Accounts of Accountable Officers, Northwest Regional Office, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Burlington, Vermont

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-02-24.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                    ROOM    1903   JOHN   F KENNEDY     FEDERAL   SUILDING
                                      GOVERNMENT      CENTER

                           BOSTON~MASSACHUSE-ATS                  02203

Dear Mr. ZOlOtaS

     We have made an examination        of the procedures        and controls
over the receipt      and disbursement     of funds of the Immlgratlon
and Naturallzatlon      Service,   Northeast    Reglonal Office,       Burllng-
ton, Vermont, for the settlement          of accounts of accountable            officers
through June 30, 1969. We considered            the memorandum report of
audit results,     dated June 7, 1967, zssued by the Associate Commissioner,
Management, and the memorandum of audit of accounting                 actlvltles,
Northeast    Region, dated February 28, 1969, issued by the Deputy
AssocLate Comrmss1oner, Adminlstratlve            Services,    Central Office
We ad not evaluate       the program effectiveness          of the varzous opera-
tlng services.

      We exartuned selected admrnlstratlve      operations   and flnanclal
transactions     and noted a need for improvement In a number of
adrmnzstratlve     procedures and Internal     controls     These matters
were discussed with approprrate      personnel     and their posltlons     are
Included     m the statement of our flndlngs

Inadequate procedures               and control
over cash and bondmu                of emDlovees

     The procedures   and control      over cash and bonding of employees
at the Boston District     Office were inadequate        you and your staff
advised us that corrective       action either had or would be taken.

     Control     over      cash

     1.   The cash fee collections  were kept ln an unlocked cash
          box and placed In an unlocked flllng  cabinet drawer.

     2.   Two employees had access to each other's   collections
          because fee collections were deposited   In a cash
          drawer shared by them.

     3.   The dally cash deposit was ready for dellvery to
          the U.S Post Office in the morning but was not
          taken there untxl the close of the work day

     4.   The    mailroom receipts   which included most of the
          fees    collected  were verlfled   by a supervisor near
          the    close of the work day mstead of earlier     when
          the    counting of mall receipts    was completed

    5    The clerk who prepared deposits for malllng did not
         acknowledge receipt   of funds transferred fro& her
         supervisor, as required                  4

    Bonding   of employees

    1.   The deposit and mall clerks handled the same amount
         of money but the former was bonded for $3,000 whereas
         the latter     was bonded for only $1,000    The travel
         control    clerk was also bonded for only $1,000 but
         handled considerably     more funds than that during
         calendar year 1969

    2    Two deportation    offxcers    handled large sums of money
         but were not bonded.        In calendar year 1969, these
         offxers    handled cash varying       from $500 to $2,900
         on 27 occasions.

Inadequate   control   over the use of
Government-owned     automobiles

     The control   over the use of Government-owned    automobiles    1.n
the Boston District     Office was Inadequate    You advised us that
a review would be made of controls      over all automobiles    In the
Northeast  RegIonal Office

      The employee responsible   for malntalnlng     the automobile    usage
record was often on duty at locations       outside the Boston District
Offxe      The use of each automobile    was not always recorded In the
record, authorrzatlons     to use an automobile    overnight     were not in
agreement with entries     in the record, and the keys to automobiles
were placed In an unlocked desk drawer or left In an automobile
parked in the John F. Kennedy Building       underground     garage.

     Our check of five automobiles     In the underground   garage showed
that the odometer readings of two differed       from the readings shown
In the Government-Owned Vehicle Record (Form G-205).         TWO of the
other automobiles    had been driven a total of 50 miles but authorlza-
tlon for this use was not shown        The odometer reading for the            I
remaining  automobile   agreed wl'ch the authorization    and usage records


         During two physical  checks, we noted that automobile
    number 0460 was not parked In the John F Kennedy Bulldlng
    after duty hours and an authorlzatlon     for Its overnight  use
f   was not recorded In the offlclal     usage record   Afte; the
    automobile   was returned to the garage, Dlstr:ct   Office
    personnel   were unable to detemune who had used It

          Adrmnlstratlve       Manual 2503 12 provides         that a supervisor
    may prepare a Form G-291, "Authorlzatlon               for Official    Use
    of Government-Owned Automobile"            authorlzlng       Ln advance the
    use of a vehicle.          Although lnve&igators         of the Boston
    District     normally use an automobile         In the performance       of
    uncontrollable       overtime,     we noted several      Instances where
    a Form G-291 was not prepared.

         For one investigator,       we noted 35 Instances     from March
    through September 1969 where uncontrollable          overtlme was claimed
    but the Form G-291 had not been prepared            We dlscussed 12 of
    these instances with the lnvestlgatol         but he was generally     unable
    to explain why Form G-291 was not prepared             He did lndlcate
    that at various times, he had oral authorization             for the use
    of the automobile        After we dlscussed this matter with officials
    of the Boston Dlstrlct       Office,   a memorandum was Issued to all
    investigators   which emphasized the need for the preparation            of
    Form G-291

    Weaknesses In record keeping and in the
    control over badges at the Boston Dlstrlct

           The following weaknesses in record keeping and control over
    badges were noted by us and were dlscussed wrth you and your
    staff.     We were advised that corrective action either had been
    or would be taken.

