The Government Finance Officers Association has hired Dustin T. McDonald, former senior public affairs advisor at law firm Holland & Knight LLP, to succeed Susan Gaffney as director of the group’s federal liaison center.

McDonald, who is based in Washington, started his new job Monday, according to GFOA chief executive officer and executive director Jeffrey Esser.

McDonald has years of experience working with cities and counties, particularly those in the Western United States, as well as with GFOA, Esser said.

“He’s bright and articulate, and he is someone who has been part of the state and local government community, representing communities across the county,” he said.

McDonald did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

McDonald has worked with a range of municipal issuers on a variety of issues, including those related to tax reform, municipal finance, health and public safety, transportation, housing, community development, energy conservation, telecommunications and water and wastewater improvements, according to Holland & Knight’s website.

As part of that work, he has collaborated with groups such as the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the National Governors Association and the GFOA, the firm said.

In addition, McDonald has led efforts to defeat federal legislation that would preempt local government authority and impose unfunded mandates that would reduce local revenue, Holland & Knight said.

McDonald joined Holland & Knight more than eight years ago. Earlier, he worked in the office of former Rep. Steve Horn, R-Calif., where he assisted with the congressman’s work on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

McDonald has written articles about securing federal grants for magazines such as “Western City” by the League of California Cities, and “New Jersey Municipalities” by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

He has been a member in the National Civilian Community Corps, a community development division of AmeriCorps, a federal program, Holland & Knight said.

McDonald joins GFOA as the market faces one of the most potent threats in years to the value of tax-exemption for municipal bonds.

Although Congress did not include a 28% cap on tax exemption in its last-minute deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, market participants fear the threat could resurface as Congress tackles tax reform and seeks to balance the federal budget. President Obama first proposed the cap and continues to push it in his budget requests and legislation. 

Gaffney announced her departure in early December after 12 years with the group, but said she would help her successor transition into the role and assist the group with its Winter Meeting, scheduled to be held here at the end of the first full week in February.

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