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Re: [owcp] Letter from the Office of the Inspector General of the Peace Corps

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  • Doug Hemken
    I also received one of these. Douglas Hemken Statistical Consultant Social Science Micro Lab 3218 Social Science Bldg. dehemken@wisc.edu 262-0862 ... From:
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 7, 2005
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      I also received one of these.

      Douglas Hemken
      Statistical Consultant
      Social Science Micro Lab
      3218 Social Science Bldg.

      dehemken@...
      262-0862

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Kevin <rpcv@...>
      Date: Tuesday, June 7, 2005 10:48 am
      Subject: [owcp] Letter from the Office of the Inspector General of the
      Peace Corps

      > Hello all:
      >
      > I just received a certified letter from the Office of the Inspector
      > General of the Peace Corps. Did any of you receive such a letter?
      >
      > It reads:
      >
      > The Office of the Inspector General of the Peace Corps is in the
      > process of conducting a review of post-service applications by
      > former
      > Peace Corps staff and Volunteers for benefits under the Federal
      > Employees Compensation Act...
      >
      > The promotion of economy and efficiency and the prevention and
      > investigation of fraud, waste, and abuse is a part of our statutory
      > authority and responsibility. We work closely with the Inspector
      > General of the Department of Labor ...
      >
      > You do not need to respond to this communication. Any changes
      > regarding your disability, current income, address, etc. should, as
      > always, be immediately reported to the Office of Workers'
      > Compensation Programs ...
      >
      > If you are aware of any situation in which this program may be
      > being
      > abused, please contact us immediately ... As you know the making
      > of
      > false statements, claims and factual omissions made in conjunction
      > with obtaining benefits under this program carries serious criminal
      > and administrative penalties under federal law.
      >
      > During the course of this review you may be contacted by an
      > auditor,
      > evaluator, or criminal investigator from this office. I thank you
      > in
      > advance for your cooperation..
      >
      > The letter was signed by Allan R. Gall, Acting Inspector General,
      > and
      > was cc'd to USDOL/OIG and USDOL/OWCP.
      >
      > While I think the OIG's efforts are laudable, I have to wonder if
      > the
      > taxpayer would be better served if the Inspector Generals expanded
      > their investigation to include how well Peace Corps assists former
      > Volunteers with their workers' compensation claims, how DOL treats
      > claimants, how well Peace Corps and DOL promote efficiency and
      > reduce
      > waste, etc.
      >
      > I welcome your comments and questions.
      >
      > Kevin
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Heidi Fassnacht
      Kevin, I got the exact same letter. Personally, I found the letter somewhat intimidating. It is bad enough to get the letters from DOL that feel threatening,
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 8, 2005
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        Kevin,

        I got the exact same letter. Personally, I found the
        letter somewhat intimidating. It is bad enough to get
        the letters from DOL that feel threatening, but to get
        one like this from Peace Corps made me mad. Isn't
        anyone looking out for *our* interests? I think what
        the OIG is looking to do is reasonable, but given how
        one sided this whole struggle seems, I feel very
        frustrated that this 'investigation' seems to be
        equally one sided. I find it insulting given how many
        of us have had to deal with all of DOL's nonsense that
        they didn't say they were looking into if the system
        were working well for us, like you mentioned.

        Heidi




        "In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but also by what we refuse to destroy." John Sawhill



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      • Kevin
        Heidi (and Nancy and all), Maybe I m a slow learner but it wasn t until I received the OIG s letter that it dawned on me why no one in Peace Corps seems to be
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 9, 2005
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          Heidi (and Nancy and all),

          Maybe I'm a slow learner but it wasn't until I received the OIG's
          letter that it dawned on me why no one in Peace Corps seems to be
          willing to help RPCVs with their OWCP claims: It isn't in the
          agency's best interest, at least from a fiscal point of view. In
          fact, Peace Corps may have more of a financial incentive than OWCP
          does to have RPCVs' claims denied. That is probably one reason why
          Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez opposed the legislation that
          would have created the Ombusdman position that Nancy told us about
          several months ago.

