|November 1, 2013
Employees from six Homeland Security Department offices have abused an overtime program and cost the government about $8.7 million a year, according an Office of Special Counsel letter and report sent Thursday to the president and Congress.
Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner told President Barack Obama and lawmakers that whistle-blowers alerted her office to the abuses. Lerner's letter and an accompanying report detailed allegations of overtime abuses in Washington. She said her office is investigating five other overtime abuse cases and expects the allegations to be substantiated.
The Office of Special Counsel is an independent government investigative and prosecutorial office.
According to one whistle-blower, some Customs and Border Protection employees assigned to the commissioner's situation room at its headquarters in Washington were paid about two hours of overtime nearly every day but spent much of that time watching television, surfing the Internet or otherwise relaxing at their desks.