SSA shares lessons learned in tight budget climate

Agency of the Month - November 7, 2013

wfedstaff | April 17, 2015 5:46 pm

The lessons learned from fiscal 2013 are helping senior executives prepare for 2014 and beyond. These lessons will be especially helpful if sequestration continues, as is expected without congressional action. Peter Spencer is the deputy commissioner for Budget, Finance, Quality and Management at the Social Security Administration. In part two of his conversation with Agency of the Month host Sean McCalley, Spencer shares advice and fiscal disappointments from both inside and out of his agency during a tough budget climate.

Listen to part one of our interview with Peter Spencer.


(Courtesy of SSA)

Peter D. Spencer (Pete) became Deputy Commissioner for Budget, Finance, Quality, and Management (DCBFQM) in March 2013. In this role, Pete serves as the agency’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and is accountable for an $800 billion program budget and an $11 billion administrative budget.

Prior to becoming the DCBFQM, Pete was a consultant in the private sector after retiring from SSA in September 2011 with over 44 years of Federal service. He had been the Regional Commissioner for the San Francisco Region since November 2001.

As the principal Social Security official for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands, he provided leadership for the effective operation of all Social Security programs in the San Francisco region. He directed 6,800 employees at regional and field facilities, including the Western Program Service Center, and managed an annual budget in excess of $300 million.

Pete served as Social Security’s acting deputy commissioner for Finance, Assessment, and Management in 2001. He oversaw the comprehensive budget program, the acquisition and grants program, audit resolution, accounting operations, internal controls, quality assessment, and facilities and publications management programs. He also served as Social Security’s CFO, deputy chief information officer, and principal deputy ethics counselor.

Pete began his career with Social Security in the Los Angeles field office. Since then, he has held numerous responsible positions, including:

  • Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Legislation and Congressional Affairs, where he was closely involved in the legislation that established Social Security as an independent agency and the 1995 welfare reform legislation;
  • Social Security’s designee to the National Performance Review, where he co- authored Vice President Gore’s recommendations to the President on effective Program Design;
  • Director, Office of Human Resources;
  • Director, Labor and Employee Relations;
  • Staff Director, Supplemental Security Income Modernization Project; and Staff Director, Changing Roles of Men and Women.

Pete holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Loyola University in Maryland and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands in California. He also attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and is a graduate of the Management Intern Program and the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program. Pete received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive in 2006; the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive in 2002; and SSA’s Leadership Award, given to one management official annually, in 2001. In addition, Pete has received the Commissioner’s Citation — the agency’s highest award — four times. Spencer was born in Bremerton, Washington. He is married and has one daughter.