EPA gives out a half million dollars in bonuses for no apparent reason

Today we bring you entry 387 in our ongoing, 1,495 part series on why Gina McCarthy needs to be impeached. Given how swimmingly things have been going at the Environmental Protection Agency (and I mean “swimmingly” as in all the fish swimming in polluted Colorado waters) you might think they’d be watching their books pretty closely and keeping an eye on their contractors. You’ll recall that it was one of those contractors who was equally responsible – along with agency personnel – for the Gold King mine spill. One part of the contractor process when dealing with the government is the arrangement in the initial statement of work which provides for the payment of bonuses to companies which meet or exceed expectations and finish things ahead of schedule, presumably saving the taxpayer some money. It’s a sensible system on the surface because it provides incentives for efficiency and cuts down on the bite taken out of the federal budget.

Of course, that system completely falls on its face if you just hand out all the bonuses without checking to see if the objectives are met. Why do you suppose we’re discussing this here today? (Daily Caller)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) isn’t doing a very good job managing the contractors it uses to conduct employee background checks, according to a government watchdog report which found the agency had handed $545,000 in incentives without adequate support documents.

“By not maintaining contract documentation, the EPA does not have reasonable assurance that work is progressing according to the contract, or that [Office of Personnel Management] billings are correct,” the EPA’s inspector general finds.

“The agency overpaid approximately $6,000 over the last 2½ years, and awarded over $545,000 in incentive fees without adequate support,” the IG reports Monday.

The article focuses initially on the contractor who performs all the background checks on prospective employees. (I can tell you’re feeling safer already.) Whether they met their targets or not they seem to have gotten all of the bonuses available under the terms of the contract. Did they do it? Nobody can say for sure because the contract administrator apparently has a dog that ate their homework.

“The [Contracting Officer’s Representative] does not maintain documentation to support her annual [Quality Assurance Surveillance Plan] reviews,” the IG notes. “The COR’s contract file only contains evidence of one recommendation to the CO to award the full incentive fee due to the contractor meeting performance standards. However, the COR does not maintain supporting documentation to establish a basis for the rating assigned.”

One long running set of bonuses was paid out with nothing more than a single recommendation from one person saying that they should be paid with no supporting documentation provided for review. It’s already a fairly dodgy system in terms of who gets these contracts, with a byzantine system of race based quotas, set-asides and non-competitive awards taking place. Once the contractor is firmly attached to the government teat, at least at the EPA it sounds as if they’re set up on the gravy train for quite some time and nobody is minding the store as to whether they are meeting their goals or not. The agency’s administrators may come back and claim that they are, but if they’re not bothering to keep records of compliance, how are the taxpayers to know if their money is being flushed down a rat hole?

It’s another fine job by Gina McCarthy’s people. And yet there is no sign on the horizon that Barack Obama plans to discipline anyone at the agency, to say nothing of getting rid of the incompetent person he appointed to run it.