Governor Nikki Haley signed into law Thursday morning a measure that formally creates a watchdog agency to be known as the Office of the State Inspector General.
The mission of the office is to investigate allegations of waste, fraud and abuse in state government. Haley created the position of Inspector General by executive order back in March. Jim Martin, who was appointed to the post in June, says the law gives the office more clout by granting the use of subpoena power.
The law puts the duties and authority of the Inspector General into state law. The first inspector general, George Schroeder, left seven weeks after being named to the position after expressing concerns about the operation’s independence. At the time, he said a law would clear up staffing and administrative questions.
Martin says, during the eight months he has been at the post, his office has successfully handled 101 cases with a staff of four people, including himself. The additional personnel are two auditor investigators and an administrative assistant. Martin says the new, expanded power will translate into a larger caseload and adds he expects that the number of staff in his office will grow as the caseload expands.
AUDIO: Martin says the law will make the office more effective (2:44)
Haley says she does not expect the staff will grow into another large governmental agency. She says the key is saving taxpayer money by reducing government waste, fraud and abuse. She says the key to that is not in numbers of persons on staff, but gaining the cooperation, confidence and trust of those who work in government and concerned citizens.
Haley says one important aspect of the office’s investigative power is the input of contentious government workers and concerned citizens who can call into the inspector general’s office anonymously and point out problems and concerns.
AUDIO: Haley says the office has already proven its effectiveness (1:44)