Taffet Retires After 48+ Years in Government

Richard “Richie” Taffet poses on the NIH campus

Richard “Richie” Taffet retires.

Photo: Eric Bock

Richard "Richie" Taffet retired on Dec. 31 after nearly 49 years of federal service. He capped his career as the Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-12 program manager, responsible for the implementation of background checks, smart card badge issuance and two-factor logical access to networks across NIH. Through his leadership, NIH was the only agency within HHS to achieve its goal of issuing an HSPD-12 badge to all of its 34,000 employees, contractors and affiliates by the June 30, 2010, deadline.

Taffet joined the Public Health Service as an ensign on July 1, 1969, following graduation from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. His first assignment was as a pharmacy resident at the Baltimore Cancer Research Center, then part of NCI. He worked with investigational drugs for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme, a form of brain tumor, in children.

In 1970, he was transferred to Detroit’s PHS Outpatient Clinic, where he served as an administrative officer, chief pharmacist and eventually as clinic director. His next assignment in 1976 was to Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health, where he earned his M.P.H. degree.

In 1977, he was transferred to the Cleveland PHS Outpatient Clinic, where he ran the operation and built a new free-standing outpatient treatment wing. In 1981, he was transferred to Commissioned Corps headquarters in Rockville. There, he rose to the position of deputy director. He retired from the PHS on Feb. 1, 2000, after more than 30 years as a captain.

Taffet immediately joined NCI’s Human Resources Management and Consulting Branch. Later, as the human resources offices at NIH combined, he became the branch chief servicing NCI. He later became the client services director in the Office of Human Resources.

Throughout his career, both at PHS and NIH, Taffet has been a dedicated public servant. One of his major accomplishments as HSPD-12 manager was his argument for and successful achievement of local badge printing and issuance for NIH employees, contractors and affiliates. This contribution saves each badged member of the NIH community weeks of waiting for the Personnel Support Center to print and mail badges to individuals any time there is a renewal or initial badge issuance.

Taffet played a key role in safeguarding NIH and its workforce. One of his mottos was, "It’s my job to worry."

Bill Cullen, NIH chief security officer, said, "Those of us who work with Richie, along with his many friends and colleagues, will certainly miss his loquacious wit and dry sense of humor. All of us wish him and his wife Sue fair winds and following seas."