Most of my 25 years in D.C. were spent as as a federal employee at five federal agencies, with most of that time doing “internal oversight”.
Many, if not most, audits of government agencies are internal, i.e., they are done by “in-house” employees. We tried to find problems while they are still small because, otherwise, they will grow into big problems that the I.G.’s office will begin to notice, and their reports are made available to the outside. (Not good.)
And, because the general theme of internal audits usually focuses on those things that are NOT being done properly or adequately, the agency’s management is most certainly NOT looking for ways to tell everyone all about their shortcomings. That behavior would be considered a professional death-wish almost everywhere in the federal service.
Yes, there are islands of enlightened management who do want to know the truth, whereever it may lead. But those government offices are the exception, and many of the people who work in those offices don’t realize their great good luck. They think, understandably, that their office is the “norm”, and they can’t figure out why so many employees in other offices and agencies are so timid about reporting “opportunities for improvement” (i.e., problems).
So, even when an audit is “done right”, the major factor that determines whether any improvements will be made depends on that agency’s system of rewards-and-punishments (written and unwritten) about how it handles the truth about its own shortcomings.
So, when we see the vast majority of people doing a particular task (e.g., reporting problems to management) in a similarly unusual fashion (i.e., using obtuse language), then there’s probably a very good reason for that behavior (e.g., their career stays on-track).
I made a suggestion on OpenGSA (it got the highest # of votes) about the need to recognize our “shoot-the-messenger” problem inside federal agencies: Internal Transparency: Make It SAFE for Govt. Workers to Speak
Until that happens, IMHO, discussion about other lesser factors is premature.
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