tv Role of Inspectors General Effectiveness CSPAN June 15, 2018 12:56am-2:01am EDT
community, and it's been very helpful. very illuminating, and i think they did a great job. and we also want to thank the audience for your attention and attending this morning. i'm told there will be a 10- minute break, and then they're going to resume with another panel. so thank you. hello again. as we reconvene, you've already heard a partial introduction of
our next moderator. but i'd like to augment that a little bit. our moderator for the second panel this morning is peg gustafsen. she's inspector general for the department of congress. she was sworn in, in january of last year. prior to her current position, she served for eight years as the ig of the small business administration. and prior to that, she served as general counsel to senator claire mccatskill. she helped write two bills that have significantly strengthened the federal offices of inspector general. the inspector general reform act of 2008 and the special inspector general troubled asset relief program. thank you for being with us today, and i will give it to our moderator to introduce the
panel. >> my goal for this panel is we're going to answer and solve all the questions and problems that just came up in the last hour. i have never told a bigger lie in my life. that's probably not going to happen, but i do want to take just a couple of minutes to give my perspective, and then i'd like to introduce our panelists. i'm hoping we can have a robust discussion about some of the issues we've talked about as far as inspectors general and their role in congressional oversight and maybe things that can be done better or should be done better or maybe tools that inspectors general could find helpful to have that might increase their effectiveness and their impact. just very briefly, i want to thank you for asking me to do this. i was excited to see senator
robin who doesn't remember me, but that's fine. i was on the hill for about two years. when i was there, i was not a committee staffer. i was a personal staffer, which means i was a peon. i was old but i was a peon. but my boss was on homeland security government affairs and got her dream assignment, which was the permanent subcommittee on investigations. she was a member of that subcommittee. i was lucky enough since she did not have committee staff that i was her staffer for the issues on that committee and sub-submit tee. in the short amount of time i was on the hill, i got some incredible experience in what it means to work in a robust oversight environment that congress is capable of and often exercises. just thinking back about it, we had a series of hearings on credit card companies and some of the abuses that credit card companies inflect upon their
consumers, which resulted in legislation that causes you when you get your credit card bill you'll see a lot of information that will help you figure out when your bill is due, how much it would cost to pay all of -- if you pay the minimum amount, you're going to be paying until you're dead in the ground. if you pay this much, you can pay it off in three years. that legislation was a direct result of hearings being held. there was a series of hearings on medicare providers and how they were often receiving duplicate payments for the work they were doing. and that was an interesting series of hearings for me because first off, part of that was due to the work of the inspector general. dan levinson testified at those hearings. the other thing that was interesting, i remember the representative saying if you stop paying us twice, people
will flee medicare. it was such a really interesting insight into people's attitudes and the important work of inspectors general as far as uncovering that type of waste and funds put to horrible use because it was duplicate benefits. and it was a good introduction for me coming from the state, my immediate prior job before that was in the state government where there was an auditor but there wasn't an inspector general. that's a uniquely federal entity as far as these igs located within the department with that amount of independence. i would echo what some of the previous speakers have said, it's a brilliant scheme. i mean that in a nice way of a scheme. i mean, whoever, whatever caused them in 1978 caused congress to create igs in the way they did, they did it
beautifully. there's so much independence and it's great to be within the agency. to have an ig exercising independent oversight with a dual-reporting requirement to congress helps us become extremely important parts of the government and provide a really valuable service for the taxpayers. i'm happy we've been able to strengthen that in the acts of 08 and the empowerment act of last year and i'm looking forward to talking about things that our panelists think might be useful to help us perform our jobs even better. the other thing i wanted to mention as an ig from my perspective that i find somewhat frustrating is first off, most people don't know what an ig is. most people if you were to stop 10 people in a national mall, nine of them for certain would never have heard of what an
