Inspector General's Office Nixed By Jerry Brown. What Did Inspector General Do?

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Move Will Save State Not Quite Three-Thousandths Of One Percent Of Looming Deficit

The office of Gov.-elect Jerry Brown yesterday announced it would be curtailing the office of inspector general in January as a cost-cutting move.

This, of course, prompts the question "what does the inspector general do?" It certainly sounds important. When we called Brown's office, it became clear that this wasn't a very easy question to answer. We were directed to call the doomed office and ask its walking dead employees what the hell they do all day.

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It turns out the IG's office was only established some eight months ago by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to oversee how federal stimulus dollars are being spent in this state. The Inspector General, for what it's worth, is Laura Chick.

Chick's staff have undertaken 27 audits in those eight months -- not bad. Of the 11 staffers in the office, seven were borrowed from other departments and will be beating a path to their old roosts. Four are out of a job.

By pulling the plug in January instead of June -- when the office was previously scheduled to be done away with -- Brown estimates he'll save $700,000; IG audits will now be handled by other state auditing bodies such as the Bureau of State Audits, the State Controller's Office, or the Office of Audit and Evaluations in the Department of Finance. Should any of those departments fail to find waste and fraud Chick's office would have -- and Chick intimates this will happen -- then this becomes a financially questionable move. 

In case you were wondering, that $700,000 represents 0.0025 percent of the state's ballooning $28.1 billion deficit. To put things in perspective, if the state's deficit were $1,000, this would represent a savings of not quite two and a half cents.

Happy New Year!

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