18th Wing Comptroller named tops in DoD Published May 15, 2008 By Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon 18th Wing Public Affairs KADENA AB, Japan -- When it comes to dollars and cents, there are few better than Lt. Col. Stephen Kennedy, commander of Kadena's 18th Comptroller Squadron. Colonel Kennedy was recently named one of four comptrollers of the year in the Department of Defense by the American Society of Military Comptrollers. The honor came on the heels of being named 2007 Comptroller of the Year for Pacific Air Forces. In addition, the 18th CPTS earned the title of PACAF's best comptroller organization and was also recognized for having the command's best financial services operation. "We submitted award packages in almost all categories and I was fortunate enough to be selected for this award," said Colonel Kennedy. "I'm really proud of the squadron's accomplishments, and it's a privilege and honor for me to represent them as comptroller of the year." During the last fiscal year, the squadron commander built a wing-wide strategy to slash $4.5 million in spending by trimming costs for contracts, temporary duty assignments, and civilian hiring. "Last year was very challenging for the 18th Wing," said Colonel Kennedy. "We met those challenges and did better than any other organization in the command." When Colonel Kennedy took charge of the unit, he determined it was in need of a new direction. "The squadron was struggling in every area, and in my view, lacked focus," said the colonel. He established a squadron vision and set a standard of excellence that included a new mission statement capturing how the squadron contributed to the wing and to the command. Colonel Kennedy introduced Financial Management Smart Operations 21, a desktop tool that provides daily funds status and budget execution data. Financial management analysts were trained to create automated pivot tables and charts tailored to the wing's mission. The program saved more than 300 man hours across the wing last year. "We also set goals and objectives in every area in taking care of our people, which made a huge difference," said the colonel. The commander committed his squadron to achieving the goal of "people first, mission always." "You take care of your people, they take care of the mission," said Colonel Kennedy. "And that's exactly what they did." The squadron teamed with the 18th Contracting Squadron and 18th Civil Engineer Squadron to trim $1.1 million from contracts and used the savings for "must-pay" bills. Focused on customers and their feedback, squadron personnel also developed and implemented a new travel order process to reduce customer waiting time by 40 percent. They also assured 100 percent of travel vouchers were paid within five days. "It's not easy here because we have so many people that we service," said Tech. Sgt. Lisa Azzoline, 18th CPTS customer service NCOIC. "It's hard to [process] the numbers of vouchers [we have] in less than five days so we have to work overtime and get them completed to meet those standards monthly." Government travel card delinquencies were also cut to their lowest in three years. Additionally, the squadron was able to overcome the most austere budget in recent history and continued operations with a huge $9 million shortfall.