DHS says CFO reports to Chertoff

The Homeland Security Department will have a chief financial officer who reports directly to the Cabinet secretary after all.

“There is no doubt in our mind that Andrew Maner, the CFO, has a direct report to the secretary,” said Janet Hale, DHS' undersecretary for management, testifying yesterday on Capitol Hill.

The CFO position was not included in an organization chart unveiled earlier this month as part of a massive reorganization effort under way at the department. But a new chart, which Hale said was issued as a clarification, includes the position.

DHS officials sent a copy of the clarified chart to Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.), the House Government Reform Committee's Government Management, Finance and Accountability Subcommittee chairman, the night before he chaired a hearing on DHS' financial management.

“Of all the things we do in the department, charts may not be our strength,” Hale said. DHS officials have always known that the CFO has a direct report to the secretary, Hale added.

The chart is important for the message it sends to those without direct knowledge, Platts said. Without the CFO graphically depicted, people might wonder whether Maner really has “the authority that he says he has,” Platts said.

Maner has “small but tremendously meaningful daily meetings” with DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, Hale said.

Platts is also author of a law that places DHS under the CFO Act of 1990, which requires that the position be confirmed by the Senate. This should happen within six months of the bill becoming law, but 10 months have passed.

Hale said department officials are actively recruiting for a CFO “and hope to have one selected in the very near future.” A name will be submitted to the Senate in August, she said. About eight people have been interviewed for the job in the past two months, she said. “One of the terrible things that is important is to get the right person in the right job,” she added.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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