Order updates OIG’s mandate to match its growing responsibilities
Philadelphia, October 7, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed an Executive Order reauthorizing the Office of the Inspector General, recognizing the important role the agency has played in rooting out fraud, corruption and mismanagement in City government. The new Executive Order better aligns the OIG’s legal mandate with the array of new initiatives in which it has engaged and clarifies whistleblower protections. It also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the founding of the agency.
“An expanded Office of the Inspector General has been the cornerstone of this Administration’s efforts to change the culture and reputation of City government,” Mayor Nutter said. “OIG investigations have led to millions of dollars in savings and recoveries, but the Office’s work goes beyond the story told by these monetary impacts. At its most fundamental level, the OIG exists to bolster public confidence in government. This new Executive Order ensures that the Office will have the tools it needs to continue its important work for the next 30 years and beyond.”
Former Mayor Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode Sr. first established the OIG in 1984, then called the Office of Performance Assessment, to combat more effectively fraud, abuse, waste and mismanagement in City government. In 1994, then-Mayor Edward G. Rendell strengthened the Office’s investigative abilities by giving it the power to subpoena documents and testimony. In 2009, Mayor Nutter gave the OIG operational and budgetary independence, ensuring that OIG had the freedom and support to aggressively pursue investigations.
Until now, the OIG has operated under a series of Executive Orders that do not reflect the growth and scope of activities undertaken by the Office during the Nutter administration. Under Inspector General Amy L. Kurland, the OIG regularly conducts criminal investigations in cooperation with federal and local law enforcement agencies. The office has also formed a unit to monitor City contracts for fraud and violations of the City’s anti-discrimination and disadvantaged-business regulations.
The new Executive Order strengthens confidentiality provisions and enhances protections on whistleblowers to prevent retaliation and to ensure that City employees feel comfortable reporting misconduct. It also updates the roles of departmental Integrity Officers, who serve as liaisons between OIG investigators and City agencies by forwarding complaints to the OIG and assisting in investigations.
“Under Mayor Nutter’s mandate to clean up the culture in City Hall, the OIG has secured millions of dollars in savings and recoveries for Philadelphia taxpayers. And more importantly, we have sent a clear message that corruption will not be tolerated,” said Inspector General Kurland. “At the same time, we have much more work left to do. This Executive Order renews our mandate, but we still call on City Council to safeguard this office for years to come by passing legislation that guarantees our office’s independence.”
Legislation introduced by Councilman James Kenney would make the OIG an independent City of Philadelphia agency, strengthening existing protections to guarantee its autonomy.