also oversee the multibillion- dollar satellite program, those things are important, sometimes it is frustrating as an inspector general and i promise you, it is extremely frustrating for the auditors that do that work that that work is not get as much attention from the stakeholders. it was mentioned, the $88 million that came from ig's over the last several years, it is important work and i would be curious to hear what, if anything, we think can be done to change the paradigm on that a little bit and make ourselves more noticed. again, that was something michael horwitz had that was right, getting attention and
the agency won't pay near as much attention to that work, as well. they have limited resources, they have a lot of things they are supposed to be doing, they care a little more deeply about your audit recommendations if congress is breathing down their neck asking what they are doing about it. or if the stakeholders are keeping track and asking what they are doing. it is human nature and it makes perfect sense but i think it is an important thing. i wonder if our panelists think that ig's are doing that, especially if there is anything the inspector general could be doing to highlight that work, with the caveat that there are 73 of us. i wanted to throw that out there, that always becomes a complicating factor when you try to talk about what can ig be doing or what they should be doing. the offices are inspector general are incredibly large,
you saw -- over 14,000 employees, some of them are large and some are one or two people. or some are under 10, so, there is definitely not a one-size- fits-all solution to these questions. there are different pressures that come in what agencies you are overseeing and what size you are -- it is a tough issue to tackle, we will not solve it. it would be worth -- i appreciate the fact we are discussing it, i very much appreciate having the symposium. introducing this panel, the interesting thing about this panel, to me, all of us myself included our former or current employees of the legislative plant -- branch. it is not unusual, the other panel was the same as well. these three panels represent some of the outside stakeholders that play a crucial role in coordinating
with ig's, highlighting the work of ig's and doing similar oversight that inspector generals do. i would be interested to hear your perspective and also insights they may be cleaning from the current job. i would like to introduce everyone, we will have a couple minutes of talk from each panelist and, again, i am hopeful we will have a lot of questions. our first panelist is dan blair, a senior counselor to the bipartisan policy center, dan has has a long and distinguished career in government, worked on the hill for several years and moving in 2001 to be a deputy director, opm which is the office of personnel management in the federal government. in 2006 dan was named by president bush to lead the postal regulatory commission
which has its own ig, that is a small one but they do have their own. 2011-2017 led the national academy of public administration which is a publicly chartered -- again, it is work on the bipartisan policy. next to dan we have billy davis the director of financial management at gao, the oversight that is located within the legislative branch. she has served as the vice -- vice president and was previously the director of artist services for the director of orlando. she began her career in public accounting for private industry but her -- agencies and can -- internal control and federal ig issues. one of the things i have noticed in the last couple of
years, congress likes to tell ig what to do. they would like to tell ig what to do because jr works for them. in those bills, that have been undertaken, there has been some responsibility for those recent products. our final panelist is peter tyler who is a senior policy analyst at project in government oversight, he works prior to that at hhs/oig which has to be about 100 hour a week job because hhs is so immense. before that he had nearly 2 decades of congressional experience including a senior professional staff are on homeland security and government affairs. the way i got to know peter, he was a very strong proponent of getting ig's and i know we worked very closely together when we were doing some improper payment legislation
that includes several of the ig's and very important to -- it was a very positive experience to work with peter as a community chair on that legislation. with that, i will turn it over to mr. blair. dan blair, think you. -- thank you. >> good morning everyone and thank you for that kind introduction. before i begin i just want to make some acknowledgments today, this is a real honor and privilege to come here today. thank you senator levin for your kind invitation, i had the privilege to work with you and your staff when i was senior staff and in the governmental affairs committee for the late senator thompson, i am the glad to be able to reconnect with you today, i would like to
acknowledge linda at the back of the room, and the, thank you very much she was a guest at [ inaudible ] and i greatly appreciated it. it is great to reconnect with you, lisa, as well. beverly is one of my colleagues at bpc and has been instrumental in helping us put together this report and i appreciate your efforts. i am talking about this report because bpc will be issuing its own report on congressional oversight on the ig's on july 9. this is a culmination of almost a year's worth of effort. in looking at congressional oversight, oversight in general in the role of the ig's and in doing so i think we came up with some interesting observations which i will not go into today.
