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Bipartisan legislation introduced in Delaware Senate would create Office of Inspector General

Lawmakers are at work at Legislative Hall to create a legal recreational marijuana industry.
Delaware Public Media
Lawmakers are at work at Legislative Hall to create a legal recreational marijuana industry.

Legislation to create the Delaware Office of Inspector General is introduced.

State Sen. Laura Sturgeon is sponsoring Senate Bill 21 which would create the new office.

It would be an independent watchdog agency empowered to investigate waste, fraud and abuse in the executive and legislative branches of state government.

And Sturgeon says that independence is crucial.

"What this bill aims to do is an office that is fully independent, an office that does not depend upon the electorate, and party politics and needing to have endorsements from one party or one higher ranking party official or another, but rather fully independent," said Sturgeon.

The office would conduct investigations, issue public opinions, and initiate civil proceedings against state officials accused of violating the trust of the public.

The legislation calls for the Delaware Secretary of State to convene a 15-member selection panel to recommend three candidates, with the Governor nominating one as Inspector General for Senate confirmation,

The IG’s term would be 5-years, and they would build a staff that would include a Deputy Inspector General.

If passed, the department would be operational by early next year.

Sturgeon says they have an idea what it will cost to get the office up and running.

"Based on the fiscal note of the previous iteration of the bill that Representative Kowalko introduced, we're thinking it may fall in the vicinity of 1.5 to 2 million. That's what it was a couple years back," said Sturgeon.

The office would work collaboratively with the Delaware Department of Justice so there are no duplicate investigations.

SB 21 has been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.