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News Release

Thursday, January 27, 2005
Contact: Brenda Bertrand
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Kay Coles James Further Expands Capacity in OPM Financial and Risk Management Division

Hirings Increase Talent for OPM Financial Management

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kay Coles James has announced the addition of 3 senior hires within OPM's Center for Internal Control and Risk Management (CICRM).

Director James named the following to CICRM:

  • Robert Wurster, supervisor and Chief of the Risk Management Group;
  • Michael Thaggard, supervisor and Chief of the Audit Coordination Group; and,
  • Bruce Belyea, Procurement Analyst.

The recent hirings are part of a larger effort James launched last spring. James has taken a number of actions to address financial management, including establishing CICRM and requesting a downgraded rating for the financial performance section of the OPM scorecard earlier this year after an early detection of material weakness and concern. At that time, James told staff a lower score would yield long term benefits in the way OPM and other agencies handle internal control and risk management and give further credibility to an agency when it achieved and maintained green status.

"As I have said before, OPM will do whatever it takes to recruit talent necessary to safeguard against risk. At OPM, we are tearing up the floor boards and getting to the root of problems by devising an early warning system which identifies problem areas, emerging trends, and systemic issues pertaining to internal controls and risk management," James said. "The new team members will be strategic players in continuing and enhancing OPM's comprehensive internal control and risk management program as charged by OMB Circular A-123. Their roles will contribute materially to the public trust in OPM performance, and their vast skills and expertise will only enhance our ability to identify and fix problems and provide sufficient controls and risk assessments. We owe this to our managers, employees and Federal retirees."

Robert Wurster, named Chief of the Risk Management Group, served most recently in the Department of State as the Division Director for Program Reviews in the Office of Audits in the Office of Inspector General. 

In his new role, Mr. Wurster will be the principal manager for researching and drafting policies and procedures for the development, maintenance, and evaluation of a comprehensive internal control and risk management program. He will also provide guidance and support to OPM's Financial Advisory Committee and work closely with the Audit Coordination Group, management contacts, and OPM's Office of Inspector General.

During his tenure at the Department of State, Wurster increased the standard overseas tour from 3 to 4 years, improved the department's strategic planning documents and improved controls over munitions exported to foreign countries. He also successfully led a team of 12 auditors and management analysts.

During his two decades of civil service, Wurster received two Outstanding Performance Awards and four Special Commendation Awards from GAO. In 2003, he received the Office of Inspector General's Team Award for work on Export Control issues and a Superior Honor Award.

Michael Thaggard recently was also added to the CICRM staff. Thaggard was named as CICRM's new Audit Coordination Group Chief and will be OPM's principal liaison to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and other external audit groups on reviews of OPM operations, including the annual audit of OPM's Financial Statements. Thaggard will track and monitor audit follow-up and resolution activities and prepare the Management Response to the OIG Semiannual Report to Congress. Mr. Thaggard, an engineer by training, has impressive previous federal service, including Lead Operations Research and Management Analyst experience with the Departments of Agriculture and Defense. He also spent over 10 years in the private sector. 

James named Bruce Belyea Procurement Analyst also in CICRM.  Mr. Belyea will provide expert analysis and advice on internal control and risk management issues, especially as issues relate to procurement. Belyea is also tasked to continuously look for ways to improve procurement and management processes, increase operational efficiency and effectiveness, and achieve potential monetary benefits through the application of internal controls and risk management. Belyea previously was a Contract Specialist and Procurement Analyst at the Naval Sea Systems Command, and has 20 years of procurement service and experience in the Federal government.    

"These new and highly qualified additions to the OPM team ensure the integrity of financial services is preserved and enhanced," James said. "Their records of professional accomplishments indicate they are aggressive performers, not spectators." 

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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