Accounting Error? Agency Paid Employees Despite Lack Of Funds During The Shutdown

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Posted: Jan 12, 2019 7:15 AM
Accounting Error? Agency Paid Employees Despite Lack Of Funds During The Shutdown

Staff at the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) received a paycheck on Friday despite the government shutdown that left the agency with no funds, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported. The kicker? The agency is being run by Obama appointees who are still in the position.

According to the DCNF, staff at the CSB received an email instructing them not to spend their paychecks because the agency was working with the Interior Business Center (IBC), a federal shared services provider that handles payroll for dozens of agencies, to have the funds reversed.

Thomas Zoeller, the CSB’s senior adviser and acting general counsel, sent the following email to staff:

Folks, if you check your bank account this morning, you are likely to find that you were paid. As I reported to you last night, IBC made an error in processing the payroll for Pay Period 1 and no staff, furloughed or exempt, should have been paid. PLEASE DO NOT ACCESS THE FUNDS. We are working with IBC to determine how to remedy this situation and it is best if you don’t access the funds.

The mistake happened because of a classification error. When a shutdown occurs federal employees are put in one of three classifications: furloughed, working but not receiving pay or working and getting regular paychecks. Apparently the IBC classified the CSB staff as getting their regularly scheduled paychecks instead of working without pay while the shutdown is in place. 

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The majority of the money has been returned, except for four paychecks because of banking procedures and policies, the DCNF reported. 

The Trump administration has attempted to eliminate the CSB altogether by cutting the agency out of the 2018 and 2019 budget proposals but Congress decided against it.