Nice work if you can get it: Federal workers keep jobs despite misconduct

Time, attendance fraud at multiple agencies

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Reached by phone, Ms. Madden said problems in her office’s information technology department left her and many of her colleagues unable to work for long stretches during a nearly two-year span.

“I was doing personal stuff and I was honest with them,” she said in an interview. “But I wasn’t the only one doing personal stuff.”

In a rebuttal she sent to HUD, which Ms. Madden provided to The Times, she said she has seen others engage in online shopping or checking their Facebook accounts.

Saying she was deeply remorseful, Ms. Madden told HUD that she was naive for thinking she could conduct a few personal business transactions while at work.

“I am not attempting to make any excuses for my behavior, but I can confidently state that I was not the only one conducting personal business while at work,” she wrote.

She received a two-week suspension.

Jerry Brown, a HUD spokesman, declined to comment on either case, citing a departmental policy against discussing personnel issues in the media.

At another agency, even a federal indictment wasn’t enough to get an employee off the government payroll.

Records released by the Department of Interior through a separate open-records request show officials took three months to suspend Shelly Pipe without pay after the government loan specialist was indicted on federal conspiracy charges in 2010.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs employee was sentenced to 45 months in prison for her role in a government loan scam. The indictment against Pipe was made public on Feb. 17, 2010, but she continued getting paychecks until April 20, collecting nearly $11,000 in salary while under federal indictment.

In a case memo, Interior’s office of inspector general reported that one Bureau of Indian Affairs official was told “the indictment itself was not enough to support a removal action.”

The Interior Department declined to comment to The Times.

Last week, lawmakers from both sides questioned why officials at the Environmental Protection Agency hadn’t removed several employees investigated for misconduct.

Renee Page, director of administration, who received the prestigious Presidential Rank Award in 2010, sold jewelry and weight-loss products from work and hired 17 family members and friends for paid internships, according to the EPA inspector general’s office and lawmakers.

Another EPA career employee, whom officials have not identified, spent two to six hours a day since 2010 looking up pornography while managing to earn performance awards, according to the inspector general’s office.

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