OPA Finds Abuse In GovGuam Leave Sharing Program

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Guam – The latest audit from the Office of Public Accountability [OPA] is calling into question more than $600-thousand dollars in leave sharing payments to GovGuam employees.

Leave sharing is a benefit available to classified GovGuam employees who have exhausted their own leave and need more time to care for a sick family member or attend to their own medical issues. The program allows an employee to transfer earned sick leave or annual leave to any other employee within any GovGuam agency. They recieve no compensation for giving up their hours.

Read the OPA’s Audit Highlights on Leave Sharing

In particular the auditors estimate that as much as $558,742 hours of leave paid to Guam Fire Department personnel  for “non-productive” time over the last 3 years.

That “non-productive” time relates to the 61 hours of additional leave given to firefighters per pay period. No other GovGuam employee gets that benefit.

The auditors questioned “the interpretation of DOA and the Civil Service Commission that the government intended to pay the additional 61 hours of compensation to GFD. It does not seem reasonable that the legislative intent was to give GFD the additional compensation as it is not fair, equitable or prudent when compared to all other Government of Guam employees.”

Also cited in the audit were:

* $511,202 in questioned costs because of deficiencies found in the design and operation of internal controls to ensure that leave sharing is administered properly. That includes … lack of documentation of supervisory approval … no justification for the use of the leave … retirement contributions did not cease.

* 7 employees who exceeded the 1,680-hour shared leave for medical reasons resulting in $90,436 in questioned costs.

National Guard and Reserve Volunteers Get Both Military as Well As Leave Sharing Compensation:

*  83 employees who used 18,697 leave sharing hours for military activation that cost GovGuam $435,009. However the auditors point out that P.L. 26-134 intended for employees in the National Guard and Reserves to use the leave sharing program to avoid taking leave without pay, does not take into account that if activated for more than 30 days, these employees receive their military pay as well as the leave compensation from GovGuam.

“The financial incentive for employees to volunteer for deployment is very appealing, and as a result, a number of employees appear to continuously volunteer for military duty rather than wait for their call to duty.”

Federal Law prohibits the receipt of both military and civilian pay during periods of military activation.

In September of last year, the Guam Civil Service Commission ‘s Director recommended that Guam law be amended to reflect the Federal law. No action has been taken.