Governor Scott Walker is creating an Inspector General position for the Department of Transportation (DOT). The job of the WisDOTIG (look, those are the initials we have for the acronym) is to find the proverbial “waste, fraud and abuse” that every government agency has that nobody has ever figured out how to cut.

No, seriously, that’s the language the governor used, “waste, fraud and abuse.”

Provide that the Office shall have the following mission:

a. To investigate and review Department programs and initiatives for inefficiencies, waste, fraud and abuse.
b. To review budget documentation for the Department, including detailed information regarding the appropriations and programs administered.
c. To advise the Secretary and the Governor about ways to increase efficiency and implement cost savings measures in the Department while preserving the state’s commitment to public safety.

It’s also the language of Sen. Dave Craig, R-Vernon, who supports the idea of creating the position. We hope he’s right that the new WisDOTIG will actually be productive, er, reductive. However, Craig would like the position to also report to the legislature.

We’re not sure how practical that solution is, but right now the only person the WisDOTIG answers to is DOT Secretary Dave Ross. While we have confidence in Ross, how effective would the WisDOTIG have been reporting to Ross’ predecessor?

We actually have two tests of whether the WisDOTIG will be successful. The first test is who gets the job. We’ll know if this is a serious position to find “waste, fraud and abuse” by the name on the door. If it’s someone who’s never counted the staplers before in a job, it’s an appointment to give someone a job and check a box. If it’s someone who actually is interested in cutting government “waste, fraud and abuse,” we’ll know because they have experience actually doing it.

The second test is the reaction from within the DOT. If we start hearing from within the DOT the new WisDOTIG is suggesting too deep of cuts to spending and causing real pain, then we’ll know the WisDOTIG is actually cutting “waste, fraud and abuse.” If the appointment of the WisDOTIG is the last we hear of him or her, then it was just a waste of time and money creating the position.

Let’s just say we’re skeptical until we see the results.

Follow the DOT road