Brace yourself for what could become #IRSscandal…3.0? 4.0? 10.0? I’ve lost track.
A new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration shows that the IRS rehired hundreds of problem employees over the course of three years.
According to the report, four of those employees left the IRS after having serious performance problems—and were hired back to their exact same jobs. Hundreds others were rehired even though their records reflected less-serious problems.
Among the four workers who returned to their previous positions, two were “failing critical job elements at the time they had separated from their prior employment with the IRS,” according to a report on the audit, released Thursday.
The review raises questions about whether federal hiring standards are strict enough. Twenty percent of the 50 randomly selected rehires with prior problems at the IRS were involved in new conduct and performance issues after they returned to the agency, according to the report.
TIGTA determined that the IRS followed federal hiring guidelines, which require checking for prior criminal activity or use of illegal drugs. But IRS officials told auditors that they barely consider prior conduct and performance issues while determining which applicants are best qualified for a job.
Roughly 10 percent of the 73,000 employees that the IRS hired between October 2009 and September 2013 previously worked at the agency. TIGTA said that “most rehired employees do not have performance or conduct issues associated with prior IRS employment.”
Well, at least they aren’t doing drugs, right?
According to Forbes, many of these employees didn’t even make an attempt at professional redemption after they landed their former jobs:
In many cases, the problems cropped up again after the person was rehired, the report reveals. Of the more than 7,000 former employees the IRS hired between January 2010 and September 2013, 824 had prior performance and conduct issues. In fairness, the IRS did a lot of rehiring of former employees. And most of the rehires did not have performance or conduct issues.
The report cites a former problem employee whose file was explicitly marked “Do Not Rehire” because the person was “absent without leave for 312 hours.” Guess what? He was rehired anyway. 141 former employees were rehired even though they had prior substantiated tax issues. What’s worse, five of them were known to the IRS as having willfully failed to file their federal tax returns. No problem, they were rehired.
During the audit, IRS officials stated that prior conduct and performance issues do not play a significant role in deciding the candidates who are best qualified for hiring. But since then the IRS has indicated it will work to improve its hiring practices. All of this comes at a time when the IRS budget has been cut, and when the agency is facing increasing scrutiny.
So, will this be #IRSscandal 26.0? Maybe. Everyone knows that employees make mistakes; one mistake should not immediately mean professional death. But serious problems should be a part of what is considered during the rehiring process. AWOL for over 300 hours? Unauthorized snooping into another person’s tax records? Failure to file tax returns?
Does the IRS even know what the purpose of the IRS is? Are we sure these people aren’t on drugs?
We already know that the IRS has serious problems when it comes to honest dealings and protecting taxpayer data. We like to think of this type of corruption coming from the top down, but what if the corruption we’ve seen coming out of the IRS for years has less to do with the ubiquitous government Big Bad and more to do with the culture of the agency?
We don’t expect the executive branch to deal fairly with taxpayers—so why would we expect them to hold their employees to a higher standard?DONATE
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