Peace Corps Awarded Advancing Government Accountability Award
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 5, 2009 - The Association of Government Accountants (AGA) has awarded the Peace Corps the Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting (CEAR) for fiscal year 2008 for its high standards in fiscal accountability and transparency.
"I am so proud of our accomplishments in the area of financial accountability at the Peace Corps," said Acting Director Jody Olsen upon learning of the agency's award. "For the second year in a row, Peace Corps received an unqualified opinion on the audit of our finances, which is a remarkable endeavor for any organization, and something about which we are extremely proud."
The CEAR is awarded to federal government agencies whose Performance and Accountability Reports (PARs) achieve the highest standards of clarity in communicating financial information and demonstrating accountability.
The award was presented at a black tie dinner on May 20 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
"Given the fiscal status of the United States government and the public perceptions about government fiscal accountability and transparency, the achievement of this year's CEAR recipients is even more significant," said Relmond P. Van Daniker, AGA's executive director. "The agencies and departments being honored today truly represent an elite group within the government financial management community.
"We are heartened by the numbers of agencies and departments receiving the certificate and those who participated in the program," he continued. "Seventeen awards is a large number, and we welcome it as evidence not only of continuous improvement, but also of a real commitment to accountability and transparency among federal government financial managers and their agencies."
In 2005, Peace Corps set a goal to achieve an unqualified opinion by the end of FY 2009. However, Peace Corps complicated budget, with hundreds of thousands of annual global transactions with a variety of currencies, banking systems, and regulations, made this a lofty goal. Members of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer worked collaboratively with the agencys leadership and other Peace Corps offices to strengthen internal controls, establish key performance metrics, re-engineer processes, and obtain financial system certification and accreditation.
Said Thomas Bellamy, acting chief financial officer, "This achievement happened because of the dedication of my staff, the support from the senior staff, and the leadership we have received from the chief of staff and the Director. We remain committed to excellence in financial management and to securing future unqualified opinions on the agencys financial statements."
Since 1950, the AGA has beenand remains todaythe educational organization dedicated to the enhancement of public financial management. AGA serves the professional interests of financial managers, from local, state and federal governments, as well as public accounting firms, responsible for effectively using billions of dollars and other monetary resources every day. For more than 50 years, AGA has been addressing the issues and challenges facing government financial managers.
As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world. Historically, over 195,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served. Applications to serve in the Peace Corps have increased 16 percent this past year, the largest boost in the last five years. Currently, 7,876 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in 76 countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.