State News

November 26, 2012

State inspector general makes 4 cases a year

ATLANTA — An analysis of cases from the past several years found that the Georgia Office of the Inspector General uncovered wrongdoing or exposed weaknesses in state agencies an average of about four times a year.

The analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/SoeVQ0 ) was based on 992 complaints the agency received since 2006.

The agency’s investigators spend much of their time running down complaints that don’t pan out, said Georgia Inspector General Deron Hicks. Most complaints are referred elsewhere or turned down because his office either doesn’t have the authority to investigate or they aren’t worthy tips, he said.

“A lot of them, we’ll go a good ways down a path and just determine that there’s no basis for the complaint,” Hicks said. “It eats up a ton of time.”

It is surprising that wrongdoing isn’t found more often by the office, said William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia.

“You just think about that many accusations or that many whistle blowers,” Perry said. “It’s just surprising that wrongdoing is found so seldom.”

Complaints to the inspector general on the rise, from 97 in 2006 to 218 last year, the newspaper reported. At the same time, the office’s budget has been cut by about 30 percent over the past five years.

“We’ve just had to do more with less,” Hicks said. “There’s just no other way to get around it.”

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