On February 1, news surfaced at a House Government Reform Committee that several Federal IGs had received notice from the incoming presidential administration on the 13th of January that they were being asked to remain in their posts only temporarily. This is something the IG community has been taking seriously since the email was sent – Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said the IG community “absolutely took it very seriously. I think it’s fair to say that all of us, including those who got the calls, were concerned about not just about their own positions, but about the institution itself.”
Fortunately, Horowitz has since heard from the White House Counsel that there was no intention of replacing Inspector Generals en masse. In addition to removing the threat to the independence of IG offices, this assurance prevents the challenges that would have been incurred by removing staff from teams which are already having trouble getting positions filled. In a previous blog post, we discussed a study of IG offices which found that only 12% of offices believe their hiring process allows them to hire staff in a timely manner. A mass-replacement of IGs would likely have caused turmoil as the entire federal IG community adjusted to major changes in leadership goals and leadership style.
The Senate will still have plenty of Inspector General positions to approve even without mass terminations. According to CIGIE, 11 IGs are still serving in an acting capacity, and many of these positions require Senate approval.
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