was yesterday.  Additionally, I remember him saying and I quote,
“in this business we are not in competition, we share information and we are here to help each other”.  His conversation was both welcomed and reassuring and I remember after that call, feeling there was something different I was involved in.  I had the start of what would become a network of professionals & friends willing to share their knowledge, experience & opinions with me.  That feeling of “I was alone” became, “we are together”.  
That was the first of many calls we would exchange and a strong friendship that formed with him and many others who are here today.
My network continued to grow; I had the opportunity to meet with staff from NYCOM, the Office of the State Comptroller’s as well as many other finance officers. This of course, would not have been possible without my Mayor and the entire Board of Trustees who have consistently been supportive, recognizing the importance of participating in the NYCOM & OSC Fall School as well as the interim courses offered by NYCOM & OSC and our own Society during the year.   I am very grateful to them all.
In the last few years, with all of the changes from Albany including, but not limited to, the Tax Cap, Fiscal Stress Monitoring, Tax Freeze, Consolidation, Dissolution to name a few, the challenges facing us in our roles as finance officers continue, and may at times seem daunting, as more must be done with less.
This Fall School, like the ones that have preceded it, is a huge opportunity to deepen our understanding of those changes and their impacts, network, learn about what is on the horizon from our counterparts in NYCOM and OSC and meet vendors who may be able to provide insights & cost effective solutions to some of our operational hurdles.  We also have an opportunity to see old friends, make new ones, listen, learn, and develop closer professional relationships, exchange ideas and share information.  It is all here and available for us.
Most importantly, as Municipal Finance Officers and members of this Society, we are responsible for extending ourselves to each other and in particular to the “First Time Attendees” with us this week who just may be wondering “what have they have gotten themselves into”, for they are the future of Local Government Finance and this wonderful organization.
In closing, I would ask you to please consider what was freely given to you, I urge you to freely give back and share, your support, guidance and assistance, introduce a first time attendee to your network here with us this week.  And most importantly, let them know they are not alone and that as Municipal Finance Officers, “We serve together”.  Thank you and enjoy the rest of the Fall School.