Valerie Lynn Baldwin
Assistant Secretary for Financial Management,
The Army National Guard and Reserve troops serving in the war on terrorism have had plenty to worry about: How would their spouses and children cope during their absence? Would their civilian jobs still be there when they returned? Were they ready for war? Would they even return from war? Most weren't worried that Uncle Sam would screw up their paychecks, but that's exactly what happened to tens of thousands of reservists.
Two weeks after Valerie Lynn Baldwin was appointed Army comptroller in July 2004, the Government Accountability Office released a report documenting that 95 percent of reservists experienced pay problems. Even Army Chief of Staff Peter J. Schoomaker ran into a glitch when he was called out of retirement for the job the previous summer.
"The vice chief of staff of the Army looked me in the eye and said, 'Get it fixed,' " Baldwin told the Senate Armed Services Committee in November. "Particularly in a time of war, but regardless, people deserve to get paid the proper amount, and they deserve to get paid on time," she said.
Improving payroll management has been a top priority for Baldwin. By training personnel to be proactive in seeking details about troop deployments, and by working on long-term technology solutions linking mobilization data with financial management systems, the Army is making headway in solving a critical problem that has plagued it for more than a decade.
Baldwin, a former trial attorney at the Housing and Urban Development Department, served in staff positions in the House of Representatives before her 2004 appointment to the Army.
She received a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law and a master's degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science.