Appropriations Watch: FY 2017

Friday, January 6th, 2017


The government is being funded by a continuing resolution, which was passed in December 2016, and goes through April 28, 2017. The Senate voted to proceed to debate on a fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget resolution on 4 January 2017. To read the full article and the latest updates please visit the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget’s blog posting here.

Read the Senate’s budget resolution for FY 2017.

GSA lowers federal mileage reimbursable rates for 2017

Saturday, December 31st, 2016


The General Services Administration (GSA) announced that mileage reimbursement rate for federal employees using privately –owned vehicles during official travel will decrease slightly to 53.5 cents from the current level of 54 cents.  The new rate will go into effect on January 1, 2017. 

Mileage reimbursable rates also decreased for official airplane travel (to $1.15 from $1.17) and motorcycles (to 50.5 cents from 51 cents).

Rates declined due to lower fuel prices that were offset somewhat by increasing insurance and maintenance costs.

GSA annually reviews mileage reimbursement rates for federal employees.  GSA rates cannot exceed the rate set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for calculating business mileage expenses on tax returns.  

2016 Survey of Defense Financial Managers Outlines How Past Lessons Can Position New Administration for Future Success

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016


Annual ASMC-Grant Thornton survey offers recommendations for incoming leaders

ALEXANDRIA, Va., December 15, 2016
The American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) and Grant Thornton Public Sector today released their latest survey of defense financial managers, Preparing for the Future: Lessons Learned From 10 Years of ASMC Surveys. The annual survey outlines the top concerns for the military financial management community, as well as recommendations for incoming financial management leadership under the new administration.

Al Runnels, executive director of ASMC, said, “This year’s report contains a retrospective look at trends and key challenges from the past 10 years of survey results and provides recommendations to the new administration in driving continuing improvement in the effectiveness of defense financial management operations.”

“The report provides valuable learnings and recommendations for the new defense financial leadership in 2017, offering a unique opportunity for those leaders to learn from the experiences of their predecessors,” said Ariane Whittemore, director of Security and Defense for Grant Thornton Public Sector. “Although the current environment includes many challenges, there is optimism in the defense financial management community that the new administration will bring opportunities for innovation and improvement.”

The 2016 survey represents responses from more than 500 defense financial managers at all levels. They identified human capital, fiscal uncertainty, auditability and IT modernization as their top concerns. Human capital is consistently the top concern within the defense financial management profession; personnel-related issues were the only concern emerging in every survey since 2007.

The 2016 survey makes the following recommendations for the new administration:

  • Rely on the financial management workforce – seek the advice and counsel of the experienced financial management workforce and include them in the decision-making process.
  • Focus on recruitment, retention and workforce empowerment – recognize that the financial management workforce values benefits, employment stability and job satisfaction.
  • Finish IT modernization – a thorough review of the Defense Department’s IT modernization program is needed, focusing on new programs and zeroing in on legacy systems and targeting them for elimination.
  • Simplify the budget process – investigate ways to lessen the adverse impact of multiple budget builds and duplicative budget processes, which have a negative effect on workforce stability and morale.
  • Show early support for auditability – component audit results should become part of every leader’s performance evaluation, military and civilian alike, and adequate resources (people and budget) should be devoted to the task.

About the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC):
ASMC is the non-profit educational and professional organization for persons, military and civilian, involved in the overall field of military comptrollership. ASMC promotes the education and training of its members, and supports the development and advancement of the profession of military comptrollership. Visit ASMC at

About Grant Thornton Public Sector:
Grant Thornton Public Sector helps executives and managers at all levels of government maximize their performance and efficiency in the face of ever-tightening budgets and increased demand for services. Grant Thornton Public Sector gives clients creative, cost-effective solutions that enhance their acquisition, financial, human capital, information technology, and performance management. For more information, visit

About Grant Thornton LLP
Founded in Chicago in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. Grant Thornton has revenues in excess of $1.6 billion and operates 60 offices with more than 570 partners and more than 8,500 personnel in the United States and at our Shared Services Center in Bangalore, India. Grant Thornton works with a broad range of dynamic publicly and privately held companies, government agencies, financial institutions, and civic and religious organizations.

“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions. Please see for further details.

ASMC is saddened over the loss of one of our own, Dr. John Wayne Matherne

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016


We regretfully announce the passing of Dr. John Wayne Matherne. Dr. Matherne was an active ASMC member who strongly believed in the importance of ASMC, and contributed hours of his personal time to the community as a subject matter expert and as an advisory member of the ASMC Certification Commission.

Dr. John Wayne Matherne passed peacefully on December 4, 2016 at the age of 71 surrounded by his loving family, who miss him dearly. John was born on December 8, 1944 in Vivian, Louisiana to Vera and Nolan Matherne. John was a graduate of Franklinton (LA) High School, serving as valedictorian of his 1962 class. John received both his BS (Physics 1966) and Ph.D. (Mathematics 1972) from Louisiana State University. He began his career as an Army Lieutenant and then transitioned into a career Civil Servant supporting both the Air Force and Army. In addition to his Federal Government work John was passionate about education and served as an adjunct professor for the College of William & Mary, and was selected as the 1990-1991 visiting professor of mathematics for the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. In 2005, John retired from the Federal Government as Dean of the Defense Acquisition University, Fort Lee campus. During retirement, John kept himself busy as an independent consultant working with the American Society of Military Comptrollers, SAIC, and the US Army Biometrics Program office. 

Dr. John Wayne Matherne will be greatly missed. 

To read his full obituary, please visit here

President authorizes a 2.1 percent pay raise for federal civilian employees

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016


Federal civilian employees will get a pay raise equal to that approved for military personnel.

After the House and Senate agreed on a 2.1 percent military pay raise in the FY2017 Defense Authorization bill, the president was urged by some in Congress and federal labor groups to provide the same raise for federal civilian employees.

President Obama responded by notifying Congress that he intended to reverse the alternative pay plan he announced in August that the combined civilian across-the-board pay raise and locality pay should not exceed 1.6 percent. 

Because the Congress decided to give military personnel a 2.1 percent pay raise, the president told Congress he was changing his original plan.  Under his revised alternative pay plan for federal civilian employees, the combined raise includes a 1.0 across-the-board pay raise and varying locality pay increases that will equal 2.1 percent of basic payroll.

Each year the president is required under Title 5 U.S.C., sections 5303(b) and 5304a, to present an alternative pay plan for across-the-board pay and locality pay adjustments. Because Congress did not act to counteract the president’s alternative proposal, the 2.1 percent pay raise will go into effect automatically in January

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