Financial management honors go to NSF, HUD executives

Two government senior finance executives were honored today at the Federal Financial Management Conference in Washington, D.C., for spearheading financial management innovations at their agencies.

Thomas Cooley, chief financial officer at the National Science Foundation, and James Martin, deputy chief financial officer at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, received Donald L. Scantlebury Memorial Awards for exceptional and sustained leadership in financial management improvement.

About 1,000 federal and private-sector managers attended the event, sponsored annually by the General Services Administration’s Financial Systems Integration Office.

Presenting the awards, Jeffrey Steinhoff, managing director of financial management and assurance at the Government Accountability Office, said Cooley is “widely recognized for achieving synergistic business and program operations, enabling NSF to serve as a government role model of excellence in financial management.”

He noted that NSF was the first agency to reach green status in financial management on the President’s Management Agenda score card.

“NSF stands at the forefront of financial management excellence, thanks to Tom Cooley,” Steinhoff said.

“Wherever I turn…in the federal government, I find people who are willing to put their noses to the grindstone and help out,” Cooley said. “I find that a real testament to what it means to be a federal employee.”

Under Martin’s leadership, HUD “received seven consecutive clean audit opinions, vigorously attacked a range of financial reporting and internal control weaknesses that had plagued HUD in earlier years, and placed [the agency] on a path of continuous improvement,” Steinhoff said.

With Martin leading the charge, HUD also reduced its total improper payments in five years by 60 percent, he said. In fiscal 2005, the effort helped free $1.9 billion and let HUD assist 250,000 additional households, Steinhoff said.

“This is where financial management is bringing home a very clear result that we can all be proud,” he said.

Martin credited his fellow HUD employees with improving the agency’s financial performance. “It’s almost embarrassing to be singled out for something that so many HUD staff have worked to achieve,” he said.

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