Inspector general: Office ‘busy’ despite no completed reports

inspector-general

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A transition in the Albuquerque Inspector General’s office has yet to produce a completed investigation, but its new leader is confident he has things headed in the right direction.

David Harper was hired as the city’s inspector general in April, taking over in late June. That independent office is in charge of looking for fraud, waste and abuse within city departments. The office had been without an inspector general heading it up for a number of years after Neftali Carrasquillo resigned in late 2012. The productivity of that office has reflected that.

In FY 2012, it completed 13 investigations. From FY 2013 thru FY 2016, only 11 total investigation reports were finished. The most recent completed investigation was in late April.

Harper says the office is shifting its focus to look more closely at fraud with major projects around the city and public corruption.

“We’re in a state of transition,” Harper said. “We want to become less reactive to what I consider to be the low hanging fruit, minor misconduct.”

Five months into his official time on the job, Harper says at this point there are two full investigations underway.

“At this point it’s hard to speculate when those investigations would be closed and result in a report,” Harper said. “The office is busy it’s just that right now we don’t have any investigative reports that we’ve recently published.”

Albuquerque’s inspector general’s office is understaffed compared with similar offices in cities of a similar size. Harper says he intends to request additional staff, including those with capabilities such as fraud analytics but acknowledges there may be limited funding available.

Currently the city contracts out much of its investigative services to private firms. The mayor’s office has previously said that’s necessary for more urgent cases.

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