Reduction of Agency costs associated with Gov’t travel
Consideration of using alternative payment methods / means to pay travel, Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) for government employees who are required to travel as a function of their employment, reducing unnecessary use of paper supplies and ensuring accountability of financial allocations during reconciliation of monthly district expenditures. Understanding not every agency employee travels, agency Headquarters and individual Federal District office’s which expend funds for travel (e.g., Training, JPATS trips) would create a streamlined financial allocation system to pay and/or reimburse employees for costs associated with travel.
• Establishment of a centralized US Dept. of Justice Travel Center who’s primary purpose is to facilitate the financial allocation of travel funds to ensure prompt repayment of expenses of agents who are required to travel. The proclivity of potential fraud waste and abuse, if managed correctly will be zero, thereby reducing fraudulent claims to zero. This results in a substantial cost savings to taxpayers and ultimately the US Gov’t overall.
• Utilization of non-government rates for airfare travel (as they are more expensive due to cancellation policies, where a 25USD charge occurs when you cancel your flight verses being charged for the entire cost of the flight).
• In a relatively short amount of time, of less than one fiscal year, and cost of implementation to the agency would be nominal at best, requiring the use of programmers to write the programming codes and scripts (e.g., php)
• Cost and time efficiency ensuring correct and prompt payment made at the point of sale or upon checkout from a hotel.
• No over payment of travel funds by fraudulent travel claims processed by agencies every year, thereby reducing the overall misallocation of Gov’t funds due to fraudulent claims which are paid.
• Establishing a centralized payment center or office for each agency, staffed with knowledgeable and trained accounting staff ensuring payments are correctly allocated for per the current FASAB standards.
• Assigning an internal Headquarters based account number to your US Government issued Personal Identification Verification (PIV) ID card (in compliance with HSPD12), and becomes a Stored Value Card to each employee who travels (similar to currently issued Gov’t Credit Cards), the credit would be applied to the PIV card before travel when possible based on the originating proposed travel cost claim. Any funds remaining would remain on the card and used for M,I &E expenses at the discretion of the employee. Additionally, this becomes an internal financial tracking system for agencies when establishing their fraud perimeters and thresholds.
For example, two forms are filed regarding travel expenses: Form (1) denotes expected costs associated with the travel and Form (2) two lists the actual expenses associated with the travel. Not having to issue a credit card and crediting the PIV card with the anticipated travel costs based on the first form, would directly save both paper resources associated with the financial claims, the time processing the travels claims and the saving of resources associated with investigating fraudulent travel claims.
No extraordinary time would be required of the district offices to facilitate this process. When form one is submitted to the Headquarters travel office, the claim is processed and the credit is applied to the individually issued stored value card. The entire process from origination of the paperwork to the crediting of the PIV would take less than ten minutes, thereby reducing the time, energy, and paper resources associated with Gov’t employees who travel at the Gov’t expense. If there is a extension of one’s travel, the SAC (or equivalent) would be the signatory authorizer for the additional funds allocated to each individual account. The funding would stay in a centralized headquarters office and accountability would be headquarters based. By using a completely automated electronic system to process the travel claims in a centralized office, would reduce the carbon footprint and saving money from an overall perspective.
The individual has to make his or her own travel plans, hotel, and car rental arrangements. This process should not be delegated or left in the hands of the person not doing the traveling. It’s a relatively simple process to achieve a zero fail rate.