we will be issuing this in a short three week span. i would like to give an overview on who put it together who put it together and our process. we came together to do this report, it was a high-level task force of nine members. we were fortunate to bring together some good talent that spans the spectrum of government. a former secretary of agriculture and member of congress from kansas, dan glickman. dan glickman has a history at bpc and he has a quite a bit of experience in the field of government working in legislative and the executive perspective. we will be covering some of those in the report, it is interesting, he came into office at the department of agriculture following a ig report that led to the downfall of his predecessor. he had some interesting views and also about the role of trent 23 and -- ig's and how
-- john mccue, in full disclosure, i worked for secretary mccue for 3 years as his staff director on the house oversight committee on the postal service. he brought to this panel a interesting perspective not only as the secretary of the army, which is a huge department, larger than a lot of cabinet agencies -- also, his role in congress, one of the key things he did, while he was on the house oversight committee is he put together legislation establishing an independent office of inspector general for the postal service. up until 1997, it was part of management, the chief postal inspector. he saw that as an inherent conflict of interest and he worked to achieve that enactment of legislation establishing that office. he also brought together three former ig's. dave williams who had been the postal ig but he was also the
ig at five different agencies. he was at treasury, irs, social security, army fields that was a special ig for the afghan recovery effort . we brought in folks who had executive branch experience and also had that background with congress, as well. ed was the deputy director from management at the office management budget in the clinton administration, omb has a critical role with the ig's. they cochair the council of
ig's for efficiency. they have a close relationship across government with multiple ig's because what the ig's find congress will find in interest and it affects management which is the m in omb. robert is a longtime colleague of mine from the house and the senate. robert also worked at omb during the bush years. he ended up being the chief staff for omb director. robert has tremendous experience in the government management area. he also sat on a commission that meet -- recently made recommendations on evidenced based policymaking for the federal government. this is critical, we will talk a little in our report about the evolving role of ig's. and for ig's fit into this evidence agenda. this evidence agenda is interesting because it is an attempt to infuse data analytics and "evidence" into
federal programs and policies. do ig's play more importantly what they need to do to play an effective role in the future. we also had denise wilson, denise is a former colleague of mine, as well. she worked on the house oversight committee for henry waxman and congressman cummings. she later worked as a special assistant to president obama doing legislative affairs. we had betty lou taylor, betty lou brought a wealth of experience from the appropriators side. betty lou was a longtime clerk on the senate labor hhs committee. she came and worked for senator specter for about 20 years. prior to that she was a prior clerk on the house hhs committee. she brought a different
perspective than what authorizer spring. sheep brought the power of the purse to us. in our report we talk a little bit about that, we have the house studied that we highlighted in the report and shows the appropriators and authorizer's joining together and how that can affect change. our report centers on two dimensions, we make recommendations to the president and the classic one is -- peter, you know this because you have that website, either 12 or 11 vacancies? these are critical vacancies in the federal government -- there doesn't seem to be -- there needs to be more pressure made to fill these critical vacancies. we make recommendations to agency heads regarding our relationship with ig's and we make recommendations to the ig's themselves. we make recommendations to the council of ig's on integrity
and efficiency and we had the chair of that this morning, michael horwitz, michael was gracious enough to help kick off our task force meetings back in october . we also make recommendations to congress. our task force meetings, we have held six of them and we have heard from a wide variety of folks in the community. we heard from dustin brown who was the acting deputy director for management, margaret who is confirmed and in place -- we had find it so interesting to see the role that omb plays. we had the acting -- the department of defense but had also been at the department of justice, in the clinton and bush years. dan levinson from hhs and someone from state. we heard from academics and we heard from senate and house
