The Financial Accounting Foundation has named Jan I. Sylvis, the chief of accounts for the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, as vice chair of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.

Sylvis’s appointment takes effect Jan. 1, 2015. In her new role, she will serve on a half-time basis at the board. The GASB chair position, occupied by David A. Vaudt, is full-time, while other board members spend approximately a third of their time on GASB matters.

Sylvis has been a member of the GASB board since July 2007 and she was reappointed to a second term in July 2012. The FAF oversees GASB, which sets accounting standards for state and local governments. Along with GASB, the FAF also is the parent organization of the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Private Company Council.

The FAF noted that the position of GASB vice chair was created early in the GASB’s history, but was later retired. In response to increasing demands on the time of the GASB chair, the FAF trustees decided to reinstate the position, in part because of a strategic focus on expanding outreach to stakeholders. Recent outreach has focused on GASB’s new pension standards and a proposed standard for Other Postemployment Benefits.

“Jan is ideally suited to fill the new role of vice chair at this important time in the GASB’s history,” said FAF Board of Trustees chairman Jeffrey J. Diermeier in a statement. “As a longtime board member with a background in preparing financial statements, Jan brings deep experience and a big-picture perspective to her new role. The combination of her technical expertise and extensive involvement with a wide range of state and local government stakeholders will make her an exceptionally able vice chair.”

Sylvis began her first term on the part-time board on July 1, 2007. She was reappointed to a second, five-year term on the GASB on July 1, 2012. As chief of accounts in Tennessee, Sylvis in effect serves as the state’s controller. Among other activities, she is responsible for maintaining the state’s centralized accounting records, processing state payments and payroll, preparing the state’s financial statements, and developing state accounting policy.

Sylvis is a past president of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers  and a past president of the National Association of State Comptrollers. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis. She is a CPA and a certified government financial manager.

“Over the last few years, the trustees have observed the increasing demands on the GASB chairman, which prompted their decision to reinstate the role of vice chair,” said FAF president and CEO Teresa S. Polley. “In that role, Jan will assist GASB chair David Vaudt in representing the GASB in its interactions with our wide range of external stakeholders, a critically important focus for our organization.”

“I’m very pleased to welcome Jan to her new role as vice chair of the GASB,” said Vaudt. “With Jan’s deep knowledge of and experience in accounting issues, all of us at the GASB know she will continue to be a tremendous asset to the organization in her new role.”

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