Dear Association Members and Friends,
“Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice.”
My duties as AIG President occasionally require me to stand in the gap when the need arises. Last month at the AIG Annual Training Conference in Chicago, I was asked to deliver this year’s Keynote address after the person we had originally lined up was forced to cancel at the last minute. Even on such short notice, it occurred to me fairly quickly that I had been handed another opportunity to not only encourage and challenge those in the Inspector General profession, but also remind them of our duty to protect the integrity of the profession. There are many facets of this, but foremost among them is the avoidance of both real and perceived bias and prejudice.
In the midst of daily headlines about high profile investigations and political turmoil in America, it has never been more critical for Inspectors General to be seen as objective fact finders. Our job is to get to the truth, whatever it is, without regard to partisan politics, allegiances, status or influence. As I have said many times, IGs are in the evidence business. Evidence is our stock in trade. It doesn’t matter what we think the truth is, it only matters what we can prove through competent evidence.
As IGs are increasingly thrust into the public spotlight, it is important to remember that we possess great power to harm – careers, reputations, and even freedom. All IGs everywhere must recognize this and continue to do their jobs with the utmost care, professionalism and caution. Things are not always as they seem, and therefore we must look beneath the surface with a determination to get to the truth. As I delivered that address, it became clear that I was preaching to a choir of over 300 people, and it again made me proud to be a part of the IG profession.
As we approach another Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the friendship and support of all my colleagues. The Chicago training conference was a smashing success, very much in the tradition of recent AIG training conferences. Again, we had many top folks from the Federal, State and Local IG communities there to share their wisdom and experience. Every year, I so look forward to these gatherings as a chance to recharge my batteries and spend meaningful time with my colleagues. Let’s face it, no one understands what IGs go through better than other IGs.
The training conference was again superbly run. I want to personally thank everyone who was involved in making it another great event. Special thanks to Board Member and Chair of the AIG Training Conference Committee Hector Collazo, and his entire Committee; Will Fletcher and his enthusiastic and tireless team on the Local Planning Committee; City of Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson; Executive Director Ron Calvosa, Deputy Executive Director Frank Chen and the entire national staff; Board Member and John Jay Professor Ned Benton, and all the students, faculty and staff from John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and finally each and every one of our Exhibitors for your continued support of the AIG.
As for news related to our Board of Directors, the entire slate of Officers, myself included, was unanimously reelected to another term. I am honored to serve another term as AIG President. Congratulations also to First Vice president Bob Clift, Second Vice President Barry Kluger, Third Vice President Natalie Monroe, Secretary Lora Manon and Treasurer Pat Russo.
I also want to welcome our newly elected Board Members: Isabel Cumming, City of Baltimore Inspector General; Felix Jimenez, Deputy Inspector General, Miami Dade County; Eric Miller, Florida Chief Inspector General; and Phil Zisman, Retired AIG Executive Director. We look forward to working with all of you.
Our next national event will be the Inspector General Institute® in Jacksonville, FL in March of 2019. That Institute will feature the first ever pilot course on Inspections and Evaluations. Next summer the Institute will return to New York City and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
As I said during my Keynote address, things aren’t always as they seem … you have to look beneath the surface. When looking beneath the surface of the IG Community, here is what I see:
DESIRE TO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD
Make no mistake – this is a noble profession and I am honored to be a part of it with all of you.
Stephen B. Street, Jr., AIG National President