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POGO tracks federal watchdog vacancies

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The Project On Government Oversight launched a new web page today to track how long agencies have been left without inspectors general, hoping to spur government officials to appoint leadership to the watchdog roles as soon as possible.

“Congress and the public rely on [Offices of Inspectors General]  reports to hold agencies and individuals accountable for wrongdoing, identify a need for legislation, and evaluate the effectiveness of government programs and policies,” POGO says on the site.

The longest vacancy has been at the State Department, which has operated more than four years without a permanent inspector general, the website shows. This is at a time when the department has taken on the responsibility of managing private security contractors in war zones, POGO said in a news release.

Currently, 12 agencies operate without an appointed IG. Six agencies have IG positions that have been vacant for more than a year.

Acting IGs are generally less effective than appointed IGs because they are considered to be temporary, so they are less likely to take a strong leadership role and set long-term priorities, POGO says. Appointed IGs have to undergo significant vetting — especially those that require Senate confirmation — which helps instill confidence that the position is truly independent, the group says.

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