Cindy Conger, chief financial officer and head of the Finance Section, wrote this week's column
As you all know, we received some great news last week. Fermilab will receive $29.5 million in supplemental funds for FY08. The money allows us to avoid involuntary layoffs and to restart the NOvA neutrino project.
Now our focus will shift back to planning for the FY09 budget. The preparations for FY09 began in February 2007, when the laboratory submitted its request for FY09 funding to DOE's Office of High Energy Physics. A year later, the President submitted to Congress his budget request for the entire federal government.
In response to the President's request and the guidance we received from OHEP, we updated our budget request in February of this year. We laid out our financial plans according to the more than 40 different categories in which OHEP provides our funds.
This month, our director will make a preliminary allocation of funds to each division, section and center (DSC) according to the laboratory's program priorities and based upon the best information available at this time about the funding DOE will provide. The head of each DSC will turn that guidance into a detailed financial plan, or budget, for the year.
If you're counting, this is our third iteration of the FY09 budget. The U.S. Senate and House are working on their FY09 appropriation bills, so there will likely be one more when DOE adjusts its allocation to our laboratory in response to the final funding bill passed by Congress and signed by the President.
A key element of the laboratory's budget process is the DSC Budget Reviews that occur in the fall. Each Budget Review brings together the senior management team and all DSC heads or their designees. Each DSC head presents what can be accomplished with the budget, the funding shortfalls that might exist and the impact of those shortfalls. The reviews serve as an important "peer review" and provide an annual forum for senior management to fully understand each organization's financial plan.
FY08 taught us that budgeting for a government-funded entity like ours can be a roller-coaster ride. May FY09 be a smoother trip!