Civilian Pay and Allowances, U.S. Army Training Center Infantry and Fort Dix

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-06-25.

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

                         UrarmSTkT~s                 GEMEF~A~WCC~UNT~NG                    OFFICE
                                                 REGIONAL         QFFtCE
                               502 U S CUSTOMHOUSE          2D AND   CHESTNUT    STREETS

                                    PWILADELPHI~I,       PENNSYLVAWA             19106

Conananding      General
Headquarters)         U.S. Army ‘Training
   Center     Infantry     and Fort Dix                       I
Fort Dix, New Jersey            08640
Dear    Sir:

        We have reviewed                the adequacy             and effectiveness           of the civil         lan
pay system,             including        internal        controls      at the U,S, Army Trainrng
Center       infantry          and Fort Dix,            As part of our review we examtncd
selected         civilian         payro3’4      transactions         and related          personnel       actions
processed          for both classification                     act and wage board employees                   during
the period           February        22, 1970 to February                20, 1971.         The selection           and
examination             were made by using               statistical        sampling       techniques,           we
reviewed         the mechanized             payroll        system and perFormed              certain      audit
steps     to test           the computer          controls        and validate        data on the master
record      file,          We also revtewed              the most recent          civilian        payro?l       audits
performed          by the Internal             Review Division.

         We noted a few minor          cieerical      errors      which we brought         to the
attention       of Fort DIX officials            during      our review       and at the exit
conference.         Although     these errors         were not significant,            we believe
there     are certain       weaknesses       in the system which should               be corrected,
The internal        control     over the payments            to civil     ian consultants       should
be strengthened.            Also the mechanized            payroll      system should        be re-
designed      to take advantage          of the processing            and control       capabil   iries
available       from the automatic          data processing           equtpment,       These areas
are described         in detail     below.

                Civilian    consultants--The            hospital         uses civilian        consultants
                who are authorized          as excepted          appointments          to be employed
                on an intermittent          basis     at $75 a day during                a specified
                period   of time,        Command approval              is necessary        to renew
                the consultant’s         period     of service           beyond the expiratron
                date.    We found that         the Ctvifian            Pay Branch continued
                to pay the consultants            for services            after    their     expiration
                date because       there was no procedure                 to remove the con-
                sultants    from the master           payroll       file      at their     termination

                                 50’PH      AN           SARY          1921-    ‘1971
We found an instance        where the time and attendance           report
showed that    a consultant         worked one day tn July      1970 but
was not paid.       This  situation        occurred because   the hosplcal
delayed   In reporting      that the consultant       worked and sub-
sequently   the payroll       clerk     overlooked  a necessary     adjustment
to effect   payment.

We recommend      that   procedures     and controls          be Instituted              to
remove consultants         from the master       payroll       file    at the
expiration     of therr      authorized    servgce      period.        Al so
payment    should    be made to the consultant              for services
rendered     In July    8970*

Mechanized      payroll       system--    The payroll          system was lnntially
designed     for card processing              equipment        and was later
translated      to operate           in a recently        Installed       118M 360
model     30 computer,           We reviewed       available        system documentation
and found that          from the standpoint             of internal        control  and
efficiency,       the system does not make full                     use of the control
and processtng          capabilities        that are available             wrth the

 in order   to test     the computer         controls,     we made arrangements
wr th Fort Dix off lcials         to aad an employee             with an overstated
base hourly       rate to the master          employee      record      file,        We
did this    to demonstrate        that     if a payroll        clerk       transposed
an hourly     rate    in processing       a payroll       act Ion and the
erroneous     rate was entered         into     the manual       control        registers”
the employee       would be overpaid          and the manual          control        registers
could    be reconciled,        Computer       controls     have not been designed
into   the system to detect          errors       of this    nature.

From the standpoint                of efficiency,        for example,           the masrer
employee       record       f i ie under      the card system cons rsted of f rim
four to seven cards for each employee                        depending          on various
payroll      options,           Each card contained           identrfication          data
such as employee              control     number,      This card file             was con-
verted     to tape without            redesigning        the record          format    and,
consequently,           the master        File now consists            of from four to
seven magnetic            tape records          for each employee.              This   requj res
processing        of duplicate          identification          data,      which could      have
been avoided          If one magnetic             tape record      had been desrgncc
for each employee.

We discussed  these matters       with offlcrals      at Fort Dix and
at the system design    center      located    at Headquarters,    First
U.S. Army,   Whr’ie these   officials       generally   ;ecognized     rhat
             the coci~puter was not king                 k.ised to its m~ximtsm potential,
             we were Informed    that Headquarters,                   First      iJ,S,i Army no longer
             has the resources     or the authoriLy                 to redesign           the systen,
             in our opinioct,  the fack of uxiputer                    coatrols         within   the
             system is 06 sufficient                 fmpoktakice to warrant             the attentlori
             of appropriate        0ffic’ials         within   the Department             of the Army for
             necessary      consideration            and corrective         action.

         We would appreciate         ysur       cc~tx,nents in   regard   to the      procedures
instituted      for the contrsl         of      the payments       to consultants,

       We wish    to acknmledge           the     cooperation      extended      to our        staff   during
the   review.

        t n accordance     wi th the Genera i Accounting          Office  PO& 1cy &nd ~6’k’xmhIrcs
Hamual     for Guidance      of Federal     Agencies,   Title     t& Chapter   3, the pasprol1
records      coverfng   the period      from Octcbef    11, 1944 to February        28, 8978,
may be transferred         to the Federal       Records   Center.

       Copies    of this      letter are being       sent to the ComptroBler                     of the
Army; the CoFnmanding General,           First     u,s, Army* Fort George                     e, Mead”,,
Maryland;     and the Distrect       Manager,      Northeastern  Distrlet,                    U.5.’ Army
Audit    Agency,    Philadelphia,      Pennsylvania,

                                                                     Sincerely       yours,