Review of Circumstances of the Mass Removal of Statutory Inspectors General

AFMD-81-86: Published: Jul 9, 1981. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 1981.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the circumstances of the mass removal of 15 statutory inspectors general which occurred in January 1981. GAO was to determine: (1) whether anyone critically examined the qualifications and performance of each former inspector general and, if so, what was the extent and nature of any such review; (2) whether any members of Congress were consulted or notified of the pending mass removals; (3) whether any of the individuals designated to head the affected departments and agencies were consulted about or notified of the pending mass removals; and (4) what procedures were being followed in identifying and selecting nominees, and what timetable was established for sending nominations to the Senate. Before GAO could respond to the request, the questions were answered during a Senate subcommittee hearing.

Testimony given during the subcommittee hearing revealed that, in essence, there had been no examination of qualifications and performance of the inspectors general prior to their removal and that the decision to fire them was based on the principle that it is a new President's prerogative to terminate his predecessor's executive branch appointees. Also, it was stated that neither members of Congress nor designated department heads of affected agencies were notified. Finally, various officials declined to project dates for sending nominations to the Senate.

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