- The Washington Times - Monday, May 5, 2014

The Environmental Protection Agency is reevaluating its retention pay program after a former employee, John Beale, received thousands of dollars in salary while doing little work because he claimed to be a spy.

Beale has since been convicted of pretending to be a CIA agent, but the EPA is trying to fix the holes that allowed him to get paid for so long.

One of those is a long-standing retention program, designed to keep employees with valuable technical knowledge whose skills might not be needed at the moment. But worried that the workers might walk without an incentive, the EPA pays them large sums of money in retention bonuses.

The EPA’s internal watchdog, the Inspector General, found thirteen other employees had received a total of $667,376 between 2006 and 2013 in retention pay.

And for 10 of the employees, the EPA found that no required annual evaluation was performed to see if the retention payments were still needed or feasible. That meant officials were paying the employees with little idea of if their services were still useful.

Meanwhile, another employee was authorized to receive retention payments for one year, but wound up getting them for nearly five years.

Two employees are disputing the EPA’s attempts to collect the overpayments, while the agency continues to evaluate its pay structure.

Right now, zero EPA employees are receiving retention pay, the IG said.