D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie, the new chairman of the Government Operations Committee, is opening up his chairmanship by targeting the effectiveness of the city’s inspector general.
McDuffie (D-Ward 5), who was a prosecutor before he was elected to the council last year, sent a letter to Charles J. Willoughby Monday evening announcing a preliminary council inquiry into the speed and quality of work produced by Willoughby’s office.
The inspector general works for the council as an independent office tasked with looking into allegations of waste, fraud and abuse in city government. But the office often takes months or years to complete an investigation. IG reports also often fail to make to determinative conclusions, making it difficult for city leaders or taxpayers to assign blame.
“We are concerned that a delay in producing reports compromises everyone’s ability to fetter out fraud, abuse and waste and undermines the public’s confidence in the OIG and their confidence in the District’s government as a whole,” McDuffie wrote.
Willoughby was not immediately available to comment Monday evening.
In his letter, McDuffie requested that Willoughby provide the council information about its staffing, number of annual audits and investigations and “factors” that are “contributing to delays in the completion of investigations.”
McDuffie wrote he’s also “very concerned” by media reports that the inspector general did not thoroughly investigate allegations that teachers may have improperly tampered with student test scores under former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
In a Frontline documentary about Rhee set to air Tuesday, a former principal at Noyes Education Campus states she suspected three teachers may have changed student test scores in 2010-2011.
In August, Willoughby issued a report that found no evidence of answer-sheet tampering within DCPS. He based his findings on a 17-month investigation at Noyes.
McDuffie wants Willoughby to provide documentation that investigators interviewed the former principal and “if not, why.”
“Amongst other things, there is an allegation that the OIG never interviewed one of the principals with information germane to the alleged cheating, that the OIG relied too heavily on an investigation conducted by a third party, and that the OIG failed to investigate reported irregularities at other DCPS locations,” wrote McDuffie, who has given Willoughby 15 days to respond to his requests.