Federal Watchdogs Recognized for Their Outstanding Accomplishments
The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency hosted its 25th annual awards ceremony on Tuesday.
Watchdogs from across the federal government were awarded on Tuesday for their work to root out waste, fraud and abuse, some of which was in response to the most high-profile events of the last few years.
The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency hosted its 25th annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., recognizing outstanding work from the past year.
“The work that we our honoring today illustrates why we should all be proud of the role that we play as members of independent, nonpartisan OIGs who on a daily basis make tangible contributions to help ensure integrity, transparency and accountability in federal government programs and operations,” Allison Lerner, CIGIE chair and National Science Foundation IG, said at the event in the Ronald Reagan Building Amphitheater.
“It is our community’s high-quality work and superlative professionalism that makes it challenging to decide which of the hundreds of projects and thousands of IG employees that we should recognize,” said Mark Greenblatt, CIGIE vice chair and Interior Department IG. “But I think that is the key takeaway here today.”
There are the special category awards as well as other awards for excellence in administrative support; audits; diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility; employee integrity; evaluations; government ethics; inspection; investigations; information technology’ management; multiple disciplines; public private partnership; and a special act. Some categories had multiple winners.
Awardees were involved in overseeing the Defense Department’s support of the relocation of Afghan nationals after the Taliban took over Afghanistan in summer 2021; uncovering fraud in COVD-19 relief programs; reviewing federal law enforcement’s response to the protests for racial justice in Lafayette square in summer 2020; scrutinizing allegations of misuse of government resources by the former Secretary of State and investigating fraud claims that led to a $34 million civil settlement for false claims in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and more.
The full list of winners can be found in the awards booklet online.
“Each individual IG office is encouraged to submit nominations to each category including each of the individually named awards,” Alan Boehm, CIGIE executive director, told Government Executive. The special category awards are selected by the CIGIE Executive Council and then for the other categories, a panel of senior IG community members makes the selection, Boehm added.
“The public’s faith in the government can only be sustained as long as we conduct our business fairly, honestly and transparently,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in pre-recorded remarks for the event. “The inspector general community is integral to upholding those commitments.”
She acknowledged that working in oversight is not always easy.
“I know there are times when people may not welcome auditors or investigators in, with open arms,” Haaland said. “But life in the inspector general community isn’t about being popular. It’s about being objective and fair. It’s about being a respected independent partner.”
She called on those in the IG community to “hold fast and not bend to political pressure.”
Jason Miller, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget and CIGIE executive chair, said the IG community is “vital to ensuring we are keeping our promises to the American people.” He underscored President Biden’s commitment to IG’s work and independence, noting “you have his steadfast support; you have my steadfast support.”