This week is Public Service Recognition Week and Who is the IG? can’t think of a better time to kick off our presence on Govloop. The purpose of Who is the IG? is to educate the public about Inspectors General and their mission to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, and integrity in government programs. Public servants have gotten a bad rap lately and we believe that if the American people truly understood the positive impact public servants have on their lives the tune would change. Specifically, the dedicated employees in the offices of Inspectors General work day in and day out to protect tax payer dollars and ensure that government programs are efficient and effective. Who is the IG? posts will focus on Federal, state, and local programs and IGs and help communicate how IGs are an important and invaluable part of good government. Our posts will address all aspects of IG areas of responsibility and authority including criminal investigations involving fraud, waste, and abuse, ethics violations, whistleblower protection, and audits and evaluations. Whenever possible, we will cross reference topics of interest to the GovLoop community, including acquisition, IT, career development, leadership, project managements, HR, and communications so it’s clear how IGs directly impact public service and the public trust, every day.
So, who is the IG? In the simplest of explanations, Inspectors General are responsible for oversight of the agencies or programs to which they are attached. In essence, they are watchdogs. The first IG was appointed by General George Washington and the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War to investigate and oversee troops and report abuses, neglect, and deficiencies to the Commander in Chief. The first IG doesn’t get much mention because it appears that he didn’t have the personality for the job. He couldn’t get along with anyone (a skill which is still very important for IGs to this day) including General Washington and quickly found that he was ineffective. The second IG, however, was much more famous and effective – so much so that there is a statue of him in the park to the north of the White House. Baron Frederick William Augustus von Steuben, the second Inspector General in US history, paved the way for modern day IGs.
Inspectors General have a long and proud history of public service and modern day IGs are no different. In 2010, Federal IGs saved the US government almost $7 billion and had contributed to close to 6000 criminal convictions. All this with a budget of only $2 billion is a pretty impressive return on investment. In 2011, the amount of recovered and saved funds was closer to $9 billion with a budget still under $3 billion. The IGs are a real example of good government, responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, and dedication to public service.
So, we hope that this introduction has taught you a few things you didn’t already know and maybe you can pull out some of these good news stories at your next cocktail party the next time someone calls public servants “slugs.” Whether you are a Fed, State, or local public servant, we encourage you to get to know your IG and find ways to open a line of communication and maybe even work together. IGs play a critical role in improving public service and strengthening the public trust. We hope that you enjoy our posts and are looking forward to engaging with the GovLoop community. We are always open to suggestions for topics, comments about posts, or your thoughts on how IGs can improve. You can follow us on Twitter @WhoistheIG, send us an email at [email protected] or check out our FB page. Hope to hear from you!