The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report Federal Paid Administrative Leave: Additional Guidance Needed to Improve OPM Data, issues last October, provided data on administrative leave at the EPA and 23 other federal agencies. Out of 69 EPA employees using paid administrative leave for fiscal years 2011 through 2013:
- 50 employees used between one and three month of administrative leave,
- Two employees used more than a year of administrative leave,
- Total days of administrative leave was 4,711, and
- The estimated amount of taxpayer dollars spent on administrative leave totaled $17,550,100.
Apparently, at least 8 of the 69 EPA employees that used administrative leave during that time did so because they were involved in “cases of alleged serious misconduct,” according to a memorandum sent from EPA’s acting assistant administrator to the EPA’s inspector general.
The EPA’s Office of Inspector General issued an Early Warning Report about the GAO report which made no recommendations and requested no action from the EPA.
Over the past three years, administrative leave at the EPA has cost taxpayers over $17 million, much of which went to fund employees involved in “cases of alleged serious misconduct.” These findings come at a critical time for the EPA, which is aggressively pushing increased regulations on controversial topics like emissions standards.