Finance office leans forward Published Oct. 14, 2017 By Staff Sgt. Stephanie J. Lambert 109th AW Public Affairs STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- Hanging over the customer service window in the finance office is a sign that reads “lean forward”. This motto is one that Capt. James M. Roth, 109th Airlift Wing comptroller, strives to achieve every day. “Lean forward” means to get out in front of issues before they become a problem, said Roth. “We’re here to support the people here in any way possible; we’re trying to be proactive,” said Roth. “We are always available to answer questions.” Roth said by calling the main number at (518) 344-2493 Airmen will be able to get an answer to their question regardless of who answers the phone. “We are always striving to put the customer first,” said Senior Master Sgt. John Dowd, Comptroller Flight budget analyst. “We have trained professionals who know about every aspect of the finance office and can offer excellent customer service,” said Roth. Dowd said the finance team members step up and take on any challenge that may be presented to them. The finance team doesn’t just handle the paychecks, but also assists with the Defense Travel System, certifying purchase requests and payment transactions to vendors, as well as allocating and tracking the budgets for the National Science Foundation and Wing funds. The finance office deals with a heavy workload from the never-ending cycle of members going out the door in support of Operation Deep Freeze and Greenland, said Roth. Another huge undertaking is finalizing the budget at the close out of each fiscal year with such a high-tempo of deployments, said Dowd. “We don’t expect to be thanked for what we do for the Airmen; we’re here to support them,” said Roth. Dowd said there will always be a conflict between providing speedy customer service while ensuring accuracy. “We have a responsibility to the American taxpayer to be legally appropriate with the funds provided to our base,” said Dowd. Roth has implemented briefings for Airmen who may need clarification on the requirements finance must adhere to and why. “There will always be problems, if it’s a systemic one, let’s teach the Airmen through training,” said Roth. Roth wants the finance office to make it as easy as possible for Airmen to do their job and not even think about finance. “I can’t go out on the flightline and fix an aircraft, but I can make it easier for those who do by making sure their pay is correct and on time,” said Roth.