This is the first of occssional, maybe daily, musings of a patriotic and loyal member of The President’s Civil Service.
A harbinger of things to come.
We’re changing Controllers. The old Controller was an old male not known for his good humor smooth mannernisms. He was known and respected globally for his expertise.
He was a CPA and he hired CPAs as replacements for employees who moved on.
Issues were discussed in terms of United States Code and/or U.S. Code of Federal Regulations sections and even these were implemented or applied in accordance with what is known as “Federal Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.”
But he has moved on and the new replacements coming in are not CPAs. You might wonder what the big deal is about CPA versus Non-CPA, but we’re spending your money. A CPA goes to college for 4 to 6 years, has to pass a test, and then has to be endorsed by another CPA as competent with a basic threshhold of experience. The minium requirement for a regular federal accountant is 24 units of accounting. Some agencies require degrees in something.
We have one procedural requirement for a specific type of spending that can be very embarassing for any agency and has recently been embarassing for more than one Agency in Washington. Some of our recent arrivals assumed that we don’t have a procedure partially because they didn’t expect one and partially because they didn’t ask.
So I explained the procedure and the involved internal controls, careful to reference the Federal authorities and then I pointed out that we have a written policy and procedure that covers the matter. They were surprised that we have a written policy and procedure.
They want to use a form that is used in Washington instead of composing an “Action Memo” to accomplish the spending they are seeking. I explained that the form was lacking in critical internal controls that are addressed by the “Action Memo.” They came back with their understanding that the local employees who are expected to compose the memos don’t write English well enough. I pointed out that I had earlier emailed them several examples and that each one had been composed and written by a non-American employee.
The response was, “Oh.”
We discussed the issue a while longer and I finally said, “The bottom line are the effectiveness of the internal controls.” And then, “The problems you’re complaining about aren’t caused by non-English speaking non-Americans, they’re caused by Americans in charge who don’t anticipate their program or operational needs.”
The response sums it up: “But, everybody else is doing it.”
Thus goes another day in the President’s Civil Service.