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Overtime Pay Practices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

GGD-88-94: Published: Jun 13, 1988. Publicly Released: Jul 13, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the use of overtime pay at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to determine the: (1) amount of money FBI spent on overtime over the last 10 years, including administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO) paid to special agents; (2) types and adequacy of documentation for overtime use; (3) possible use of overtime as a salary supplement; (4) extent of overtime availability during recruiting activities; (5) results of internal investigations of falsified overtime records during the last 5 years; and (6) internal controls FBI used to ensure that overtime payments were proper.

GAO found that: (1) FBI sent $54.1 million on AUO payments to special agents and $6.1 million on overtime payments to support personnel; (2) over the last 10 years, AUO costs steadily increased, while overtime costs for support personnel fluctuated; (3) FBI determined special agents' AUO percentage by averaging AUO worked over 12 pay periods; and (4) although FBI figured AUO payments on a percentage of the employee's basic pay and the number of hours worked, nearly all special agents received the maximum AUO percentage rate. GAO also found that: (1) FBI required special agents to sign in and out on attendance registers, which were transmitted to FBI headquarters biweekly; (2) FBI did not use overtime pay as a salary supplement, since it based overtime on hours actually worked; (3) because FBI perceived AUO as an inducement to employment, it informed special agent applicants of AUO provisions during interviews, but told support personnel applicants only that assignments could require overtime, nighttime, or weekend duty; (4) between 1983 and 1987, FBI had only three cases of attendance record overtime falsification; and (5) although FBI required advance approval of support personnel overtime, special agents were not subject to preapproval. In addition, GAO found that FBI audit procedures needed improvements, including: (1) statistically sound field office audit sampling methodologies; (2) more specific audits on special agents' AUO; and (3) routine time and attendance and payroll system audits.

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