The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 18, 2011
Audit reveals California state employee misdeeds and miscues

110118 Bureau of State Audits seal.jpgA new audit of bad behavior and poor decisions by California government employees and departments is out. Here are some highlights of the investigations detailed by the Bureau of State Audits:

Auditors say: After a psychiatrist's competence came into question, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation wasted at least $366,656 by continuing to pay him more than $600,000 in salary throughout a 35-month investigation that the department deemed a low priority. The pay to the employee included two separate merit-based salary increases of $1,027 and $818 per month.

The department says: Corrections says that its investigation was timely and consistent with its policies and state law and that no patient's safety was jeopardized.

Auditors say: A manager with the Department of General Services used state vehicles for his daily commute for nine years. Cost to the state from July 2006 through July 2009 -- the three years for which complete records are available -- totaled an estimated $12,379 and more than 24,000 miles. No idea what the cost was to the state for the first six years.

"The manager justified his use of the vehicles by stating that he needed to take the vehicles home to test‑drive them for safety and to drop them off at vendor shops where he would pick up other state vehicles that had been repaired," the report says. The manager retired shortly after he was interviewed.

The department says: DGS said in December that it planned to seek
reimbursement from the retired manager
. Last year, before auditors finished their investigation, DGS issued a number of operating policies to its employees that forbid using state‑owned vehicles for travel to and from an employee's home without express permission.

Auditors say: A supervisor at Kern Valley State Prison let an employee to take two-hour breaks at the end of his shifts from June 2006 through August 2009. The estimated value of the breaks: $23,937 for 1,160 hours during which the employee wasn't working.

The employee, whose job was to move goods from a warehouse to other parts of the prison, said that shift changes and potential traffic within the facility prevented him from making deliveries after 2 p.m.

The department says: CDCR has revised the employee's duty statement to include additional work and shift the employee's work schedule to an earlier start time. The department didn't find any misconduct on the part of the employee's supervisor or the manager, so they weren't disciplined. It also provided some on-the-job training to address the issues raised in the investigation.

Auditors say: A Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board employee with a history of misconduct improperly removed hundreds of confidential documents from her workplace. The claims board didn't watch her closely enough to protect the security of the documents, despite an alert that documents were disappearing. Her acts compromised the security of victims' personal information and resulted in the claims board failing to promptly process $10,567 in compensation claims from victims of violent crimes.

The board says: The board regularly trains staff regarding info security issues. After the investigation was over, the board started electronically scanning and assigning all documents. Hard copies are now kept in a secure room. The board also says it holds management accountable, although in this case the employee's supervisor wasn't disciplined for inadequately monitoring his employee after learning about the missing confidential documents.

Click here for the summary of the audit. We've embedded the entire report below:
Investigations of Improper Activities by State Employees

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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 jortiz@sacbee.com.

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