They say that character is what you do when no one else is looking.

In that case, chalk up a character victory for the EPA's Office of the Inspector General, which gave itself a slap on the wrist this week for breaking its own rules when it comes to tracking overtime pay.

Because the inspector general did not properly track overtime work or timesheets by employees, the office incurred overtime charges without proper authorization, the report found.

The whole thing came to light because the U.S. Senate asked the inspector general to investigate the use of overtime by EPA employees and whether such costs were being tracked and properly approved.

"This policy had stated that the OIG strives to achieve its mission in a manner that minimizes the need for employees to work overtime. However, when employees are required to work overtime, the OIG must follow the EPA's rules and procedures regarding overtime pay and compensatory time," the auditors concluded.

Over the course of two fiscal years ending in September 2013, the inspector general incurred more than 2,500 hours of overtime work -- costing taxpayers an estimated $168,000.

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