The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 19, 2011
Poll: Who is to blame for the Caltrans, Duane Wiles controversy?

The employee fired twice by Caltrans (and reinstated the first time) didn't appeal a third disciplinary action taken against him for numerous serious workplace infractions, including "inexcusable neglect of duty." The cause of Duane Wiles' uncontested discipline in July 2000 will probably never be known.

Wiles, the Caltrans technician who falsified test data on the structural integrity of freeway structures, was fired in 1998, reinstated in 2000 and then fired again last month after The Bee made inquiries into his work on the Bay Bridge and other structures.

About six months after the State Personnel Board told Caltrans to put Wiles back on the job in January 2000, Caltrans again sanctioned him.

The specifics of those violations aren't clear. Personnel Board spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley said this morning that Wiles didn't ask the board to take up the July 2000 "adverse action" by Caltrans. Without an employee appeal, the details of the infractions and the discipline administered to Wiles remains private as an in-house personnel matter. A disciplinary matter becomes public when an employee appeals to the board. (Matters involving sworn peace officers remain private even when taken to SPB.)

Wiles has appealed his November firing. As the story continues to unfold, we wanted to ask State Worker blog users:

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

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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