Transportation Security Administration employees have had their salaries boosted at taxpayer expense by getting changed job titles that don’t reflect their actual work, a Homeland Security inspector general’s report found.
The TSA classified office workers as “criminal investigators” when they actually had little to do with investigations, the Washington Times reported Friday, citing the inspector general’s report.
Cost to the public: $17.5 million over five years for 124 employees, according to the Times.
The TSA’s 124 “criminal investigators” actually work in the office of inspection, where they monitor criminal investigations performed by other state and federal agencies and check security effectiveness through undercover testing of airport checkpoints and screening programs, according to the Times.
Important work? Probably. Criminal investigation? Not according to the inspector general’s report, which found those tasks don’t require the special pay grade criminal investigators receive.
To qualify for law enforcement pay, workers duties would have to be “primarily the investigation, apprehension or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the United States,” according to the report.
“The office employed personnel classified as ‘criminal investigators,’ even though their primary duties may not have been criminal investigations,” said a report by the Homeland Security inspector general. “These employees received premium pay and other costly benefits, although other employees were able to perform the same work at a lower cost.”
Because of the inspector general’s report, The Washington Times awarded the TSA its weekly Golden Hammer award, which highlights “examples of fiscal waste and abuse by the government.”
Republicans in Congress said the findings showed an “unacceptable” waste of taxpayer dollars, according to the Times.
“It is unacceptable for TSA to misuse resources when its mission of protecting our aviation systems is so critical,” Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said in a statement.
Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Chairman Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., called the findings “yet another example of the ills of big-government bureaucracy.”
“TSA’s inability to correctly categorize employees and properly define their job responsibilities has the potential of wasting up to $18 million within a five-year period,” he said in a statement, according to the Times. “In tough fiscal times, these types of errors are completely unacceptable.”
They’re not really acceptable when times are good, either.