Monthly Archives: January 2011

US Inspector General for Afghanistan quits

From the Boston Globe
WASHINGTON — Retired Major General Arnold Fields, the US official in charge of rooting out corruption in Afghanistan, announced his resignation yesterday, just days after firing two of his top deputies.

Key members of Congress urged President Obama to dismiss Fields, saying he failed to oversee the $56 billion that the United States has poured into Afghanistan to rebuild schools, roads, and other facilities.

Fields took the job as the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction in 2008 when the job was created. His resignation is effective Feb. 4. At the time of the firings, Fields said he said he did not dismiss his top deputies in order to save his own job.

Also yesterday, NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan said a recent pledge by a southern Afghan tribe to stand up to the Taliban shows the military push in the country’s most violent region is making headway and stifling the insurgents’ “central nervous system.’’

General David Petraeus said in the southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah that a shift in thinking by the Afghanistan government and NATO means that the tribe’s risky move is being embraced rather than ignored. And that brings the hope that others may follow suit, he said.

Later yesterday, Petraeus was in Kabul to greet Vice President Joe Biden, who made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to assess progress toward the key objective of handing over security from international forces to Afghans.

In a separate development, Mitt Romney met yesterday with Karzai in Afghanistan, as part of a weeklong overseas trip that could bolster the former Massachusetts governor’s foreign policy credentials.

Romney, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, is visiting Afghanistan, Israel, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Caulfield Appointed Executive Director of CIGIE Training Institute

Thomas Caulfield, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, National Reconnaissance Office, and a member of the Board of the Association of Inspectors General,  has been appointed as the as the Executive Director of the CIGIE Training Institute – the training arm of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) as their Executive Director of the CIGIE Training Institute.   The CIGIE Training Institute currently consists of the Inspector General Criminal Investigative Academy (IGCIA) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).

The mission of the Executive Director is to rebuild the previous Inspector General Audit Training Institute (IGATI) and the previous Inspector General Management Institute, both in the next year, along with enhancing training at IGCIA.  The Audit Training Institute supports the needs of professional Inspector General Auditors, Inspectors and Evaluators.  The Management Institute provides training to help build tomorrows Federal IG leaders/managers.  The management academy will also provide training to lawyers and seniors entering the Inspector General profession for the first time.

Caulfield will be helping the CIGIE put into action their vision that the Training Institute’s overall mission is to provide education and training for managers, auditors, evaluators, inspectors, law enforcement officials, attorneys and other professionals in the Federal OIG community.

Caulfield previously served as the Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, National Reconnaissance Office.  He is a Senior Intelligence Services Officer with over 30 years government service all of which has been associated with law enforcement and investigation. He has been assigned to the NRO OIG for the last ten years. Mr. Caulfield holds various certifications that include Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Inspector General (CIG), and Certified Inspector General for Investigation (CIGI) to name a few. He is a graduate from Wayland Baptist University and St. Leo College, where he received degrees in both criminology and criminal justice. Over the last eight years, Mr. Caulfield has been the Program Manager for a NRO OIG’s procurement fraud focused initiative, designed specifically to prevent, deter, and detect procurement fraud. This initiative was developed by Mr. Caulfield and caused a threefold increase in procurement fraud investigations being initiated by the NRO OIG, and the recovery of millions in fraudulent dollars. This procurement fraud initiative is a cross-functional effort involving all OIG business units, which includes Auditors, Inspectors, and Investigators.

Brown to Eliminate CA IG

From the Los Angeles Times

One of Gov.-elect Jerry Brown‘s first official acts will be eliminating the state Office of Inspector General, a position held by former L.A. City Controller Laura Chick, who has been responsible for overseeing more than $50 billion in federal stimulus money.

Brown’s office said in a statement Monday that he is closing the operation, whose function mimics those of other state agencies, to save money.

“Ending this redundancy will save the state’s General Fund over $700,000 in fiscal year 2010-11,” the statement said. Brown has promised to cut 25% of the governor’s office budget.

California Inspector General Laura Chick

Chick, who achieved a measure of celebrity in Los Angeles for her public criticism of government waste, is not going quietly.

After announcing that Brown was closing her doors, Chick said the Capitol needs more oversight, not less. She complained that her efforts to shine a light on wasteful spending in Sacramento have been stymied by entrenched bureaucrats more interested in preserving their power than in ensuring public accountability.

“The state is not run by elected officials; it’s run by very powerful, very knowledgeable civil servants,” Chick said, adding: “Things don’t change unless they want them to.”

