The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 28, 2009
Waste and spending abuses that may shock even a state worker
State Auditor Elaine Howle today released a copy of her semiannual report to the Legislature that describes in agonizing detail the results of her investigations into waste and spending abuses by state employees.

Her latest report covers the period of July 1 through Dec. 31, 2008.

Look for my story in tomorrow's Bee about Howle's gem of a headliner: how General Services and the Department of Corrections and rehabilitation wasted $580,000 by leasing office space for four years that wasn't being used.

A second chapter tells how General Services wasted $3,000 by paying a private vendor for emergency preparedness training in Los Angeles, even though the California Highway Patrol provides the training free of charge.

But there's more. Howle's accounting gumshoes found several departments improperly paid state workers more than they were entitled to get:

- From October 2003 through March 2008, a Department of Fish and Game official improperly claimed $71,747 for commute and other expenses incurred near her home and headquarters. The employee said the expenses were approved.

- The State Compensation Insurance Fund paid an employee $8,314 for 427 hours that she did not work and that it had not charged against her leave balances.

- The Department of Justice paid an employee $648 that she did not earn and $497 for travel expenses that she did not incur.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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