While working at my college newspaper, a nervous freshmanambled into the small office one afternoon to apply for one of the openeditorial posts.
Apparently awed by the sound of clacking typewriters, litcigarettes (yes, that's how long ago it was!) and the humming of the AP wire,the candidate was interviewed by the lifestyles editor, a witty, brazeneditrix, who, if she had not gone on to write for a number of top consumermagazines, would surely have been a cast member of Saturday Night Live.
"Are you literate?" was her first question. Thereporter wanna-be, obviously thrown off balance a bit, fumbled for a moment,before emitting an affirmative, which came out like more of a stammeringsqueak.
She then asked him to spell the word "liaison"having once told me the shocking number of people who omit the second"i."
Well, you get the idea.
I regale you with this tale of job prerequisites, becausequite understandably overlooked amidst the holiday hoopla was a bill
introduced in the House by Reps. Collin Peterson,D-Minn., and Mike Conaway, R-Texas, that would require the Comptroller Generalto be a CPA.
In addition to being a licensed CPA, H.R. 4410 wouldrequire that the person who heads the Government Accountability Office meet anumber of minimum qualifications, such as significant management experience,i.e., experience in government service; significant government accounting andauditing experience; a post-graduate degree; and professional accreditationissued by a professional association.
To be honest, I always thought that the ComptrollerGeneral had to be a CPA, like the past two people to hold that post, DavidWalker, who stepped down in 2008, and Charles Bowsher, who preceded him andserved a full 15 years.
The position has been vacant since Walker's departure in2008 and the acting CG has an accounting degree, but is not a CPA.
Since the mission statement of the "InvestigativeArm of Congress," is to more or less serve as a federal watchdog to helpimprove the accountability of the government, it's probably fair to surmisethat some familiarity with accounting methods and standards would probably behelpful. My hope is that whoever is named to the post permanently know moreabout accounting than, say, Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano knowsabout, well, homeland security.
With debates over health care and climate control ragingon Capitol Hill this is one piece of legislation that should receiveoverwhelming partisan support.
And if the new CG can effortlessly spell liaison, thatwould be an added bonus.
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