Connolly Demands Urgent Investigations to Ensure Health and Safety of Federal Workforce as Agencies Reopen Offices

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Washington, June 15, 2020 | comments

Today, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, sent letters to 24 federal offices of Inspectors General (IGs) requesting their plans to oversee agency plans to return employees to federal office buildings. 

“Given the many shortcomings identified in the Administration’s reopening guidelines, as well as the Administration’s unwillingness to engage in even minimal oversight of its abysmal response to the coronavirus pandemic, we request that you carefully oversee and review your department’s actions in this area,” wrote Chairman Connolly.

The Chairman also asked the Department of Defense Inspector General to investigate the recent death of Chaicharn Suthammanont, a food service worker at the Quantico Marine Corps Base.  Mr. Suthammanont died on May 26 from coronavirus complications.

The letters come shortly after the Administration ignored requests to brief the Subcommittee on its plans to return federal employees to offices.  They ask IGs to generate oversight plans that ensure agencies incorporate science and the best evidence available into their determinations to reopen federal offices and then provide them to the Subcommittee.  They also recommend that IGs consider examining whether agencies have appropriate resources, such as personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer. 

“The health and safety of federal employees is of paramount concern,” wrote Chairman Connolly.  “We need to ensure that Administration officials are cautious and prudent when requiring federal employees and contractors to return to federal office buildings.”

The federal workforce, comprised of 2.1 million federal employees and an estimated 3.7 million employees, has continued to serve the nation throughout the pandemic.  Federal employees have delivered mail, provided healthcare to veterans, and protected the food supply.  Chairman Connolly urged the IGs to prevent federal officials from making decisions that put the lives of federal workers and their families in jeopardy.

Click here to read today’s letters.
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