Council Attacks Investigative Arm of City Government

The government needs more oversight, not less.

By Aaron Kase
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 5 | Posted Mar. 23, 2010

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The bigger point here is that regardless of what the Controller should or should not be doing, the OIG is getting results. “The Office of the Inspector General has been performing better and better. Seth Williams took the job out of the shadows and Kurland has built on that,” Stalberg says.

While the $3.2 million salary figure may not be verifiable or accurate, funds recovered from fraud and other savings like the $3.4 million in Department of Defense checks are money in the bank. Furthermore, not counted in the savings is the deterrence of city employees from committing fraud or theft knowing that they could be held accountable. That’s a service that the Controller’s Office has simply not been providing. Prior to Kurland’s arrival, fired city workers were usually rehired with back pay after arbitration.

The bottom line is there is still plenty of corruption in Philadelphia. The government needs more oversight, not less, and currently the OIG is doing the best job rooting out fraud, punishing those responsible and recommending policy changes to prevent future abuses.

Why mess with success?

Councilman-At-Large Frank Rizzo Jr. acknowledged at the hearing that the OIG is perceived as more effective than the Controller’s Office: “It’s becoming obvious to me that because the Inspector General is doing a good job, when there’s a complaint the department prefers to go to the Inspector General instead of another elected official.”

As Kurland told Council: “We’re on the way to becoming a national model for an independent office conducting complex fraud investigations.”

But that’s only if they don’t get derailed, defunded or defanged by City Council first.

*Councilman Green could not be reached for comment despite repeated calls to his office yesterday.

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1. Anonymous said... on Mar 23, 2010 at 10:05PM

“i find it laughable to read city council is just now questioning kurland and the ig's functions. being "real" kurland is the pawn of nutty nutter and her job is to respond to the" kneejerk reactions of fix it and make sure it looks like i'm doing the right thing posture in the fiefdom of nutterville". department heads are pressured into following recommendations with such threats as" you will go if you don't do what i say." there are hundreds of city employees and this article cites 45 employee actions and 24 more investigations on-going. i would venture to say this is an extremely low percentage and it appears the city employees are doing the right thing.{in spite of the threat mentality) it makes one wonder of those that were dismissed etc. were done so in order to save face. hmmmm something to think about when nutter has such difficulty in displaying leadership ability and uses the ig office to intimidate employees.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Mar 24, 2010 at 11:06AM

“If the office of the Inspector General's office is 1.3 Million dollars and they saved the City 3.2 Million, not counting the recovered checks for 3.4 Million, then I would say they are doing an outstanding job. How much money has the City Controllers Office saved the City. Oh and one more thing, maybe City Council has reason to fear the Inspector General.”

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3. philly finest said... on Mar 27, 2010 at 09:43PM

“The title of this article is a quote from the inspector general's website. Who wrote the article? The Weekly or the inspector general?”

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4. CJ said... on Mar 29, 2010 at 12:05AM

“Philadelphia City Council is full of untrustworthy criminals. They are doing great job bankrupting this city”

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5. Anonymous said... on Apr 21, 2010 at 08:22PM

“Did the IG save the city 3.2 million? She testified that her numbers were inaccurate. Maybe she should investigate herself.”

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