Background Image
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  9 / 96 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 9 / 96 Next Page
Page Background

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

JANUARY FEBRUARY 2015

9

Accountability

for USAID/IG

Recent reports in e Washington Post and other media highlight allega

-

tions made by auditors working for

USAID’s inspector general that some

audit reports were altered by IG upper

management to omit certain ndings.

ese allegations have caused consider-

able dismay among former USAID IG

auditors.

Federal inspectors general have

unique disclosure responsibilities under

the Inspector General Act of 1976.

ey

report not only to their agency heads,

but also to those congressional com-

mittees that provide funding for agency

operations and exercise oversight.

While omission of inconvenient or

sensitive matters from audit reports

may well ingratiate inspectors with their

agency heads, the practice not only less-

ens the possibility that corrective actions

will be taken by cognizant program

managers, but corrodes the morale of

audit sta . More importantly, it denies

disclosure of such matters to the taxpay-

ers’ representatives in Congress.

Worse yet, perhaps, revelations of

this sort tend to transform the public’s

perception of inspectors general from

that of alert monitors of agency pro-

grams and operations (“junkyard dogs”

in the words of Edwin Meese, Ronald

Reagan’s attorney general) into lap dogs

of agency management.

In short, inspectors general have an

obligation to report their audit ndings

in a thoughtful, balanced and objec-

tive manner, letting the chips fall where

they may. Findings deemed so sensitive

that they might harm vital American

interests if shared are always subject to

classi cation and special handling in

consultation with agency and IG upper

management. In no case, however,

should signi cant ndings be omitted or

withheld from Congress.

ose USAID/IG o cials who alleg-

edly engaged in or condoned the unjus-

ti able suppression of important audit

ndings need to be held accountable for

their actions.

Fred Kalhammer

USAID Senior FSO/supervisory

auditor, retired

Sun City Center, Florida

How to Combat

Inadvertent Judicial Bias

e October FSJ article, “Child Cus- tody Issues in Foreign Service Divorces,”

o ers a well-rounded primer on the

unique chal-

lenges facing a

Foreign Service

parent going

through a

divorce.

Based on

my observa-

tions litigating

family law

cases in Fairfax

County, Virginia, my sole critique is

that the article

understated

the adver-

sity often faced by an FS parent seeking

to take a child overseas. All else being

equal, family law judges tend to prefer

custody arrangements with the parent

who will remain in what has become

a child’s hometown—the “non-posted

parent.”

Unconscious judicial preference for a

stationary lifestyle should be combated

by a competent legal advocate with the

help of a credible scienti c expert wit-

ness.

e applicable Virginia statute

(§ 20-124.3) does not expressly address

the impact of a custodial parent’s plans

to regularly relocate on the “best inter-

ests” of the child.

Furthermore, the Virginia Court of

Appeals has declined to presume that

moving will harm a child’s relationships,

even when moving a “far distance”

( Goodhand v. Kildoo , 560 SE 2d 463, 2002).

Nonetheless, trial court judges can

be a conservative crowd, preferring

past acts and known circumstances to

unpredictable onward assignments and

promises of future good behavior.

For the parent who plans to remain

in the Foreign Service and seek custody

while living abroad, the importance of

hiring a credible child psychologist to

testify to the bene ts and advantages of

a mobile, international lifestyle cannot

be overemphasized.

e extra money

preparing for judicial education on the

advantages of growing up overseas will

be well spent.

Failing to do so may subject a Foreign

Service parent to the discretion of a

judge who has inadvertently equated a

static lifestyle with a stable one.

Sam Schmitt, Esq.

FS family member

Vilnius, Lithuania

Looking Back to the Fall

On Nov. 1, a group of now mostly

retired U.S. o cials celebrated the 25th

anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

is symbolic victory was clearly the

result of great teamwork conducted over

the years by those in the U.S. and Allied

military forces, their respective foreign

o ces, Western intelligence services,

and the underlying dogged, unrelenting

spirit of the German citizenry.

Much credit has already been given

to various individuals who played di er-

ent roles in the events leading up to that

historic day, with particular importance

attached to President Ronald Reagan’s

“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down

is Wall”

LETTERS