Phyllis K. Fong was sworn in as Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on December 2, 2002. USDA is one of the largest and most diverse departments in the Federal Government. Its mission includes the management of traditional farm programs, private lands conservation, domestic food assistance, the National Forest System, agriculture research and education, agricultural marketing, international trade, meat and poultry inspection, and rural development programs. Ms. Fong was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
As Inspector General (IG), Ms. Fong is the senior official responsible for audits, investigations, and other oversight activities relating to USDA's programs and operations. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) provides leadership in promoting economy and effectiveness in USDA programs and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse. Ms. Fong's priorities as IG have been to focus OIG's resources on the protection of public health and safety related to USDA's mission and operations, and to improve the financial integrity of the Department's programs.
In November 2008, Ms. Fong was elected by the Inspector General community as the first Chairperson of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), an independent agency established by Congress in the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008. CIGIE's members include 72 Federal Inspectors General, and its mission is to promote economy and effectiveness in Federal programs through coordinated Governmentwide activities. She is currently serving her third term as CIGIE's Chairperson.
Ms. Fong also serves as a member of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which was established by Congress to oversee Federal spending under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Board's responsibilities include oversight of disaster relief funds for Hurricane Sandy.
In February 2014, Ms. Fong received the Distinguished Federal Leadership Award from the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). The AGA award recognizes elected or presidentially-appointed Federal officials who exemplify and promote excellence in government management, and have demonstrated outstanding leadership in enhancing sound financial management practices and policies. In its announcement of the award, AGA stated that as the Chairperson of CIGIE and IG of USDA, Ms. Fong "has promoted excellence and accountability in financial management to ensure the effective delivery of government programs and services to the American people." Additionally, in March 2014, Ms. Fong was recognized as one of the "Most Influential Professionals in Government Auditing" by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). The honorees were recognized by the IIA for their outstanding achievements and positive impact in public sector auditing.
Prior to her appointment at USDA, Ms. Fong was nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the IG of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Ms. Fong served as SBA's IG from April 1999 until December 2002. A career member of the Senior Executive Service, she held several senior management positions at SBA OIG.
Ms. Fong was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. degree in Asian Studies and earned her J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law. Ms. Fong is a member of the Tennessee and District of Columbia bars. She and her husband have two children.