FEDweek

Report Calls Improper Payment of Awards a Widespread Problem

A Senate committee’s report on a bill to restrict the payment of performance awards and other types of cash payment to employees who have committed misconduct says that is a common problem in the government.

“Some federal managers award bonuses to employees whom they know to have engaged in serious misconduct. A performance award or bonus should be reserved for employees who excel at their work for the American people,” says a report from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on S-696, which is now ready for a full Senate vote.

The bill would bar employees who commit misconduct that could lead to a suspension or stronger disciplinary action from eligibility for various types of monetary awards for five years, and require repayment of awards already paid if such misconduct is discovered later.

The report cited findings that: between 2010 and 2012 the IRS awarded $2.8 million to 2,800 employees with conduct violations in those years; the VA paid performance bonuses in 2014-2015 to employees who later were found to have committed misconduct that in several cases led to their removal, including one who received an award even after having received a notice of proposed removal; the Bureau of Prisons paid awards to executives of a facility where there was a pending class action complaint of a hostile work environment; and the Patent and Trademark Office paid awards to employees who were found to have not done any work for weeks at a time.