Andrew Cuomo to chair NGA at online conference

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will take over as chairman of the National Governors Association next month during an online meeting of the organization.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will take over as chairman of the National Governors Association next month during a webcast of the organization’s annual summer conference that will be held online instead of in Portland, Maine as originally scheduled.

NGA said Monday the schedule and participants in the Aug. 5 summer meeting will be announced later this month.

The online NGA meeting is the latest in a string of conferences that have been moved to the web this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Association of State Treasurers recently announced that its annual conference will be held online beginning with its business meeting Sept. 15 followed by a series of four webcast fall forums in October.

The Government Finance Officers Association also moved its annual meeting online, replacing its New Orleans convention scheduled for May with a series of 46 sessions that were webcast over four weeks ending June 26.

Cuomo, a Democrat who served as vice-chair of the NGA over the last year, will succeed Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland as NGA chair while Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas is expected to become the vice-chair during the August webcast.

Cuomo’s national profile has risen this year because New York was an early epicenter for COVID-19 and the governor has held daily briefings about the health emergency, often using slides and graphics to visually emphasize his points.

The 55-member NGA is a bipartisan organization representing governors of all of the nation’s states and territories with its chair alternating each year between Democrats and Republicans.

GFOA's online conference included its annual business meeting where new board members were elected and Marion Gee, the finance director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, became the new president.

Altogether, GFOA had 2,859 registered delegates, 46 sponsors, and 36 exhibitors.

“While many were disappointed in missing New Orleans, we received very good feedback from participants,” GFOA Executive Director Chris Morrill said in an email. “They liked the opportunity to ‘attend’ as many sessions as they liked throughout the week, while also having time for their office work.”

Morrill also said participants “appreciated how interactive the sessions were and also that presenters, whenever relevant, adapted their presentations to the current realities of COVID-19 and its impact on state and local government finances.”

NAST made a similar adjustment to its annual Treasury Management Training Symposium which traditionally runs over the course of a week.

It was converted to a virtual online training programs with nine tracks, according to NAST Executive Shaun Snyder. “Each track takes place the same day of the week and the same time and some of the tracks will run through early August,” Snyder said in an email.

The NAST virtual training will total more than 70 hours. Snyder said participation is at record levels from all 50 states plus D.C. Lower registration fees have led to 40% of the participants being first timers.

“The NAST Program and Learning Committee will look at the results of the conference and have some discussions about opportunities for enhanced virtual learning, but we are also eager to return to our in-person conferences,” Snyder said.

According to Morrill, GFOA is continuing to plan on holding an in-person annual meeting in June 2021 in Chicago with a virtual conference as a backup plan.

“Even if we are able to have the conference in Chicago, we will still provide a virtual experience for those who are unable to travel,” Morrill said.

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Coronavirus NGA GFOA State and local finance Washington DC