Teresa Gerton led an effort for the Army that could help the service avoid spending more than $800 million over the next five years.
Deborah Taylor improved the financial operations of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which led to the return of $850 million to the Medicare Trust Funds.
And Steve Butler led an effort for the Air Force Material Command to improve how they address high-risk aircraft maintenance that could help the service avoid spending $1 billion. Gerton, Taylor and Butler were among the 2011 Presidential Distinguished Rank Awardees honored Thursday night at the 27th annual Senior Executives Association Banquet in Washington. See full list of winners below.
All told, the 54 honorees would save or help the government avoid spending $36 billion.
“Cabinet people may be caretakers of the agencies, but you are the heart and soul,” said Karen Mills, the Small Business Administration’s administrator and guest speaker at the awards dinner. “You provide continuity and sage counsel, and you are mentors and unpaid office historians.”
The White House recognizes Senior Executive Service members for their work as distinguished or meritorious. All are nominated by their agency head, and are evaluated for their leadership and results by a board of private sector citizens approved by the President.
The Navy Skivs provided musical entertainment at the banquet.
Distinguished Rank recipients receive a lump-sum payment of 35 percent of their rate of annual basic pay; Meritorious Rank recipients receive 20 percent of their rate of annual basic pay. All recipients receive a framed certificate signed by the President. SES members make between $119,554 and $179,700.
“Tonight’s award is a small bit of gratitude for all you do,” Mills said. “Thank you from the administration. These are the top honors and you are all doing remarkable work in the administration.”
Mills told a story of SBA awardee James Rivera, who is the associate administrator for the agency’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Mills said when Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf region, it took SBA on average 77 days to process a disaster loan. Now, under Rivera’s leadership, she says when disaster strikes it takes SBA seven days.
Mills said Rivera’s leadership is one of the many examples of the impact SES members have on the government every day.
“You get the business of government done,” she said. “You are dealing with the most pressing issues of our times. Your actions make our government a shining example to everyone around the world.”