Watchdog: Accountability

GSA broke personnel rules with peer awards, IG reports

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Officials giving bonus awards to General Services Administration senior executives between 2009 and 2011 violated multiple federal personnel rules and guidelines, according to the agency's Inspector-General.

Among the violations described in the 21-page report made public yesterday were those involving GSA's "Peer-2-Peer" performance awards that the IG said were not authorized by Congress.

The violations cited by the IG included:

• The performance evaluation did not follow a three step requirement, omitting one step and alternating the another, thus resulting in no meaningful review.

• The award practices violated legal requirements by not being approved by the current administrator or the performance review board.

• Award amounts and evaluation practices were not accurately disclosed to the Office of Personnel Management.

Twenty-four GSA executives received 26 performance awards and 71 were given 702 "Peer-2-Peer" awards, totaling $160,700. Many of the award winners received multiple citations.

GSA launched the "Peer-2-Peer" awards in July 2010 to reward "leadership achievements." A total of $70,200 was ultimately paid to 71 Senior Executive Service (SES) members on the basis of responses to a series of questions to the agency's SES members.

One of the questions, according to the IG, was, "Who runs terrific and productive meetings?"

The SES is the government's highest management rank for career civil service employees, with top pay of as much as $179,000 annually.

Go here to read the full report.

Kelly Cohen is a member of The Washington Examiner's Watchdog reporting team. She can be reached at kcohen@washingtonexaminer.com.

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