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Alleged Misconduct by Construction and Facilities Deputy Executive Director Not Substantiated

Report Description: 

The OIG’s administrative investigation examined whether the deputy executive director of VA’s Office of Construction and Facilities Management (OCFM), during his tenure as acting executive director, failed to respond appropriately to a 2018 audit by the office’s Quality Assurance Service (QAS). The QAS audit found that an unsubstantiated assertion was used to justify a lease acquisition by OCFM’s Central Region Office. The audit was deemed a “special review,” for which the service lacks a governing policy. Consequently, there was no process to track the audit’s findings and recommendations, unlike routine compliance reviews. The deputy executive director took 11 months to respond to the audit and did so only to OCFM’s executive leadership, leaving some OCFM personnel with an impression that he had ignored it. Although the OIG did not find that the deputy executive director failed to respond to the audit, it determined that OCFM lacks a policy relating to special reviews and made a corresponding recommendation.

The OIG also investigated whether the deputy executive director, while the acting executive director, falsely attested to the effectiveness of OCFM’s internal controls. The deputy executive director signed statements of assurance in 2019 per governing requirements, attesting that OCFM’s controls suffered from no material weaknesses. At a February 2020 meeting, he commented on concerns he had with OCFM’s controls and assessment process, which some attendees viewed as an admission of a past false statement. The deputy executive director’s interview responses, his contemporaneous statements, and an informal inquiry by his successor indicated that the February 2020 comments referred merely to nonmaterial weaknesses in OCFM’s controls and assessment process. Thus, the OIG did not substantiate that the deputy executive director made false statements.

VA concurred with the OIG’s findings and its recommendation.

Submitting OIG-Specific Report Number: 

20-02908-21

Component, if applicable: 

Office of Acquisitions, Logistics, and Construction

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