Brown’s statement Monday said six audits that Chick’s office is still working on will be finished by some of the bureaucrats she referred to, including those at the Bureau of State Audits and the Office of Audit and Evaluations in the Department of Finance.

When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Chick in April 2009 to watch over the billions of federal stimulus dollars flowing from Washington, he said California was the first state in the nation to create such an office.

Schwarzenegger praised Chick’s “impressive track record,” telling the Sacramento establishment that the outspoken grandmother was “uniquely qualified” to ensure that stimulus money went where it was meant to go.

Accustomed to issuing blockbuster reports in Los Angeles, where she entered the city controller’s office armed with subpoena power and years of experience on the City Council, Chick struggled to make her presence felt in Sacramento.

In her new job, she lacked the power of the subpoena, which allows investigators to compel testimony and the release of records. For the first year of her 21-month tenure she had a skeleton staff, Chick said. But neither of those obstacles was as daunting as the culture shock.

“It is a challenge here in Sacramento to know exactly what needs fixing and how to go about it, because of the embedded culture of ‘we don’t air our dirty laundry,’ ” Chick wrote in a letter to Brown and Schwarzenegger on Monday.

When Schwarzenegger proposed making audits of state agencies public on the Internet, officials offered “all kinds of excuses to avoid complying,” Chick wrote. Some departments claimed it would take years to scan and post the reports.

Chick, a Democrat, said the state would have been better off if Brown had chosen to expand her powers, but she understands that he has a mandate to reduce spending wherever possible.

“The Governor-elect faces an extremely difficult job in grappling with the severity of the state budget crisis,” Chick wrote. “I wish him the very best during the months ahead.”

This year, Schwarzenegger proposed making Chick’s office permanent, with a $2.8-million budget, but legislators rejected the plan. Instead, they put the money into the governor’s office budget.

Some Republicans, who have generally supported budget cuts of any kind, criticized Brown’s move.

“Abolishing this office sends a signal to those who would abuse taxpayer funds that the state will not be overly concerned watching over how taxpayer money is spent going forward,” said a statement from California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring.

Chick entered public office in 1993, unseating an incumbent city councilwoman to represent a district in the San Fernando Valley. Eight years later, she was elected controller, turning that office into a political powerhouse that criticized the contracting decisions of then-Mayor James K. Hahn. One of her last audits in that post exposed a backlog of untested DNA rape kits at the Los Angeles Police Department.

Randy Meyer is New Ohio IG

From The Columbus Dispatch

Randy Meyer, the chief investigator for state Auditor Mary Taylor and a former police officer, was appointed Ohio inspector general today by Gov.-elect John Kasich.

Meyer, 44, a Republican from Wilmington, will replace Thomas P. Charles, who will be Kasich’s public safety director when he takes office on Jan. 10.

Ohio Inspector General Randy Meyer

Kasich and Taylor announced the appointment today at the Clinton County Courthouse in Wilmington, where Meyer was a police officer from 1994-99.

Former Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles, now Commissioner of Public Safety

The inspector general investigates alleged wrongdoing by state executive agencies and officials. Under Charles, the agency conducted high-profile investigations involving officials at the State Highway Patrol, former Attorney General Marc Dann, and others.

Meyer has worked in the auditor’s office since 2003. Taylor named him chief of investigations in her office in 2007. Prior to that, he worked as head of investigations into public corruption for then-Auditor Betty D. Montgomery, uncovering millions of dollars in fraudulent activities.

He also spent four years working as a gang investigator for Montgomery when she was attorney general from 1999 to 2003.

A Navy veteran, Meyer attended Franklin University.

New Year Brings a New Website

The Association of Inspectors General website has been redesigned to improve services to our members and to further the Association goal of explaining the Inspector General concept to the public and to key policy makers.

Besides generally updating of the appearance and features of the site, a key change is the separation of the members-only site from the public site.

  • The members-only site is now accessible from a log-on available from any page of the primary website. This site provide for membership services, credit card processing of membership dues and event registrations, and member access to the member’s records such as the training transcript.
  • The primary website provides announcements, news, articles, public information, and access to related websites.
  • Related websites include the chapter, conference, institute websites as well as the Association Newsletter.

The Association Newsletter also has a new look. It is formatted like a standard 4-column newspaper. It is searchable, and has a monthly archive of articles.

A new feature is that cases – announcements of results of investigations and studies – posted to any of the chapter websites will automatically also be posted to the Association Newsletter.