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As the federal government’s financial manager, FMS touches millions of Americans and virtually every federal agency every day. “We’re a little-known bureau of the Department of the Treasury,” admits David Lebryk, FMS commissioner, “with a huge mission and a workforce that is dedicated to serving the public and providing critical government support and services.” In fact, three FMS programs—Payments, Collections, and Cash Reporting—are part of the nation’s critical financial infrastructure and essential to government operations. The fourth responsibility for FMS is to manage the collection of delinquent debt owed to federal and state governments. “We make payments for most of the federal agencies, totaling nearly $2.4 trillion to more than a hundred million people each year. We collect nearly $3.06 trillion each year in government revenues that fund the operations of government. We report on the financial activity of the government, managing a daily cash flow of $89 billion. Of the more than $6.17 billion we collect in delinquent debt owed to federal and state governments, nearly half is for back child support to help meet the needs of America’s families and children,” explains Lebryk. He executes these core functions with a budget of just over $200 million and a staff of about 1,700.
Lebryk understands the gravity and importance of his organization’s work. Whether it’s getting a payment out on time to individuals facing natural disasters, or helping those whose payments were lost or stolen, “it may sound [like] standard back-office activities, but when you look at our actual mission there’s significant purpose and meaning to what we do,” says Lebryk. There are also serious challenges facing FMS. Lebryk identifies three: budget, leading in time of change, and agency collaboration. “As [with] most everyone in government, right now the new budget environment is a serious challenge. We have already experienced annual reductions of over $25 million from our FY 2010 levels, with more reductions expected in the future,” explains Lebryk.