Employees of Amtrak, the taxpayer-subsidized railroad network, received bonuses because their agency lost $214 million last year, The Washington Examiner reported
The company handed out millions of dollars in bonuses to reward staffers for keeping operating losses below $305 million during fiscal 2014, according to a report
by Amtrak's Office of Inspector General.
Having met and surpassed that goal, employees became eligible to win additional bonuses if they managed to achieve a "Customer Satisfaction Index" (CSI) of 84.25 percent, and to pocket a partial round of bonuses if the CSI level reached 83.5 percent.
No additional bonuses were awarded, however, because consumer satisfaction came in at 81 percent.
The inspector general found that 32 staffers received $36,907 worth of bonus overpayments, which Amtrak decided not to return to taxpayers because the money went to personnel the railroad service deemed "underpaid."
Also, Amtrak failed to pay bonuses totaling $2,389 "to 9 award-eligible employees, and 4 employees were underpaid by $171," according to the report.
The bonus payment errors were the result of "using incorrect information for salaries, hire and rehire dates, transfer dates from union to management positions and errors in calculating leave-of-absence days," the inspector general added.
The report attributed these problems in part to the fact that some of the employee compensation information the company had was "inaccurate" and that the automated system used to calculate award payment amounts "was not fully developed and tested prior to being used."
Also, it said, controls over the payment process were "weak" and were still being developed as the bonus payment process was being implemented. These decisions, the inspector general found, "were not adequately documented and could not be verified without discussion with program officials. This weak control environment creates the risk of inconsistent decisions and inaccurate payments."
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