IG: Removing 'speed bumps'
YOKOTA AIR BASE - On a normal day, this Yokota office handles issues from service members, dependents and civilians on base, ranging from simple policy violations to complex issues.
The Inspector General Office is where anyone stationed or working on Yokota can present issues without the fear of reprisal.
"The IG is the 'eyes and ears' of the wing commander to keep him informed of the climate on the installation," said Master Sgt. Misty Shaffer, 374th Airlift Wing Inspector General superintendent. "We prevent, correct and detect fraud, waste and abuse or gross mismanagement. Basically, we highlight 'speed bumps' to the commander so you may remain focused on the mission."
Though anyone can come to the IG office without notifying their chain of command, they always encourage resolving issues at the lowest level possible, added Shaffer.
For the IG to effectively resolve complaints, all personnel have unrestricted access to the IG. Title 10 USC § 1034, commonly referred to as the "Whistleblower Protection Act," states no one may restrict or reprise against anyone for bringing an issue to the IG.
"It's important to remember only the IG can investigate reprisal allegations. Even if your original complaint was not handled through our office, any allegation of reprisal must be reported to the IG. If someone feels they have been reprised against, they should contact our office immediately," said Shaffer.
Although reprisal cases are rare, the IG office stays exceptionally busy educating the base population and assisting complainants.
"We see all kinds of complaints throughout the year," said Shaffer. "Each complaint brings its own unique set of challenges."
"The most challenging part about my job is not being able to satisfy everyone," said Shaffer. "Because we are required to remain independent and unbiased, complainants are not always happy with our response. However, we can guarantee it is the right answer."
In an effort to inform as many people as possible about the IG, Shaffer regularly briefs newcomers, commander's calls, first-term Airmen and at other public gatherings.
"Briefing installation personnel is a tremendous responsibility," said Shaffer. "Having only been at Yokota for eight months, I have had the opportunity to meet amazing people. I truly enjoy being a part of the IG team, and I strive everyday to live up to our motto through fairness, impartiality and objectivity."
For more information on the IG program or to file a complaint, contact the IG office at 225-7262.