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Government and People
September 12, 2003
The Honorable Anthony A. Williams Mayor
Dear Mayor Williams:
Although I informed you of my plans to resign last night, I am sending this official transmittal in the form of a public letter because the media has covered questions about my tenure extensively for some time. I believe that my resignation requires a full explanation for broad distribution to the public
It is crucial to the continuing independence of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that the public knows that I am resigning, effective December 31, 2003, on my own terms - without a severance package, on my timeline, and with all allegations by the City Council remaining unfounded. Since these allegations were unfounded, the statutory protections against undue political pressure on my Office prevented anyone from forcing my removal. My hope is that succeeding Inspectors General will continue to benefit from these protections, as intended by Congress, and that they will continue to report the facts about waste, fraud, and abuse as they are found - even if the reports prove embarrassing to elected and non-elected officials at the highest levels. District residents need and deserve an effective watchdog - not a lapdog.
Although I have been encouraged by many District stakeholders to remain in my position, I have made a choice to resign for professional and personal reasons. I have delayed my plans to engage in the private practice of law until the end of this year in order to complete several pieces of unfinished business, to include the initiation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the Fiscal Year 2003 Annual Report, the Fiscal Year 2004 Audit and Inspection Plan, and several major investigations, audits, and inspections nearing completion. Also, I believe that my remaining time in office should be sufficient to allow for the search and selection process for my successor to take place.
I am extremely proud of the growth and accomplishments of the OIG during my tenure. Shortly after I was confirmed as Inspector General in 1999, 1 established an Inspections and Evaluations Division to complement the Audit and Investigations Divisions. During March 2000 we received certification from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the funding of a Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for the District of Columbia. Previously, the District was one of the few jurisdictions in the United States that lacked such a unit to investigate and prosecute healthcare fraud and patient abuse.
The addition of these two divisions has given us a broad and effective arsenal against fraud, waste, and abuse that has resulted in significant contributions to the District, not only in fiscal matters but also in helping agency heads to provide the best services possible. For example, during the last four years we have achieved total monetary benefits of over $160 million and at least $20 million in asset seizures, fines, recoveries, and settlements. In the past four years, thirty-five District employees have been convicted of criminal violations involving theft of government funds and other job- related crimes. Just as importantly, services to District residents have improved because the local government has implemented more than 85% of the hundreds of recommendations that we provided to achieve systemic improvements to District agency operations. Moreover, our investigations, inspection, and audit divisions recently passed the first-ever peer reviews of our performance based on stringent industry and federal standards.
In closing, I would like to express my appreciation to you and to your staff for the cooperation and protection from interference that made it possible for my Office to conduct our work in an objective and thorough manner. Even when our inquiries and reports exposed issues sensitive or embarrassing to your administration, your willingness to review our findings objectively has helped to ensure that the District is in a better position to take corrective action.
It has been a pleasure working with you and the members of this administration. I wish you and my colleagues the very best.
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