staffers, as well. we also heard from a panel of dfe/ig and then from peter and linda and we brought in charlie clark from government executive. we had a wide variety of people we have heard from, we have recommendations to the ig's and we have different subject matter involving congress and the ig, independence, evolution the ig community and ig capacity. our report will come out on july 9 , you are all invited to attend or listen in and if you have any questions you can get my email after this. i am very glad to be able to be here and answer your questions and be part of the leaven centers efforts -- efforts to enhance this community. thank you so much for for your invitation and i look forward to your questions. [ applause ] now we will hear from barry davis, when i think
of the relationship it is so important because they have the same oversight there inside the legislative branch working for congress. i will be curious to hear your insight and anything you have to improve the ig. >> thank you. a special thanks to the levin center, especially to linda and to senator levin. we want to thank you for giving us the chance to participate. thank you all. i am going to share with you some slides, i thought it would be good to share these visually with you, some of these points that i wanted to share today. i want to give special thanks
to one of my colleagues that is here in the audience for helping me in developing this presentation. i think the first and most important point is to establish the fact that ig's do a tremendous job. they have a lot of responsibility and their independence is so important. i have here a slide with which it talks about some legislation that took place over multiple pieces of legislation over the years -- the landmark legislation occurred back in 1978, as everyone knows, another important piece of legislation was the ig reform act of 2008. this gave in establishment for ig's to submit their budgets on a separate line item when they submitted their budgets for the presidents consideration. i think that was very important in the ig's oversight and i want to share some more information about the ig's oversight. is there oversight of the ig community? they are required to have reviews every 3 years. it is a requirement of the yellow book if they conduct
audits and follow government auditing standards. the reform act established the council of inspector general and one important piece here about the legislation is there was an item to address allegations of wrongdoing through the establishment of an integrity committee. this is so that if individuals had concerns about ig's or their step they could get an independent review of those assertions are allegations. there is also oversight on the part of gao that adds to the oversight committee, i wanted to talk about what i think is more important and that is the ig coordination with gao. we work hand-in-hand the ig act requires ig's to get particular consideration to gao's work and activity.
likewise, gao has established protocols and policies in place so that before we go out and conduct any audit we determine whether the ig for that agency has done any work or is planning to do any work and we work very collaboratively with the ig's to make sure there is not overlap . the ig's have developed a strong partnership with gao, a couple of examples i want to share our the work that we do on the consolidated financial statement audit, most ig's have the responsibility of the financial audits of their agency and at the end of the year we take all of that information at gao and consolidated for the annual consolidated statement. we have very strong and substantial policies in place to work with the ig's and we depend very heavily on them and helping us to produce our end product. likewise, the gao works very collaboratively --
collaboratively with the ig on payment issues and the ig's have responsibility to look at the compliance of their respective agencies regarding improper payments and on an annual basis, we have -- produce a report that assimilates the information that the various ig's have conducted . this is on their respective agencies and we have recorded that information. again, another example of collaboration between gao and the ig's. as i mentioned, there is oversight of the ig's on the part of gao at some point in time, some -- congress may ask us to do a review of a particular ig office. if we do that we will follow
their instructions but generally, if there are no specific details on how to conduct that audit, we will look at the ig's resources, accomplishments , monetary savings and the extent of their oversight coverage. are they doing a good job covering their respective agency programs and operations? likewise, we look at the quality of the ig's work . the second area i wanted to address, that we are talking about a little bit, the ig oversight of small agencies. i think this is a very important thing for all of us in the accountability community to consider. small agencies often times have small ig shops , if they have them. we have done a number of audits and have done work in this area and made some suggestions to actually -- congress about looking to congress for oversight of these agencies. a few examples i am sharing of the situations were a larger federal entity ig will take responsibility for oversight of a smaller agency. the first example is the
department of state, ig has oversight for the board of governors, ig has oversight for for smaller agencies and the department of transportation ig has responsibility for oversight of the national transportation safety board. we have also done work -- this is an excerpt from a report we did that shows congress and the public that there are alternatives for this oversight of small agencies. the first one on this list was the one i just shared about consolidation and consideration with and ig of a larger department. the other has to do with sharing responsibilities, may be a another ig office could share between regional entities and the third example is the finding ig oversight
