I started my federal career with the US Forest Service as a seasonal firefighter in early 2000 on the Lincoln National Forest in Southern New Mexico. Upon the completion of my first season in fire, I transferred to Parker, Arizona with the Bureau of Land Management where I attained my permanent status working as a wild land firefighter. In May of 2002, I had the opportunity to transfer to the US Fish & Wildlife Service in Region 2 as the Fire Program Technician for the South Texas Refuge Complex. I remained in S. TX until March of 2009, when I accepted a position as the budget analyst for the refuges fire program in the regional office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I served in that capacity until December of 2010 when I transferred to Savannah NWR in R4 and into my current position.
: I worked in Region 2 Refuges in the Division of Budget as a budget analyst. My responsibilities were to manage and track the budget(s) for the Division of Fire Management, the Chief of Refuge Law Enforcement, and the Refuge Supervisors for TX/OK and AZ/NM. I worked closely with the chiefs for each of these divisions to keep them informed of their budgetary status and to see that their accounts were reconciled and that the money was spent according to policy and directive, helping to ensure that we met our mission. I ensured that all funds were expended by the end of the fiscal year to the extent that was within my control. I ensured compliance w/ policy and procedures for the diverse funding sources. I maintained fiscal accounts and current year records using an automated financial tracking system. I was responsible for all redistribution of payroll, purchases, and financial payments to the proper accounts. I provided fund status reports to the division chief with a fully reconciled status report in a set standardized format monthly. I met with the division chiefs to discuss their budget status, trends, projections of expenditures, and any other issues that impacted that division chief's budget. I oversaw the financial side of all interagency agreements, grants, MOU's, Reimbursables, etc for all accounts for each of the divisions that I was responsible for. I processed the payments for these agreements as well as any payments for my respective programs ranging from the daily cost of doing business expenses to the medical exams for the law enforcement officers to the contracts for fire, etc. I coordinated with the Denver Finance Center to open project codes as necessary and handle any billing questions/issues. I worked daily in the Federal Finance System (FFS), Data Mart, and with the Denver Finance Reports. I served as the regional point of contact for the fire management group on all issues budget related. I utilized BAS (Budget Allocation System) to monitor and fund target dollars that had been allocated to the region. I verified all changes in the regional allocation bringing money into R2 and transferring to various organization codes as necessary. I make recommendations to the Budget Chief and Regional Fire Management Officer for the distribution of the additional funding based on my working knowledge of the regional needs and current funding status. I assist the Regional Fire Management Coordinator with the development, allocation and presentation of the fire budget, bringing the field station perspective to the RO to aid in more effective budgeting. I help develop and coordinate the formulation and justification of the Fire Management Budget. Development is based on the National Wildlife Refuge System goals for the Division of Fire Management and priorities established by the NWRS. I am also responsible for reviewing, monitoring, and analyzing the execution of the fire budget. I coordinate frequently with the National Office in Boise, ID in regards to all fire accounts. I report on a monthly basis as to the status for the fire funding for the region, allowing them to stay connected with our plans as a region to expend our funding allocation. I coordinate with them on the BAS transfers of funding, as well as any payroll guidance and coordination and AD Hires. I coordinate with the Regional Fire Operations Specialist, the regional fire districts, national budget leads, and the regional contracting specialists on RFA (Rural Fire Assistance) grants to ensure these funds are allocated and awarded to the appropriate approved departments. I provide guidance to fire districts on AD hires which includes the annual pay rates, appropriate uses for AD hires, and any administrative assistance the field stations may need. I am responsible for tracking all severity funds requested within the region including both short term severity requests and long term events. I coordinate with the Regional Fire Operations Specialist regarding what district has requested long term severity funds and what the amount of the severity package is for. I coordinate with the local budget staff at the particular fire management district to ensure the approved dollar amounts are not over spent and that appropriate expenditures are being charged against the severity account. I track all short term severity requests in the Regional Office to ensure the amount allocated to the Region is not over spent during the course of the fiscal year. I coordinate with the 8 fire districts and work closely with the managers, fire management officers and fire budget personnel by answering questions, providing guidance and assistance, and offering regional expertise. I participate in bi-weekly conference calls with the various fire districts, bringing them up to speed on any new information, status of regional budget, and providing any guidance as applicable. I monitor and coach the fire districts across the region in the expenditure of their funds. I maintain contact with the field fire budget staff to provide specialized expertise, knowledge and guidance. Each year, I host a breakout session specifically for the fire budget personnel at our annual regional fire manager's conference. During these breakouts, I provide specific guidance, training, and expertise for the group. Last year, I developed clarified guidance for the Region with examples for the field stations to follow that explained how to manage the salary accruals and reversals that occur at the end of the fiscal year. The issue of payroll accruals and reversals had been a primary confusing factor in the field stations not properly spending the fire funding in past fiscal years. This guidance has since been adopted at the national fire office and is now a part of the Fire Business Reference Guide. I am responsible for inputting all purchase requests that come in from the field and are routed through our Regional Contracting Shop into our RTS (Regional Tracking System). I then coordinate with contracting personnel as well as the field helping to ensure that all PR's are processed and the contracts/obligations are completed in a timely fashion and by end of fiscal year. I track the contracts and agreements for accuracy, timeliness, appropriate use of funds, and complete the payment processing and closing as applicable for the divisions that I am responsible for within the Regional Office. I have maintained my micro purchasing authority for the last 8 years, adhering to all FWS policy and guidance. I serve as the purchasing agent for the division of budget and fire management, and assist the other divisions when needed. I ensure all that the proper purchase/funding approvals have been completed, reconcile all charges, and participate in regional and national audits of the purchase card. I serve as the Regional Lead for fire and incident management (ice storms, hurricanes, wild fires, etc). I assist folks with the IQCS process, ROSS process, and how they can get involved with the various positions in incident management. I am the Regional Point of Contact questions related to incident business management practices as well as budget questions related to the other fire accounts for the region for example the preparedness, prescribed fire, and wildland urban interface accounts. These numerous activities, subactivites, and program elements require strict adherence to maintain the integrity of the fund sources. I am a member of the Southwest Interagency Business Management Team. This team coordinates on an interagency basis to produce guidance on business management practices for Type 1 and Type 2 Incident Management Teams in the Southwest Region. The R2 Refuges Budget Shop has been tasked with overseeing the operation of Region hurricane desk. I organize and oversee the staffing of the desk and its operations, coordinating with all managers involved at the regional office level as well as the affected field levels helping to ensure all employees' safety and helping to maintain the lines of communication. I have assisted in National Incidents throughout my career in various roles as well. In May, I was asked by David Lucas to respond to the Mississippi Canyon Oil Spill. As a member of the Finance Section, I was tasked w/ setting up I-Suites for the sector so that we could track the resources assigned and the expenses. I worked as the Cost Unit Leader for the Mobile Sector for 15 days. Upon my return back to Region 2, I served as the Deputy Finance Lead for the regional oil response team established in Region 2. This involved coordinating with our Regional Incident Advisor and Finance Lead and providing guidance for time, travel, and expenditures related to the oil spill event. Aside from the recent oil spill, I was requested by the National Fire Office in Boise to assist at Okefenokee NWR as an agency liaison for FWS during the fires in 2007. I have assisted with various national events such as hurricanes, fires, and floods, as well the space shuttle recovery and have been on various large fire incidents as a wildland firefighter in Montana and Arizona. I received a Star Award for my contributions and achievements to the regional fire program in FY2009. We as a region closed out the FY @ 99.75% exceeding the Regional Director's goal of an obligation rate of 98% supporting the success of the fire program nationally.
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