Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Australia in collaboration with the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) presents - Tackling Budget Crises, Implementing Reforms: Lessons from the US Experience

G Edward DeSeve
Former Special Advisor to President Barack Obama and Executive Director of the State Budget Crisis Task Force

Facilitator: Mr Terry Moran AC, IPAA President

Download G Edward DeSeve's presentation here

In recent weeks, news reports have been replete with stories about how Australia is grappling with the challenge of rebalancing and growing an economy buffeted by weak global and regional conditions. In South Australia itself, the state faces unprecedented economic challenges in an environment of strong fiscal constraints. In this context, crafting and implementing effective institutional, policy and regulatory reforms become critical. The United States has had its share of budget and fiscal crises at the federal and state level, most recently the housing-led economic downturn that spawned the Global Financial Crisis. The US has bounced back from these various perilous periods, and although its current economic troubles are far from over, there are arguably lessons to be learned from its recent and historical experience that may be applicable to Australia.

There are few speakers in the world who can speak about the U.S. experience than Edward DeSeve. As Special Advisor to President Barack Obama, Mr. DeSeve oversaw the successful implementation of the $787 Billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the State Budget Crisis Task Force chaired by Paul Volcker and Richard Ravitch. His career has included work in finance, academia and government. Mr. DeSeve was the founder and president of Public Financial Management - the United States’ largest independent financial advisor to governments. At Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, he was a managing director in charge of public finance in a 20-state region. He served as a tenured Professor of Public Management and Finance at the University of Maryland and was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently Executive Director of the State Budget Crisis Task force.

Additional government service at the federal level included being Controller and Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as well as the Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was the Director of Finance for the City of Philadelphia and served as a Special Assistant to the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

At each level of government, Mr. DeSeve oversaw complex fiscal reforms. He was instrumental in balancing Philadelphia’s budget during two fiscal crises. At OMB, he helped balance the federal budget for the first time in more than a generation. Mr. DeSeve also oversaw the fiscal reforms of the District of Columbia that led to its return to investment grade ratings with strong budget and cash surpluses.

He is the author of numerous publications including, The Presidential Appointees’ Handbook (Brookings 2009). At the National Academy of Public Administration, he served as Vice Chair and co-authored its first Fiscal Future Report in 2005 warning of the coming federal deficits. He was awarded the Kenneth Howard award for career public service in financial management by the American Society of Public Administration.

He is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and has a Master’s in Public Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Where and When

The Auditorium, The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange Place Adelaide SA
11 February 2014
8:45 am (registration) 9:30 am - 11:30 am



Mr Terry Moran AC, IPAA President

Mr Moran has had a varied public service career, working with successive Australian Federal and State governments in public policy and public sector management.

Mr Moran’s early career as a CEO focussed on building Australia’s education and technical skills capacity. In 2000 he was appointed Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in Victoria.

Mr Moran was Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet from March 2008 to September 2011. Mr Moran also played a lead role in driving reforms to the Australian Public Service. Mr Moran was named a Companion of the Order of Australia on Australia Day 2012.