          Some other thoughts:

          I agree that the investigation is very one-sided. However, the OIG
          of Peace Corps probably lacks the jurisdiction to investigate waste,
          abuse, fraud, etc. within OWCP. We, individually or as a group,
          however, have the right to ask Congress to order a GAO investigation
          of OWCP. I'm beginning to think that my petition idea might be
          morphing in that direction. The House Committee that oversees the
          Department of Labor seems sympathetic to federal workers'
          compensations claimants, so I think a request for a such an
          investigation would be well received by the Committee. If we could
          get RPCVs from 10 different states to sign a letter to that House
          Committee and we cc'd the letter to the corresponding Senate
          Committee and each of the RPCVs' Senators and Congressmen, then the
          letter would be in the hands of a sizeable number of our elected
          representatives. Whether or not that would reach the critical mass
          needed for action remains to be seen. I'd be willing to take a stab
          at a draft letter if people think it's a good idea.

          Personally I have no major problem with the OIG's investigation as
          long as it doesn't become unduly burdensome for RPCVs. If, in fact,
          there are people who are abusing the system, then they should be
          stopped. However, I do have some concerns as well: I don't like
          people feeling intimidated by the OIG. I don't want the
          investigation to result in our having to provide additional and/or
          repetitive medical documentation. (I feel that my OWCP file
          contains current and adequate documentation to support my claim.) I
          hope the OIG did a cost benefit analysis beforehand to demonstrate
          that the investigation is likely to be cost effective (i.e., the
          amounts recovered will exceed the cost of the investigation). It is
          too bad that the OIG feels that it has to conduct the
          investigation. If OWCP were doing its job, it would be able to stop
          the scofflaws without Peace Corps intervention.

          Kevin


          --- In owcp@yahoogroups.com, Heidi Fassnacht <riverock5@y...> wrote:
          > Kevin,
          >
          > I got the exact same letter. Personally, I found the
          > letter somewhat intimidating. It is bad enough to get
          > the letters from DOL that feel threatening, but to get
          > one like this from Peace Corps made me mad. Isn't
          > anyone looking out for *our* interests? I think what
          > the OIG is looking to do is reasonable, but given how
          > one sided this whole struggle seems, I feel very
          > frustrated that this 'investigation' seems to be
          > equally one sided. I find it insulting given how many
          > of us have had to deal with all of DOL's nonsense that
          > they didn't say they were looking into if the system
          > were working well for us, like you mentioned.
          >
          > Heidi
        • Janice Williams
          Kevin Why don t youi send the president copies of your e-mail? Seems he needs a good dose of reality. Why doesn t Peace Corps support us? I m still unable
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 15, 2005
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            Kevin
            Why don't youi send the president copies of your e-mail? Seems he needs a
            good dose of reality. Why doesn't Peace Corps support us? I'm still unable
            to be ccepted by PC as blind in my left eye due to Peace Corps service.
            Personally I would prefer to see you contact Oprah or 60 Minutes. I
            don't think working through channels will be effective in the end. There is
            always more red tape.

            Jan Williams

            > Heidi (and Nancy and all),
            >
            > Maybe I'm a slow learner but it wasn't until I received the OIG's
            > letter that it dawned on me why no one in Peace Corps seems to be
            > willing to help RPCVs with their OWCP claims: It isn't in the
            > agency's best interest, at least from a fiscal point of view. In
            > fact, Peace Corps may have more of a financial incentive than OWCP
            > does to have RPCVs' claims denied. That is probably one reason why
            > Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez opposed the legislation that
            > would have created the Ombusdman position that Nancy told us about
            > several months ago.
            >
            > Some other thoughts:
            >
            > I agree that the investigation is very one-sided. However, the OIG
            > of Peace Corps probably lacks the jurisdiction to investigate waste,
            > abuse, fraud, etc. within OWCP. We, individually or as a group,
            > however, have the right to ask Congress to order a GAO investigation
            > of OWCP. I'm beginning to think that my petition idea might be
            > morphing in that direction. The House Committee that oversees the
            > Department of Labor seems sympathetic to federal workers'
            > compensations claimants, so I think a request for a such an
            > investigation would be well received by the Committee. If we could
            > get RPCVs from 10 different states to sign a letter to that House
            > Committee and we cc'd the letter to the corresponding Senate
            > Committee and each of the RPCVs' Senators and Congressmen, then the
            > letter would be in the hands of a sizeable number of our elected
            > representatives. Whether or not that would reach the critical mass
            > needed for action remains to be seen. I'd be willing to take a stab
            > at a draft letter if people think it's a good idea.
            >
            > Personally I have no major problem with the OIG's investigation as
            > long as it doesn't become unduly burdensome for RPCVs. If, in fact,
            > there are people who are abusing the system, then they should be
            > stopped. However, I do have some concerns as well: I don't like
            > people feeling intimidated by the OIG. I don't want the
            > investigation to result in our having to provide additional and/or
            > repetitive medical documentation. (I feel that my OWCP file
            > contains current and adequate documentation to support my claim.) I
            > hope the OIG did a cost benefit analysis beforehand to demonstrate
            > that the investigation is likely to be cost effective (i.e., the
            > amounts recovered will exceed the cost of the investigation). It is
            > too bad that the OIG feels that it has to conduct the
            > investigation. If OWCP were doing its job, it would be able to stop
            > the scofflaws without Peace Corps intervention.
            >
            > Kevin
            >
            >
            > --- In owcp@yahoogroups.com, Heidi Fassnacht <riverock5@y...> wrote:
            >> Kevin,
            >>
            >> I got the exact same letter. Personally, I found the
            >> letter somewhat intimidating. It is bad enough to get
            >> the letters from DOL that feel threatening, but to get
            >> one like this from Peace Corps made me mad. Isn't
            >> anyone looking out for *our* interests? I think what
            >> the OIG is looking to do is reasonable, but given how
            >> one sided this whole struggle seems, I feel very
            >> frustrated that this 'investigation' seems to be
            >> equally one sided. I find it insulting given how many
            >> of us have had to deal with all of DOL's nonsense that
            >> they didn't say they were looking into if the system
            >> were working well for us, like you mentioned.
            >>
            >> Heidi
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            Dear Janice,



