Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)
U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Labor-Management Standards
Kansas City Resident Investigator Office
Two Pershing Square Bldg.
2300 Main Street, Suite 1000
Kansas City, MO 64108
(816) 502-0290 Fax: (816) 502-0288
May 31, 2011
Mr. Chris Goodwin, Secretary-Treasurer
AFGE Local 919
1901 Ridge Road
Leavenworth, KS 66048
LM Number: 501866
Dear Mr. Goodwin:
This office has recently completed an audit of AFGE Local 919 under the Compliance Audit Program (CAP) to determine your organization’s compliance with the provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). As discussed during the exit interview with you and President Brian Hundley on May 23, 2011, the following problems were disclosed during the CAP. The matters listed below are not an exhaustive list of all possible problem areas since the audit conducted was limited in scope.
Title II of the LMRDA establishes certain reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Section 206 of the LMRDA and Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Section 403.7 require, among other things, that labor organizations maintain adequate records for at least five years after reports are filed by which the information on the reports can be verified, explained and clarified. Pursuant to 29 C.F.R. Section 458.3, this recordkeeping provision of the LMRDA applies to labor organizations subject to the requirements of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) as well. Therefore, as a general rule, labor organization must retain all records used or received in the course of union business.
For disbursements, this includes not only original bills, invoices, receipts, vouchers, and applicable resolutions, but also documentation showing the nature of the union business requiring the disbursement, the goods or services received, and the identity of the recipient(s) of the goods or services. In most instances, this documentation requirement can be satisfied with a sufficiently descriptive expense receipt or invoice. If an expense receipt is not sufficiently descriptive, a union officer or employee should write a note on it providing the additional information. For money it receives, the labor organization must keep at least one record showing the date, amount, purpose, and source of that money. The labor organization must also retain bank records for all accounts.
The audit of Local 919’s 2010 records revealed the following recordkeeping violations:
1. General Reimbursed and Credit Card Expenses
Local 919 did not retain adequate documentation for reimbursed expenses and credit card expenses incurred by union officers totaling at least $5,362.00. For example, the local did not retain adequate documentation for cell phone reimbursements. In addition, the local did not retain adequate documentation for numerous credit card expenses, such as hotel receipts to attend the national conference.
As noted above, labor organizations must retain original receipts, bills, and vouchers for all disbursements. The president and treasurer (or corresponding principal officers) of your union, who are required to sign your union’s LM report, are responsible for properly maintaining union records.
2. Meal Expenses
Local 919 did not require officers and employees to submit itemized receipts for meal expenses totaling at least $700.00. The union must maintain itemized receipts provided by restaurants to officers and employees. These itemized receipts are necessary to determine if such disbursements are for union business purposes and to sufficiently fulfill the recordkeeping requirement of LMRDA Section 206.
Local 919 records of meal expenses did not always include written explanations of union business conducted or the names and titles of the persons incurring the restaurant charges. For example, the local did not include written explanations of union business conducted or the names and titles of the persons incurring charges in the amount of at least $779.00. Union records of meal expenses must include written explanations of the union business conducted and the full names and titles of all persons who incurred the restaurant charges. Also, the records retained must identify the names of the restaurants where the officers or employees incurred meal expenses.
3. Lack of Salary Authorization
Local 919 did not maintain records to verify that the salaries reported in Item 24 (All Officer and Disbursements to Officers) of the LM-3 was the authorized amount and therefore was correctly reported. The union must keep a record, such as meeting minutes, to show the current salary authorized by the entity or individual in the union with the authority to establish salaries.
The proper maintenance of union records is the personal responsibility of the individuals who are required to file Local 919's LM report. You should be aware that under the provisions of Section 209(a) of the LMRDA and Section 3571 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, willful failure to maintain records can result in a fine of up to $100,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. Under the provisions of Section 209(c) of the LMRDA and Section 3571 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, willful destruction or falsification of records can result in a fine of up to $100,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. The penalties provided in Section 209(c) and Section 3571 of Title 18 apply to any person who caused the violations, not just the individuals who are responsible for filing the union’s LM report.
