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Investigative Report on Management Issues

OIG - 248
February 25, 1998

To: Jayne Seidman
From:Walter Stachnik
Re:Metro Subsidy Program Recommendations

We conducted an investigation into allegations of misuse in the metro subsidy program at the Operations Center. According to the allegations, certain Operations Center employees were receiving the subsidy while regularly driving to work. The investigation identified a need for improved management controls over the metro subsidy program, as discussed below.

Program Monitoring

According to an official of the Office of Administrative and Personnel Management, subsidy recipients would in most cases take the Commission's shuttle between the Van Dorn metro stop and the Operations Center. Passengers on the shuttle are required to sign a shuttle log. To determine how many passengers generally rode the shuttle, we interviewed shuttle drivers and counted the number of signatures on the shuttle log sheets for selected months. We found that many more employees were receiving the subsidy than were signing the shuttle logs, which was consistent with the allegations of misuse. The Office of Administrative and Personnel Management could perform a similar analysis as part of its program monitoring.

Recommendation A

The Office of Administrative and Personnel Management should periodically check that the number of employees riding the metro shuttle is comparable to the number receiving the metro subsidy.

Program Guidance

A number of subsidy recipients told us that they used the subsidy until it ran out (which would take one to two weeks), then switch to driving to the Operations Center. They stated that they thought this practice was acceptable.The monthly and annual certifications signed by subsidy recipients indicate that the metro system is to be the Page 2 primary means of commuting to and from work. A footnote on the annual certification states that public transportation must be used more than half of the employee's total commutes in any given month. The guidance in these certification forms was apparently misunderstood or unread by numerous employees.

Recommendation B

The Office of Administrative and Personnel Management should issue additional guidance on the required extent of public transit use. Alternatively, it should consider whether the current policy should be modified, and notify staff of the revised criteria.

Shuttle Records

We found that some log sheets were not available, even after a change in the shuttle contractor. In addition, several sheets appeared incomplete (i.e., they contained few signatures). A number of subsidy recipients indicated that they did not always sign the log sheets. Finally, in several cases, trips to headquarters were recorded on the same log sheets as trips to the Van Dorn metro stop.

Recommendation C

The Office of Administrative and Personnel Management should remind the shuttle contractor that shuttle logs need to be complete and on the correct form. OAPM should spot check the logs periodically.

Exit Procedures

During the investigation, we developed evidence indicating that two forgeries occurred on the August and October 1997 certification logs. The forgeries were in the name of someone exiting the subsidy program, and who claimed not to have received the subsidy for those two months. If someone exits the program and tells only the disbursing agent, the agent could forge that person's signature and take the subsidy. Management controls would be improved if someone other than the disbursing agent were notified.

Recommendation D

The Office of Administrative and Personnel Management should tell program participants who should be notified (e.g., the Program Coordinator) if they exit the program. It should also consider periodically contacting a sample of program participants to see if they have exited the program.

cc:     Margaret Carpenter
         Dick Kanyan
         Jim McConnell
         Jennifer Scardino



Modified: 08/18/2004