EPA IG steps down, raises concern over pay scale

Nikki Tinsley, longtime inspector general at the Environmental Protection Agency, told President Bush she will leave her post in early March.

In a letter to the president today, Tinsley said that although she is proud of her service, she fears that the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2004 will prevent qualified IG candidates from accepting similar appointments.

'I fear the pay inequities that were created with the implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2004 will make it increasingly difficult to convince career employees to accept IG appointments in the future,' Tinsley wrote. 'I hope your administration will work with Congress to address this issue and to encourage qualified career employees to serve as inspectors general in the future.'

The act changed the pay scale for Senior Executive Service employees by making raises contingent on performance reviews, an EPA Office of Inspector General spokesman said.

For IGs, this is problematic because they are independent of their agency heads and are not subject to peer review'meaning that an IG's salary is essentially frozen.

Tinsley becomes the second federal IG to step down this week, following Transportation Department IG Kenneth Mead, who will leave his position Feb. 11.

Like Mead, Tinsley served both presidents Bush and Clinton; she became EPA's IG in October 1997.

In her letter, Tinsley said her office helped EPA regularly receive high marks in the quarterly President's Management Agenda scorecard.

'The OIG has worked closely with EPA to ensure that taxpayer dollars are well spent and properly managed, and was an instrumental partner in helping EPA become one of the first agencies to 'get to green' in financial management on your management agenda scorecard,' she wrote.

Tinsley also found that EPA's IT systems were vulnerable and needed to be better protected.

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