The VA needs to strengthen its controls over recruitment, retention and relocation incentive payments–the so-called “3Rs”–an IG audit has said.

“VA’s inadequate controls over its 3R incentives represent an estimated $158.7 million in unsupported spending and about $3.9 million in repayment liabilities projected for FYs 2015 through 2019,” it said.

It said for example that the Veterans Health Administration, the largest VA component, didn’t properly authorize 33 percent of the recruitment and 64 percent of the relocation incentives awarded to non SES employees in fiscal 2014. Adequate workforce and succession plans were lacking for most retention incentives awarded to SES employees and non-SES VHA employees and for half of retention incentives awarded to non-SES central office employees, it said.

The VA also needs to improve efforts to recoup payments when employees don’t meet the recruitment or relocation service agreement terms, it said.

However, the audit did not substantiate an allegation that VA awarded SESers retention incentives without determining the employee’s intent to leave.