The holiday season can be a hectic time and an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends, while for others it’s a great chance for some much needed and well-deserved rest. One thing I always make the time to do each holiday season is reflect on the previous year and look ahead at what the upcoming year has in store for ACFO-ACAF and our members.

Throughout 2023, I spoke with members across the country, and the one constant in those conversations was that our members want more flexibility when it comes to the return to the workplace. We at ACFO-ACAF understand your frustrations, and we believe that our membership should feel as though their presence is purposeful when they go into the office. While telework remains a privilege and not a right, we’re strongly advocating for a solution that would see our members’ in-office workdays be meaningful as opposed to the checkbox activity that it currently is for many of you.  

Despite the challenge of the return to the workplace that remains, one of the main highlights of the past year is that we were able to return to our full slate of in-person events, without restrictions on capacity related to COVID. Professional development events ensure that our members are receiving training that is tailored to the work they’re doing, and networking events ensure we can learn about any issues you may be dealing with or concerns that you have. These interactions that we have with members at events, whether in-person, hybrid or online, play an integral role in our ability to help you with the issues that matter most.

When we weren’t hosting events, the team at ACFO-ACAF was chipping away at a long list of items we wanted to accomplish this year. I’m very proud to say that we were able to accomplish many things on that list, with some of the more notable accomplishments being:

While I’m glad to celebrate some of last year’s successes, shifting our attention towards 2024, one of the biggest things on our mind is the looming federal election. While ACFO-ACAF is a nonpartisan organization and we will work with any party who comes into power, there is no doubt that a change in government has the potential to change the way that we work. In the end, while we don’t have a crystal ball, regardless of the result, we’re committed to maintaining the high-quality services we provide and protecting the rights our membership has earned.

We’re also working towards a second round of damages for those who have been affected by ongoing issues with the Phoenix pay system. You may remember that back in March, we collected some data from our membership about how many people were still owed money from Phoenix and how much those individuals were owed. In 2024, we intend to use that data to advocate for a second round of damages similar to the agreement that was made between federal public service unions and the employer back in 2019.

The final thing I wanted to highlight heading into the New Year is that we at ACFO-ACAF are closely monitoring the ways in which artificial intelligence is progressing and we’re continuously looking at different ways to keep ourselves and our membership ahead of the curve. Something to look forward to in the New Year is a free online training program centered around the ins and outs of artificial intelligence that we are going to be offering to our members—more on that in the New Year! 

While I’ve only highlighted a few things we’ll be working on in 2024, we’re of course also going to continue addressing longstanding issues such as the pay equity joint study, bridging the pay gap that exists within the CT-IAU classification, and looking for new membership engagement opportunities. There is lots to look forward to in 2024, and I’m happy to be at the helm once again, advocating every day for the rights and interests of the CT Community.

However you choose to celebrate this holiday season, I wish you and yours a safe, memorable, and peaceful holiday season.

Warmest regards,

Dany Richard MBA, CPA, ICD.D