OMB controller nominee named

President Bush is nominating Linda Morrison Combs as the next controller of the federal government, according to an official White House statement. The position requires Senate confirmation.

Combs, who has served in three presidential administrations, is now chief financial officer and assistant secretary for budget and planning at the Transportation Department. The Senate confirmed her nomination to her position last May. She had served two years as CFO at the Environmental Protection Agency before that.

While she was vice chairwoman of the President's Council for Management Improvement from 1989 to 1991, Combs helped bring to life the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990. She also served as the first CFO at Treasury.

Combs began federal service as the Education Department's principal administrative official from 1982 and 1984. She stayed in government under the Reagan administration as the Education secretary for management through 1986, and then held the chief management position at the Department of Veterans Affairs until 1989.

She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Appalachian State University and her Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The previous controller, Linda Springer, officially resigned in mid-January, an Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman said. During her time as head of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management (OFFM), Springer spearheaded an effort to revise OMB Circular A-123 in order to strengthen internal agency financial controls.

Springer also moved up the deadline for agency year-end financial reporting to 45 days after the close of the fiscal year, a deadline only three agencies missed last November.

OFFM also moved responsibility for determining financial system requirements away from Joint Financial Management Improvement Program officials. In addition, the CFO Council became responsible for testing and certifying commercial off-the-shelf financial management software for agency use, another task program officials once performed.

Springer said her resignation is not "for lack of energy or motivation or interest. It's just that, frankly, I don't get to spend time with family except on weekends." Springer has served as controller since March 2003 and joined OMB in 2002. "It's been a privilege to be part of this administration. ... [But] it's not a lifestyle I wanted to commit to for another two-plus years," she earlier told Federal Computer Week.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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