Paul R. Corts
Assistant Attorney General for Administration,
Chief Financial Officer,
Chief Acquisition Officer
It might not be the most important action Paul R. Corts ever took as the Justice Department's assistant attorney general for administration and chief financial officer, but it was one of the most newsworthy. In June, he recommended the removal of the blue drapes that had covered the scantily clad statues in Justice's ceremonial Great Hall for three years under the order of former Attorney General John Ashcroft. "I suggested some modifications," Corts modestly admits.
Corts, who also has the role of chief acquisition officer, now is dealing with far more complex and long-term issues. He has to improve his department's financial management following poor audits in 2002 and 2003.
In May, Corts told a House Government Reform subcommittee that he is aiming to attack the problems on several levels: ensure an early warning system exists to flag audit problems; establish a dedicated CFO internal evaluation and review group; and revise the department's scattered financial systems. "We have real challenges; we have a terribly antiquated and fragmented auditing," Corts said.
Corts came to Justice almost three years ago from his post as president of Palm Beach Atlantic University, a Christian school in Florida, for more than 11 years. Before that, he served as president and held administrative and teaching posts at several universities. He says his experience as a university president has served him well. "The person in this position before referred to it as 'the mayor of Justice,' " Corts says. "And that's what a college and university president is-supervising all sorts of departments."
A native of Indiana, Corts received his master's and doctoral degrees from Indiana University.