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Audit Tees Off on Statewide Waste

Friday August 28th, 2015   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:21am PDT   •  

Seal_of_California_200As we recently noted, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) pays 3,500 full-time employees to sit around at their desks, as one legislator put it. According to Investigations of Improper Activities by State Agencies and Employees, a new report by state auditor Elaine Howle, they were doing much more than that.

One Caltrans engineer, unnamed in the report, played golf on 55 workdays between August 2012 and March 2014. As Jon Ortiz of the Sacramento Bee noted, the unnamed Caltrans engineer fessed up that he played golf “as much as possible,” but only if he had worked at night or had already run up 40 hours for the week. But according to his time sheet, he worked only days, and all his time was spent working, not playing as much golf as possible. The unnamed Caltrans engineer was not fired or suspended. He was reassigned and went on medical leave. A Caltrans boss had signed off on his timesheets. According to the report, the Caltrans engineer has conveniently retired and his supervisor also plans to retire. Caltrans claims to be monitoring the pair, should they apply for other state jobs.

The investigation, auditor Howle notes, identified more than $4.2 millions in wasted funds, improper payments, and misuse of state time involving several major government departments. According to the report, the California Correctional Health Care Services wasted $3.2 million of a $17 million procurement, “because it paid the contractor to do nothing more than process invoices of the subcontractor, who performed all of the work.”

Rather than perform work at the Department of Industrial Relations, one supervisor peddled DVDs and music CDs. At the Employment Development Department, an accounting officer adjusted a family member’s tax account. Department of Corrections bosses continued to give extra pay and leave credits to chief psychologists, even after being informed that this policy was incorrect. And over at Caltrans, an engineer played as much golf as possible when he was supposed to be working. California’s embattled taxpayers are supporting a wasteful, pampered and indolent ruling class.

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August 2015