U.S. Department of Justice
Executive Office for the United States Attorneys


OCT 26 1998


MEMORANDUM FOR:    Mary W. Demory
                                           Assistant Inspector General
                                                For Inspections

FROM:                              Donna A. Bucella

SUBJECT:                         Response to Review of Violent Crime Task Forces of the
                                          United States Attorney’s Office for the District of  Columbia,
                                          Assignment Number A-97-25

This responds to your memorandum dated August 21, 1998, regarding the findings and recommendations in your draft report. The Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) worked with the United States Attorneys’ Office (USAO) in the District of Columbia (DC), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Headquarters Office in Washington to address your findings and recommendations. The following is EOUSA’s response:

Operation Ceasefire: Review of Financial Controls

  1. FINDING: In accordance with EOUSA guidance, the USAOs were required to submit a quarterly financial and progress report on the activities of the Violent Crime Task Forces (VCTF). Our review disclosed that the USAO did not submit 7 of 11 quarterly financial and progress reports to EOUSA. The USAO Financial Officer stated that the USAO Program Coordinator, who was responsible for submitting these reports, left the office in June 1997. The quarterly financial and progress reports were not prepared and submitted thereafter.

In addition, the USAO’s four reports that were submitted between June 1996 and March 1997 were inaccurate and incomplete. Specifically, the transfer of funds from the office equipment category for computer equipment and fingerprint kits was not identified on any of the four quarterly financial and progress reports.

RECOMMENDATION: Ensure that the Financial Officer for the USAO for DC submits accurate and timely quarterly financial and progress reports to EOUSA and has revised the Operation Ceasefire accounting records to reflect the purchase of computers and fingerprint kits.

EOUSA RESPONSE: We agree with this recommendation. The USAO has committed to submit all past due quarterly reports for Operation Ceasefire and Safe Streets by October 23, 1998.  It is their plan to submit the following quarterly reports: July 1997 - September 1997; October 1997 - December 1997; January 1998 - March 1998; April 1998 - June 1998; and July 1998 - September 1998. These reports will include all accomplishments of the task forces and reflect any approved transfers or corrective accounting actions.

A correction will be made in the Financial Management Information System (FMIS) to reflect the purchase of the computers.  A payment correction form will be completed to move the payment of $18,424 from the USAO’s direct cost center code to the Operation Ceasefire VCTF cost center code. In addition, a reimbursable agreement in the amount of $5,000 has been prepared to reimburse the DC government for the cost of the fingerprint kits. This expenditure will also be properly reflected against the Operation Ceasefire cost center code.

  1. FINDING: To determine that a Gun Recovery Unit (GRU) officer was entitled to receive overtime pay for a court appearance and that the court appearance was related to an Operation Ceasefire case, we conducted a review of the court appearance sheets and overtime invoices which related to the Operation Ceasefire cases. We performed a 100 percent review of the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) six summary overtime invoices submitted from June 5, 1995, through March 1, 1997, to ensure that only GRU officers received overtime payments, that GRU officers’ hourly rates were accurate, and the MPD’s summary invoices wereaccurately totaled. As a result of our review of the GRU police officers overtime invoices, we questioned $78,982 in overtime reimbursements. The total in question stemmed from the MPD incorrectly totaling its request for reimbursement to the USAO. The MPD incorrectly calculated overtime pay rates for five GRU officers. The MPD included on the monthly invoices court appearance and time and attendance sheets for six officers not assigned to Operation Ceasefire. The MPD included duplicate court appearance sheets for GRU officers in their requests to the USAO for overtime reimbursement. The MPD submitted unusual overtime claims for court appearances and street work done simultaneously, and officers claimed overtime for non-GRU activity. The MPD financial personnel failed to adequately review the invoices to determine whether all the court appearances were related to Operation Ceasefire cases. In our opinion, the USAO must strengthen its internal controls with respect to MPD invoices.

RECOMMENDATION: Recover $78,982 and restore those funds to the Operation Ceasefire account to rectify improper overtime reimbursements made to the MPD.

