Federal Pay Scale – $25K to Play Golf and Pool

It’s true that in addition to a very generous federal pay scale, federal employee offers more perks than many private sector jobs. It’s also true that this makes some federal employees a bit lax in their duties and dedication towards their job.

But this particular case involving no work for federal pay of more than $25,000 is still a bit extreme and draws light to the Federal pay scale for all employees.  The issue came to light as a result of an anonymous complaint followed by an official investigation.

A year ago, two supervisory patent examiners at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office were sent copies of the same anonymous letter.

As per the investigative report, the letter alleged that an examiner (Examiner A) “never shows up to work” and “seems to get away with anything.” The note stated that Examiner A came into the office only at the “end of each quarter” to submit work and described Examiner A’s work product as “garbage.”

The subsequent analysis by USPTO’s Employee Relations Division (ER) discovered hundreds of hours of apparent time and attendance abuse by Examiner A.

The OIG’s investigation substantiated that Examiner A committed at least 730 hours of time and attendance abuse, resulting in the federal payment of approximately $25,500 for hours not worked in FY 2014 alone. Examiner A apparently received payment for over 18 full weeks of work, in aggregate, that he did not actually work.

The examiner in question is supposed to have been doing this for at least three prior years, not counting this year. So what exactly was he doing all this time? Well, here’s an excerpt – “In several instances, Examiner A informed colleagues that he was leaving work to hit golf balls at Golf Bar [a pseudonym for a driving range amusement and bar complex], play pool, or socialize at restaurants, though he certified a full day in the time and attendance management system.”

USPTO Case Raises Concerns About Federal Pay Scale and Employee Performance

The OIG report notes that evidence regarding Examiner A’s actions raise concerns about whether the federal agency’s internal controls to prevent such misconduct are adequate and function properly.

The OIG recommends that the USPTO review its policies to determine whether adequate controls are in place to monitor the time and attendance of its employees, and review the related policies that currently inhibit its ability to pursue time and attendance abuse.