Four high-ranking federal lab workers were paid $1.8 million over 14 years in "per diem” funds long after their temporary assigments were over, The Washington Post
The workers for the Energy Department turned the payments -- for daily lodging and the inconvenience of assignments away from home -- into extra income at taxpayers' expense which in some cases added some $64,000 to their annual pay.
The scientists were paid as if they were on temporary duty for up to 14 years — long after most had permanently relocated to job site, the Post writes.
Two of the employees worked for a federal program run by Princeton University. Taxpayers spent more than $1 million in per diem payments for two workers, which were approved year after year. In addition, taxpayers also paid $372,000 to the two for “field service premiums,” a bonus to compensate for the disruption caused by out-of-town duty. But the employees had long relocated to the job cities.
Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman, the Energy Department’s watchdog, discovered the payments for the two workers last month and called them “unreasonable” and “questionable costs” in its public report released last Friday, the Post reports. The office then discovered erroneous payments to two other employees; payments to all four were cut off last month.
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