Report I2021-1 Recommendation 1 Responses

Report I2021-1: Investigations of Improper Activities by State Agencies and Employees (Release Date: May 2021)

Case Number I2019-2039

Recommendation #1 To: Transportation, Department of

To remedy the effects of the improper governmental activities this investigation identified and to prevent those activities from recurring, Caltrans should take the following action by August 2021:

Address inefficiencies in its salary advance process by considering implementation of the key strategies outlined in this report, including requiring every employee who receives a salary advance to be removed from participation in direct deposit; when processing salary advances, issuing a notice to each employee that serves as its first notice of overpayment; and creating a separate, central tracking mechanism and assigning staff to monitor the salary advance collection process.

Agency Response From February 2022

Caltrans stated that it has updated its salary advance request form to explain that when an employee receives a salary advance, the employee's direct deposit will be canceled and the employee cannot reenroll until the advance has been paid back. It provided a copy of the updated form.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Fully Implemented

Agency Response From October 2021

Caltrans reported that it agrees with removing direct deposit participation when processing salary advances for its current employees. It also informed us that its legal department is reviewing the final process for the new employee notice that will detail the requirement to reimburse Caltrans for salary advances. It plans to discuss the notice with the relevant collective bargaining units.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

Agency Response From July 2021

Caltrans reported that its Office of Transactions Services is using a software to track all salary advances and overpayment notices. It stated that it has assigned one team to increase the monitoring of notices and collection efforts. It also stated that it is reviewing a new employee notice that details the requirement to reimburse Caltrans for overpayments, and it continues to have internal discussions on whether employees who receive a salary advance should be automatically removed from participating in direct deposit.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

Agency Response From April 2021

Caltrans asserted that it considered the strategies we presented in this report and has begun improving its processes, including, but not limited to, providing electronic collection notices when appropriate and creating a centralized repository for tracking salary advances. Moreover, Caltrans stated that it is exploring a permanent database solution for tracking salary advances and remains dedicated to exploring the key strategies outlined in our report. It noted that since we notified Caltrans of this issue, it has continued its positive momentum and doubled its collection efforts in fiscal year 2020-21, clearing a total of 2,214 salary advances from July 2020 through March 2021.

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

All Recommendations in I2021-1