Legislative Update: Bill 27-22 Inspector General–Powers and Duties
Bill 27-22 makes several updates to the Office of the Inspector General in Montgomery County and provides a few clarifications on the office's activities and powers. Inspector Generals are an important part of any government. They identify actions that increase the productivity, effectiveness, or efficiency of programs and operations of the government and its independent agencies. They also conduct investigations, budgetary analyses, performance audits, and other reviews and, if needed, are assisted by other government agencies or private entities.
One of the changes that will have an immediate effect if this bill is enacted is the proposal to increase the number of Councilmembers needed to remove an Inspector General from office. Currently, on the nine-member Council, there need to be six members in agreement to remove the IG, Bill 27-22 proposes to increase that number to seven needed to remove the IG. In 2020, voters in Montgomery County decided to add two new seats to the County Council, creating an 11-member body.
The bill would make a number of procedural changes as well. It will change the Inspector General's due date for submitting an initial budget to align with the deadline to submit an initial work plan, making both due six months after the Inspector General’s appointment. Currently, the deadline is four months after their appointment. Bill 27-22 also adds more specific language about compliance, so it is clear that the Inspector General has the ability to conduct and has access to audits. In addition, it clarifies that, upon request of the Inspector General, all officers, employees, and contractors of each County department or office are mandated to provide them documentation or information requested.
There are several changes in this bill that the Inspector General requested themselves:
New to policy to streamline and clarify processes and powers regarding subpoenas
Removes section stating: "The Inspector General must immediately notify the Chief Administrative Officer, the County Attorney, and the President of the Council if any department, office, or agency does not provide any document or information within a reasonable time after the Inspector General requests it."
Added protections for anyone, including residents, against retaliation for making a report to the Inspector General
Removes references to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission since each now has its own Inspector General under state law.