[Excerpt] This semiannual report of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) details some of our most significant activities for the period of October 1, 1996 - March 31, 1997. During this period, my office focused its audit and investigative activities on ensuring the effectiveness and integrity of the following functions of the Department: employment and training, workplace standards and safety and health; workplace benefits; and departmental management. In addition, we continued to carry out our mission of reducing labor racketeering in the workplace.
The OIG has also put great effort in helping to ensure the Department’s implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993, which becomes effective this October. GPRA represents a new era of accountability for Government programs and services. The fundamental purpose of the law is to increase the performance of Government programs and services by identifying their impact and cost, and then measuring their return on the taxpayers’ investment. There is no question that meeting the intent of GPRA is a challenge to all of us in Government.
However, performance accountability and results is something that we in the IG community, and certainly this OIG, have promoted for a number of years. Over the years, OIG audits and investigations have identified areas where performance could be improved and cost efficiencies achieved. With our experience and expertise with DOL programs, we believe we can be helpful in achieving the spirit and intent of GPRA at the Department of Labor.
To this end, we have completed drafting a strategic plan which outlines some very ambitious goals for the next few years. Among these goals will be our intent to ensure that our audit and investigative activities help the Department’s programs and services reach and maintain an optimum level of performance, address key issues of concern to the Congress, and ensure that taxpayer interests are served. In addition, we intend to expand our traditional audit and investigative functions to increase our focus on improving program performance by providing consultation, technical assistance, and special reviews to the program agencies within the Department. Resources permitting, we also intend to maintain, if not increase, our level of effort in combating labor racketeering in the workplace. This includes utilizing “industry probes,” civil RICO cases, and other innovative strategies to detect and investigate a new generation of racketeers.