Jerry Lohfink, head of the USDA's National Finance Center, to retire

Wednesday - 3/31/2010, 7:43pm EDT

The DorobekINSIDER has learned that Cyrus G. "Jerry" Lohfink, the director of the National Finance Center, will retire in August.

“I have decided to retire for one primary reason; I feel that it is time,” he said in a note to his staff on Monday. “It is time for me to address other interests and challenges. It is time for NFC to benefit from new leadership and perspectives. And, as we have often discussed, nothing improves until something changes.”

Lohfink is widely respected for his work at the National Finance Center, particularly for the work around Hurricane Katrina. NFC is located in New Orleans and had to shift resources around during Hurricane Katrina. For that work, he was recognized in 2006 with Federal Computer Week’s Fed 100 Award for that work — and in the issue, we called him them the Master of Disaster.

Lohfink has led the National Finance Center since 2003 after John Ortego retired from government.

The National Finance Center is a fascinating organization for a number of reasons. First, NSF was doing shared services before shared services was cool. But it is also critically important organization to feds given that they are the payroll system for many agencies. The NSF provides integrated Payroll/Personnel System and provides all the necessary related support services for the payroll process. NSF is a fee-for-service organization, meaning that it operates similar to the private sector — if you don’t satisfy customers, you lose the business. According to USDA, the National Finance Center has 1,100 Federal employees and an additional 100 contract employees with annual revenues of exceeding $160 million. NFC disburses in excess of $100B annually, pays 620,000 Federal employees biweekly, performs recordkeeping services for more than 4.2 million enrollees in Federal health benefit programs, and provides a variety of human resource, administrative, and information technology services for 172 Federal organizations.

Jerry and his wife, Cheryl, have been married for more than 30 years. They have three children. They live in Slidell, Louisiana.

Here is his note to staff:

Subject: For Your Info

What a year already! The New Orleans Saints are World Champions (and pigs have flown)! The City of New Orleans is transitioning to new leadership! FMMI is up and serving more and more customers! NFC continues to improve services and gain new business! And there are still 9 more months remaining in the year for things to happen.

One such future happening this year, albeit a far less notable one, will be my retirement from Federal Service. I have just informed Mr. Jon Holladay, Acting Chief Finance Officer, of my intention to retire from Federal service at the end of August 2010. I am sending you this note because I wanted to be the first to share this information with you.

I have decided to retire for one primary reason; I feel that it is time. It is time for me to address other interests and challenges. It is time for NFC to benefit from new leadership and perspectives. And, as we have often discussed, nothing improves until something changes.

I have been very blessed to have had 33 years of Federal Service which I have tremendously enjoyed; especially my 27 years at NFC! Federal Service has been very good to me and my family. My time at NFC has introduced me to many opportunities, challenges, and terrific people – leadership, peers, customers, stakeholders, business partners, etc. But foremost in my daily thoughts are you, the "CAN DO!" employees at the NFC, who have been my inspirations, role models, and folks that I tremendously admire! Always maintain that positive attitude! I just do not think that each of you truly appreciates the important role you play and the terrific job you do at making the Government's administrative and financial business better!

I look forward to continuing to work with you over the next 5 months to better the organization, improve customer satisfaction, and continue to grow the business. We continue to be in a great period of service improvement and business growth. We must keep the momentum going! There are great years ahead for the folks at the NFC! You are making it so.

I tremendously appreciate what each of you does on a daily basis for your organization and its customers! I am proud to say that I am your colleague and number one cheerleader. THANK YOU for making me a better person from having served with each of you! Who dat? YOU DAT!!