responsibilities, maybe giving one to a larger ig office , this comes directly from one of our reports listed on the screen. if you have interest in looking into further details on this information you can find it there. this is the third and final area i wanted to talk about. we recently produced a report, under the 2016 ig empowerment act, to go in and look at prolonged vacancies in ig offices and, as you can see, we looked at those that were presidentially appointed as well as the federal than -- entity offices. there are 32 in each category, if you add up the numbers there are 32 offices in each category. as you can see, i am looking at these pie charts, the offices had a larger number of vacancies
over a ten-year period. we are looking at 10 years -- it had a larger number of ig vacancies that lasted over 3 years. there were 11 ig vacancies cumulatively that lasted over 3 years. in contrast, there was only one that lasted over 3 years. this is an expensive explanation of the point about the 11 ig vacancies, as you can see the department of state was at the beginning of the list and that vacancy lasted almost 6 years cumulatively -- there were several, as you can see, where there were multiple vacancies within those offices. i do want to point out, of these 11, there are three of the 11 that are currently still vacant. most importantly, the department of defense, i point that out because it also has an extended period of vacancy. the department of defense is well over 4 years cumulative vacancy during that 10 year
period. i want to talk vacancies, please be assured there are acting ig's in those positions but they are not filled purposely -- permanently. also, as part of this review we did a survey of ig's who had served in acting positions and also offices. personnel who worked under and ig's that was in a temporary position. we had three main areas of focus, we wanted to look at whether or not the ig's they were acting ig's had the ability to plan and conduct their work, interact with agency management and also to manage the office of personnel. i am going to share briefly with you some of the results for this first category the affect was generally that acting ig's and their employee did not think there was a significant impact on the ig's
ability to plan and conduct work . as you can see, in the first bullet, eight of the nine had this opinion. regarding the other ig employees, depending on which question, it was between 49- 69% believing having a acting ig had no impact on this area. there were some exceptions in this particular question and there was a negative impact on timely completion of audit reports and other aspects of ig activity as well. the second area is the affect on the ig's area to interact with ig management. they did not think there was a significant impact on the ig's ability to conduct their work. this was the response of the acting ig's but also the ig employees. 63% believe having acting ig's
had no impact. there was a smaller segment that believed the 17% -- a negative impact in responsiveness from negative -- agency management and timeliness for agency documentation. the third area has to do with the affect on the ig's ability to manage. there was some movement in the other direction in this particular category that we looked at. in some cases people felt there was no impact and another they felt there was a negative impact. there was a little more mixture in this case of the acting ig and the oig employee. it is important to note that 35% there is a negative impact on employee room -- morrell. the final slide i want to show you has to do with the independence or perception of
independence on the -- the permit ig's felt that ig's were independent. in fact, they flipped the other way when asked about if ig's were independent in appearance. many or most of the ig's that we surveys felt there was an issue in this regard. for the acting ig's, again, they felt there was no threat to their independent as acting ig's. there might be an appearance problem as an acting ig lobbying for a particular job. there were similar responses for the oig employees, 52% thought that an acting ig was not less independent but those that responded and the employee committed! committee thought there could be a concern about the independence from a perspective standpoint, that individuals may be perceived in a acting position as not being
as independent. that is essentially the summary and i appreciate your attention. think you. [ applause ] >> we are already going overtime, let's put that in record. before i asked peter to come up. to be clear, i wanted to give props to project and government oversight, pogo is a tremendous example of a government entity that performs some robust oversight of their own. that was one of the first meetings i took when i came to washington, d.c. you have to meet with pogo, they are the organization famous for the hammers, i can't remember how much the hammers cost but they did the work that talks about the multi-hundred number -- dollar hammers. that was the work of pogo, an excellent example of work.
