Report I2019-1 Recommendation 3 Responses

Report I2019-1: Investigation of Improper Activities by a State Agency and Its Employees: A Director Committed Gross Misconduct When She Repeatedly Violated Merit‑Based Employment Principles and Attempted to Retaliate Against Suspected Whistleblowers (Release Date: March 2019)

Case Number I2019-1

Recommendation #3 To: California, State of

The oversight agency should ensure that the department strengthens its nepotism policy so that it prohibits employees with personal relationships from having any involvement in the selection, appointment, promotion, retention, supervision, and discipline of one another.

Agency Response From September 2019

The agency provided evidence indicating that the department's revised nepotism policy became effective in July 2019.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented

Agency Response From June 2019

In May 2019 the agency provided us with a copy of its completed nepotism policy. The completed nepotism policy addressed many of the concerns we identified. It also reported that the department sent a union notice package of the new policy to CalHR for review and if no objections are received, the agency stated the policy could be effective in July 2019.

This recommendation is deemed partially implemented until the new policy is effective.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

Agency Response From March 2019

In August 2018, the agency provided us with a draft of its revised nepotism policy. Our review revealed that, although some improvements were made, the draft policy still allowed the director to grant exceptions; thus, the policy still permitted the director to approve employees with personal relationships to participate in the selection, appointment, retention, supervision, and discipline of one another. We recommended to the agency that the policy be revised to specify that if the close relationship involves the director or his or her executive staff, the agency should be required to grant the exception to policy instead of the department director. We also asked that the agency ensure that the policy addresses our recommendation for managers and supervisors with close personal relationships with affected employees to not be involved in the promotion, retention, and discipline of those employees.

The agency agreed to implement the adjustments and in February 2019, the agency provided us with a memorandum the department's chief deputy director issued to all staff specifically addressing our previously identified deficiencies. However, the actual policy does not appear to include the language contained in the memorandum addressing the identified deficiencies. The agency reported in March 2019 that it would formally incorporate the requested changes into its nepotism policy by May 2019. Until the deficiencies are directly addressed within the department's nepotism policy, this recommendation is considered partially implemented.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

All Recommendations in I2019-1