Report I2019-1 Recommendation 9 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 #9 To: California, State of

The oversight agency should ensure that all staff who are currently permitted to telecommute full time have the proper documentation and justification on file and require that telecommuting agreements be reevaluated annually.

Agency Response From September 2019

The agency provided evidence indicating that the department's new telework policy became effective in August 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 new telework policy. In addition, it provided us with a copy of its finalized communication plan. The policy requires that employees and managers maintain proper documentation on file for each telecommuter. It also specifies that telework agreements are only valid for one year and if not renewed, they will expire. The agency stated that a new database was created to track the start date and renewal date for each telework agreement to remind staff and to ensure that renewals occur annually. The agency's communications plan directs HR staff to assist managers and employees in understanding the telework policy and procedures, provide advice on appropriate use of the policy, ensure the policy is kept up to date, and report any abuses of the policy. Further, the agency reported to us that it sent a union notice package to CalHR for review.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

Agency Response From March 2019

In June 2018, the agency informed us that the telecommuting program was removed from the new supervisor's unit and returned to the HR division. The agency also stated that as part of its implementation, it would update the department's telecommuting policy to require renewals of all telecommuting agreements annually, develop a communications plan to ensure participants understand their roles and responsibilities, require in-person meetings with management, and provide quarterly reports to the director and administration chief on its telecommuting program. The agency stated in March 2019 that it intends to memorialize the department's communications plan by April 2019.

In February 2019, the agency provided us with a memorandum that the department's chief deputy director issued to telecommuting employees and to department supervisors and managers reminding staff that telecommuting agreements must be renewed annually. However, the actual department policy on telecommuting does not include this requirement. The agency reported in March 2019 that it would formally incorporate the requested changes into the department's telecommuting policy by May 2019.

The agency provided to us its first two quarterly reports in October 2018 and February 2019 that indicate about 250 employees are permitted to telecommute for the department, some of whom are permitted to telecommute full time. It also showed the number of agreements it authorized or renewed in each month. Based on the information we reviewed, the department is addressing the renewals of its telecommute agreements on a monthly basis. Nevertheless, until a revised telecommuting policy is provided that specifically notes that telecommuting agreements must be reevaluated by management annually, the recommendation is only partially implemented.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

All Recommendations in I2019-1