they are a strong proponent of ig's, we worked very closely with them on the ig reform act of 08. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you so much to the levin center for hosting this event on a very important topic. i would like to join my colleagues and showing appreciation to senator levin, he may not remember me , i was a staffer on the committee and he won't remember me because i was one of those staffers sitting on the bench behind him. he would not have seen me. of course, a lot of the staff respected the fact that when people were sitting in front of him he would push hard. it was always a pleasure to see you at your job. and now to see you at this time. i would like to echo a lot of what was said by earlier
speakers of this panel. the importance of inspectors general in their oversight duties. no surprise, project and government oversight considers it a very important function. the ig are a critical institution. over the past 40 years, since the ig act, that importance continues if not gross. there are plenty of issues to point to whether presidential issues or relatively small accounting issues, all which are very important. pogo is a reader of the ig reports across the federal government. when i was on the hill, the inspectors general were one of the go to entities for credible information. if we wanted to know about an issue --, or for delving into an issue talking to the ig's, getting the previews and inviting them to hearings. on more than one occasion, i had the opportunity of taking
inspector general recommendations, translating them into legislation and through a long process, enacting them into law. that is because of the strong work of the ig. congress is a conduit of that in a lot of ways. the ig's continue to be important. noting the 40th anniversary, pogo decided to take on an initiative. it sounds familiar from what dan just mentioned, we have an initiative to look at potential changes to the inspector general's act in other ways of improving the procedures, policies, requirements, tools, abilities of the ig's to be more effective in the future. some of these are very big and some small, where we got these ideas is not a secret. it was from experts who know these issues, ig's themselves and people who have been working with the ig's a long time. a lot of it came from the best practices of inspector general's. one of the things you hear in
the ig world, if you've seen one inspector general office you have seen one inspector general office. they all do things a little differently, some do things very well in one aspect and others not so well and so on. we can see those best practices and say this ig is doing this very very well. these others, could probably emulate that. there are reasons that some make sense. some may have more challenges, some are larger and some of the way things are. there are a lot of ig's out there. i will differ with dan by giving a couple of recommendations. by the way, i should point out that we are in touch with each other, we are swapping notes and it has been so valuable to sit down and talk to dan and the other folks on this investigation. here are a couple of thoughts -- also, i should point out that the ig community is making great strides. ig talked about oversight.gov which is consolidating or
finding a place to consolidate all of the ig reports in one place. one-stop shopping. we use it a lot and it sounds like what is the big deal -- when you need to find all 73 reports on something our team is working on, that is when oversight.gov is valuable. suddenly, they are all right there with the push of a button. there are some other things we have not seen happen yet, one of the big issues is focusing on the big issues. pogo would not be one to say accounting problems are unimportant, that is our bread and butter. however, we do, at times, see inspectors general so involved in the trees they don't see the forest. there are issues that traditionally, the inspectors general do not focused enough
-- enough attention on. these are issues on health and safety, civil rights, crime, ethics and if a ig's is only focusing on -- are major officials doing wrong, are ethics violations happening? sexual-harassment? things that need more attention in our government. there is a specific recommendation we will be making to update housing, semiannual requirements -- this is a -- if you have not read the ig act or requirements, you will find 22 reporting requirements of the ig's on a semiannual basis. some of these have become archaic in that we no longer need to see summaries of every major report that specifically happens. online, they are required to be online by law. it is more than that, primarily these provisions need to be
removed. many of the identified requirements don't provide important information into what challenges does at the given agency face in the big picture. additionally, in issues like oversight.gov, you need to include these type of summaries, they can be found very quickly. we need not say how many reports have been written these past six months, on the website you can count them. it is that simple. the whole point is to move away and incentivize the big picture. forgetting the important details to emphasize, that is the communication that congress needs. another example is -- i'm looking at my nose met -- notes -- the issue of vacancies, this was brought up before.