            I am writing because we need your support.



            Peace Corps service profoundly affects people's lives, especially the lives
            of those of us who have had the privilege to do it.



            The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) was set up to promote Peace
            Corps service and the values of fostering peace and service that it
            embodies.



            Although we have a long way to go to fully realize the potential inherent in
            our remarkable community, with your help we have made some real progress:



            * Advocacy. We have significantly expanded our ability to advocate on
            behalf of Peace Corps values and to keep our members abreast of issues,
            including the army's recruiting plans involving an option of Peace Corps
            service.



            * Global Education. Through a growing network, we keep young Americans
            informed about the dynamic and complex world we live in by enabling
            educators to bring accurate and meaningful resources to the classroom.



            * Publications. To provide you more timely information, we shifted to a
            monthly electronic newsletter. WorldView magazine has begun special issues
            on key human development issues, such as AIDS.



            * Recognition. We are working to enhance the profile of our Sargent Shriver
            and Loret Miller Ruppe awards to better recognize exemplars of members who
            embody the values of fostering peace and promoting service.



            To do this and the many more things we aspire to do leading up to the
            upcoming 50th anniversary of Peace Corps requires resources. Our membership
            dues only provide 16 percent of our needs. Please give what you can. You
            can contribute at https://www.npcaonline.org/npcassa/ssaauthmain.login_page.
            Log in using your personal login provided below and click on "contribute".
            We will put your donation to good use.



            Gratefully,







            Kevin F. F. Quigley

            President
          • Kevin
            Jan, Thanks for speaking up. I don t think there is one right way to approach the problem. Going public, which you and Nancy seem to favor, is one way.
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 15, 2005
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              Jan,

              Thanks for speaking up. I don't think there is one right way to
              approach the problem. Going public, which you and Nancy seem to
              favor, is one way. Working through the channels, as you put it, is
              another. It should be noted, however, that I'm looking at channels
              outside the executive branch, which is why I haven't contacted the PC
              Director or the President. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think if we can
              get our legislators, and particularly their auditing arm (i.e., the
              GAO), to put some pressure on the Department of Labor and Peace
              Corps, I believe we can get some action. Nothing I've said should
              discourage anyone from contacting Oprah, 60 minutes, or NBC news.
              Action on multiple fronts can be very effective.

              Kevin

              P.S. If someone wants to take the lead in inviting members of the
              media to visit this forum, I'm all for it. There are stories here,
              but whether they're newsworthy or would have broad public appeal is
              for the media to decide.

              --- In owcp@yahoogroups.com, Janice Williams <therifi@m...> wrote:
              > Kevin
              > Why don't youi send the president copies of your e-mail? Seems he
              needs a
              > good dose of reality. Why doesn't Peace Corps support us? I'm
              still unable
              > to be ccepted by PC as blind in my left eye due to Peace Corps
              service.
              > Personally I would prefer to see you contact Oprah or 60
              Minutes. I
              > don't think working through channels will be effective in the end.
              There is
              > always more red tape.
              >
              > Jan Williams
              t
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