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  • Bonuses contracted improperly

    30 years ago; you were considered fortunate to receive a $2000.00 bonus.


    Guard: $34M in bonuses possibly granted improperly

    Associated Press

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The National Guard will allow an Oregon recruit the $20,000 bonus it promised her in 2007, even though it believes the money was among $34 million worth of incentives improperly granted in recent years.

    A month ago, the Guard had asked Pfc. Chelsea Wells to return the first half of the bonus, which she got in 2008, and refused to pay the second half - even though it didn't suggest she had done anything wrong. But facing congressional pressure to honor Wells' contract, the Guard confirmed Tuesday that it changed its position in the case, which has opened a window into recruitment practices that involve a variety of incentives.

    Since Wells' case came to light in mid-July, the Guard has revealed that a new verification system has found that more than 4,000 bonuses nationwide were "improperly offered to the applicant" in 2007-2009. Those incentives had been offered by recruiters and enlistment officers.

    The Guard said it sent a memo saying Wells would be paid as a matter of good management practices and of "equity and good conscience." Where soldiers acted in good faith, the Guard would try to get them their money, said Lt. Col. Les' Melnyk, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau, which oversees state Guard units.

    The Guard hasn't said how many of those recruits have been paid.

    Wells had appealed to U.S. Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, who protested along with other members of the state's congressional delegation and met with the leader of the Army National Guard, Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter.

    The Guard said it would release details about the bonuses after Walden and Carpenter meet again this week. It said that in Oregon, the contracts of 15 other Guard members with bonuses totaling $262,500 were questioned, and it resolved 13 of those cases in the soldiers' favor.

    The Guard has not responded to questions about other details of the bonuses, such as whether disciplinary action or criminal investigations are contemplated.

    Wells, 21, of Milton-Freewater, received the first half of her bonus for enlisting in a "critical skills" job - intelligence analyst. She enlisted in 2007, finished high school and trained in 2008. Married to a member of the U.S. Army, she moved from the eastern Oregon town to Georgia last year and joined the Guard there.

    When she applied for the second half of her bonus, the Guard said it found that the job category specified in her contract wasn't on the list of critical skills when she signed. She insisted on her money.

    "Some people have said they would have done it in a quiet way," Wells said Tuesday. "This is something you can't be quiet about."

    Last month, a former manager of bonuses for the California National Guard pleaded guilty to submitting false claims from 2007 to 2009 for $15.2 million in bonuses and other payments to Guard members who weren't eligible for them.

    The Sacramento Bee said its investigation turned up evidence of as much as $100 million in improper or illegal bonuses and student loan repayments.

    In response to questions from The Associated Press, the Guard has acknowledged finding widespread instances, in every state, of incorrect bonus payments.

    "Some mistakes did occur during the manual input of information," generally at enlistment, said National Guard Bureau spokeswoman Rose Richeson in a written response. She said more than $34 million was "pending resolution."

    Melnyk said the verification of recruits' eligibility was unrelated to the California case.

    2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
    Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; August 3rd, 2011, 10:03 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Bonuses contracted improperly

    Uncle Sugar is good too it's peeps....


    • #3
      Re: Bonuses contracted improperly

      Originally posted by 7011USMC View Post
      Uncle Sugar is good too it's peeps....
      To a certain extent; especially to the poor but now you heard about the retirement overhaul proposal? I been in contact with MOAA so they can lobby to prevent that from happening.


      • #4
        Re: Bonuses contracted improperly

        Update to the main article.

        General defends Guard bonus payment system

        By Michelle Tan

        Faced with reports of irregularities and improperly paid bonuses, the Army Nation­al Guard’s top officer said Aug. 12 that the program is sound.

        Issues surrounding the bonuses came to light in July when a private first class in the Oregon Guard was asked to return the first half of her $20,000 bonus and the Guard refused to pay her the second half.

        The soldier appealed to her congressman, who protested along with other members of the state’s congressional delegation and met with Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, director of the Army Guard.

        The Guard, in finding that the soldier met all the obligations in her contract, granted an exception to policy and will pay the remainder of the bonus, officials said.

        The Guard has relied on bonuses to boost its recruiting efforts as its soldiers were called to fight in two wars and respond to disasters at home, Carpenter said.

        Almost 60 percent of soldiers currently in the Guard have received an incentive pay­ment at some point over the past decade, Carpenter said.

        “Bonus and incentive programs allow the Army Guard to field a talented, diverse and battle-ready force,” he said. “The bonus programs have also allowed us to ensure we have the right people in the right place at the right time.” So far this fiscal year, the Army Guard has paid 25,000 recruiting bonuses, and officials found administrative errors in 4,000, or 16 percent, Carpenter said.

        At the state level the Guard corrected 3,200 of those 4,000 contracts for adminis­trative errors such as incorrect dates or mismatches in unit positions and paid those bonuses, Carpenter said.

        The remaining 800 were sent to the national level for consideration, he said. Nearly 700 of those have since been paid or resolved, leaving 106 contracts with signif­icant errors that have not been resolved.

        The Guard is working through those con­tracts and about 70 are expected to be reviewed by the Army Board for Correction of Military Records for resolution, Carpen­ter said.

        “I have to take issue with some of the descriptions that are being made about the bonuses the Army Guard offered and paid,” he said. “The program is sound. Over 99 percent of the bonuses have been properly paid to our soldiers who rendered the ser­vice they committed to in their contracts.” Carpenter also said the Guard has not come across any evidence of attempts to defraud the government.

        Most of the bonuses are paid to soldiers who commit to serve in a specific unit or military occupational specialty for a specific amount of time, Carpenter said. Initial bonuses are paid when a soldier qualifies in the required MOS and follow-on payments are made as the soldier continues to serve.

        In March 2009, the Guard instituted auto­mated tools and internal controls to reduce administrative errors in the management of bonus contracts, Carpenter said.

        Nearly all of the irregularities in the bonus program have occurred as the anniversary or final payments for initial contracts signed before March 2009 are being processed, Carpenter said. Most of the errors are clerical in nature, requiring only the submission of additional documen­tation, he said.

        The Guard also is working with the Army to reduce the administrative paperwork and payment delays in the cases that can­not currently be resolved at the Guard level, Carpenter said.

        “The message here is that we have an obligation to take care of our soldiers, and we spend a lot of time in a lot of different venues making sure we do that,” Carpen­ter said. “We are going to do our best to ensure we meet our responsibility to sol­diers who have met their obligations.” □ <!-- END FOR TRANSLATE -->

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        • #5
          Re: Bonuses contracted improperly

          Not a big fan of paying bonuses out of "good business practice" as opposed to "It was our contractual agreement". A contract is a contract. If someone at meps or whoever assigns bonuses gave one improperly go after them. If the service member signed the contract in good conscious (ie not knowing he or she wasnt supposed to get it), then the contract should stand. They hold us to our contracts.

          That's just my .02


          • #6
            Re: Bonuses contracted improperly

            There are definitely errors in the system. I had a PVT at the RSP who didn't ship to training still receive the first half of their bonus. How the heck did that happen? They were honest and came and told me they got a check for 10,000. They were pretty sad though when they had to write a check to the state to return the money.