Shortly after taking office as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson recruited a retired finance and strategy expert to become the agency’s chief financial officer.

Irving Dennis, appointed by President Donald Trump in late 2017, stepped into the job and quickly discovered the mess he inherited. Dennis spent 37 years at Ernst & Young, a major accounting firm. He would use that private-sector experience to fix HUD.

In a new book, “Transforming a Federal Agency: Management Lessons from HUD’s Financial Reconstruction,” Dennis recounts the roadblocks he faced at HUD and the bureaucratic barriers he overcame to set the agency on a better course. His story shows there’s an alternative to the financial mismanagement that plagues federal agencies—and how he fixed one of them.

Dennis spoke to The Daily Signal about his experience. Read a lightly edited transcript on or listen to the interview on “The Daily Signal Podcast.”


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