EOUSA RESPONSE: We agree that any improper reimbursements made to the MPD should be recovered but will need to employ the services of an auditor to determine the total dollar amount of improper reimbursements. We agree with the D.C. USAO that the complete records were not reviewed and the amount reflected in this finding only represents review of a sampling of their Ceasefire accounting records. The total overtime budget for Operation Ceasefire is $634,000; therefore, we agree with the proposal that a complete audit be performed on all records in this category. We would request that the IG provide to the USAO auditors who can perform a complete audit of these records, and also prepare documentation for MPD to demonstrate any errors in charges or payments based on MPD’s assertion that their claims for reimbursement were correct. Should your office be unable to provide this assistance to the D.C. USAO, the USAO will secure these services from an independent auditor under contract. We believe that a complete audit is necessary to correct records, payments and most importantly to determine the total amount due to the USAO from the MPD.

  1. FINDING: A) The EOUSA issued guidance to the USAO instructing them to limit the maximum overtime reimbursement for task force officers to that of a Federal Employee at a General Schedule (GS) grade 10, step 1, annually. The Federal Employee GS Grade 10, Step 1, annual overtime limitation in FY 1995, 1996 and 1997 was $7,906, $8,096, and $8,441, respectively. We determined that the USAO’s overtime reimbursements to the MPD for some GRU officers in FY 1996 exceeded the annual overtime limitation. The USAO’s reimbursements to the MPD in FY 1995 and 1997 did not exceed the annual overtime limitation. In FY 1996, the USAO reimbursed the MPD a total of $421,953 for 69 GRU officers’ overtime. Twenty-one of the 69 GRU officers received overtime funds in excess of the annual overtime limitation. These reimbursements ranged between $9,217 and $20,656 and totaled $268,447. As a result, the USAO reimbursed the MPD $78,254 in excess of the annual maximum overtime amount allowed.

B) EOUSA also established a monthly limitation, that is, a state or local law enforcement agency was to be reimbursed for no more than one-twelfth of the annual rate for an officer in any one month. The Federal Employee GS grade 10, step 1, monthly overtime limitation in FYs 1995, 1996, and 1997 was $658.81, $674.63, and $703.38, respectively. Our review of the six MPD invoice submissions for GRU police officers overtime disclosed that the USAO also did not enforce the monthly overtime limitation in the three fiscal years of Operation Ceasefire activity. We reviewed the reimbursable agreement between the USAO and the MPD and found that the USAO did not inform the MPD of the EOUSA’s limitations on the maximum annual amount or the maximum monthly amount of overtime per police officer. Therefore, the Inspector General is not asking the DC USAO to recover any of these monies.

RECOMMENDATION: Request transfer of the remaining funds into the overtime category, negotiate a new reimbursable agreement with the MPD for Operation Ceasefire and include in the financial section of the agreement a requirement that the following actions take place:

  1. Implement a monthly task force police officer overtime limit in accordance with EOUSA guidance.
  2. Submit GRU police officer overtime invoices monthly and include a copy of the arrest reports in the submissions.
  3. Revise the overtime invoicing procedures to require GRU police officers to identify Operation Ceasefire cases on court appearance sheets.

EOUSA RESPONSE: We agree with the USAO preference that the remaining funds be used in Office and Computer Equipment. Their office is the subgrant recipient of a Fiscal Year 1998 Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG) Program Award. The LLEBG Program Award will be used to continue their Operation Ceasefire Initiative, and will include a substantial amount for police overtime as well as for equipment, technology, and other materials. As they anticipate future equipment needs for Operation Ceasefire, their plan is to use the remaining VCTF funds for Ceasefire equipment needs, and LLEBG funds for police overtime.

EOUSA also agrees with the IG’s recommendation that a new reimbursement agreement be established with the MPD, and include the provisions for numbers 1 through 3 above. In addition, EOUSA recommends that the MPD provide the USAO with a list of each Operation Ceasefire officer’s hourly overtime rate as well as the number of hours they can work per month and annually in order to stay within the overtime limitation per the VCTF Guidance Issuance, VC-95-03, dated May 31, 1995, entitled Questions and Answers. This will assist the USAO in their review of the overtime invoices submitted by the MPD. EOUSA suggests that these recommendations be applied to both Findings 2 and 3. Once the IG or an independent auditor has determined the amount of monies due to the USAO from the MPD for overtime, a new reimbursement agreement should be established.

