In summary, we are recommending that OAO not award grants to the 57 applicants at this time. We maintain that an independent review panel should reevaluate the applications to ensure that the most deserving applicants will be awarded grants. Due to the sensitivity of this issue and the timing of the proposed awards, we are providing our preliminary results to you for immediate corrective action. This issue, along with any others identified during our fieldwork, will be consolidated into a final report at the conclusion of our audit.OIG was requested to do the audit in April, so there must have been some backstory to this. Reed signed the response to OIG, essentially agreeing with it. In defense of the head of OAO he notes she was new and is identifying weaknesses in the office. Of course there's a long history of GAO/OIG reports critical of the Departmental administration in this area. Since Reed has been the big boss for 3 years, it's perhaps fair to ask what previous corrective actions he had taken.
The audit is critical of the "approving official"in OAO, but I'm not clear who it was. It mentions: "The official also solicited input from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and the Office of Tribal Relations."
Mr. Reed is still listed on the USDA biographies page as Assistant Secretary for Administration, but the link to his bio is dead. An out-of-date bio is still available by searching: link There's no press release noted on the USDA site.
I'm sure our Republican friends will be all over this.