Editor’s Note: Winners of the Causey Awards were nominated by their peers for their outstanding achievements and important contributions to the Human Capital Management field in 2009. Nominators were asked to answer various questions about the nominee including, how did this person go above and beyond in 2009 and what is the impact of this person’s work? Their answers have been posted below. To see the complete list of Causey Award winners click here.
“Neil built the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program from two people to 100 people in one year. It would be easy to say that his staff did this but, in the beginning, he had no staff except himself and his Deputy. It’s similar to going from 0 to 60 under four seconds. Your head snaps back and the acceleration pushes your body into the seat. Imagine doubling your staff every two months and still getting out a quarterly report to Congress on a regular basis. Providing oversight for the TARP is a big job, $700 billion big! To accomplish this task in a city of politics and patronage is no small task. This is Neil’s strength. He really is looking out for the American taxpayer and not the politicians or the banks.
To build his staff, Neil brought in experienced folks from every agency. Quality of candidates was important as well as the speed with which they could be brought on. Many of these folks came because they believed in the mission and understood how imperiled the American economy is. We have people from other IGs, but we also have folks who came from Defense, DOT and the Postal Inspection Service. We have new hires that just got out of school as well as FBI annuitants who came back from retirement. Some folks who worked for the large consulting firms took pay cuts to come on board, so it really is a diverse crew. And Neil has made it a place where people want to work and have fun. Never have I worked in such an atmosphere of young and old, seasoned veterans and new hires all working together. (On a personal note: I’m a 32 year federal employee!)
NEIL’S IMPACT: Every new hire is sworn in by Neil Barofsky, personally. Every other week he swears in new employees and talks directly to the full staff about what is going on at SIGTARP. When Neil gets involved, he is in 100 percent. He took charge of the CFC campaign and we made our agency goal and had near 100 percent participation. He made vegetarian chili for the CFC campaign chili cook-off and even changed into jeans for our jeans day fundraisers after he got back to the office from testifying on Capitol Hill. (Neil is receiving an Executive and Leadership Involvement Award from CFCNCA for all his work on behalf of the CFC.)
Although SIGTARP operates within Treasury, it is not a Treasury agency or bureau. That is done to ensure SIGTARP’s independence as it often casts a critical eye on the activities of the Office of Financial Stability (TARP).
SIGTARP reports directly to Congress. It’s not often that a new office with less than 100 employees can say that they saved the American tax payer $500,000,000 in their first few months of operation. That is the amount of bailout money that the Colonial Bank would have gotten had SIGTARP not investigated its dealings with Taylor, Bean and Whitaker. Trust me, if you worked here, you’d love it too.”