Michael E. Horowitz, Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), announced today that Robert A. Westbrooks, who has served since April 2020 as Executive Director of the PRAC, has decided to retire from government service by December 31. The Deputy Inspector General at NASA, George A. Scott, will assume the role of Interim Executive Director of the PRAC upon Mr. Westbrooks’ retirement and serve until a permanent appointment is made.
Mr. Westbrooks was appointed as the PRAC’s first Executive Director in April 2020 after serving for five years as Inspector General at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. At the PRAC, Mr. Westbrooks played a critical role in building the new organization by setting strategic direction, coordinating with the 21 Inspectors General who are Committee members, hiring a leadership team and staff, and running its day-to-day operations. Under his leadership, the PRAC has grown to 50 employees that collaborate across the oversight community to identify cross-cutting issues and risks related to the more than $5 trillion in federal pandemic spending. To date, the PRAC and its member Inspectors General have published more than 500 reports on the pandemic response with over 1,000 recommendations and $57.9 billion in monetary findings.
“I want to thank the PRAC Chair, Vice Chair, and Committee members for their trust and confidence as we’ve banded together over these past two and half years to oversee $5 trillion in federal pandemic relief spending. Collaboration across the oversight community has never been better,” said Mr. Westbrooks. “I want to especially thank the PRAC staff professionals who’ve brought new thinking and tireless energy to our historic undertaking.”
“The PRAC represents a turning point for the oversight community,” Mr. Westbrooks said. “The American people have been well-served by our coordinated, comprehensive oversight, and I know the Inspector General community and the PRAC will continue to innovate and sustain the PRAC’s capabilities so we’re better prepared for the next crisis.”
Chair Horowitz thanked Mr. Westbrooks’ for his extraordinary contributions stating, “I want to publicly recognize Executive Director Westbrooks for his outstanding leadership in establishing the PRAC and building a talented and diverse team of professionals to take on this extraordinary oversight mission. He has been instrumental in uniting the oversight community to work together with the PRAC’s Pandemic Analytics Center of Excellence, the PRAC Fraud Task Force, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as well as state and local auditors. Under Bob’s leadership, the PRAC has built a new model for conducting oversight in a crisis—based on a foundation of collaboration, transparency, and the use of data analytics-—a template for future oversight efforts.”
The 21 Inspector General members of the PRAC and its staff thank Executive Director Westbrooks for his leadership and many contributions.
Upon Mr. Westbrooks’ departure, George Scott will serve as Interim Executive Director of the PRAC until a permanent appointment is made. Mr. Scott is currently Deputy Inspector General at NASA, joining the office in June 2018 after over 30 years at the GAO. He held a variety of senior positions at GAO, including Managing Director of GAO’s Homeland Security and Justice Team overseeing GAO’s work on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice programs and operations.
The PRAC was established by the CARES Act to promote transparency and support independent oversight of the funds provided by the CARES Act and other related emergency spending bills. In addition to its coordination and oversight responsibilities, the PRAC is tasked with supporting efforts to “prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement [and] mitigate major risks that cut across program and agency boundaries.”
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