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Real Clear Policy: Mapping the Swamp, Federal Bonus Payments in 2016

December 29, 2017 10:33 AM
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Mapping the Swamp: Federal Bonus Payments in 2016

By Adam Andrzejewski | December 29, 2017

The U.S. Government doled out $1.5 billion in recruitment, retention, incentive, relocation, and performance bonuses last year (FY2016), but disclosed only 330,000 bonuses totaling $351 million. Performance bonuses of nearly $1.1 billion were withheld from disclosure, which is prohibited by anti-transparency language contained within the government-union contracts.
 
In our OpenTheBooks.com Oversight Report — Mapping the Swamp, A Study of the Administrative State, we mapped the 2 million disclosed federal bureaucrats by work location ZIP code. Search any ZIP code across America to review the name, agency, title, salary, and bonus of the administrative state. Just click a pin and scroll down to see the results that render in the chart beneath the map.
 
The largest federal bonus last year, $141,525, didn’t go to a rocket scientist or a doctor researching a cancer cure; it went to Bart Ferrell, a Human Resources Manager in charge of processing payroll at the Presidio Trust. This small land management agency, located in San Francisco, California, is the developer of the former military base.
 
OTB_FedBonuses
 
Presidio Trust paid out three of the top four largest federal bonuses. Realtor Francene Gonek received an $80,330 bonus, while Michael L. Boland received a $74,688 bonus as a "Miscellaneous Administration and Program" employee. In total, seven in 10 of the agency’s 326 employees received bonuses.
 
When asked about the department’s pattern of awarding large bonuses, a spokeswoman from Presidio Trust issued the following response: 
 
"We are competing for talent in the Bay Area job market. Given the very high cost of living in the Bay Area, and the tight labor market, we make payments in addition to regular salary for the following reasons: signing, performance, retention and departure."
 
Overall, the Department of Transportation paid out the most in bonuses in FY2016: $54.4 million in total. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Commerce weren’t far behind in bonus spending, awarding $53.8 million and $52.6 million, respectively.
 
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