Shocking Finds from GAO

A new GAO study reported that federal employees are abusing their metro benefits by collecting more than they need then selling extras on the black market. Or using them for personal transportation that’s not to and from work. Or giving them to spouses. Or having parking permits and collecting metro cards. This is a program that’s costing taxpayers $250 million per year.

The most ironic story of a federal employee? A delinquent IRS worker:

A worker at the Internal Revenue Service received monthly transit subsidies since 2004 and at the same time had a free parking space at his office. He told investigators that he sold Metrocheks valued at $930 on eBay.

That’s just unecessary. But another anecdote indicates that maybe the federal government may be just as much at fault for neglecting the program as its employees are for abusing it:

A worker at the Commerce Department left her job in 2001 but received benefits until 2006, when she changed addresses and the agency caught the mistake. By that time, she had sold Metrocheks worth $4,000, according to the GAO.

They didn’t know she didn’t work for them for FIVE YEARS? Come on, government, get with it and hire some auditors. Or just let your employees post on Craigslist warnings like the following:

STOP SELLING METRO CARDS!!! – $1
Reply to: sale-318048397@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-04-24, 4:37PM EDT

Dude, if you’re selling metro cards on Craigs List and eBay, stop it!!!! GAO came out with a report and busted a bunch of you guys. Find another way to make money or we’ll all lose our benefits. There’s already legislation introduced. See the report below.

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One Response to “Shocking Finds from GAO”

  1. Steve Says:

    Seems like the government could do something like Amazon.com and simplify things. We just get a bus pass as an employee benefit. The pass is valid for one year and works on almost all regional transit options. If you lose the pass, you either go without or pay for a new one. People are allowed to use their bus passes however they want although they’re not supposed to loan it to people (not that there’s anything stopping them). Maybe the bus pass option could be more expensive, but its also a lot more difficult to abuse. You can’t sell your bus pass on Craigslist or eBay and still continue to use it.

    I think a lot of universities work out a similar arrangment with local transit authorities allowing students to ride for free. Typically this is an arrangement between the university and transit system which is less expensive for the university than retail transit passes for everybody. Sometimes this means using a student id as a transit pass, which makes the system very difficult to abuse.

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