this is something that pogo tracks. the answer was 14 ig's are now unfilled at this time. we do track that. when will they be filled? we do know they are unfilled but we don't know when they will be filled. there are a couple of steps we would like to see through a change by congress in the federal vacancies reform act which is the law that says what is the process for ensuring that the vacancies are filled. currently, it is notified by the administration that there is a vacancy. what is not notified is when will the vacancy be filled. what is your plan? why hasn't it been filled? there is another we are exploring which is could someone else make the ig nomination on a temporary basis? it is an interesting precedent whereby, u.s. attorneys that are vacant, currently the
judicial branch takes care of that. they could do a temporary nomination and fill that position temporarily. is that something the ig community could also see happen with the senate role of a jurisdiction? why is that important for ig's? there is a disincentive theoretically for administration not appointing ig's . as many people pointed out, ig's can be troublesome. they may not be seen as the best interest of the administration to move quite as quickly. here is away, perhaps, a different process for filling those vacancies. that is the movie trailer version of it, more to come out, it looks like we are on the same path for timing for these recommendations. we look forward to hearing what you have to say in a few weeks. i look forward to questions now. [ applause ]
>> we have covered a lot in the last two hours, i have a lot of questions and i could talk about vacancies for two hours. that is a difficult one. there are 4000 things to talk about. i want to make sure that we open it up and hear questions from our audience. if we could do that -- >> hello i am former ig for the architect of the capitol, none of the questions i have relate directly but have you looked at the situation with ig's, new ig's coming in and whether -- this is a term i heard when i first two -- took office, under -- inert employees, you want to build the best team you can and
you are left with very few vacant positions to fill. what happens is the inherited staff members may not be on board with your program. i wondered, has there been a look at if that is slowing down the work of ig's , particularly newly appointed ig's who want to plot the direction for the office but are left with people who may not be dedicated to that direction? >> kevin, that is an excellent question. unfortunately, gao has not looked at that. i understand the issues and concerns. when we did our view which resulted in what i shared with you on ig vacancies.
we did get responses to the survey questions that were open- ended questions. some of the people had different opinions that we have not specifically done any work about that initial phase when a new ig takes office. it is a very good question and deserves a good response. >> if i could put my personnel have back on , there are tools available for you. shaping tools that congress granted agencies to have and to the extent you can use them within the architect of the capitol. these are tools you can use in terms of offering buyouts in order to move people out of their positions. unfortunately, what is inert to one person is active resistance or institutional knowledge to someone else. it is reflective of the fact
that when you come into federal workplace, employees have protections and they are there for a reason. i think this is an example of leadership skills in order to motivate the new office. >> i will tell you from the perspective of someone that has been fortunate enough to been with the inspector general on two different offices. it is a interesting feeling to go in, you are the only one coming in through a different process and everyone else is a career. they don't know you and they don't know what you are about and there is definitely a sizing up time. as a pas, there are certain things you cannot do for a certain amount of time within the structure. again, anyone who comes in on day one, knowing exactly what they want to do and going full force i would suggest it is premature because you know very
little about that office and you are coming in fresh without being in that office. there is something to be said for that. the bigger issue may be what happens when there is a vacancy and you are hopeful that that ig is coming. the acting is holding off on doing certain things, sometimes, they will leave positions unfilled which i appreciate the thought behind that, let the ig take their person. this ig could be here any minute. let's wait and let them pick their head of audit or investigation. the problem comes when all of a sudden, it is months later and the ig is still not there. that is a very normal occurrence. that happens a lot. the other way would be for that not to happen and then you have a ig that comes in with ? ability because many decisions have been made that had they waited the ig could have the role. i don't know how you solve that, there are a lot of
frustrating things about going through confirmation, even as a lifelong public servant. i owe nothing, i have no business that is a problem. it is still complicated and long and torturous process. the most frustrating thing is you have zero control. you literally have zero control of how quickly it will go or whether it will happen. the office is saying the same thing, they are waiting and they want to have it, everyone who is enacting would love to have that permanent person, a lot of headaches come with being a ig, it is a fantastic position but you target and you get the slings and arrows. the acting is a career who has a day job and a lot going on already. they do not want to wear two hats. everyone would love for it to happen quickly, it rarely does and there are definitely difficulties that come from that. i do not have an answer, it is multifaceted.
