- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2007

Metro appointed its first inspector general yesterday, part of a busy day of transition for the agency that also included the resignation of its board chairman.

Helen Lew, now an assistant inspector general for the Education Department, on April 30 will join Metro to oversee and investigate contracts, policies and programs.

Miss Lew said when sworn in at Metro’s board meeting yesterday that her priorities include establishing a criminal-investigative unit and promoting economic efficiency and effectiveness in programs and operations.

“We need to hold our contractors, management and employees accountable,” said Miss Lew, who worked in the General Accounting Office for 27 years before joining the Education Department in 2000.

Miss Lew said routine independent audits, investigations and inspections will be conducted.

“We need to have adequate internal controls in place — to have policies and procedures and making sure that we enforce and abide by those policies and procedures,” she said.

She also will investigate complaints of fraud, waste and abuse, then report her findings directly to the board.

Outgoing Chairman Charles Deegan called Miss Lew’s appointment a step in the right direction.

“With Helen Lew as an inspector general, we are well on our way to increasing Metro’s transparency, improving accountability, and restoring the trust of our customers and funding partners,” said Mr. Deegan, who made it a priority to hire an inspector general within the first 60 days of his term as chairman.

Miss Lew’s swearing-in was one of Mr. Deegan’s last duties as chairman. He and board member Ray Briscuso, who were appointed by Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, were replaced earlier this month by Mr. Ehrlich’s successor, Martin O’Malley, a Democrat.

Mr. Deegan and Mr. Briscuso will be replaced by former Metro Chief Financial Officer Peter Benjamin and Elizabeth “Betty” Hewlett, the former head of the Prince George’s Planning Board.

Mr. Deegan, who represented Prince George’s County, was appointed to the Metro board in May 2004. He was elected in January to serve as chairman. He succeeded Gladys W. Mack, who stepped down after 23 years of serving the District on the board.

A new chairman will be elected by the board in coming weeks, Metro officials said.

Mr. Briscuso, the chief executive officer of a Bethesda-based medical consulting firm, was named in June as the board’s Montgomery County representative. He replaced Robert J. Smith, who was ousted after making public remarks about homosexuals.


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