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Werfel resigns from OMB

Jan. 24, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
Danny Werfel, Controller, Office of Management and Budget, quietly left the government at the end of December.
Danny Werfel, Controller, Office of Management and Budget, quietly left the government at the end of December. (Thomas Brown / Gannett Government Media Corp)

Danny Werfel, an influential player in efforts to improve federal financial management, and who also ran the IRS for much of last year, has resigned from his post as Office of Management and Budget controller and left federal service, an OMB spokesman confirmed.

Werfel stepped down effective Dec. 31, Frank Benenati said in an email. His low-key departure was not announced at the time and President Obama has not yet nominated a replacement for the Senate-confirmed position. In the meantime, Deputy Controller Norman Dong is serving as interim controller. Werfel, a career federal employee who had been controller since October 2009, could not be reached for comment.

“I think he’s just worn out,” Relmond Van Daniker, executive director of the Association of Government Accountants, said in an interview. “These are 18-hour days.” Van Daniker said that Werfel, told him that he planned to take four to six weeks off, talk to his children and then decide what to do. “I expect he’ll go into the private sector,” Van Daniker said.

Werfel was closely involved in the White House’s campaign to reduce improper federal payments and helped create the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Innovation and Transformation, which seeks to move agencies toward more use of shared financial management services. Last May, Obama tapped him to temporarily lead the IRS after the previous acting commissioner left amid an uproar over an inspector general’s finding that the agency used “inappropriate criteria” for evaluating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

“Throughout his career working in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Danny has proven an effective leader who serves with professionalism, integrity and skill,” Obama said at the time. While Werfel had been expected to stay as acting IRS commissioner only through the end of the fiscal year in September, he served until last month, when John Koskinen was confirmed as the agency’s permanent head.

Werfel, who regularly represented OMB at congressional hearings, also enjoyed cordial relationships with lawmakers of both parties. “He really has a base of knowledge that very few people have,” Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said at a May hearing.

“He has shown himself to be a phenomenal leader wherever he has worked, and has always put his commitment to country first,” Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., the committee’s chairman, said in a statement this week. “I wish him and his family all the best as they start this next chapter,” Carper said, adding that he looked forward to working with the White House to confirm Werfel’s replacement.

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