The Environmental Protection Agency's Inspector General said Thursday that the agency's chief financial officer gave an employee $9,000 in bonus awards less than three months after she was hired.
The IG said in April, it got an anonymous tip that the CFO was trying to pay a $250,000 bonus to the new hire, a senior director working out of North Carolina.
According to the IG report, the CFO wanted to "pay a $250,000 bonus to a newly hired employee because it was unable to provide relocation expenses for the employee."
Relocation awards have become a hot issue over the last few weeks, as senior employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs were caught receiving relocation awards worth several hundred thousand dollars.
The IG said the $250,000 was never paid, but did say it found that two awards of $4,500 each were handed out just weeks after she started. The report said the awards were justified internally as a reward for the new hire's "extraordinary initiative," and her efforts to create "more efficient operations."
While short of the $250,000 alleged by the tipster, the IG said a third bonus was being considered for the employee. It also said the $9,000 paid out went far beyond the normal amount of bonuses paid out.
"The total award amount of $9,000 represented approximately 25 percent of the director's salary for the 3-month time period. The IG said "this was an unprecedented amount" for a someone who has only been working three months.
The IG recommended that all awards be reviewed to make sure they are "reasonable and properly justified."