Obama nominee for GPO chief accepted, repaid improper payments
William J. Boarman, President Obama's nominee to lead the Government Printing Office, received and cashed about $3,200 in improper payments from the GPO in the last six years and repaid the funds on Tuesday, according to government records.
Boarman has been on leave without pay from GPO since he took the first in a series of union positions in 1977. He currently serves as a senior vice president with the Communication Workers of America, the world's largest telecommunications union.
The agency acknowledged to Boarman last Thursday that it had improperly paid him because of "administrative errors."
GPO labor agreement permit workers to take a leave of absence if they are serving as union officers. Documents provided to The Washington Post by a GPO official show Boarman first requested leave in 1977, when he became president of the Columbia Typographical Union. He requested leave again in 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1985 to continue serving as union president. The records do not indicate his leave was extended beyond Jan. 1, 1987.
Despite being on leave without pay, Boarman received $1,615.04 in 2004 for six days of holiday pay and one day of regular pay, according to GPO records. He received $945.92 in 2005 for three days of holiday pay and one day of regular pay and in 2007 banked $1,055.25 for 35 hours of annual leave. Boarman cashed the payments, records show.
Earlier this year GPO also paid Boarman $175 for "goal sharing," a program that pays workers extra money if the agency meets certain paper and electricity reduction goals. Boarman informed GPO of the improper "goal sharing" payment in June and repaid the funds, according to officials.
GPO informed Boarman last Thursday of the other improper payments. "Although these overpayments were caused entirely by administrative errors made by GPO and not by anything you did, by law and regulation we are required to seek reimbursement for these overpayments," the agency told him.
In a reply sent Tuesday Boarman said "When I received these payments I had no reason to believe they were in error. I understood these were payments for leave I had accumulated during the period I worked at GPO in a pay status."
Boarman "did absolutely nothing wrong," said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin.
"GPO made these errors of their own accord, as they stated clearly in their letter of July 8," Cherlin said in an e-mail. "This episode makes it clear that GPO is sorely in need of stronger financial management, and that’s one of the reasons we’re looking forward to Mr. Boarman’s confirmation and service.”
The Senate Rules Committee plans to vote on Boarman's nomination Tuesday, according to a spokesman.
Boarman apologized to senators during his May 25 confirmation hearing for not disclosing a March $250 contribution to the Senate campaign of Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Blanche Lincoln in a Democratic Senate primary. Boarman denied to lawmakers that he was involved in bundling efforts for the campaign.
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| July 15, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
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