AGA Guam Chapter's History
On September 11, 1970, the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) Guam Chapter was formed when a group of 20 individuals with finance and accounting backgrounds met for the first time. Through the commitment and passion of individuals, including charter member John M. Phillips, the AGA National Office awarded the AGA Guam Chapter Charter No. 72 in November-December 1970. Floyd W. Fagg was the Chapter’s first president with 35 members.
Despite the many changes that come with time, for the past four decades the AGA Guam Chapter has enjoyed consistent leadership and overwhelming support from its members and community partners. As evidenced by its national, regional, and local recognition of its chapter activities, the AGA Guam Chapter has stood the test of time by continuing to uphold the principles and mission of the AGA by fostering learning, certification, leadership and collaboration for professionals and stakeholders committed to advancing government accountability. As of June 2020, the AGA Guam Chapter has 245 members in the local, regional, and federal governments of Guam and Micronesia, as well as the private sector.
When the Chapter was first formed, it offered opportunities for members to organize and participate in workshops and training sessions to hear the latest trends in the finance, accounting, and accountability profession. The Chapter remains strong and is a staunch advocate in fostering learning. In fact, the Chapter is always looking to provide educational opportunities to its members and partners, whether its sponsoring a conference, workshop, or scholarships for members or students at the University of Guam or Guam Community College.
Conferences and Workshops
In 2004, the Chapter held the inaugural Pacific Emerging Issues Conference, a biennial conference that brings together finance, accounting, and auditing professionals to engage and learn about the latest trends, tools, and techniques in the financial environment. This premier biennial conference, which offers up to 24 hours in continuing professional education credits was held in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018. Participants and instructors from Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Japan, and the United States of America have been welcomed every other year to engage with finance and accountability experts and peers. The conference was renamed the Guam Professional Development Conference in 2012.
In addition to the biennial conference, the Chapter hosts periodic workshops and training sessions available to its members to support and enhance educational opportunities and bring the latest news to finance and accountability professionals. In most cases, the Chapter has offered free workshops and training sessions for its members.
To help develop the future accountability professionals on Guam, the Chapter established three separate scholarship programs for its members and college/university students to further their education. Scholarships for members are provided annually to attend the Professional Development Training sponsored by AGA National or through active involvement in chapter activities.
The Herminia Dierking Scholarship, named in recognition of the achievements of the late Herminia H. Dierking, a legislator, educator, humanitarian, past president, past regional vice president, and past recipient of the AGA National Chapter Service Award, is offered to students pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, Business Administration, Finance and Economics or Public Administration at the University of Guam. The AGA Guam Chapter Scholarship is offered to students pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Accounting at the Guam Community College. To date, the Chapter has awarded over $20,000 in scholarships to students.
As the thought leader in governmental financial manager, the Chapter has always strived to promote the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) as the preferred designation. As the designation that recognizes the unique skills and special knowledge required of today’s government financial managers, the Chapter periodically sponsors training that brings AGA National leaders to teach the CGFM course, offers materials to its members to assist with study efforts, provides scholarships to members that successfully pass all three parts of the exam, and provides free training to its current CGFMs. The Chapter is also recognized annually by the Governor of Guam and the Guam Legislature by designating March of every year as CGFM Month. The AGA Guam Chapter currently has 25 active and retired CGFMs.
Leadership and Collaboration
With the consistent leadership and collaboration with stakeholders, the Chapter has been a constant in providing its members and the community with appropriate educational programs, encouraging professional development, influencing government financial management policies and practices and serving as an advocate for the profession. In terms of leadership and collaboration with the profession, the Chapter has been consistent in holding monthly meetings, working with island leadership with legislation on the AGA Citizen-Centric Reporting Initiative, establishing a Chapter Awards program, and sponsoring community service events.
Since 1970, finance, audit, and accounting professionals enjoy a neutral meeting place within our monthly general membership meetings. Like clockwork, members and non-members have gathered every fourth Wednesday of the month to hear about the health of the organization and listen to various guest speakers focusing on various topics dealing with government accountability and/or professional development. Aside from hearing about the latest trends in the profession, members are also given an opportunity to network and build relationships with each other.
As the island continues to get through this pandemic safely, we will continue to host Zoom meetings to ensure safety of our members and speakers.
AGA's Citizen-Centric Government Reporting Initiative is intended to foster innovative means of communication between governments and their citizenry. AGA believes that government financial information should be provided to citizens in forms that are clear and understandable, updated regularly and often, delivered to all, easy to locate, honest in breadth and technically accurate in detail. The AGA Guam Chapter is a huge proponent of the Citizen-Centric Reporting Initiative. With the leadership and collaboration of AGA’s Chapter Executive Committee, legislation was sponsored by Senator Judith P. Guthertz, Senator Rory Respicio, and Speaker Judith Won Pat, to require all Government of Guam entities to submit a Citizen-Centric Report to the Public Audi-tor of Guam and the Speaker of the Guam Legislature. This legislation was passed by the 30th Guam Legislature and signed into public law 30-127 by Governor Felix Camacho in April 2010.
To further incentivize this program, the Chapter has established an annual awards program for the Best Citizen-Centric Report. In its second year, we have seen a minimum of thirty CCR entries each year entering the competition. For two years in a row, the Guam Power Authority, University of Guam, and Guam Community College has been recognized as having the Best CCR’s in GovGuam. All GovGuam CCR’s can be found online at the Office of Public Accountability’s website, www.opaguam.org.
Chapter Awards Program
In 2012, the AGA Guam Chapter established the Chapter Awards Program to recognized the best and brightest in the government accountability profession. Annually, the Chapter awards the Profesor John M. Phillips Excellence in Government Accountability Award to a government professional who exemplifies and promotes excellence in government, outstanding leadership, high ethical standards, and innovative management procedures. This award s named after Prof. John M. Phil-lips, CGFM, CPA, MBA, for his contributions to advancing government accountability in the Pacific region. Prof. Phillips is a charter member of the AGA Guam Chapter, a retired tenured professor of accounting at UOG after a 22-year career.
Biennially, the Chapter provides local awards to its members. The awards include the Chapter Service Award, Chapter Education Award, Community Service Award, Emerging Leader Award, and Agency Chapter Service Award.
Community Service Events
As an island community, giving back to the community comes naturally for the AGA Guam Chapter. Every quarter the Chapter engages in a community service project, whether it’s feeding the less fortunate at the Kusinan Kamalen Karidat Soup Kitchen, volunteering at various mall outlets for the Salvation Army Bell Ringing, picking up trash as part of the International Coast Clean-up, or teaching students about finances as part of the Financial Literacy/Get Smart About Credit initiative. The Chapter also sponsors an annual 5K Run/Walk, in its 13th consecutive year, that raises funds for our Herminia Dierking and AGA Guam Chapter Scholarship programs.
The vision moving forward for the Chapter is to continue the push for greater accountability transparency in our government through the enhancement of professional development, membership growth retention, recognition of the CGFM designation, and advancing the Citizen-Centric Reporting initiative. With 50 years under its belt, the AGA Guam Chapter has become a mature, vibrant, active, and model organization that maintains the core values of service, accountability, integrity, and leadership. The Chapter has much reason to be proud of its long history and successes. With the consistent leadership and outstanding support of its members and community partners, the future remains bright for the Chapter.