Report I97-2 Summary - August 1997

Investigations of Improper Activities by State Employees


January 1 Through June 30, 1997

Results in Brief

The Bureau of State Audits administers the Reporting of Improper Governmental Activities Act (act), which is contained in Section 8547 of the California Government Code. The act defines "improper governmental activity" as any activity by a state agency or state employee undertaken during the performance of the employee's official duties that violates any state or federal law or regulation; that is economically wasteful; or that involves gross misconduct, incompetence, or inefficiency. The Bureau of State Audits receives and investigates complaints of improper governmental activities. To enable state employees and the public to report improper governmental activities, the state auditor maintains the toll-free Whistleblower Hotline (hotline). The hotline number is (800) 952-5665.

This report details the results of the nine investigations completed by the Bureau of State Audits and other agencies between January 1 and June 30, 1997, that substantiated complaints. Examples include the following:

Department of Health Services

· In 1996, a supervisor in the Department of Health Services filed numerous false travel expense claims and failed to report his absences, costing the State $5,448.

· In addition, he directed a subordinate to falsify a travel claim for $282 on equipment the supervisor had purchased. The supervisor also failed to turn a $50 rebate he received on the equipment purchase price over to the State.

Department of Parks and Recreation

· A maintenance supervisor in the San Diego Coast District misappropriated at least $1,358 in state funds.

Department of Corrections

· A prison official misappropriated an undetermined amount of funds raised on behalf of one institution's summer games. In addition, he failed to remit sales tax totaling approximately $3,200 on merchandise he sold.

26th District Agricultural Association

· A district official influenced a decision to construct an irrigation system. Subsequently, the district entered into a contract with a company owned by the official to provide $19,600 in materials and equipment for the irrigation system.

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

· California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) grossly mismanaged its Executive Masters of Business Administration (EMBA) Program by failing to adequately plan its academic and financial aspects and by not obtaining the proper approvals.

· Cal Poly illegally deposited $110,200 from this program in an account outside the State Treasury.

Department of Insurance

· At an estimated cost of $56,565, a supervisor allowed seven employees to take a total of 331 days off without charging the time against their leave balances.

If, after investigating allegations, the state auditor determines reasonable evidence exists that an employee or state agency has engaged in any improper governmental activity, the Bureau of State Audits reports the nature and details of the activity to the head of the employing agency or the appropriate appointing authority. The employer or appointing authority receiving the report is required to report back to the state auditor corrective action taken, including disciplinary action, no later than 30 days after the date of the investigative report. If corrective action is not completed within 30 days, the employer or appointing authority must report to the state auditor monthly until the action is complete.

This report summarizes corrective actions taken by state entities as a result of investigations presented here and investigations reported previously by the state auditor.

In addition, Appendix A provides statistics on the complaints received by this office between January 1 and June 30, 1997, and summarizes our action on those complaints and any others under investigation or awaiting review or assignment as of January 1, 1997.

Appendix B provides detailed descriptions of the laws, regulations, and policies that govern the types of improper governmental activities discussed in this report.