Waste, Fraud, & Mismanagement

State Paid Analyst $114,000 to Perform No Work During Pandemic, Auditor Reports

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An unidentified state agency paid an analyst $114,000 in salary “to stay home and perform no work during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the state auditor reported May 18 – part of the nearly $280,000 of inappropriate expenditures uncovered by the auditor during a review of spending in 2022.

The employee was kept on administrative time off for approximately 20 months “when she could have continued working during much of that time,” the auditor stated. The report does not name the agency “because doing so may identify or lead to the identification of the individuals mentioned in the report, which would violate Government Code section 8547.7, subdivision (c),” the auditor added.

The auditor wrote that the investigations found “wasteful decisions, poor contract oversight, unreported leave resulting in overpayments, misuse of state resources, and attendance abuse.”

Some of the cases outlined in the report:

A supervisor who oversaw and controlled access to several state vehicles for the Department of Industrial Relations repeatedly misused one of the state vehicles for his daily commute over a period of three years, causing the state to incur nearly $11,000 in vehicle costs.

A supervisor at the Department of Parks and Recreation used a public boat dock to store his personal boat for more than six years, causing the agency to lose up to $36,000 in potential revenue from members of the public. “In addition, State Parks did not report as a part of the supervisor’s taxable income approximately $67,000 in housing benefits that resulted from his living in state-owned housing,” the auditor added.

Human resources staff at a correctional facility did not account for 600 hours of a nurse’s time absent from work, which represented $38,000.

A psychiatric technician at the Department of State Hospitals did not account for 400 hours of absences worth $12,500.

An executive at an unidentified district agricultural association (county fair) did not ensure that the association had written contracts with two contractors who provided finance-related services. In addition, one of the contractors violated state conflict-of-interest law by returning to the association as a contractor within 12 months of leaving the association.

A water and sewage plant supervisor with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation misused state resources, including a state-owned backflow testing kit, for his private business and used state computers to regularly shop online during work hours.

State agencies are required to notify the auditor of any corrective or disciplinary action taken in response to the report. The responses are due within 60 days after the auditor notifies the agency of the improper activity, and the agencies must continue to report monthly until they have completed corrective action.