The TSA has put in place “adequate and valid” processes for determining whether employees in its Office of Investigations qualify as law enforcement officers, but those determinations still are unreliable because of problems with the data put into that system, an audit has found.
The report from the IG of TSA’s parent department, Homeland Security, was ordered by a 2015 law designed to address previously identified issues with determining whether criminal investigators qualify as law enforcement officers for purposes of special “availability pay” for that occupation—and for later special retirement benefits. Laws and regulations require they spend at least 50 percent of their time performing criminal investigative duties to qualify.
Auditors said that while the TSA timesheet system is sufficient to handle that task, the information put into it is “not always timely submitted and approved.” Three-fourths of the 64 employees it sampled were inconsistent in their inputs and supervisors “did not always complete and approve certification forms as required.”
“In some instances, incorrect timesheet calculations inflated the annual average of unscheduled duty hours criminal investigators worked to be eligible for premium pay. OOI management did not develop and implement guidance to review these key calculations annually,” it said and the TSA “may be wasting agency funds on criminal investigators ineligible to receive premium pay.”