Administration’s financial management chief to retire

Linda Combs helped update inventory of excess property, guided agencies in reducing payment errors.

Office of Management and Budget Controller Linda Combs has announced that she will retire next month, after a career in federal government going back to the Reagan administration.

Combs is planning to leave Aug. 10. Her announcement comes a month after her husband, David, said he would leave his position as chief information officer of the Agriculture Department to return to North Carolina.

An OMB spokeswoman said Danny Werfel, the deputy controller, will take over as acting controller until a permanent replacement is named.

As controller, Combs helped establish governmentwide principles for fiscal accountability.

"I thank Linda for her dedication to improving financial management across government," said Clay Johnson, OMB deputy director for management. "I congratulate her for her leadership, under which agencies have set and met ambitious goals."

Combs worked to get agencies to shed unneeded real estate, helping to complete the first governmentwide inventory of excess federal property in recent years. She also oversaw the financial management portion of President Bush's agenda for making government more effective and was involved in efforts to consolidate agency financial systems.

Johnson noted that under Combs, agencies reduced annual improper payments by more than $8 billion and significantly reduced material financial weaknesses. More federal agencies are getting clean audits, he added.

Combs was confirmed as controller in June 2005 after serving as the Environmental Protection Agency's chief financial officer from 2001 to 2003.

During the Reagan and the George H.W. Bush administrations, Combs served in various oversight roles and executive level management positions at the Education, Treasury and Veterans Affairs departments.