An audit of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that employees under the Obama administration received emergency overtime pay without any justification, whatsoever. This is believed to be a serious violation of the agency’s policies.
Employees who received overtime pay earned it in addition to the $113,820 average salary that the EPA gives to its bureaucrats. This is more than twice the average household income in America.
Last week, the Inspector General for the agency released a report which uncovered, “numerous instances of noncompliance” of the agency’s emergency overtime pay policies for employees in Seattle.
According to the policies, employees must have approved waiver from biweekly pay caps if they are to receive overtime pay for conducting “mission critical” work or working during emergencies or natural disasters.
However, the Inspector General discovered that only a small fraction of the employees who received overtime pay in the Obama administration had obtained a waiver.
“For Region 10, we identified 79 instances where employees exceeded the biweekly pay cap during FYs 2015, 2016 and 2017 (through January 7, 2017), the Most of the 79 exceedances lacked a supporting waiver request,” the Inspector General said.
The audit found that the Pacific Northwest region had only 15 requests for mission critical and emergency work. As per EPA policy, the region’s Human Resources Officer must approve waiver requests; however, only one out of almost 80 requests were signed by the HRO.
“In addition, 11 of 15 requests lacked adequate information to determine whether there was an emergency with a threat to life and property, or whether that the work was critical to the mission of the agency” the Inspector General said.
The Inspector General believes that without proper supervision, taxpayer money could be wasted on overtime pay and benefits that cannot be justified.
“This occurred because the region did not have an internal policy or process in place to address review by the regional Human Resources Officer, the need for sufficient justification, or the retention of supporting documents,” the Inspector General said. “As a result, the potential exists that Region 10 employees could be overpaid or be paid for work that does not meet the intent of premium pay requirements.”
For the Trump administration, reducing wasteful spending at the EPA is a priority. Trump has also vowed to slash the EPA’s budget by almost 31%. Administrator Scott Pruitt also ended gym memberships for EPA employees, which were costing taxpayers almost $1 million every year.