Ortego steps down as director of National Finance Center

Ortego steps down as director of National Finance Center

John Ortego, director of the Agriculture Department's National Finance Center, yesterday announced he would retire, effective Jan. 31, after more than 32 years of federal service. In more than five years heading the NFC, Ortego significantly changed the way the payroll service provider works, and now, he said, it is time to move on.

'I effected all the changes I wanted to,' he said as a reason for his retirement. 'We are a key competitor in the E-Payroll competition, we moved to the forefront in security using public-key infrastructure, and we deployed numerous systems to the Web.'

NFC was one of eight payroll service providers to submit a proposal to the Office of Personnel Management as part of OPM's E-Payroll project that will consolidate 22 payroll service providers to two, three or four.

He also pushed the NFC to resume offering cross-agency services after a lapse of a few years. NFC pays more than 500,000 employees across 122 federal organizations and operates the federal Thrift Savings Plan, which is worth more than $100 billion..

Ortego, who is the president of the Federal Government Information Processing Councils, said he will work in the private sector but is unsure where.

'It is time I try something different,' he said. 'There is considerable opportunity in the private sector. I move on with regret and elation.'

Before coming to the NFC, Ortego directed the General Services Administration's Federal Systems and Integration Center and was the deputy assistant commissioner for IT Integration with GSA's Federal Technology Service. He also managed various Veterans Affairs Department payroll and benefit programs and was an auditor for the General Accounting Office.

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