DHS IG Skinner to Leave Office

Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner, who has probed contractor waste at the department since its inception, announced on Thursday that he will step down March 1.

Prior to his July 2005 Senate confirmation as IG, Skinner -- a four-decade veteran of the federal government -- had held the position of deputy IG at DHS since its March 2003 creation.

"After serving more than 42 years in the federal government, under nine presidents, I believe the time has come for me to give my full time attention to my family and personal endeavors," Skinner wrote to President Obama in a Jan. 13 letter of resignation. "Because of [the IG office staff's] commitment, professionalism and hard work, the OIG has been extremely successful in working with the department to promote the efficacy of its programs and operations, and to combat fraud, waste, and abuse within its ranks. Looking back over the past 9 years since the tragic events on September 11, 2001, we, as a nation, are now beginning to witness the positive effects of the creation of the department of Homeland Security."

It's not surprising that a department quickly cobbled together from 22 existing agencies would endure a fair degree of mismanagement. Most recently, in a report released Jan. 3, Skinner found that DHS had not tried to recover about $643 million in overpayments to 160,000 people who claimed they were victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Last summer, he revealed that department officials funding a new financial management system worth potentially $1 billion did not have suitable plans, cost estimates or staffing projection for the undertaking.

Skinner started his career at the Agriculture Department in 1969, and later moved on to managerial positions in the investigative arms of the departments of Justice, Commerce and State, as well as the Arms Controls and Disarmament Agency. He was honored with the President's Meritorious Executive Rank Award for serving FEMA, where he worked as acting IG, deputy IG and assistant IG for audits.

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