We understand and agree that the establishment of requirements for the reimbursement agreement with MPD for the LLEBG Program Award will not be done until after consultation with the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance and the DC Office of Grants Management and Development. However, we recommend that when the reimbursement agreement is established with the MPD for the LLEBG Program Award overtime monies that the USAO use the above recommendations as a guide to help implement strong policy and procedures. This will ensure that the overtime monies are monitored in the most efficient manner.

  1. FINDING: On September 22, 1995, EOUSA issued guidance concerning VCTF property. The guidance stated that the USAO was to appoint a qualified individual from the task force as VCTF property custodian. A clear differentiation was made between the VCTF and the USAO property custodian in the guidance, adding that the USAO custodian would not be held accountable for property assigned to the VCTF. Responsibilities of the VCTF property custodian included maintaining the physical custody of all property, documenting all actions affecting personal property control, maintaining records of equipment and furniture assigned to the GRU, preparing and forwarding all documentation affecting the status of personal property located in a cost center, and reporting the acquisition of accountable property over $1,000. The property custodian was also responsible for the identification of equipment and furniture acquisition and reporting all information directly to the USAO property custodian. EOUSA also issued guidance requiring a bi-annual inventory of the VCTF property. In addition, the EOUSA guidance stated that if the USAO reimbursed a state and local agency for task force property purchases that property belongs to the USAO.

The USAO’s Law Enforcement Coordination Specialist was appointed the Operation Ceasefire property custodian. However, the property custodian was not supplied with EOUSA guidance relating to VCTF property nor was aware of the guidance requiring bi-annual property inventory. The property custodian did not maintain a list of property purchased for Operation Ceasefire and, therefore, did not have knowledge of computer or vehicle purchases that were made. Our review disclosed that the equipment and vehicles were used by the MPD to support Operation Ceasefire. The computer equipment purchased by the USAO for Operation Ceasefire showed that all monitors, computers, and printers had a DC inventory sticker affixed. We also inventoried 6 of 12 vehicles purchased by the MPD for Operation Ceasefire. Despite EOUSA guidance that the USAO retain the titles to all purchases with VCTF funds, DC retained the titles to these vehicles, according to the MPD Coordinator.

RECOMMENDATION: Ensure that the Operation Ceasefire property custodian has been properly trained on the responsibilities of the position, that the property records have been established for Operation Ceasefire, that a property inventory is performed bi-annually, and that titles to the vehicles purchased with Operation Ceasefire funds are obtained and retitled.

EOUSA RESPONSE: We agree with the above recommended actions and will ensure that the USAO implements them.

Safe Streets: Review of Financial Controls:

  1. FINDING: We reviewed the MPD’s overtime invoices submitted to the Washington Field Office (WFO) for the police officers assigned to Safe Streets. We found that the MPD submitted inaccurate overtime invoices to the FBI and that the FBI did not adequately review the invoices for accuracy and completeness. Specifically, the MPD’s invoices contained hourly overtime rates and totals of overtime hours submitted for reimbursement that were incorrect.

RECOMMENDATION: Coordinate with the FBI to strengthen the administrative and internal controls over the review of overtime invoices and obtain $4,489 from the MPD for overtime incorrectly reimbursed.

EOUSA RESPONSE: EOUSA has been informed by the FBI Headquarters Office in Washington that there are some issues in the Inspector General’s (IG) findings that they disagree with and need further clarification. They will fully address the finding once they received further clarification on these issues from both the IG and their WFO. Based on the IG’s finding, the FBI indicated that they are in the process of drafting a memorandum to their WFO advising them of policy changes regarding the internal controls and review of overtime invoices. They will provide EOUSA with a copy of their response to the IG including their policy memorandum regarding overtime. At this time, because of the FBI’s uncertainty of their response, EOUSA has no comment on the IG’s finding for Safe Streets.

If you have any questions about any of EOUSA’s responses, please contact Frank M. Kalder, Deputy Director, or Greg Marshall, Lead Budget Analyst, Resource Management and Planning Staff on (202) 616-6886.