This Semiannual Report of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) details some of our most significant accomplishments for the period October 1, 1999–March 31, 2000. During this period, the OIG continued to focus our audit and investigative resources on activities that support our strategic plan goals. These goals reflect our vision of providing the Department and Congress with quality information, recommendations, and technical assistance. OIG audits, investigations, and evaluations conducted during this period have resulted in $29.7 million in questioned costs; $4.3 million in recommendations that funds be put to better use; 173 indictments; and 126 convictions representing nearly $39 million in investigative recoveries, restitutions, fines, or penalties. In examples that illustrate some of our accomplishments, the OIG has:
- audited the Workforce Investment Act’s One-Stop systems in seven states and found that the infrastructure required for the comprehensive One-Stop system is still being developed; therefore, a strong commitment is needed by Federal, state, and local partners in order to meet the July 1, 2000, implementation date;
- audited the Occupational Safety and Health Act coverage of public employees and found that 17 of the 29 states reviewed lacked some important elements of an adequate safety and health program for state and local government workers, or did not extend workplace safety and health coverage to their state and local government workers;
- conducted audits of a number of grants and contracts and identified questioned costs due to mismanagement or lack of compliance with financial management requirements. For example, we questioned $15.8 million in costs in our audit of the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources and nearly $6 million in our audit of the National Senior Citizens Education and Research Center;
- followed up on a prior audit of State Employment Security Agencies’ success in identifying hidden (or unreported) wages and collecting related tax contributions. Because of this audit, 23 states recovered more than $2.5 million of Unemployment Insurance tax contributions during calendar year 1999;
- issued an evaluation that recommended additional internal controls and monitoring to reduce the Black Lung Disability Program’s vulnerability to fraud and excessive costs in the areas of blood gas tests and home oxygen;
- completed 137 worker benefits investigations resulting in almost $14.3 million in monetary accomplishments and 75 convictions;
- combated labor racketeering in unions and the workplace in the areas of employee benefit plans, labor-management relations, and internal union affairs. Our criminal investigations have yielded numerous indictments and convictions. In one investigation, for example, two investment bankers were sentenced and fined for their role in the loss of $9.3 million from a union pension fund; and
- called attention to legislative issues impacting the Department in the areas of program evaluation, workers’ compensation, information technology and security, occupational safety and health, and law enforcement authority.
We have augmented our traditional role by working collaboratively and constructively with the Department to identify, early in the process, possible impediments that may affect DOL’s success in administering its programs and in serving the American public. Illustrative of this is the technical assistance we have been providing to the Bureau of International Labor Affairs to help develop management controls over its substantial new grant programs. In addition, we continue to assist the Department in the Government Performance and Results Act process to ensure that DOL’s performance goals are outcome based and directed toward measuring performance, and to assist the Employment and Training Administration in its efforts to implement the One-Stop delivery system as required under the Workforce Investment Act.
I would like to commend all the OIG staff members for their diligent work and commitment toward effecting positive change, reducing vulnerabilities, and contributing to the achievement of DOL strategic goals. The OIG looks forward to continuing to work effectively with the Secretary, management, and departmental staff at all levels in our common goal of ensuring the effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity of the programs that serve and protect American workers and retirees.