Can Virginia Counties Hire an “Inspector General (we need them)”? Pro’s & Cons’s
Oh, don’t even get me started on the “T” word. Politicians and political candidates just love to throw around the word “transparency” like it’s some kind of magic cure-all for all of our problems. But let’s be real, when was the last time any of these representatives actually provided any real transparency?
Over the past three years, it has become increasingly clear that the word “transparency” has lost much of its meaning and has become nothing more than political jargon. From Silicon Valley Bank to Education, the Economy to Ukraine, Equity Agenda’s to ESG, the list of areas where transparency is sorely lacking is seemingly endless. It’s time for us to demand more than just lip service from our leaders when it comes to transparency.
It’s like clockwork – every election cycle, they’ll spout off about “transparency” without giving any specifics or actual plans to achieve it. And of course, their loyal followers will eat it up like trained seals and cheer them on without a second thought.
Well, I’ve had enough of this nonsense. It’s time for these politicians and political candidates to put their money where their mouth is and actually come up with real solutions for transparency. Ideas like an Inspector General or a mandate for local governments and school boards to provide their actual voting records would be a good start. But let’s be real, there are plenty of other ideas out there too.
So come on, politicians and political candidates – put up or shut up. Stop using the word “transparency” as a meaningless buzzword and actually do something about it. It’s time to give the word “transparent” some actual integrity, don’t you think?
OK Big Mouth, Can Virginia Even Have Inspector Generals?
The ability of counties in Virginia to have inspector generals is determined by state law. As of my knowledge cutoff date of September 2021, Virginia state law did not authorize the creation of county-level inspector general positions.
However, it is worth noting that the General Assembly of Virginia can pass legislation that would allow for the creation of county-level inspector general positions. Therefore, it is possible that this may change in the future if the General Assembly decides to amend the state law.
It is also worth noting that some counties in Virginia may have similar positions or structures in place that perform similar functions to those of an inspector general. For example, some counties may have an independent auditor or an internal audit department that oversees the county’s financial and operational activities. If Loudoun County currently has one of these “Inspector General” like positions, they perhaps they need to be reevaluated for effectiveness.
Pro’s and Con’s of an Inspector General
An inspector general is an independent and objective government official responsible for conducting audits, investigations, and evaluations of government programs and operations. Here are some potential pros and cons of having an inspector general:
- Increased accountability and transparency: An inspector general can help increase accountability and transparency by identifying and reporting on waste, fraud, and abuse within government programs and operations.
- Improved efficiency and effectiveness: By conducting audits and evaluations, an inspector general can help identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement within government programs and operations, leading to greater efficiency and effectiveness.
- Enhanced public trust: The existence of an independent and objective inspector general can help enhance public trust in government by providing assurance that the government is being held accountable for its actions.
- Cost savings: An inspector general can help identify cost savings opportunities within government programs and operations, leading to potential cost savings for taxpayers.
- Potential for conflicts of interest: The inspector general may face pressure from within the government or from external stakeholders, which could compromise their independence and objectivity.
- Limited jurisdiction: The inspector general’s jurisdiction may be limited to certain areas or programs, which could prevent them from identifying problems in other areas of government.
- Budgetary constraints: Funding for an inspector general’s office may be limited, which could limit the scope and depth of their work.
- Overlapping responsibilities: An inspector general’s responsibilities may overlap with those of other government agencies, potentially leading to duplication of efforts or confusion over who is responsible for addressing certain issues.
Overall, the benefits of having an inspector general – increased accountability, transparency, efficiency, and public trust – outweigh the potential drawbacks.
When you consider all that Loudoun has been through regarding rapes, sexual assaults, grand jury, and the LCPS SB’s unwillingness to provide “transparency” by releasing their internal report, wouldn’t it be worth the annual salary of an IG? Maybe the article below will help: