NYSSCPA Elects Falbo President

By:
N. Sheree Saunders
Published Date:
Jun 8, 2015
Falbo, Adair, Perino
Joseph M. Falbo Jr, the NYSSCPA's 2015-2016 president, with former White House press secretary Dana Perino and Scott M. Adair, the Society's 2014-2015 president, at the Annual Election Meeting and Dinner. For more photos from the event, see the NYSSCPA’s Flickr page

Joseph M. Falbo Jr. was elected the NYSSCPA’s 2015–2016 president on May 14, during the Society’s 118th Annual Election Meeting and Dinner—a night marked by emotional tributes, surprising developments and several firsts for what has traditionally been the organization’s biggest event of the year. 

Falbo is a partner and member of the executive committee at Tronconi Segarra & Associates LLP in Buffalo. An NYSSCPA member since 1994, he has held a number of leadership roles within the Society: He previously served on the NYSSCPA’s Board of Directors as president-elect, vice president and secretary/treasurer, and was an Executive Committee member. He is also a past president of the Buffalo Chapter and chaired the NYSSCPA’s Chapter Task Force and its Finance, Governance, Information Technology and Nominating committees. Falbo received the Society’s Special Recognition Award, which acknowledges individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the NYSSCPA, in 2012.

“The NYSSCPA has been my professional home since I began my career,” he said. “It is an honor and extremely humbling to be asked by my peers to assume the role of president. I look forward to working with the other officers and volunteers to represent this outstanding group of CPAs.”

In addition to Falbo, the Society installed F. Michael Zovistoski as president-elect; John J. Lauchert as secretary/treasurer; Christopher G. Cahill, Jennifer R. George, Stephen T. Surace and Michael M. Todres as vice presidents; and 11 directors to the board. They include Edward L. Arcara, Jack M. Carr, Elliot L. Hendler, Barbara A.
Marino, Mitchell J. Mertz
and Jeffrey F. Allen as directors-at-large, and Patricia A. Johnson, Iralma Pozo, Janeen F. Sutryk, Steven A. Stanek and Denise M. Stefano as directors as chapter representatives. 

As he passed the baton to a new cadre of Society leaders, outgoing 2014–2015 President Scott M. Adair described his term as “an exciting year” that he would “never be able to repay the profession for.” Among his achievements, such as revamping the organization’s seven-year-old strategic plan and strengthening the Society’s digital outreach, Adair said he was proud to have played a role in expanding the lines of communication with NYSSCPA chapters. 

“That’s very important to me, since I grew up in the chapters,” he said. “That’s how I made my entry into the State Society board.” 

Praising Falbo’s work as president-elect, Adair said that he was excited to see him step into the president’s role.  “I can’t tell you, as a professional and as a person, how honored I am to call Joe Falbo a friend,” he said.  

Falbo will be tasked with continuing the advances that the Society has made in recent years. Just last month, the NYSSCPA opened a satellite office in Albany in an effort to deepen relationships with legislators and regulators, and to be able to respond even more quickly to issues affecting the profession. Falbo will also be working to expand the organization’s NextGen program, which offers career support and networking opportunities to the profession’s next generation of leaders. His commitment to boosting young leadership has deep roots—he co-founded a Young CPA Committee in the Buffalo Chapter early on in his career at the Society. 

“I am confident we will build upon our past successes and carry on a tradition of encouraging and cultivating our next generation of CPAs,” he said.

During the meeting, which was held this year at the Eventi Hotel in New York City, the Society also revealed the results of a memberwide vote on proposed revisions to the bylaws. The changes, which, among other things, clarify the organization’s role in ethics investigations and expand its communication channels with members, were passed with 1,417 votes for all of the proposed revisions and 159 votes against all or some of the revisions.

Honoring icons

This year’s event included some political star power, with Dana Perino, George W. Bush’s White House press secretary and a cohost of the Fox News talk show “The Five,” serving as keynote speaker. Perino, author of the New York Times bestseller And the Good News Is…:Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side, said that her role in the Bush administration had given her “a front-row seat to history.” Sharing stories from her time in the nation’s capital, she noted that one of the most important lessons she had learned in an increasingly polarized political climate was that “civility is a choice.” 

“We choose to be or not [be civil] every day when we wake up,” she said, adding that she worked “for a president and first lady who insisted on” treating others with respect.

But much of the night was focused on icons within the CPA world, as the NYSSCPA conferred honors upon two members whose contributions have had a profound impact, not only on the Society, but on the profession as a whole: Sid Kess, the 2015 winner of the Dr. Emanuel Saxe Outstanding CPA in Education Award, and the late David J. Moynihan, the NYSSCPA’s 2009–2010 president, who was posthumously honored with the Society’s Distinguished Service Award. Moynihan passed away in January after a yearlong battle with cancer. His daughter Allison and wife Sara accepted the award on his behalf. 

Kess, who celebrated his 56th year as an NYSSCPA member this February, has been a trusted guide for accountants since 1952, teaching review courses, seminars and conferences, and producing audio cassettes, newsletters and books. All told, he’s estimated to have taught more than 1 million CPAs.

Moynihan joined the NYSSCPA in 1982. As president, he led the Society at the height of the country’s economic crisis and during a time of immense change for New York CPAs: When he took office, the state had just passed the Accountancy Reform Law—the first significant amendment to the state law that regulates the CPA profession in more than 50 years. 

Though the award was conferred after Moynihan’s passing, the 12 members of his 2009–2010 Executive Committee, who collectively nominated him for the honor, submitted his name for consideration before his death. 

Of Moynihan, Adair said that there was “no one person, no one CPA, I can think of who embodies the spirit of the Distinguished Service award” more.

He was “a CPA who was passionate about his work and his community, a mentor to so many,” Adair recalled.

Indeed, Moynihan’s presence loomed large that night, with both an emotional video tribute and triumphant news about The Moynihan Fund, an educational trust that the Society created in his honor. The fund will be administered by the Society’s Foundation for Accounting Education (FAE), and will encompass all of the FAE’s college accounting scholarships and high school accounting introduction programs.

When it launched the fund this spring, the NYSSCPA set a 12-month fund-raising goal of $100,000, with a larger goal of raising $500,000 during the next five years.

In April, an anonymous Society member, inspired by Moynihan’s legacy, challenged his fellow CPAs to raise $10,000 by the night of the Annual Meeting and Dinner. If they succeeded, the donor—who would reveal his identity at the dinner—pledged to match the $10,000 with a personal donation of that same amount.  

Not only did members of the CPA community meet the challenge, but they exceeded, it, surpassing the entire first-year goal and raising more than a total of $200,000.  

True to his word, the donor, NYSSCPA Past President David A. Lifson, presented the Society with a check for $10,000, which he said he had written with “great pleasure and a tremendous amount of pride in our profession.”

“I never once questioned the ability of our profession to support the memory of such a good person and to support such a good cause,” he said. 

For more photos from the event, view the NYSSCPA’s Flickr page.

nsaunders@nysscpa.org

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