Fedweek

An audit has called on the IRS to act more promptly in cases of alleged employee misconduct, saying that while only “a small percentage of IRS employees are formally disciplined for misconduct each year, every case can affect employee morale and the agency’s ability to accomplish its mission.”

“Misconduct affects not only the employee and the supervisor; it also affects those who interact with the employee. If not timely and appropriately addressed, misconduct could affect the quality of taxpayer services and damage the public image of the IRS,” the report said.

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In following up on an earlier report in which it had found issues with how the agency documented disciplinary actions, the inspector general at the IRS said those issues had been largely addressed. But it raised new issues regarding the time it took to resolve cases of alleged misconduct.

Of the more than 6,100 such cases—out of a workforce of some 83,000—in a 12-month period ending in mid-2020, a quarter were not resolved within the target of 180 days and a tenth took more than a year. In a sample of 86, auditors “determined that unresponsive managers, staffing issues, and employee challenges to proposed disciplinary actions caused case delays, which ranged from 198 days to 827 days.”

The alleged offenses ranged from absenteeism to assault, and the results ranged from closed without action to firing, it added.

The report noted that management “has started testing options for a new case management system that will automate several case processes, such as e-mails to front-line managers to remind them of needed case actions.”

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