Larry Baber is stepping down as treasurer of the American Numismatic Association. Gerome Walton is stepping in to take his place.
Baber is embarking on a 23-month mission to the Marshall Islands on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Walton is undertaking a responsibility that will not be easy.
Though he has been an assistant treasurer since 1988, times are changing as major sources of ANA revenue are under pressure, especially auction revenue, which has dropped dramatically.
Walton certainly is not responsible for the changing nature of organized numismatics in America, but he will have to wrestle with dropping membership and evaluating appropriate staffing levels in light of what is happening to the ANA’s bottom line.
“He’s been associated with the ANA for many years. He’s very knowledgeable of what’s going on with the finances of the association. The board made a great selection,” Baber said in an ANA press release.
Walter Ostromecki, ANA president, was equally laudatory. A friendly hand-off is important. It will help Walton hit the ground running, but he must run hard.
That won’t be easy. Naturally the board of governors helps direct the actions of the treasurer and ultimately is responsible for financial decisions. Still the views of the treasurer are exceedingly important and often carry the day.
His job will be made easier if the ANA’s upcoming new website gives the organization a boost, but it is not likely to deliver financial miracles.
The best that can be hoped for in the short run is a gentle recalibration of means and ends. Worst case would be large budget holes and layoffs.
Whatever happens, it will take a steady hand. I wish Walton good luck and I expect the hopes of all ANA members rest on his shoulders.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."