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Investigations of Improper Activities by State Agencies and Employees
Inefficient Management of State Resources, Misuse of State Time and Inaccurate Attendance Records,
and Inadequate Supervision

Report Number: I2019-2


Investigative Highlights . . .

State employees and agencies engaged in various improper governmental activities, including the following:

Results in Brief

As authorized through the California Whistleblower Protection Act (Whistleblower Act), the California State Auditor (State Auditor) conducted investigative work on 808 allegations of improper governmental activity from July 1, 2018, through December 31, 2018. This report contains eight examples of investigations that substantiated improper activities that include inefficient management of state resources, misuse of state time and inaccurate attendance records, and inadequate supervision.

California Department of Tax and Fee Administration

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) and the former State Board of Equalization failed to ensure that 25 managers and supervisors, who worked non‑standard work schedules and who were exempt from requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, accurately charged their leave time. As a result, these departments have overpaid those 25 employees a total of at least $72,000 since 2016. We estimated that the total overpayments made to all similarly affected employees throughout CDTFA may be more than $500,000.

Judicial Council of California

The Judicial Council of California inefficiently administered its Assigned Judges Program (AJP) and failed to follow policy requirements by neglecting to verify that superior courts requesting retired judges from the AJP had attempted to fill their needs through other methods before seeking assistance from the AJP.

California State University

During 2017 and 2018, a California State University (CSU) campus police officer engaged in time and attendance abuse and failed to adequately perform her duties by regularly taking time at work to lie down and at times fall asleep. This misuse resulted in a waste of funds that totaled as much as $16,400. CSU additionally paid this campus police officer more than $3,900 for other work hours for which she did not work or could not account.

State Water Resources Control Board

Three engineers at the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) misused an estimated 1,000 hours of state time by arriving late to work, taking extended lunches, and leaving work early. In a separate case, another State Water Board employee failed to accurately report his absences, resulting in an estimated 35 hours of work that he missed and failed to deduct as leave on his timesheets from May 2017 through early May 2018. This same employee, during the same time period, sometimes worked more than his regularly scheduled hours, but neither he nor his supervisor kept accurate records of the overtime, which compounded the inaccuracy of his time records. The misuse by these four employees cost the State more than $48,000 in salaries paid for work the employees did not perform.

California Department of Transportation

From February 2016 through September 2018, an information technology associate (associate) at the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) improperly claimed 80 hours of bereavement leave and 173 hours of work that she did not perform, which cost the State more than $8,400. The associate's supervisor also inexcusably neglected his duty to oversee the associate, which enabled her improper use of bereavement leave and other leave.

State Controller's Office

A manager at the State Controller's Office allowed his subordinate employees to informally adjust their work schedules, which resulted in at least one of them failing to account for 23 hours of work time in late 2017.

Department of Industrial Relations

Two supervisors at the Department of Industrial Relations (Industrial Relations) failed to monitor the time and attendance of two clerical employees. Consequently, Industrial Relations could not determine the actual hours worked by these employees from June 2017 through March 2018.

California Department of Social Services

A supervisor at the California Department of Social Services failed to take progressive discipline with a subordinate employee whom the supervisor knew was wasting state time and not performing his job duties satisfactorily.

Summary of Recommendations

Each of the cases included in this report contains recommendations to each department whose employees engaged in improper governmental activities. As several of these cases involved inadequate monitoring and supervision of state employees, we have also made the following recommendations to the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR):

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