IG probes apparently not enough to prevent bonuses at GSA

Having found the General Services Administration awarded more than $1 million in bonuses to employees under the inspector general’s investigation, a senator is taking her investigation governmentwide.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) shared the initial findings from her investigation into GSA June 4, showing that the procurement agency has paid $1.1 million in bonuses since 2008 to employees being investigated by the IG for wrongdoing or misconduct. Those bonuses went to 84 employees. What’s more, they received an average of eight bonus awards each.

One program operations officer who was reassigned after an IG investigation regarding abuse of authority received an average award of $7,730 each year since 2008 for a total bonus award of $38,644. Another supervisor received more than $20,000 in bonuses despite being reprimanded for interfering in an IG investigation.

The senator also said that the overall number of employees who received bonuses while under investigation is likely to be far higher since information pertaining to current investigations, such as the inquiry into the Las Vegas conference, is not available.

“It doesn’t pass the smell test to be awarding huge bonuses in taxpayer dollars to officials who are being investigated, or have already been found responsible, for fraud and waste of those very taxpayer dollars,” McCaskill said.

Meanwhile, the GSA has no policies to ensure that employees under investigation by the IG do not receive bonuses.

GSA didn't reply to requests for comments on the bonuses.

Now  though, McCaskill has turned to John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management, which is in charge of federal employee information and policies.

In a letter sent to Berry on May 23, McCaskill asked for the total number and the amount of all bonuses awarded at each federal agency from 2008 to 2011. She wants such details as the overall amount and type of bonuses awarded at the senior executive service level and at each GS level.

She also requested a briefing to her staff regarding policies about bonuses given to employees under investigation. In particular, she wants to know what OPM can do to make sure government employees under investigation do not receive bonuses until the investigation is concluded.

She gave Berry until June 20 to provide the information and briefing.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Fri, Jun 8, 2012 Fed Up Fed

"...i remember a time when government employees endured pay that was less than comparable "private" jobs b/c of the tax, retirement and healtcare benefits. so now you're telling me that today's workers need all of the fringe benefits PLUS comparable pay & bonuses to the private world?" -- Because those benifits are no longer the way you remember them.

Wed, Jun 6, 2012

Other agencies simply do not give any bonuses.

Wed, Jun 6, 2012

HMMM... So what you are saying is that aspersions of doubt are the same as incrimination? That no one who is questioned is credible? What an odd outlook. If a person is doing their job well, they will never be questioned? Do your ankles get wet when crossing rivers?

Wed, Jun 6, 2012 searchlight

Not all "govies" as Fardeo and Scylla would call them, are overpaid and underworked. The GSA is not representative of all agencies and branches of government. Stop with the group bashing please, and concentrate on the culprits themselves.

Wed, Jun 6, 2012 OccupyIT

Martha Johnson's condescending response to the Congressional committee about how she gave a bonus to the the same man she was taking management action to reign in shows directly the lack of accountability and "don't rock the boat and spoil it for all of us" mentality in some senior USG managers. They rationalize why they are different and things can't be done when it is inconvenient or blocks there own agenda. GSA just happens to have more hubris than most other agencies at the top.

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