A majority of the largest Federal agencies will have their inspector general (IG) offices involved in monitoring how agencies plan for and proceed with office reopening plans amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said today.
Rep. Connolly – who chairs the House Government Operations Subcommittee – reported today that 24 Federal agencies have responded to his June letters requesting IG oversight of agency reopening plans. Rep. Connolly’s office today released a rating system and tracker today to record their responses.
Among the agencies contacted, only the Department of Housing and Urban Development IG has failed to provide a formal response.
Of the remaining agencies, 15 agency IGs are reviewing or will review their agency’s reopening plans. Seven agency IGs said they did not conduct a formal review, but are overseeing or plan to oversee reopening safety. And only one agency IG – at the Small Business Administration – did not commit to conducting the review or related oversight.
“Whether it is rushing to reopen schools or Federal offices, the Trump administration has repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to put optics ahead of science and safety,” Rep. Connolly said. “We have a responsibility to put the health and safety of our federal workers ahead of politics.”
The congressman also called for continued congressional oversight of the reopenings “for full transparency and accountability.”
In the June letter, Rep. Connolly asked for a detailed report on agency best practices, manager decision making, metrics on reopening indicators, the availability of personal protective equipment, and other information on reopening procedures.
“Federal IGs have played a critical role in overseeing the operations of the Federal government throughout the pandemic,” Rep. Connolly wrote in June. “Your continued oversight is critical to protect the health and safety of our government’s most valuable resource: its Federal workforce.”