Capstone Project: Senate Confirmed Political Appointees IGS HUD and DHS

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Political Appointees-Senate Confirmed for Inspector Generals (IGs) for two (2) Federal agencies since inception [Dept. Of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Dept. Of Homeland Security (DHS-since 2005?)]

This project aims to improve the quality, consistency, and comprehensiveness of Open source/Public World Wide Web Access regarding political appointees in American government. Political appointees play a storied role in American government. No other industrialized democracy appoints such a large, wide-ranging class of political executives, as does the U.S. federal government. and, particularly over the last four decades, their numbers have increased substantially. Reform of the appointees process has been a topic of advocacy for decades. This year reform might actually occur, but if history is a guide, while fixing the system may be easier said than done there are plenty of opportunities to improve the quality of public knowledge. The following three memos describe the details of the dilemma illustrating, by way of example, the Inspector Generals of the two Federal agencies: the Department. Of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department. Of Homeland Security (DHS)

1. Memo 1: The Office of Inspector General and details of its appointment, tenure, and controversy of confirmation delays.

The Office of Inspector General serves as 'police patrol', namely to monitor the projects and activities of the particular Department that the individual governs and to reports on these activities to the Secretary, the Congress, and the American Public.

The reason for institution of these positions is, however, more murky than it appears on the surface. President and Congress, apparently, have launched these key positions as a means with which to control these administrative agencies. Nonetheless, senators have traditionally been permitted to curb presidential volition by impeding, or by attempting to impede, a particular appointee's installation. Although democratic in intention, this strategy leads to erosion in the effectiveness and creditably of the position since it results in frequent and stretched-out vacancies and notorious confirmation delays (Roberts, Dull, & Choi, 2010).

Senate appointees involve a tangled web of variables, not least their particular political perspectives that have to reflect presidential politics; aspects of their personalities that have to please the President and senators; and the personal agendas of the nominators. Appointments are powerful in that they serve to craft influence over the particular agency's directions and decisions, and serve as instruments of congressional influence.

Appointments are distributed for a number of reasons, most prominently to those who have evidenced support to the president in the past, to individuals within the president's electoral coalition, to individuals who will help the president gain the support of key constituencies on Capitol Hill, or to individuals of particular interest groups. In all cases, the individuals chosen as administrator of the HUD or DHS (amongst two such committees) are, invariably, individuals who are closely linked to the president's agenda and share his political and ideological perspectives (Dull, Roberts, Sang, & Keeney, 2009).

Competency, too, is an obligation. The administrator must be sufficiently competent to prevent the president from taking blame for any policies implemented and the reverse to implement policies for which the president is granted credit. Competence includes the characteristics of knowledge, charisma, resilience, and commitment. In occasionally, an appointee does differ in his politics to that of the president and such instances are both beneficial and disadvantageous in that, whilst providing a needed check, they may also result in conflict.

The average time to confirm IG appointments is 88 days to 3 months; usually cabinet secretaries are confirmed within a few days of their appointments. Term in office shows a mean of 2.8 years but there is tremendous variation with appointee tenure varying from just one year to more than four years. Senatorial dithering, however, with presidents taking time to choose and settle on their confirmation, and appointees taking time to accept their nomination has resulted in scandal. In the meantime, positions drag on unfilled causing confusion and anarchy within the establishment itself (Dull, Roberts, Sang, & Keeney, 2009).

Delay is not always on the side of the president or the side of the nominee (who may hope to win certain conditions). Specific senators may attempt to drag out the appointment by unearthing scandals or questionable reports on the nominee, and the appointments, themselves, are a mess of accrued rules and expectations that have been aggregated over the years from different presidential appointments.

Even when in office, appointee tenure is as diverse as the characters of the appointments themselves and the reasons for choosing them. Appointees resign for various reasons, from wishing to spend more time with family to seeking a better position. In fact, more public service appointees often leave for private business positions that are more lucrative and, occasionally, less stressful (Dull, Roberts, Sang, & Keeney, 2009).

It was to curb some of these scandalous effects and to encourage longer stay in office that the Federal Vacancies Reform Act was instituted.

The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 implemented various measures. Inclusive in these measures was the motion that if an officer of the executive agency died, resigned, or was otherwise unable to perform the functions of his office whilst in office, in order to prevent a vacancy from occurring, the officer's first assistant, with permission of the President, would temporarily assume office in his stead. This is with the proviso that the person has been acting in this capacity for at least 365 days preceding the incapacity of the officer. There are also conditions to this person acting as replacement, one of which is the need for the Senate's approval.

The aforementioned replacement individual may continue to fill office unless the senate (and/or the president) decides to vote otherwise. In order to prevent a vacancy from occurring, the individual may also continue in office for the duration of 210 days in the event of, and after, a second nomination is rejected or withdrawn (the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, P.L. 105-277).

Memo 2: Biographical content about Senate-confirmed appointees in the Office of Inspector General (IG) of the HUD and DHS

The mission of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to:

Promote the integrity, efficiency and effectiveness of HUD programs and operations to assist the Department in meeting its mission.

Detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse

Seek administrative sanctions, civil recoveries and/or criminal prosecution of those responsible for waste, fraud and abuse in HUD programs and operations (HUD:

The OIG accomplishes its mission by conducting investigations pertinent to its activities; by keeping Congress, the Secretary, and the public fully informed of its activities, and by working with staff (in this case of the HUD and DHS) in achieving success of its objectives and goals.

Right now, the post of Inspector General of the HUD is vacant. Michael P. Stevens is the acting Inspector General with Executive Assistant, Dennis Raschka, helping him. (HUD,

Whilst I could not find biographical information about Raschka and Stevens, I managed to unearth information about Charles K. Edwards, the former Deputy and present Acting Inspector General of the DHS.

The mission statement of the DHS is to:

To serve as an independent and objective inspection, audit, and investigative body to promote effectiveness, efficiency, and economy in the Department of Homeland Security's programs and operations, and to prevent and detect fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and waste in such programs and operations (DHS, Office of Inspector General,

The site states that the responsibility of the Inspector General encompasses conducting and supervising audits, investigations, inspections relating to the activities of the Department and to "examine, evaluate and, where necessary, critique these operations and activities, recommending ways for the Department to carry out its responsibilities in the most effective, efficient, and economical manner possible" (ibid.)

The Acting Inspector General and the Deputy Inspector General is Charles K. Edwards who assumed his position on February 27, 2011 -- last month. Mr. Edwards, in fact, had transferred from previous post of Deputy IG of the DHS to that of Acting IG.

Mr. Edwards has held more 20 years of responsibility in various federal positions that include Transportation Security Administration, the United States Postal Service's Office of Inspector General, and the United States Postal Service.

His competence is indicated by the fact that he has received numerous awards for his contributions including awards for excellence from individual Offices of Inspector General as well as from the Inspector General community as a whole.

A graduate of Loyola College in Maryland with a double Masters degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, Mr. Edwards is a certified Project Management Professional and possesses a Federal Chief Information Officer Certificate and Master's Certificate in it Project Management from Carnegie Mellon University (DHS,

Memo 3: Important points or lessons learned in the process of gathering the data.

I learned that filling an administrative post in one of these top government positions is not so simple. I also realized that there is a lot of messiness that transpires backstage. Over 1,1000 senate apportioned individuals are running agencies that are involved… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Senate Confirmed Political Appointees IGS HUD and DHS.  (2011, March 6).  Retrieved September 20, 2019, from

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"Senate Confirmed Political Appointees IGS HUD and DHS."  March 6, 2011.  Accessed September 20, 2019.