A new report by federal investigators takes aim at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “culture of complacency,” criticizing the agency for not doing enough to combat waste, fraud and abuse.
“We identified agency inaction among some supervisors regarding time and attendance controls, segregation of duties for key financial transactions, real property management, and employee travel,” the EPA inspector general’s office reported.
“The agency’s size necessitates effective communication, oversight and management,” the IG reported. “While the EPA has taken many corrective actions to address prior audits, improvements are still needed. Issues recently identified demonstrate continued deficiencies in the commitment by personnel to management policies and internal control.”
The IG’s report also takes aim at how EPA oversees its environmental programs and how the agency deals with cyber security threats. Investigators had concerns in both those areas, but slammed EPA’s “culture of complacency” when it came to protecting taxpayers.
“As stewards of taxpayer dollars, EPA managers must emphasize and reemphasize the importance of compliance and ethical conduct throughout the agency, and ensure it is embraced at every level of the organization,” the IG reported.
The IG slammed EPA for allowing employees to take lengthy leaves of absence without proper justification. Auditors have repeatedly noted how EPA was allowing people months of paid leave, even for employees who had committed crimes.