Semiannual Report to Congress #58 (April 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018)
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Inspector General Act and the creation of the original 12 Offices of Inspector General. Our office was established in 1989 as a result of 1988 amendments to the Act. Since that time, the community has grown to include 73 statutory Inspectors General who collectively oversee the operations of nearly all aspects of federally funded operations. Every six months, we are required by the Act to provide Congress a report detailing our independent oversight of Amtrak. This report—the 58th in our history—highlights our activities for the six months ending September 30, 2018.
Our activities continued to focus on assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of Amtrak’s programs and operations while investigating allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse. Most recently, we reported our views of the top management and performance challenges facing Amtrak for fiscal years 2019 and 2020. We concluded that the company made progress across each of the challenge areas. In particular, the company reduced operating costs to the lowest amount in the past five fiscal years, and it institutionalized more effective management processes and tools. However, the company continues to face several longstanding challenges. Chief among them is improving its safety record, as employee and passenger fatalities increased to their highest levels since fiscal year 2015.
Among other issues, our investigative work led to a $650,000 settlement from an alleged False Claims Act violation involving an Amtrak contractor. We also participated in multiple investigations of health care fraud that resulted in arrests and convictions in Florida and California. Additionally, we investigated a significant breach of the company’s ethics policy that involved collusion between an Amtrak employee and officials of a contractor on maintenance contracts worth $7.6 million.
In the months ahead, we will continue to focus on high-risk areas of the company’s programs and operations and will unwaveringly pursue our vision of operating as a model OIG by developing objective products that provide value to company management, the Board of Directors, Congress, and the public. We also continue working with the 73 statutory Inspectors General that constitute the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency. We trust that you will find this report informative.