Safeguarding Integrity in State Government
The Office of the Ohio Inspector General was established in 1988 by an executive order of the governor. Through this executive order, the inspector general was charged with the authority to “… examine, investigate, and make recommendations with respect to the prevention and detection of wrongful acts and omissions in the Governor’s Office and the agencies of state government… .” In 1990, the legislature passed Amended Substitute House Bill 588, which permanently established the position and the Office of the Ohio Inspector General.
Jurisdiction and Authority
The jurisdiction of the Inspector General’s Office is limited to the executive branch of state government. The inspector general is authorized by law to investigate alleged wrongful acts or omissions committed by state officers or employees. It extends to the governor, the governor’s cabinet and staff, state agencies (as defined in Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §1.60), departments, and boards and commissions. The inspector general’s jurisdiction includes state universities and state medical colleges, but does not include community colleges. The courts, the General Assembly, and the offices of the Secretary of State, the Auditor of State, the Treasurer of State, and the Attorney General, and their respective state officers or employees are statutorily excluded from the jurisdiction of the Inspector General’s Office. Likewise, the office has no authority to investigate allegations concerning federal, county, municipal or other local officials, agencies, or governing bodies.
Pursuant to ORC §121.42, the inspector general’s authority extends to:
Receiving complaints alleging wrongful acts and omissions and determining whether there is reasonable cause to believe an alleged wrongful act or omission has been committed or is being committed by a state officer or employee;
Investigating the management and operation of state agencies on the inspector general’s initiative to determine whether wrongful acts and omissions have been committed or are being committed by state officers and employees.
Those individuals who contract with state agencies or who otherwise do business with the state may also fall under the purview of this office. The Inspector General’s Office does not become involved in private disputes, labor/management issues, or litigation. The office does not review or override the decisions of a court or the findings of any administrative body. In order to begin an investigation, allegations of wrongdoing must specifically relate to wrongful acts or omissions committed by state officials or state agencies.
Similarly, the Inspector General’s Office is not an advocate for either the state agency or the complainant in any particular case. The office’s obligation is to ensure that the investigative process is conducted fully, fairly, and impartially. As independent fact finders, wrongdoing may or may not be found as the result of an investigation.