WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - A WUSA9 top ten list of General Service Administration earnings shows some workers earning paychecks larger than the vice president and an electrician supervisor earning more than the highest paid members of Congress.
"They absolutely should be explaining," said U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Ca.), who chairs the House subcommittee responsible for GSA oversight. "We are so frustrated with the overall abuse and fraud, that I've actually asked the question, do we need the GSA at all."
GSA does not respond to interview request
GSA has not responded to multiple WUSA9 requests for an interview, but did reissue a statement saying "all agency operations" are under review.
"The agency is evaluating its current structure and the overall compensation process," said GSA spokesman Dan Cruz in a statement. "(GSA Acting Administrator Dan) Tangherlini cut bonuses for senior executives and instituted a hiring freeze."
Some GSA salaries higher than Vice President and Chief Justice
According to fiscal year 2011 data analyzed by WUSA9, every GSA worker on the agency's payroll top ten makes more than $200,000 a year in pay that is heavily weighed by bonuses and/or unused leave pay, or like an electrician supervisor falling at number seven on the top ten list, $100,000 in overtime alone.
All of the GSA top ten earners make more than Congressman Denham's $174,000 Congressional salary and six of the top ten GSA earners cashed paychecks bigger than the Vice President's $230,700, and more than the $223,500 earned by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
GSA Top 10 Total 2011 Earnings
1) $279,351.91 SUPERVISORY GENERAL SUPPLY OFFICER
2) $277,008.50 ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR
3) $257,007.73 CUSTOMER SERVICE DIR. MISC. ADMIN AND PRGRM
4) $257,005.60 DEPUTY COMMISSIONER
5) $240,616.00 REGIONAL COMMISSIONER
6) $233,562.40 REGIONAL COMMISSIONER
7) $214,929.33 ELECTRICIAN SUPERVISOR
8) $214,231.10 DEPUTY ASSOCIATED ADMI. PROGRAM MGT
9) $213,706.50 LEAD GENERAL SUPPLY SP.
10) $209,925.41 REGIONAL COMMISSIONER
GSA Top 10 weighed by bonuses, leave pay, and overtime
The GSA workers shared in the millions in GSA bonuses, unused leave pay, and overtime exposed by a WUSA9 Freedom of Information Act request.
Congressman Denham plans an Congressional inquiry based upon the findings of the WUSA9 analysis.
Denham wants explanations for GSA's top ten highest earners, the top ten largest overtime recipients, the top ten recipients of leave pay identified by our 9 Wants to Know investigation, and the top ten largest bonus recipients.
GSA Top Ten Award/Bonus Recipients
1) Bonus: $79,000.00 DEPUTY COMMISSIONER
2) Bonus: $54,640.00 REGIONAL COMMISSIONER
3) Bonus: $51,820.00 REGIONAL COMMISSIONER
4) Bonus: $51,700.00 ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER
5) Bonus: $23,716.00 DEPUTY INSPECTOR GENERERAL
6) Bonus: $20,300.00 REGIONAL COMMISSIONER
7) Bonus: $20,000.00 ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR
8) Bonus: $19,800.00 COUNSEL TO THE IG
9) Bonus: $19,320.00 ASST IG FOR AUDITING
10) Bonus: $18,400.00 ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER
In its statement, the GSA said it is reviewing all bonuses and the entire performance award system.
"We've got to put a stop to it," Denham said after reviewing the WUSA9 analysis. "The question we're asking is what are all these different categories of overtime. What are all the different categories of bonuses?"
WUSA9 analysis includes more than 13,000 GSA payroll records
To create the top ten lists in four GSA categories, 9 Wants to Know analyzed over 13,000 fiscal year 2011 payroll records.
For accounting purposes, the U.S. government fiscal year begins on October 1 the previous year and ends on September 30 of the year recorded in the fiscal year.
A Washington electrician made the top ten for overtime in 2011 with more than half of his $214,929 paycheck coming from overtime alone.
Our investigation identified GSA paying out $8 million in overtime listed under two different GSA categories.
GSA Top 10 Overtime Earners
1) ELECTRICIAN SUPERVISOR Overtime: $115,876.33
2) AIR CONDITIONING EQPMT Overtime: $111,724.08
3) UTILITY SYS REPAIR Overtime: $97,479.09
4) AIR CONDITIONING EQUIP Overtime: $89,754.36
5) ELECTRICIAN SUPERVISOR Overtime: $87,118.31
6) UTILITY SYSTEMS REPAIR Overtime: $85,825.70
7) UTILITY SYSTEMS REPAIR Overtime: $82,678.11
8) LEAD GENERAL SUPPLY Overtime: $76,716.59
9) UTILITY SYS REPAIRER Overtime: $76,533.82
10) UTILITY SYSTEMS REPAIR Overtime: $76,205.78
In a statement GSA said overtime is guided by applicable laws.
