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<p>By SARAH SNELL COOKE CU Times Washington Reporter ALEXANDRIA, Va.-Pursuant to NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar’s Accountability in Management (AIM) program, the agency’s structure has already undergone some streamlining alterations. Beginning on January 14, the Office of Investment Services (OIS) and the Office of Strategic Planning were combined to form the Office of Strategic Program Support and Planning (OSPSP). “Leveraging the talent in the two functions would enhance the agency’s response to competitive market changes,” according to the AIM group study. Ed Dupcak, formerly the head of OIS, was named the director of the new department. “Tab” Patrick, who headed up Strategic Planning, will serve as a division head for strategic planning of OSPSP. Chairman Dollar said NCUA is still working on a catchy acronym for the department. The Office of Administration has been eliminated and its responsibilities spread among the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (nine positions), the Chief Information Officer (one position), and Public and Congressional Affairs (one position). The job descriptions remained the same; only the supervisors changed. The former department director, Jim Baylon, was transferred, at his request prior to AIM’s report, to associate director for Region III. The Office of Training and Development was also folded into Human Resources, following the retirement of the former Director of Office of Training and Development Robert Pompa. An internal agency memo from NCUA Executive Director Len Skiles read, “Over the past several weeks, the offices impacted have been in the process of preparing for these changes, so the impact on the users of these functions is seamless.” Chairman Dollar, who spearheaded the project, said the review was “driven by efficiency, not personnel,” which he said makes employees feel more comfortable, and not meant to consolidate “for the sake of doing so.” He added that the project was “very well received for an agency restructuring program.” Dollar explained, “We started at the central office because we saw the greatest potential for immediate savings.” The agency will be setting up AIM programs in each of the regions as well. Through the AIM program six full time equivalents (FTEs) have been eliminated and two position’s salaries have been reduced for a savings of $866,246, which was included in the agency’s 2002 budget projections at the November 15 board meeting. The FTE reductions were part of the prediction for 2002 of cutting 33.55 FTE positions through attrition. The agency cut 21 positions last year. “I think it’s quite significant and shows we are putting our money where our mouth is,” Dollar commented. The six positions that have been eliminated specifically through AIM include the Office of Credit Union Development deputy director and a clerical assistant, the Office of Administration director, Office of Human Resource Compensation Analyst, one Office of General Counsel attorney, and Office of Corporate Credit Unions Deputy Director. Though AIM was not board approved, Dollar pointed out that the board did approve all the suggested reductions in the budget. “I don’t know what we can add to [the AIM project] as we move along, but we feel that we can add to that,” Dollar said. Each of the AIM suggestions was implemented, according to Dollar. The AIM working group, which performed the internal review, included Skiles; Deputy Executive Director Mark Treichel; Office of Examination and Insurance Director David Marquis; Dupcak; Region I Director Layne Bumgardner; Region II Director Tawana James; and Region IV Director Melinda Love. The group met weekly for nine months. The last time a similar review was performed by NCUA was in 1994, according to Special Assistant to the Chairman for Public Affairs Nick Owens. Dollar credited Skiles’ institutional knowledge and the switch of the executive director to a career position with the smoothness of the reorganization. “I don’t believe it could have happened as efficiently if the agency had not switched to a career executive director,” he said. Aside from money savings, the AIM project targeted headache savings as well. Apparently, NCUA was running into the problem of too many high level staffers and too many departments, which allowed accountability to be handed off to other staffers and other departments because of overlapping jurisdictions. “In the past, there has been a proliferation of offices and office directors as new operational and administrative issues surfaced that resulted in a spread of functional missions across multiple lines. This practice often created confusion as to where responsibilities lie within the organization, fragmented operational and administrative efforts, and diffused accountability for actions and consequences,” the AIM group’s report background read. “As a former CEO, I know that the more diverse management positions are in an organization, the easier it is to shift the blame to others,” Dollar recalled from experience. Other time and money saving efforts by the agency, such as the risk-based examination program, will lead to the elimination of several examiner positions and, thus, leading to examiner supervisory position cuts. The estimated reductions, achieved through attrition, are based on past turnover rates at the agency, which was 7.4% at year-end 2001, down dramatically from the 11.5% in 1998. The total cuts leave NCUA with a goal of 995 employees by year-end 2002. This accounts for a 3.26% reduction in FTE’s, very near to Dollar’s minimum 4% goal by the end of 2003, or about 6.5 FTEs, he estimated. The average cost per FTE is $98,800 per year, according to NCUA Chief Financial Officer Dennis Winans. Dollar clarified that credit unions will not see the actual whole savings until 2003, because the FTE reductions will take place throughout 2002. “It’s important that credit unions know, NCUA takes its role as steward of their operating fee and share insurance dollars very seriously,” Dollar said. [email protected]</p>

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