June 01, 2008

 

 AVMA controller built fiscal integrity - June 1, 2008

 
posted May 15, 2008
 
Dan Murawski
Dan Murawski

As AVMA controller and director of the Business Division, Dan Murawski has worked with five treasurers and four executive vice presidents to set a sound financial course for the Association.

Shortly before Murawski's May 31 retirement, AVMA Treasurer Bret D. Marsh said, "All AVMA members—past, present, and future—owe a debt of gratitude to Dan Murawski for his dedicated service to the profession. Dan leaves a legacy of fiscal responsibility that has positioned the AVMA with significant reserves, a balanced budget, and prospects for a bright future.

"I am personally grateful to Dan for his unwavering attention to detail, his honest and candid counsel, and his guiding principle to always do what was right for AVMA."

From 1981—when Murawski joined the AVMA staff—to 2008, the budget grew from $4.8 million to a projected $28.8 million. He and Dr. Marsh managed a dozen short-term investment funds, continually hunting for the best rates on certificates of deposit and government securities. They structured investments to provide operating funds throughout the year. Investment managers advised them on AVMA's midterm and long-term funds in the stock and bond markets.

Through Murawski's initiative, the AVMA computerized its accounting system and opened the budget process to the leadership and staff. Former treasurer Dr. William J. McEniry said that at his initial budget meeting in 1993, he was confused. "In working with Dan, we established a narrative for the budget to explain by line item each income or expense in detail. As years progressed, a finance committee was formed to help develop the budget. Later, the entire Executive Board met to have input with the development of the budget."

"We're a very fiscally sound organization," Murawski said. "There is a greater understanding of the financial statements now, so staff and the Executive Board are more accountable. The Executive Board is doing a good job."

Dr. McEniry said, "Dan is small in structure, but I think he is a giant in his financial accomplishments for the AVMA."

Murawski is proud that audits have always been "clean" and the AVMA has consistently adhered to sound financial processes and controls. "I've had good Business Division staff who have been very supportive and helpful over the years," he said.

As facilities manager, Murawski helped negotiate purchase of the AVMA building. He did due diligence on the property and kept county taxes as low as possible, protesting undue assessments. He served on the property committee that oversaw the 2006 remodeling, and was an officer in the local property association. Murawski was also a trustee of the employee retirement plan and handled the association insurance. His responsibilities once included convention, dues processing, and limited human resources.

Hired as assistant director of the Business Division in 1981, Murawski was promoted to comptroller in 1983 on the initiative of Treasurer Walter L. Martin Jr. In 1986 he was named division director.

Dr. James F. Peddie, AVMA treasurer from 1999-2005, said, "Dan Murawski's unquestionable loyalty and commitment to the AVMA—added to his passion for error-free, concise financial reporting—made my job as AVMA treasurer easy, but it was his wonderful sense of humor that made it fun."

SUSAN C. KAHLER