are there any further questions or are we doing okay on time? the one thing i wanted to say quickly, i don't know if the panel members have anything they would like to add, i love doing this because i love telling people what i think. i am a lawyer by training, i am happy to share my opinion. i was legislation chair for a very long time. i have done a lot of these panels and i love them. they are always very helpful that one of the funny things is i get to see old friends because it tends to be the same people here. sometimes i feel like we are always in a bubble and that is unfortunate. it is always great to hear from john who i've worked closely with, and incredibly important committee for ig , a tremendous friend to ig's , he keeps ig's
honest and doing their job correctly. homeland security is doing the same thing. the biggest question for ig's is everybody else. we have talked about it a little bit, we have authorizing committees and different bearing relationships with those committees. it is important we have the strong relationships with homeland security and judiciary committees, they can only do so much. if we have these pockets of interested ig's, i think the key for us is how do we get the rest of congress to be actively involved and a little bit more involved. i don't know if you have any thoughts on that some of us do it well and some of us have very robust congressional affair and congressional
affairs staff, some have none with that concept of if you know what i g you know what ig, would you have some guidelines that might be helpful >> the things to consider would be regular meetings, if you heard from appropriators they never heard from the ig's. developing that strong relationship, we also heard that some of the committee or some of the -- don't even know who to contact. posting it on your website as to who the chief point of contact is and looking at some of these different websites, across government, for the ig's, having the same person is a point of contact for press or congressional did not help. that one person cannot handle that. within the office, we need to have delegation of authority, who you need to go to or who
you need to go to with opm or the and -- department of interior. those are some helpful things and our department addressed those. >> i think the reports are very similar, i would like to echo what dan said, this is a shared responsibility about how to ensure that ig's do the job better and how ig's work with congress. it is the responsibility of the ig themselves. congress needs to update laws and pogo's opinion. the administration has a role but there are some small things that every ig can do . along with something very simple, do you have a phone number for congressional staff to call, this is not just a problem for small ig's, i used to work for
a large ig that did not have those things. it is strange, right? that could be easily fixed, there are also some larger things. >> it turns out that despite a very strong empowerment act, not all reports are being posted. if a report is being classified or -- not only do most ig's not posted them in any form, they don't even an ounce their existence. in effect, that agency has censored the ig because it doesn't happen. now the department of defense ig's that is shared by gao, the ig will say a report exists, if you would like a copy call this number. congressional staff can call and get a copy. that seem simple but that is not happening throughout the ig community. a great example of best practice that should be done throughout the ig community.
>> i think that's right. congress is a scary place. especially if you've never worked for congress before. sometimes that is the thing, i have been that staffer where someone is getting screamed at. it is scary. i think sometimes ig's don't build those relationships that they should be building for whatever reason. congress, they are important. congress is paying attention and our work will get more change. thank you, i think we have some closing remarks, right now. >> well, i want to thank our panelists and our speakers for participating today in this educational and thoughtful conversation about the role of inspectors general and the role they can and should play in
congressional oversight. we have showcased the good work that ig's do , in terms of the amount of money they save and the integrity that they bring to government programs. we have raised a number of issues that ig's face , issues they face in their work and congress. ig's have to be willing to be unpopular. as several of us have said, they have to speak truth to power. while that is an overworked phrase, it is a perfect fit when it comes to inspectors general. they have to call the balls and strike fairly without bias, without sleight-of-hand, they have to state the facts as they find them and they have to stand up to criticism which is not easy. congress, the agencies and the american public rely on the inspectors general to do that.
ig's have to engage with congress, this is a conversation you were just having to let congress know the work they do and the recommendations they make. they have to work, they can't avoid congress which some ig's might do. they have to work directly and honestly with congress. equally and more importantly, they have to work equally with both sides of the aisle. although it has been 40 years since the ig act became law, the notion of inspector general dates back to george washington. when he wanted an inspector general for the army, to be sure the troops and his officers were doing the right thing. that was 1777 and congress took washington's idea to heart and established the first inspector general. really, it has been over 240 years and i think we can safely say that the idea of inspectors general has to the test of time. thank you to the 73 inspectors
general who do this challenging and important work day in and day out and thank you to the thousands of dedicated employees who work with them. congress made a very wise move in creating the office and has made some very important improvements over the years. hopefully it will continue to benefit from the good work they set in motion. thank you again for being here and enjoy your afternoon. [ applause ]