Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hot New State Government Job

Because of the ongoing state government crunch and the ensuing budget cuts, hiring freezes, etc., it's not very common to hear people calling to create new positions in state government -- especially people from both major political parties.

But there's one new job that's been endorsed by both Republican Heather Wilson, a former member of COngress, and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, the only Democrat running for governor:

Inspector General.

In a guest column on Heath Haussamen's blog published today (titled Restoring Ethics, Eight Ways to Clean Up Santa Fe), Wilson wrote:

New Mexico should establish by statute an Office of the Inspector General, and the inspector general should be appointed or elected for a fixed term not contiguous with the governorship and should be responsible for reviewing and testing the integrity of state and local governments. An inspector general could receive and review anonymous complaints, require the production of documents and root out waste and corruption.

While the state auditor looks at finances, an IG could look at compliance with other policies like procurement, personnel policy and regulatory compliance. The existence of multiple organizations and competing political forces can help deter corruption and root it out where it exists.

Denish also has called for an inspector general of sorts. Her recently rolled-out plan to reform government says:

Denish would consolidate all agency inspectors general and fraud and abuse staff in one Office of Government Accountability led by a Chief Performance and Accountability Officer. This person will answer to the Governor and be charged with eliminating fraud, waste and abuse in state government. By taking existing inspector general staff out of their agencies and placing them in an independent office, taxpayers will have an internal watchdog for taxpayer funds that is unbiased and not beholden to departmental personalities or loyalties.

Sounds like ideas worth inspecting