Justice Department IG Michael Horowitz, who also leads the governmentwide IG council, said the group would soon begin tracking vacancies.

Justice Department IG Michael Horowitz, who also leads the governmentwide IG council, said the group would soon begin tracking vacancies. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

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Inspectors General Council to Track Watchdog Vacancies

Website improvements announced just as Trump assigns SSA IG to Interior.

With 11 of 74 federal inspectors general slots vacant, the chairman of the watchdogs’ council on Friday announced an array of coming improvements to the group’s website oversight.gov, including a vacancy tracker.

Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department IG who doubles as chairman of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, described the new resources in a Friday speech to the Congressional Transparency Caucus.

The website—which announces new reports from 71 IGs across government—has drawn a million visits a year and has offered access to 11,650 past reports since its launch in October 2017, Horowitz noted. Soon it will also include a database on each agency’s open IG recommendations, a cross-agency whistleblower hotline form, a disaster assistance page, and IG council-hosted websites for IGs who need them.

The development came just as the White House named Gail Ennis, inspector general for the Social Security Administration, as acting IG for the Interior Department. Ennis’s appointment, reported Monday morning by The Hill, was posted on the website of the Interior IG’s office, where deputy IG Mary Kendall recently retired.

The nonprofit Project on Government Oversight has been tracking IG vacancies since 2012. On Monday, Rebecca Jones, POGO’s policy counsel, told Government Executive that Oversight.gov is a “natural home” for the tracker.      

“IG vacancies are particularly worrisome given the nature of their work overseeing federal programs and practices,” she said. “We need to encourage both the president and Senate to prioritize the vetting and confirmation of qualified individuals to become IGs, and an official tracker is a great resource for the public to know where the holdup is happening, and to continue asking why.”