The number one financial management challenge at the Navy is pretty clear to Gladys Commons, assistant secretary for financial management and comptroller.
“We are focused on improving our audit readiness,” said Commons, in this week’s Agency of the Month interview.
“We have not been able to do that in the past. Right now, the Marine Corps is under audit, so we’ve learned a lot of lessons from them moving to audit readiness. We are positioning ourselves to meet the deadline that Congress has established for us and, better yet, we have positioned ourselves to meet the deadline that the secretary of Defense has established for us, saying that we would have a Statement of Budgetary Resources by the end of 2014. Actually, [at] the Department of the Navy, we are hoping that we will have our Statement of Budgetary Resources audit-ready by the end of 2013.”
During the interview, host Francis Rose asked Secretary Commons if her team is more popular now than ever because of tightening budgets.
“People who work in the financial management community have always been popular when it comes to making decisions about the budget and where we’re going to spend our resources,” Commons said. “They all come to us to find out, ‘Do we have the money available? Might I use some of that money to accomplish the missions that I’ve been given?’ We try to be very supportive in doing so, because the ultimate goal for us is to support the war fighter.”
(Hear the entire interview with Commons by clicking the Listen button above.)
Gladys J. Commons was sworn-in as the assistant secretary of the Navy for financial management and comptroller on Nov. 3, 2009.
She started her federal service career in July 1969 with the Social Security Administration as a claims representative. In 1971, she joined the comptroller staff at the Office of Naval Research as a budget analyst. In 1977, she was selected as lead budget analyst for the operations program/budget division in the newly formed Naval Data Automation Command in Washington, D.C. In 1980, Commons became the supervisory budget analyst and branch head of the Budget and Operations Branch at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). In 1983, she became the budget officer and head of the Materiel Program and Budget Branch, Materiel Division, Installation and Logistics Department, Headquarters Marine Corps.
In 1986-87 she attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair. Also in 1987, Commons became the comptroller of the Marine Corps Research, Development and Acquisition Command – currently the Marine Corps Systems Command. She was promoted to the Senior Executive Service in August 1991.
Commons served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for financial management and comptroller from February 1994 to September 2002 and served as acting assistant secretary of the Navy for financial management and comptroller from March to October 1998. She served as comptroller of the Military Sealift Command from October 2002 until her retirement from the civil service in March 2004.
Commons has received numerous awards during her federal service, including various Outstanding and Sustained Superior Performance Awards, the Department of the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Department of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award, and the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive.
Commons graduated from Fayetteville State University with a bachelor’s degree in education and holds a master’s in public financial management from American University.