Internal Controls

Justice's Payroll System Controls Need Strengthening Gao ID: GGD-89-50 March 28, 1989

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Justice's (DOJ) administration of leave without pay (LWOP), focusing on LWOP exceeding 30 consecutive calendar days.

GAO found that: (1) DOJ had 72 cases of extended LWOP between 1986 and 1988; (2) because of internal control weaknesses in the DOJ payroll system, one employee received over $6,000 in salary while in a nonpay status; (3) in 34 of the 72 cases, DOJ did not prepare the forms necessary to prevent erroneous salary payments; (4) many leave-approving supervisors did not know that they had to provide documentation for extended LWOP because DOJ did not include the information in its leave administration order; (5) 37 of the 103 DOJ timekeepers had received no training in their responsibilities and duties; (6) DOJ cited wide geographic dispersion and high turnover rates as reasons for not establishing compulsory training; (7) DOJ did not detect multiple timekeeping errors as they occurred because a supervisor violated an internal control requiring the separation of key transaction processing duties; and (8) although DOJ provided timekeepers with an instruction manual, the manual was not an adequate substitute for a structured training program.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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