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Thursday, July 12, 2007

IGs defend working relationships with agency leaders

Inspectors general today defended their need to have good working relationships with agency heads, even if it creates the appearance of partiality.

“To be an effective inspector general, it is important to develop a professional working relationship with agency leadership,” Glenn Fine, Justice Department IG, told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “Our role is to be independent, to objectively identify any problems and provide effective recommendations to correct deficiencies and not to worry about our popularity.”

Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said he is concerned the relationship between IGs and agency heads is too close.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., a former Missouri state auditor, said there is a fine line between maintaining a good working relationship with leadership and keeping sufficient distance.

But IGs disagree. They must have good relationships with leaders in order to effectively oversee the agency, they say.

-Amy Doolittle, FederalTimes.com

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