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Vol. LXII, No. 7
April 2, 2010
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Feedback

Have a question about some aspect of working at NIH? You can post anonymous queries at www.nih.gov/nihrecord/index.htm (click on the Feedback icon) and we’ll try to provide answers.

Feedback: How is Transhare monitored to be sure people are not receiving the benefits and still driving to work?

Response from the Office of Research Services: The process for Transhare starts with an application wherein employees must sign an affidavit stating that they will not possess a parking hanger or parking card (in the case of off-campus facilities). At the time they affirm the amount of their travel cost, there is a reference to the criminal penalties for falsifying the document.

The Employee Transportation Services Office puts all Transhare applications through several levels of review and random audits. ETSO checks the applicant in the NIH parking system and verifies if he/she is eligible for Transhare and if the person needs to return any parking permits. ETSO also provides off-campus facility managers with a list of Transhare members so they can ensure that Transhare members do not receive a parking card. Once parking permits/ cards have been returned (if applicable), the applicant is then enrolled in Transhare. Enrollees then can apply for temporary parking permits on a limited basis such as a need to drive to work because of a doctor’s appointment, family activities, meetings, etc. The parking system will keep track of temporary permits and will cut the Transhare member off when the parking limit is reached. Each temporary parking permit is printed on special security paper with a date of issuance and expiration.

The parking system will not allow people to join Transhare if they currently have a parking permit assigned to them. This system is integrated with the NIH Enterprise Directory and can determine employee status, badge expiration and other information on eligibility for both parking permits and Transhare.  

ETSO is always looking for ways to ensure the integrity of the Transhare system. Penalties for misusing the subsidy include reimbursement to the agency, suspension and revocation from both the NIH Parking Program and NIH Transhare Program, and in extreme violations, up to and including removal from federal service.

For a complete listing of NIH Transhare regulations, visit http://dtts.ors.od.nih.gov/transhare.htm.

Feedback: Several years ago, the restrooms on the 4th and 5th floors of Bldg. 31B were renovated. During the renovation the doors to the restrooms were removed. At the time, employees were told that the door removal was necessary to be in compliance with the ADA. Since that time, restrooms in Bldg. 1 and other parts of Bldg. 31 have been renovated but the doors have not been removed. Recently, the restrooms on the 3rd floor of Bldg. 31B, which have the exact same floor plan as those on the 4th and 5th floors, were completely renovated, and again, the doors were not removed. Because of the location of the restrooms, people waiting for the elevators or just passing by can hear everything that happens in the restrooms on the 4th and 5th floors. Why are employees on those floors not entitled to the same amount of privacy as other employees when engaging in very personal activities? Clearly, compliance with the ADA is not the issue.

Response from the Office of Research Facilities: The Office of Research Facilities reviewed the situation in the B wing of Bldg. 31 and has determined that there are no accessibility issues by adding doors to the 4th and 5th floor bathrooms. ORF agrees there is a privacy issue with the absence of doors at these locations and has submitted a work request to reinstall doors on the 4th and 5th floor restrooms. ORF also plans to review all bathrooms in the B wing currently without doors to determine if there are any additional privacy issues to be resolved.

Feedback: Recently, an email was sent to all of HHS regarding gambling in the federal workplace. This was sent because of NCAA March Madness. Since gambling is not allowed while on duty or while on government-owned property, how then is NIH allowed to sell lottery tickets in its buildings?

Response from the NIH Office of the General Counsel: The Randolph-Sheppard Act authorizes certain vending operators in federal facilities to sell tickets for state lotteries. This is an exception to the general prohibitions on gambling on government property.

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