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NEWS | July 14, 2022

88th Readiness Division Inspector General Office doesn’t have to be last resort

By Cheryl Phillips 88th Readiness Division

You may have reservations about visiting the 88th Readiness Division Inspector General office here if you have a problem you’re looking to resolve. You’re likely not alone.

Lt. Col. Ryan Leigl, the IG who heads the office, thinks that people may consider the IG as a last resort because “they attempt to resolve the issue on their own or through their chain of command first, but when they feel they are at a loss they look to the IG,” Leigl said. “We will always ask if they tried to resolve it through their chain of command before they came to us, and encourage that they do, but it is not a requirement. Sometimes individuals feel uncomfortable approaching their chain of command to resolve an issue.”

Anyone can file an IG complaint – Soldier, civilian, contractor, retiree or family member. However, Leigl noted that “the complaint does require a nexus to the Army to be appropriate for us to handle. For example, a family member could come to the IG to report an issue about Army post housing. However, that same family member coming to the IG with a grievance related to an off-post business establishment would not have that Army nexus.”

There are numerous examples of the type of complaints handed by the IG. They include promotion and/or pay issues such as temporary duty or bonuses; personnel actions like promotions, discharges, retirements, weight control; medical such as line of duty; incapacitation pay; command managements like family care plans or reprisal; or personal conduct such as fraternization, transportation fraud, misuse of a government vehicle.

While the list of complaints the IG can handle is long, there are those issues that aren’t taken care of by the office. Examples include non-Army issues, serious criminal offenses that would be appropriate for Criminal Investigation Division or law enforcement, and complaints and grievances that have other forms of redress or an established appeal process. This could be issues with comments on a military evaluation or Equal Opportunity matters.

In the latter cases, “the IG would likely explain the redress or appeal process to the individual,” Leigl said. “Civilian employment grievances would also fall withing this category as CPAC [Civilian Personnel Advisory Center] would typically handle those.”

Despite possible reticence, Leigl encourages people to use the IG as a resource to help resolve an issue, rather than a final recourse. “We can be a resource to help address problems and clarify processes. Before a problem or issue gets out of control you can seek assistance through the IG.”

The IG serves as an impartial fact finder and problem solver. Leigl emphasized that “we do not take sides. We are independent, unbiased, and do not deliberately seek out allegations against anyone. We simply look for the facts and evaluate how they align against regulatory guidance and polices.”

The 88th RD IG office is authorized nine IG personnel: six full-time IGs (three Active Guard Reserve Soldiers and three Civilians) and three part-time IGs. The office performs all four IG functions: assistance, investigations, inspections and teaching and training, but is predominantly focused on IG assistance.

Given the senior geographic commander responsibilities of the RDs, RD IG offices provide overflow assistance for all units located within their designated regions, in the event the unit’s local command IG office becomes overwhelmed.

Leigl said the amount of cases varies, but his office typically sees 200 to 300 requests each year.

Many people have heard of or been involved with an IG inspection, which isn’t just for people or units in trouble.

The 88th RD IG office looks for the underlying problem causing a systemic issue, the root cause, and then provide recommend solutions to address it. “We typically do not attribute personnel or units to findings during our inspections. When we do uncover an issue, we use our teaching and training function to explain what right looks like,” Leigl said.

He added that unlike the more traditional inspections (initial command inspections or staff inspections) IG inspections can be tailored specifically to what the CG wants the office to look at.

The IG supports the chain of command by increasing visibility of issues so the commander can take appropriate action. Most general officer commands will have an IG office. The size of the IG office may vary by command type.

“Most of the traditional IG offices will see trending problems emerge within their organizations through the performance of their work. These trends are then presented to the commander for their visibility,” Leigl said. “Commanders then take appropriate action to address the problem areas, sometimes resulting in directing an IG inspection, to help identify the root cause.

“The 88th RD is a bit unique in this regard. Most of the IG assistance we provide are in support of external units located with our 19-state area, not necessarily under our organization.”