Pursuant to 29 C.F.R., Section 458.3, the reporting requirement under 29 C.F.R. Section 403.2 (see Section 201(b) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA)) is made applicable to labor organizations subject to the requirements of the CSRA. This provision requires labor organizations to file annual financial reports that accurately disclose their financial condition and operations. The audit disclosed a violation of this requirement. The Labor Organization Annual Report (Form LM-3) filed by Local 919 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, was deficient in the following areas:
1. Disbursements to Officers
Local 919 did not include some reimbursements to officers totaling at least $5,018 in the amounts reported Item 24 (All Officers and Disbursements to Officers). It appears the union erroneously reported these payments in Item 54 (Other Disbursements).
The union must report most direct disbursements to Local 919 officers and some indirect disbursements made on behalf of its officers in Item 24. A "direct disbursement" to an officer is a payment made to an officer in the form of cash, property, goods, services, or other things of value. See the instructions for Item 24 for a discussion of certain direct disbursements to officers that do not have to be reported in Item 24. An "indirect disbursement" to an officer is a payment to another party (including a credit card company) for cash, property, goods, services, or other things of value received by or on behalf of an officer. However, indirect disbursements for temporary lodging (such as a union check issued to a hotel) or for transportation by a public carrier (such as an airline) for an officer traveling on union business should be reported in Item 48 (Office and Administrative Expense).
2. Certificates of Deposit Reported As Investments
Local 919 improperly included the value of certificates of deposit as investments in Statement A (Assets and Liabilities). For LM reporting purposes, OLMS considers a certificate of deposit to be cash. The purchase or redemption of a certificate of deposit is a transfer of cash from one account to another and, therefore, the local should not report these transactions as receipts or disbursements.
3. Failure to File Bylaws
Pursuant to 29 C.F.R. Section 458.3, the requirement under 29 C.F.R. Section 402.4 implementing LMRDA Section 201(a) is made applicable to labor organizations subject to the requirements of the CSRA. This provision requires labor organizations to file copies of any revised constitution and bylaws when it files its annual financial report. The audit disclosed a violation of this requirement. Local 919 amended its constitution and bylaws in 1998, but did not file the required copies with its LM report for that year.
Local 919 has now filed a copy of its constitution and bylaws.
Local 919 must file an amended Form LM-3 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, to correct the deficient items discussed above. I provided you with a blank form and instructions, and advised you that the reporting forms and instructions are available on the OLMS website (www.olms.dol.gov). The amended Form LM-3 should be submitted to this office at the above address as soon as possible, but not later than June 6, 2010. Before filing, review the report thoroughly to be sure it is complete, accurate, and signed properly with original signatures.
1. Credit Card – Automatic Payments
As I discussed during the exit interview with you, the audit revealed that Local 919 has automatic credit card payments set up with various merchants for which there was not sufficient explanation. OLMS recommends that unions do not set up automatic payments with vendors, and that unions adopt written guidelines concerning such matters.
2. Extra Room Charge
The audit revealed that Local 919 former Presidentpurchased five hotel rooms for the national convention in 2010, but only four officers attended the convention. Union officers were confused as to the purpose of this extra room. However, Gilliam explained that the extra room expense was an upgrade and should have been reimbursed by the national union. This charge has not been reimbursed to the local. You agreed during the exit interview to contact the national union to obtain this reimbursement.
3. Flight Change Fee
The audit revealed that local steward Mark Swope incurred a charge in the amount of $150.00 for a flight change fee. Union officers were confused about the amount of the airline tickets and the purpose of the flight change fee. As I discussed during the exit interview with you, all local disbursements should be for the benefit of the membership. OLMS recommends that the union adopt written guidelines concerning such matters.
I want to extend my personal appreciation to AFGE Local 919 for the cooperation and courtesy extended during this compliance audit. I strongly recommend that you make sure this letter and the compliance assistance materials provided to you are passed on to future officers. If we can provide any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to call.
cc: Mr. Brian Hundley, President