Watchdog: Accountability

Department of Interior officials reported lax with government travel cards

By |
Travel,Watchdog,Watchdog Blog,Interior,Kelly Cohen,Inspectors General,Waste and Fraud,Accountability,Credit Cards

Deleted user profiles? Missing documents? The Department of the Interior's in-house computer system for travel expenses has these issues and more, according to the agency's inspector general.

"We found significant weaknesses in the design of the system and DOI’s management of the travel process. We found that inadequate contract requirements and system implementation caused internal control deficiencies and inhibited DOI’s ability to manage travel.

"In addition, DOI’s management of the travel process has not ensured that Federal travel rules and regulations are followed, travel costs are adequately documented and valid, and travel is consistently managed."

The IG reviewed travel documents and charges from 2009 and 2010 on GovTrip -- the online program the Interior Department uses to track its $250 million in annual travel expenses -- for eight bureaus and found numerous travel management issues.

User profiles on GovTrip were either deleted or edited, with no way of finding out how many were changed and what the changes were. The IG also found that trips were booked without being reviewed or approved by management. For example, 121 trips were in progress or completed before any "authorizations were submitted in GovTrip."

The Interior Department didn't reconcile purchases made during the travel with vouchers or receipts, the report also found. Employees used GovTrip to take taxis while having a rental ca r or booked a flight on a non contract airline -- but did not justify why they did so in the GovTrip system.

The IG also found managers simply didn't know how to do their jobs: "It became evident that managers were unclear as to what their roles and duties were in the travel process and what impact they had on the process."

More than 23,500 vouchers worth more than $20.4 million that should have accompanied trip authorizations were missing, and more than 11,000 vouchers totaling $10.5 million were only partially approved .

Go here for the full report.

View article comments Leave a comment