Legislation calling for the office of Inspector General in Delaware is back.
The bill, sponsored by John Kowalko, D-Newark, has co-sponsors from both parties. One of those rare issues where progressives like Kowlko and conservative Republicans find room for agreement.
The idea of an inspector general is nothing new, given the level of corruption in state and local government in Delaware.
One argument in favor of the office is the potential for conflict within the state Department of Justice, which represents state officials in legal matters. Still, it plays the role of prosecutor and investigator.
One would hope the bill gets serious consideration in light of the State Auditor’s Office situation.
Late this month, State Auditor Kathy McGuiness is scheduled to go on trial on a number of felony and misdemeanor charges.
McGuiness and her legal team have mounted an aggressive defense that has attempted to throw out most if not all of the charges.
This week, Superior Court Judge William Carpenter – who had to carve out time in his busy schedule to hold the trial before the election – denied the defense’s request to throw out a charge of intimidating employees.
The defense argued that existing law is vague and that McGuiness was unaware that an investigation was taking place.
Carpenter saw holes in the state’s case but also noted that the allegations of similar conduct occurred after the indictment was issued.
In reading through the judge’s ruling, it appears an initial investigation by an inspector general would have been preferable to the AG’s office jumping in first.
The argument could also be made that the state auditor’s office should be beefed up to the point that its permanent staff, with civil service protections, takes on some of the duties of an inspector general.
The history of personnel problems in that office makes that idea a nonstarter, minus major statutory changes. – Doug Rainey, chief content. officer
For now, that is not an option. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer