As a result of time and attendance fraud, sanitation workers in the District have earned millions of dollars for overtime work that was never actually completed, according to an investigation by a team of auditors from the D.C. Department of Finance and Resource Management.
The D.C. Department of Public Works Solid Waste Management Administration incurred $4.19 million in overtime expenses, approximately $900,000 above the original budget allocation of $3.3 million, according to a draft of the audit.
According to an Online Legal Media news article, the auditors found a case in which an employee was incorrectly paid close to $1,436 for 10 days of work. Payrolls such as his were approved despite time sheets not coinciding with overtime earned.
“[The] SWMA is unable to produce certifying time and attendance documentation to justify expended overtime [hours] during fiscal year 2009,” according to the audit.
“[Hours] were not distributed equitably among employees . [and] payments were excessive and not authorized in advance . [and] we found instances of time and attendance fraud,” the audit states.
Auditors place the blame for this oversight on the department executives for “not monitoring time and attendance for employees” or “delegating” the responsibility to those who in turn rewarded family members and friends with unearned overtime hours, according to the audit.
“We confirm that at one point, the staff assistant was changing time and attendance information for her sister, her spouse and another employee who had not worked shifts but who had received regular pay,” the audit states.
“[Though the audit only covers the fiscal year of 2009], we [the auditors] believe . the practices have been ongoing as far back as fiscal 2002,” the audit states.
In the draft report, the auditors have recommended that the city’s inspector general investigate the abuses, according to the Examiner.
D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who oversees D.C.’s public works committee, could not be reached by The Hoya for comment, but has told the Examiner that he was taken aback by the news.
“This is the first time I’m hearing of this,” Graham told the Examiner. “I do not like hearing it.”