In a significant move to strengthen OIG independence, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (Act) on November 15, 2021. As a condition of funding for WMATA, Section 30019(c) of the Act requires the Board of Directors (Board) to adopt specific reforms to the IG’s authorities. These include:
- greater independence in the annual budget process, by directing OIG to send its annual budget request directly to the Board for review and approval;
- improved procurement authority, by requiring WMATA to delegate contracting officer authority to the IG;
- greater independence in selecting and appointing OIG officers and employees, by delegating to the IG the authority to select, appoint, and employ personnel as necessary for carrying out the duties of OIG;
- assurance that the IG obtains legal advice from a counsel reporting directly to the IG; and
- specified reporting requirements, and measures to assure the public dissemination of OIG reports, in particular –
- Any OIG report containing a recommendation for corrective action must be posted to the OIG website not later than 3 days after the report is submitted in final form to the Board (subject to redactions of privileged or other protected information);
- OIG must submit semiannual reports to the Board, which in turn must transmit them to specified recipients including the Congress and the signatories to the WMATA Compact (Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia);
- Not later than three years after the enactment of the Act, the U.S. General Accountability Office must report to Congress on whether the reforms to strengthen OIG independence have been carried out.
On December 9, 2021, the Board of Directors passed Board Resolution 2021-46 adopting, and directing staff to implement, the reforms set out in the Act.