Office of Inspector General (OIG)
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- How was the OIG Formed?
- The OIG was created by County ordinance to promote economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of and, as its priority to prevent and detect fraud and abuse in programs and operations administered or financed by the County. It was determined that the oversight of such a large and diverse government required the organization and administration of the OIG to be independent and autonomous, to assure that no interference or influence external to the OIG adversely affects the independence and objectivity of the Inspector General. The OIG's jurisdiction has since grown to include the Solid Waste Authority, Children's Services Council and all thirty-nine municipalities. The Inspector General serves a four year term and future Inspector Generals will be selected by the Inspector General Committee which is comprised of the Commission on Ethics, the State Attorney and the Public Defender.
- What is the Function of the OIG?
- The OIG has the authority to make investigations of LGEA matters and the power to review and audit past, present and proposed LGEA programs, accounts, records, contracts, change orders and transactions. In order to carry out this function, the OIG has the power to subpoena witnesses and require the production of documents, records and other information. Furthermore, the OIG is authorized to conduct random audits, inspections, and reviews on any LGEA contract. The OIG initiates, conducts, supervises and coordinates activities designed to detect, deter, prevent and eradicate fraud, waste, mismanagement, misconduct, and other abuses by elected and appointed LGEA officials and employees, LGEA agencies and instrumentalities, contractors, their sub-contractors and lower tier sub-contractors and other parties doing business with a LGEA and/or receiving LGEA funds.
- What is LGEA?
- LGEA is an acronym for all Local Governmental Entities Authorized by Ordinance, Charter, County Code or interlocal agreements to fall within the OIG’s jurisdiction. The OIG’s initial jurisdiction was County government pursuant to Board of County Commissioner adopted Ordinance 2009-049. On November 1, 2010 an interlocal agreement was approved to expand jurisdiction over the Solid Waste Authority. In the November 2010 election voters approved OIG jurisdiction over all thirty-eight (now thirty-nine with the formation of the City of Westlake) municipalities, effective June 1, 2011. On January 1, 2012 the Palm Beach County Health Care District and Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County voluntarily entered into agreement for provision of OIG services. (The Palm Beach County Health Care District is no longer a part of this agreement and no longer receives the OIG's services.)
- What is the Jurisdiction of the OIG?
- The Palm Beach County OIG's jurisdiction encompasses all departments, agencies, instrumentalities, and programs of each LGEA. This jurisdiction extends to all LGEA employees, public officials, and elected officials. The OIG also has jurisdiction over vendors, contractors, their sub-contractors and lower tier sub-contractors doing business with any LGEA.
- What are the Powers Available to the OIG?
- According to the OIG's enabling legislation, the Office shall have the power to require production of documents from and receive full and unrestricted access to the records of the LGEA Board, LGEA Administrator, all elected and appointed LGEA officials and employees, LGEA departments, divisions, agencies and instrumentalities, contractors, their sub-contractors and lower tier sub-contractors and other persons and entities doing business with the LGEA and/or receiving LGEA funds. The Inspector General's jurisdiction includes but shall not be limited to all projects, programs, contracts or transactions that are funded in whole or in part by the LGEA.
Conversely, the OIG may report to these same individuals its findings and recommendations arising from an investigation, audit, or review. Unless otherwise exempt from public disclosure, these findings and recommendations are released in a public report and can be found at:
- Is the Office of the Inspector General a Law Enforcement Agency?
- No. The OIG is not a law enforcement agency. As such, our agents do not have the authority to arrest individuals. The OIG works in conjunction with law enforcement agencies, the Office of the State Attorney, 15th Judicial Circuit, and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida with respect to pursuing criminal investigations.
- Does the OIG Have Subpoena Power?
- Yes, although most often, the OIG is able to acquire the same information and/or obtain the same documentation using mechanisms already available to us through our enabling ordinance, contract language, and other legally binding agreements. In rare cases when a subpoena is necessary, the OIG provides written notice seventy-two (72) hours prior to serving the subpoena to both the Office of the State Attorney, 15th Judicial Circuit and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida to insure that the issuance of our subpoena will not interfere with an on-going criminal investigation. OIG subpoenas are enforceable through the 15th Judicial Circuit Court.
- What Mandatory Obligations Are Placed Upon the Inspector General?
- Where the Inspector General suspects a possible violation of any state, federal or local law or rule, regulation or policy, the IG shall notify the appropriate civil, criminal or administrative agencies. The OIG shall publish an annual report that can be found at: http://www.pbcgov.com/OIG/reports.htm
- How Do I Report Fraud, Waste or Abuse Without Losing My Job as a County, Municipal or SWA Employee?
- Each report of fraud, waste or abuse is reviewed for whistle-blower protection. If you believe that making a report to the OIG will place you at risk of retaliation, you should inform the OIG of this fact. If you are granted whistle-blower protection, your name and identity will be protected from disclosure (112.3188, Florida Statutes).
- When Does the OIG Initiate an Investigation?
- Each report of fraud, waste or abuse is reviewed by the Intake Unit within the OIG. Investigations are initiated upon receipt of information alleging an act of fraud, waste, financial mismanagement, misconduct, corruption or other abuses within the OIG's jurisdiction.
- When are Reports of Investigations Made Available to the Public?
- Once the OIG closes an investigation or audit, the reports are redacted (confidential information such as social security number, personal health information are removed) and posted on the OIG's website under Reports.
- When Should I Contact the OIG?
- You should contact the OIG whenever you have reason to suspect fraud, waste, mismanagement, misconduct, or other abuses within or relating to the LGEA. Employees of each LGEA should refer to their LGEA Policy that outlines their responsibilities for reporting such information. The OIG's main telephone number is (561) 233-2350.
- What Happens If the OIG Does Not Have Jurisdiction Over a Matter?
- You will be notified of this fact, and whenever possible, we will refer your report of fraud, waste or abuse to the appropriate agency or organization that can provide assistance.
- How Do I Report Acts of Fraud, Waste, Mismanagement, Misconduct, or other Abuses to the OIG?
- You may report this information to us in one of four ways;
1) You may report your concerns to us by email, US Mail, or fax in a written complaint;
2) You can stop by our office and meet with an OIG Intake Specialist and provide the information directly to us;
3) You may call our hotline at 877-283-7068; or
4) You can access our secure email (firstname.lastname@example.org) via this website to provide us with the information. In any event, you may remain anonymous; however, you are encouraged to identify yourself so that we may follow up on your call or email and obtain additional information that would help us in an our investigation.
Forms to report fraud, waste or abuse: http://www.pbcgov.com/OIG/complaints.htm or
Email a report of fraud, waste or abuse to email@example.com or
Fax a report of fraud, waste or abuse to: (561) 233-2375 or
Mail report to:
Office of Inspector General
P.O. Box 16568
West Palm Beach, FL 33416
To speak with an Investigator, Auditor or Contract Specialist in the OIG, please call (561) 233-2350.
Our office is located at:
Office of Inspector General
100 Australian Avenue, 4th Floor
West Palm Beach, FL 33406