Why Delaware Needs an Inspector General
The Most Important Public Official You Never Heard Of
Delaware needs to create an independent and nonpartisan Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to provide oversight and investigation of state agencies and officials for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.
Establishing an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has been the main focus of DelCOG over the past few years. In 2022, DelCOG made a presentation to the House Administration Committee in support of HB 405, a bipartisan bill to create a Delaware Inspector General. Seventeen Delaware organizations signed on in support, and the Committee released the bill. The bill, however, never got a vote in the House.
DelCOG has a working relationship with the Association of Inspectors General, which is the national umbrella organization for all state-level OIGs. In May of 2023, DelCOG made a presentation at an OIG event sponsored by the Villanova Law School. DelCOG spoke to a number of inspectors general from around the United States. One of our topics addressed state-agency mismanagement issues — that is, problems that do not rise to the level of a crime, but fall between the cracks of oversight and investigation.
Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia have an OIG at the state, county, or municipal level. All states with an OIG also have an attorney general and an auditor. These offices enhance each others’ efforts to work for the public good and enhance public trust.
By exercising its oversight and investigative authority, an Office of the Delaware Inspector General could do the following:
- Ensure that government agencies act in the public interest and conduct agency affairs with honesty and integrity.
- Uphold the reputation of agencies that are in compliance with the law if wrongly accused of improper or illegal behavior.
- Save taxpayer money — inspectors general have a history of reducing waste in government agencies.
- Investigate and evaluate state-agency deficiencies and questionable practices to deter and stop fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.
- Hold agency officials ethically and legally accountable for their actions or inactions.
- Recommend legal action regarding official misconduct if laws are broken by working in concert with law enforcement, the Attorney General, the State Auditor, and the Public Integrity Commission.
- Respond to alerts by resident and state-employee whistleblowers.
- Recommend changes to state laws, policies, and procedures to help rectify systemic problems by reporting to the governor, state agencies, the legislator, and the public.
- Provide intangible benefits by serving as an alternative resource for employees and staff to report their concerns, while motivating state-agency officials to function in the best interests of all Delawareans.
A bill to create a Delaware Inspector General is being introduced again for the legislature to vote on in the next year. DelCOG encourages the Governor and legislature to ensure funding for a Delaware Inspector General.
If you would like to learn more about the importance of an OIG, please join our 2023 Annual Meeting. Shannon Manigault, the Inspector General for the City of Atlanta, Georgia, will be one of our guest speakers addressing the need for an OIG. The other speaker will be Claire Snyder-Hall, Executive Director of Common Cause of Delaware, who will be talking about the need for greater transparency in Delaware.
Click here to learn more about our annual meeting, “The Most Important and Effective Public Official You Never Heard Of: An Inspector General and Why Delaware Needs One.”