FirstNet Chairman Sam Ginn will ask the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) Inspector General to investigate claims made by FirstNet board member Paul Fitzgerald regarding alleged improprieties associated with ethics and procurement, instead of having an internal special review committee do the work.

Ginn announced his intentions today at the end of the FirstNet board meeting, after the board convened in an executive session.

“I have informed the board that I’m asking the Commerce Department’s Inspector General to take over phase 2 of the special review committee’s work,” Ginn said during the meeting. “It’s really due to the complicated nature of procurement and the issues that revolve around that.

“I’ve asked the board to work cooperatively with the Inspector General. Given that, I expect a prompt and complete resolution of all of the outstanding issues.”

During the April 23 meeting of the FirstNet board, Fitzgerald alleged that board was not being open and transparent in its decision-making processes and that some FirstNet board members have conflicts of interest. An internal special-review committee of FirstNet board member — supported by a three-person team of DoC attorneys —  found no evidence supporting Fitzgerald’s allegations on the transparency issues.

The special review committee had not produced a report regarding the second phase of Fitzgerald’s claims, that some FirstNet board members had conflicts of interest and that early FirstNet procurements were not handled properly. If Ginn’s request is granted, the DoC Inspector General’s office will conduct the investigation.