The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 20, 2011
Audit hammers Corrections for poor financial controls

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 100831 calculator.JPGA fired state employee received a final lump-sum paycheck for nearly $15,000 -- twice.

An $8,000 salary advance to one state worker went uncollected -- for nearly three years.

Overpayments to employees approaching a half-million dollars were carried on the books for three years or more.

Those are just three examples of what Controller John Chiang this afternoon called, "grossly inadequate" payroll and travel advance tracking discovered through an audit of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

According to this press release, Chiang's auditors reviewed CDCR records from July 1, 2009 through July 31, 2010. They found the department had more than $6 million in outstanding receivables related to salary and travel advances, with more than $4 million of that outstanding for more than two months and $465,000 carried on the books for more than three years.

Martin Hoshino, CDCR Undersecretary for Administration and Offender Services, didn't dispute the audit. The department has implemented 22 of the 36 recommendations made by the controller, he said in the controller's release, and has now "prioritized the vigorous collection of outstanding debts."

The total outstanding balance has shrunk by $2.2 million since November 1, 2010, he said, and "we will continue in our efforts until we have surmounted the issues identified in this audit."

One CDCR employee who was terminated last year received a lump sum check for $14,950 from a CDCR revolving fund to meet the deadline for cashing out employees when they exit state service. Then CDCR paid the employee full salary and another $14,950. "Six months later, there still was no effort to recoup the overpayment of $14,950," the controller's office said.

In a 2008 case, a CDCR employee received an advance of more than $8,000. Nearly three years later, the advance still hadn't been collected. The employee still works for the department.

An observation from your humble blogger: It's this kind of accounting trouble that weakens CDCR's attempts to collect more than $4 million it says the California Correctional Peace Officers Association owes for unreimbursed union paid leave.

PHOTO: www.freefoto.com

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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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