Restructuring an unsustainable federal spending machine

INITIAL (OPEN) LIST OF PROPOSED GOVERNMENT & LEGISLATIVE REFORMS

Executive Branch    (improve efficiency / cut government waste)

  • Open, transparent, and accountable government mandate (for all administrations)
  • Select most qualified civil service manager to oversee previous RDB positions
    • Eliminate bogus, politically-inspired contracts / contractors
    • Redesign organization structure(s) based upon clean lines of authority and responsibility
    • Write mission statement for that department and each of the branches within that department
    • Fill those branches with the most qualified civil service managers and they can, in turn, seek the most qualified individuals for their staff (in accordance with those upgraded OPM position standards)

Judicial branch    (prosecute public / private sector criminals)

  • Felony charges for public officials who ignore documented whistleblower warnings
  • Felony charges for lobbyists and Congressman who weaken existing legislation

Legislative Branch   (write legislation that supports executive / judicial branch missions)

  • Term limits (automatic elections for exceeding those time frames i.e. 12 years)
  • Automatic recall vote for members who refuse to release their tax returns
  • Same retirement / medical benefits as civil service employees
  • Government version of the Sarbanes Oxley Act
  • Rescind 1978 CSRA
  • Rescind Citizens United Act
  • Whistleblower protection legislation for security / non security whistleblowers

Submitters Website: www.nawbc.com ; www.tgar.org

Submitters Bio:

I graduated from Michigan Technological University (MTU) in June 1968 with a BSBA in Accounting. I have been a federal accountant for 40 years, 25 of which were as an accountant whistleblower. A few of the more notable events that led me down the whistleblower path and my mindset that this government is corrupt, corporate-driven, and owned by special interest groups include but a few of the following incidents. During the period 1980 thru 1986, I held an Accounting Branch Chief position at the Veterans Administration (VA). My section was responsible for consolidating the VA hospital’s accounting data to prepare the Agency’s quarterly and annual Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) financial statements. The documentation provided by these agencies to prepare their financial statements was so bad that the VA’s accounting staff used crib notes, rote formulas, and large manual adjustments to hide all out of balance conditions. When I contacted Treasury and OMB to request an explanation of their procedures, I could find no one. My request for the VA to formally contact the Central Agencies (GAO, OMB, Treasury, and GSA) to address these problems was turned down. Here I was the Branch Chief of one of the largest federal agencies and no one within the VA or the Central Agencies could explain how or why federal agencies prepared their financial statements.

In search of a solution, I spent three years (on my own time) modifying the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant (AICPA) private sector accounting standard to fit the government’s unique accounting and budgeting needs. The government accounting prototype (GAP) that I developed was based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and thus capable of generating all government accounting and budgeting financial statements from a single trial balance. During that time, I visited my MTU accounting professor, Sam Tidwell, in Copper Harbor, Michigan a couple of times to get his input on my idea and to find out why MTU lacked any meaningful government accounting classes. His position was that my idea would never fly simply because there were too many politicians, too many different and self-serving agendas, and no one was interested in providing an accurate accounting of our tax dollars. When I mentioned that I planned on pursuing this idea, his parting words, in his inimitable Mississippi drawl, were “Fisha, if you go down that road, you will find that you have a Tiga by the tail.” We laughed. I didn’t believe him at the time. But, as usual, Sam was right.

Upon completion of the GAP model, I wrote a companion book, “Principles of Accounting, Budgeting, and Cash Management for Government.” About the time that I finished the book, my staff found a $ 40 million dollar antideficiency violation (VA exceeded their budget). I was asked to sign a letter authorizing the necessary adjustments to hide the problem. I refused. Another manager, two levels up from me, signed the letter (for me) while I was on leave. I resigned from the VA in October 1986, citing, “falsification of the agency’s financial statements” as my reason for leaving. My personnel records were illegally altered to attribute my resignation to “conflicting views over systems improvement.” During my subsequent one year unpaid sabbatical, I lobbied members of Congress and the Central Agencies to adopt a public sector GAAP-based standard in late 1986. On October 13, 1987, I was hired as a Treasury systems accountant along with five other professional accountants to review software that had already been placed on the GSA schedule so that all federal departments, bureaus, and agencies could bypass any procurement red tape to purchase this deficient, non GAAP-based financial software. The rest of my government accountant career has been spent raising red flags over the Central Agencies’ release of untested financial software to an entire federal bureaucracy. I retired on January 1, 2011 as a GS-14 accounting clerk with a real fear of this government and its unwarranted claims of a democracy.