This afternoon, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held a virtual confirmation hearing for the President’s nominee for OPM Inspector General, Craig E. Leen, who currently is the Director of the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”). The FEHBlog caught a good chunk of the hearing online. The Senators’s attention principally was on the other nominee Russell Vought who is the acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget and hopes to be made the permanent director.
Mr. Leen was in no sense ignored though. Each Senator asked him a question or two. His opening testimony is available here. Of note, Mr. Leen stated that
As Inspector General, I would focus on the following immediate priorities:
Closing open IG recommendations and establishing a public dashboard to track my office’s progress;
Addressing improper payments and seeking to eliminate them;
Evaluating OPM’s guidance related to COVID-19 and learn from what went well and what could be improved;
Increasing the amount of evaluations done by OPM Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and
Ensuring equal employment opportunity for all protected classes, including ensuring inclusion and accommodations of individuals with disabilities (the federal government should follow the same guidance it gives federal contractors in how to ensure equal employment opportunity)
I would like to take a moment to focus on the first and last priorities. The OPM OIG has over 300 open recommendations going back many years. This is a common issue for IGs. I am concerned about what open IG recommendations does to public trust in government; a problem has been specifically identified, but not corrected. I would make closing these open recommendations a primary focus as Inspector General.
Mr. Leen mentioned during the Q&As that the OPM Inspector General historically has performed one evaluation annually. The next step will be a Committee business meeting to consider sending Mr. Leen’s nomination to the Senate floor.