         1.   In some Instances,      the employees' uncontrollable
              overtime    and leave taken shown on the employee
              locator   record dlffered     from that shown on the
              time and attendance report           The timekeeper had
              not resolved    these differences       prior to reportrng
              employees' uncontrollable        overtime and leave taken
              to the Northeast     Regional Offlce

    2.   The Form G-291, Authorlzatron            for Official
         Use of Government-Owned Automobiles,              was not
         prepared In duplicate         as required.
                                    I                               s
    3.   The Deputy Dlstrlct         DLrector had been promoted
         from his lnvestlgatlons         posltlon     but had not
         returned    his lnvestlgator       badge to the custodian
         of property     records,     as required.       The Deputy
         Drstrlct    Director     also had three investigator
         badges In his possession which should have
         been returned      to the property       records custodian

    4.   The custodian's    property    records did not list
         a transferred   Investigator's      badge

Lost purchase    discount   opportunltles

       We examined about 250 documents such as purchase orders,        in-
voices and contracts      In voucher fzles which had been previously
reviewed by the voucher examlnatlon       section of the Northeast
Regional Office.      Data on 20 documents disclosed    that purchase
discount opportunltles      totaling $77.67 were lost.     The Admnls-
tratlve    Officer agreed that losses on 20 out of 250, or 8 percent,
was high and In excess of the error rate shown In the last GAO

       We were advised by the Accounting Officer         and the Administra-
tlve Officer     that a training      program for the new supervlsor     of
the voucher exarmnation        section would be establlshed,     present
voucher examiners would be retralned;           attempts would be made to
recover some of the monies lost, and the files would be reviewed
to determine If any other errors had been made. We were also
advised that the discounts missed would be deducted from future
billings    whenever possible.

Requrred time limits    for submlsslon       of
Arrival-Departure    Record to central       offlce

      Personnel at Logan International     Airport, Boston, Massachusetts,
and Kennedy International     Airport,   New York, New York, did not comply
with Adnunlstratlve     Manual 2790.21, 22 which directs    that Form I-94,
Arrival-Departure    Record, be submitted to the Central Office 45 days
after the scheduled transits      without visas (TRWOV) departure    date lf

there        1s no verlflcatlon       of departure

     This occurred because verlflcatlons     of departures   fre-
quently were not received     after 45 days had elapsed.,    Therefore,
the requirement    that Form I-94 be submitted-to     the Central Office
45 days after the scheduled TRWOVdeparture        date appears unreallstlc.
We suggested that the 45 day requirement      be studred.    Both you
and your staff    advised that a 60 day llrmt would be more appropriate
than the present 45 day llrmt
     Also, at the Kennedy Internailonal      Airport,     safeguards were
not placed over the Form I-94         Each Form I-94 represents        a potential
account receivable     to the Government since the carrzer 1s assessed
$500 If It does not provide      evidence of the TRWOVdeparture             Never-
theless,   the containers    In which these forms were kept did not have
a locking device and the room was left unattended            and unlocked at
varLous times      Since the INS dlscontlnued     microfilming      these forms
In November 1969, any mlsslng forms could mean a potential              loss
of $500 each

      Based on OUT sug&tlon,     the Officer In. charge stated that he
would review this matter and consider establlshlng      new controls
The AssIstant   Officer  In Charge also stated they would conszder
locking the room

Other        administrative       problems

     At the Northeast   Regional Office,               the following    adrmnistratlve
matters required   corrective   action.

        1.     Travel vouchers were prepared more frequently          than
               necessary.     For example, six travel  voucher claims
               for one employee were indlvldually     processed in a
               two-month period       To reduce the administrative
               workload,    employees should submit travel      voucher
               claims once a month instead of each time expenses
               are Incurred

        2.     An overpayment       of $5 08 for     quarters   allowance     was

        3      Serial numbers for seven office   equipment items
               were not posted on the reverse side of the Form
               G-503, Equipment-In-Use   Record, as required  by
               Admlnrstratrve   Manual 2424.08

       4.   A June 30, 1969, quarterly   tape for account numbers
            201-Land, 205-Buxldlngs,   and ?15-Structures     and Facllitles,
            was not prepared and a reconclllatlon      was not made of
            these accounts as required   by Adrunlstratlve     vanual
            2424 11 and 2989 04                          l

       5,   A Regxter  of Capltallzed   Property Transactions,  Form
            G-508, was not prepared monthly for account numbers
            201, 205, and 215 as requrred by Admlnxtratlve     Manual
            2424.11.                    c

       After dxcusslon     of these matters , you and your staff          advised
that    corrective   action had been or would be taken

     A separate letter     is being sent to the Commissioner,            Immlgra-
tion and Naturalization       Service on the following        matters.     (1) com-
pensable time and recording         of uncontrollable     overtime,     (2) use of
Government-owned     automobiles     between investigators'       residences     and
the office,    (3) fraudulent     vouchers prepared by an indlvldual,             (4)
full day's salary paid when it appeared that less than a full day
was worked, and (5) the use of automatrc vehicle              and pedestrian
counting devices at land ports of entry

     In accordance w1t.h the General Accounting Office Policy and
Procedures Manual for Guidance of Federal Agencies (8 GAO 31, the
records of flnanclal   transactlons  through June 30, 1969, may be
transmitted   to the Federal Records Center for storage In compliance
with your records management program

      Copies of this report are being         forwarded to the Assistant
Attorney General for AdmLnxstration           and the Commissioner,   Immigra-
tion and Naturallzatlon    Service for        their lnformatlon

    We wish to acknowledge the courtesies  and cooperation      given
to our representatives  during the review   Your comments as to
the final  actions taken on the matters and suggestions    included
In this report will be appreciated

                                                   Sincerely    yours,

                                             4     Joseph Eder
                                                   Regional Manager

Mr Socrates Zolotas                                  0
Regional Commissioner
Immigration   and Naturalization        Service
Federal Building
Burlington,   Vermont