Treasury OIG report reviews progress of BEP projects
By Arthur L. Friedberg , Special to Coin World, Published: Aug 23, 2021, 8 AM
The Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General Report for the 2021 fiscal year mentioned a number of subjects were activities of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing are under review.
The BEP’s expenses are paid for by the Federal Reserve Board, so it does not need appropriations from Congress. It also gets capital improvement funding from the board, which is important, the report says, because the next generation of notes now under development will necessitate purchasing new equipment, presumably to be installed at the new facility being built in Beltsville, Maryland, and at the expanded Fort Worth, Texas, plant.
The biggest area of risk, the report states, is that of counterfeiting, so it emphasizes that controls must be in place over employees, equipment, and the facilities themselves.
Another concern is procedures, policies, and practices for employee safety.
Regarding the Fort Worth facility, the BEP’s investment decisions are being reviewed for proper documentation and for following best planning and management practices. Management of the construction in Maryland is being reviewed under the same criteria.
The currency redemption program is being examined to ascertain that only valid claims are being considered. The OIG is also looking into whether the BEP “properly approves, documents, and monitors the use of shredded currency for artistic and commercial purposes.”
The move of the BEP’s e-commerce and marketing to the U.S. Mint, which has not been enthusiastically received by some paper money collectors, is being examined.
An assessment will be made of the single note inspection machines that are now used for $1, $5, $20, and $100 notes, and the OIG will check whether a proper cost benefit analyses has been done to support using SNI with 50-subject sheets.
Actions taken to identify and apply anti-counterfeiting measures, as well as those to assist the blind and visually impaired will be examined, as will BEP controls over the currency sent as test notes to bank note equipment manufacturers. Specifically, it will investigate whether the BEP has proper controls over such items, and whether the test notes are monitored to make sure that they are not released to the public or “treated as the equipment manufacturer’s money.”
As background, the report says the BEP received an order for about 5.2 billion notes in fiscal year 2020, down from the previous year’s order of 7 billion notes.