"Additionally, in 2011 the majority of GSA employees did not work overtime," GSA spokesman Dan Cruz said. "Those who did earn overtime were eligible employees who worked over 8 hours in a day, worked over 40 hours in a week, or worked on a Sunday or a holiday or an overnight shift."
Denham, who began his inquiry when the agency's $823,000 Las Vegas convention scandal unfolded,
said the data obtained by 9 Wants to Know uncovered details even unknown by Congressional investigators.
"It's extremely important," Denham said. "I've had committee members. There's eyes that light up."
Nine of the top ten GSA overtime earners we identified worked in Washington offices making $75,000 in annual overtime or more.
One Washington air conditioning mechanic earned $111,722 in overtime, that's in addition to $15,000 in bonuses and pay differentials, totaling $200,897 in annual pay.
Several of the highest workers made their spot on the top ten list because of GSA payouts of more than $7 million in unused leave pay identified by our investigation.
GSA Top 10 Unused Leave Pay & Unused Restored Leave Pay
1) Leave pay: $73,529.40 Add'l leave: $7,835.10 ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR
2) Leave pay: $66,777.76 REGIONAL COMMISSIONER
3) Leave pay: $65,260.80 Add'l leave: $1,188.00 DEP ASSOC ADMIN TRANSP
4) Leave pay: $65,005.50 DEPUTY ASSOCIATED ADMIN
5) Leave pay: $64,609.44 Add'l leave: $7,911.36 SENIOR ADVISOR
6) Leave pay: $63,298.32 ASST IG FOR INVESTIGATIONS
7) Leave pay: $54,541.32 CLIENT SOLUTIONS PROGR
8) Leave pay: $51,176.61 REGIONAL COMMISSIONER
9) Leave pay: $38,954.59 DIRECTOR OF HUMAN CAP
10) Leave pay: $37,881.36 REGIONAL COUNSEL
"Annual Leave is earned vacation time based upon an employee's years of service. By law, employees must be compensated for unused annual leave when leaving the agency," Cruz said in a statement.
Gail Lovelace, GSA's former human resources chief, earned lots of that money. Although GSA reported her as earning zero dollars in base and zero dollars award pay in fiscal year 2011 in an OPM database, our FOIA uncovered $257,007 in actual earnings, including $81,364 in leave pay, and $20,000 in bonuses.
In its statement the GSA said Lovelace was paid for the leave, in accordance with government policy, upon her departure from four decades of service with the agency.
"Gail Lovelace was a federal employee for nearly 40 years," GSA's Cruz said in a statement. GSA "paid for her unused leave time when she retired."
Like that electrician, she was among the GSA's ten highest paid employees in our analysis taking home SOME OF biggest government checks in America.
If you know about government waste, fraud or corruption, 9 Wants to Know. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following in an unedited response from GSA:
GSA RESPONSE ON BONUSES & AWARDS
Three months ago, Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini began a comprehensive, top to bottom review of all agency operations, which includes a review of all bon
uses and the entire performance award system. In the meantime, Tangherlini cut bonuses for senior executives and instituted a hiring freeze while the agency is evaluating its current structure and the overall compensation process.
GSA RESPONSE ON OVERTIME, LEAVE and LOCALITY
GSA pays overtime, leave, and locality pay in accordance with all applicable laws. Additionally, in 2011 the majority of GSA employees did not work overtime. Those who did earn overtime were eligible employees who worked over 8 hours in a day, worked over 40 hours in a week, or worked on a Sunday or a holiday or an overnight shift.
GSA RESPONSE ON 30 MILLION IN UNREPORTED BONUSES
We can't speak to the data that was previously provided to WUSA by OPM. We report our entire payroll to OPM. As soon as WUSA requested information from GSA about our entire salary and bonus information for 2011, we provided it to them. On top of that, at the end of April we provided the Senate a list of all GSA bonuses going back to 2007. This information has and will continue to be available to the public. We will continue to be transparent and provide all information requests to Congress, the OIG and the public.
GSA EXPLANATION: What is overtime pay?
Compensation for overtime is mandated by law for eligible employees, and overtime work is compensated by overtime pay or in some cases by compensatory time. Overtime pay is generally paid to eligible employees for work over 8 hours in a day or over 40 hours in a week. Except for GSA's senior executives and managers, nearly all GSA employees are entitled to overtime compensation when it is ordered and approved; however, in 2011 most employees did not work overtime. Additionally, other types of premium pay exist for working holidays, Sundays, and overnight shifts.
GSA EXPLANATION: What is locality pay?
In addition to a base salary, federal employees' salaries may include a Locality Pay adjustment, which varies depending on the geographic location of the job and is required by law. Locality Pay takes into account the cost of living for a particular location.
GSA EXPLANATION: What is leave pay?
Annual Leave is earned vacation time based upon an employee's years of service. By law, employees must be compensated for unused annual leave when leaving the agency.