Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)
U.S. Department of Labor
Office of Labor-Management Standards
Nashville District Office
233 Cumberland Bend Drive, Suite 110
Nashville, TN 37228
(615) 736-5906 Fax: (615) 736-7148
September 23, 2010
Ms. Shiryll Durham, President
Government Employees AFGE Local 1687
P. O. Box 518
Mountain Home, TN 37684 Case Number: ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
LM Number: 501-116
Dear Ms. Durham:
This office has recently completed an audit of Government Employees, AFGE Local 1687, under the Compliance Audit Program (CAP) to determine your organization’s compliance with the provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA), 5 U.S.C. 7120, and the Department's regulations, 29 CFR 458. As discussed during the exit interview with you and Office Assistant Mary Cloyd on August 20, 2010, 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 organizations 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 1687’s 2009 records revealed the following recordkeeping violation:
Local 1687 records of meal expenses did not always identify the persons attending the meals. For example, Vice-President Louis Hughes and Ms. Cloyd provided detailed meal receipts totaling at least $129.03, but they did not list the names of the meal attendees. 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.
Based on your assurance that Local 2001 will retain adequate documentation in the future, OLMS will take no further enforcement action at this time regarding the above violations.
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 (LM-3) filed by Local 1687 for fiscal year ending December 31, 2009 was deficient in the following areas:
1. Disbursements to Officers
Local 1687 did not report the names of some officers and the total amounts of payments to them or on their behalf in Item 24 (All Officers and Disbursements to Officers). The union must report in Item 24 all persons who held office during the year, regardless of whether they received any payments from the union.
The union must report most direct disbursements to Local 1687 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. 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 1687 amended its constitution and bylaws on April 21, 1998, but did not file the required copies with its LM report for that year. Local 1687 has now filed a copy of its constitution and bylaws.
Signing Blank Checks
During the audit, you advised that Vice-President Hughes and Secretary-Treasurer Janice Bowden sign blank checks. Your union’s bylaws require that all checks be signed by the president and treasurer. The two-signature requirement is an effective internal control of union funds. Its purpose is to attest to the authenticity of a completed document already signed. However, signing a blank check in advance does not attest to the authenticity of a completed check, and negates the purpose of the two-signature requirement. OLMS recommends that Local 1687 review these procedures to improve internal control of union funds.
I want to extend my personal appreciation to Government Employees AFGE Local 1687 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.
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cc: Ms. Janice Bowden, Secretary-Treasurer