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Kelman column in the Washington Post

You can read Steve Kelman's columns ... and now his FCW.com blog ... but Kelman has a piece in the Washington Post editorial page today:

The IG Ideology [WP, 4.4.2007]
Inspectors General contribute to the talent deficit that hurts government.


Here is the top of the article:

Most elected officials and journalists see inspectors general as nonideological fraud-busters whose only cause is protecting the taxpayer. Many therefore accept their pronouncements as truth-telling without fear or favor.

IGs do accomplish useful work. But the IG culture -- reflected in the topics inspectors choose for reports and the conclusions they draw -- also embodies an ideology about how public organizations should be managed that can make it harder, not easier, for government to perform well. Contracting, a high-visibility area in which IGs have been extensively involved of late, offers many examples, but this culture applies to other domains of public management as well.


It's interesting because I think that the Doan hearing last week would have been a real opportunity to get into these issues. After all, much of what is going on at GSA is essentially a food fight between Doan and GSA's inspector general.

And while we're talking about the Doan hearing, Tom Temin, who is writing commentaries for Federal News Radio's Web site, has his take on the hearing:

The hearing was a typical food fight. Everyone was splattered with a little egg, including some career GSA folks who didn't even testify. Waxman seemed the most restrained and polite. But the aptly-named Massachusetts Democrat Stephen F. Lynch used his allotted time to simply excoriate Doan, never asking a question. It was a slightly pathetic performance. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), the former chairman, who knows information technology and GSA inside out, tried to balance the hearing and help Doan.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Apr 04, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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