David A. Montoya, Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) written testimony excerpt:
Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Financial Services
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
“Exploring Alleged Ethical and Legal Violations at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development”
In closing, these actions by a small group of HUD employees detract from what my experience has shown to be the norm — that is that the vast majority of HUD employees are hardworking, dedicated civil servants. It is a fact that poor actions and behavior are human nature and will occur throughout any industry or entity – private or government. HUD is not alone. However, what I believe is important, is what you do after such behavior is detected to discipline and to create an ethical culture in the workplace. Yet one cannot ignore the fact that for the past several years, HUD has consistently ranked near the bottom in annual surveys of the most desirable federal agency in which to work. Misconduct and unethical behavior, particularly by high ranking officials does not, in my view, serve to enhance this unfavorable image. Employee morale also suffers when employees observe that misconduct is not dealt with and the offending employees are allowed to remain in their positions virtually unpunished. According to a 2013 National Business Ethics Survey conducted by the Ethics Resource Center, when employees observe misconduct on the job, their engagement drops by nearly 30 percent.
Indeed many of these cases have come to us by conscientious employees who are frustrated by a lack of will by management to address these improprieties. In some of these cases, we see a failure to adhere to existing policies and procedures or we see a breakdown in responsibility. Particularly troubling to me is that when information is withheld from OIG agents or employees demonstrate a lack of candor with, or even threaten OIG agents, HUD’s management response is sometimes inconsequential.
The entire report can be downloaded or read HERE