Whistleblowers Raise Alarm On Overtime Pay at Homeland Security

Costs taxpayers $8.7M every year

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The Department of Homeland Security has engaged in widespread abuse of overtime pay policies at a cost to taxpayers of $8.7 million a year, according to a government watchdog report sent to the White House on Thursday.

The letter from the Office of Special Counsel, which said it was tipped off by whistleblowers within the department, details what it calls a “profound and entrenched problem,” in which employees at six different DHS offices report about two hours of overtime a day 89 percent of the time, even in situations like work at headquarters “where no qualifying circumstances are likely to exist.”

A DHS spokesman told the AP in response to the report that misuse of overtime pay “is not tolerated.”

“DHS takes seriously its responsibility to ensure proper use of taxpayer fund,” said the spokesman, Peter Boogaard. “As part of our ongoing commitment to reducing waste and abuse, Acting Secretary (Rand) Beers has requested a comprehensive, department-wide review of the use of [overtime].”