New VA CFO Henke faces major management challenge

Robert Henke took the reins as the Veterans Affairs Department's chief financial officer and assistant secretary for management earlier this month. One of his biggest tasks will be to determine how to implement an integrated financial management system.

Henke came to VA from the Defense Department, where he served as the principal deputy undersecretary and comptroller. Previously, he was a professional staff member with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

Henke replaced William Campbell, who left VA last year.

VA scrapped its pilot of the Core Financial and Logistics System (CoreFLS) at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2004 after spending $342 million on the project.

The contract with integrator BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va., expired after the department disconnected CoreFLS and reverted to the legacy financial system, said VA CIO Robert McFarland.

Even if the system had been completed, it was not repeatable in another VA facility because it was specific to Bay Pines.

'Customization was part of the problem. We knew we couldn't do a custom installation at every VA facility,' McFarland said.

McFarland brought in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP earlier this year to evaluate VA's financial processes and what it would take to fix its material weaknesses so the department can determine how it should proceed with a back-end system, he said.

VA still owns licenses to the software that made up CoreFLS, including Oracle Federal Financials and 11i database, Maximo asset management software from MRO Software Inc. of Bedford, Mass., and inventory and logistics software from DynaMed Health Care Systems in Toronto.

The financial management Centers of Excellence, part of the governmentwide Lines of Business Consolidation initiative, also are options for VA to acquire its financial management services.

Henke received his bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and his master's degree from Syracuse University in New York.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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