For months, the City of Albuquerque’s ‘watchdog’ office has sat silent, not pushing out any new reports that hold public officials accountable.
Now, the Office of the Inspector General finally has a new leader, after the last one, David Harper, resigned. Will the new IG ramp up the investigations?
The most recent report on the city’s website for the OIG is dated June 6, 2018. It was about the ART project, and was one of eight reports published in FY18. Halfway through FY19, and zero reports have been published.
Harper resigned in late July 2018, and since then, no new reports have come out under interim IG JoVonne O’Connell.
The OIG serves as an impartial investigator on everything from the ordinary — like ADA compliance and campaign finance fraud — to the bizarre, like a backroom BioPark barbershop.
O’Connell will soon be replaced, though, as city councilors selected Ken Bramlett to fill the vacancy. His résumé includes working for the Los Angeles Unified School District and doing investigations for the State of Georgia.
“I am a certified inspector general, I am a certified fraud investigator, a certified board advisor,” Bramlett said before city council on Jan. 7, when all three candidates were being interviewed.
Last week, Bramlett was picked.
“[I] know no one in Albuquerque so I have no loyalties to anybody,” Bramlett said, met with laughter. “Same way when I went to California I didn’t know anybody there. Sometimes that’s a good thing because you don’t have any preconceived notions.”
Over the phone Wednesday, Bramlett, who is still in his home State of Georgia, said he is not yet privy to any possible ongoing investigations in Albuquerque — only what’s been made public.
But he told KRQE News 13 that once he assumes his role, he intends to be “very transparent and accessible” to city employees, the public and the media.
O’Connell also issued a statement Wednesday. To read the statement, click here.
KRQE News 13 also reached out to all nine city councilors to ask why the hiring process took so long, and if they’re concerned about a lack of reports over the last six months. One declined an interview and the others did not respond.
Bramlett said his anticipated start date is mid-February.