From: Delaware Live As calls mount for the creation of a statewide inspector general’s office in Delaware, one Newark lawmaker is drafting legislation to do just that.
Rep. John Kowalko, D-Newark, will introduce legislation in early 2022 to set the framework for the establishment of the new office, which would be tasked with investigating instances of waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement within the state government.
The office would also seek to root out inefficiencies within government and streamline processes and practices to save taxpayers money.
The bill, if passed, will authorize the creation of the office and allocate funding for salaries, office space and other start-up expenses.
Kowalko said he expects that the office would require an annual budget of around $2 million to meet its goals.
Opponents say that cost is too much to ask of taxpayers, especially when the state already has an auditor of accounts to investigate financial mismanagement and abuse.
But with the indictment of State Auditor Kathy McGuiness on corruption charges and multiple instances of shady dealings and perceived cover-ups within the state government, Kowalko and others believe now is the time to act in the interest of transparency.
Some would like to see what exactly ends up in the bill.
“The concept of an office of inspector general, when we’ve seen so much bad behavior on the part of Democrats recently, would be a good thing potentially,” said Delaware Republican Party chairwoman Jane Brady. “But I would have to see the language of the bill and how they intend for it to work before I could indicate whether I would support it or not.”
This wouldn’t be the legislature’s first attempt to create an inspector general’s office.
Kowalko co-sponsored similar legislation in 2007 brought forth by then-Rep. Bill Oberle, R-Newark. That bill overwhelmingly passed in the House of Representatives but when it arrived in the Senate, it was tabled, never receiving a vote.
“I’ve noticed situations recently, like the situation with the auditor, the situation with Connections, even questions raised about asbestos removal at that Fisker site,” Kowalko said in an interview with Delaware LIVE News. “There seems to be no government oversight.” Read more.