The Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Homeland Security conducted a review of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) policies and procedures regarding Senior Executive Service (SES) employee discipline. OIG undertook this review after receiving an allegation that a former ICE SES official received favorable treatment during disciplinary proceedings. It made its findings public in a July 20, 2020 report.
OIG reviewed the disciplinary proceedings of a former ICE SES official to evaluate whether ICE’s deviation from the written policy, or any other evidence, in that case indicated that the employee received favorable treatment, as alleged. The watchdog did not find evidence of actual favoritism or inappropriate influence in the employee’s disciplinary or security clearance review processes.
However, OIG’s review found that ICE does not follow its written policy when conducting disciplinary reviews of SES employees. The watchdog says such a practice risks creating an appearance that SES employees receive more favorable treatment than non-SES employees.
OIG therefore recommended that ICE finalize and issue its draft policy documenting the process for disciplining SES members. This recommendation was made in December 2019 and OIG says ICE has now complied.