LOS ANGELES — A recent California auditor's report describes 10 substantiated whistleblower complaints totaling losses more than $89,000.
The report issued Dec. 23 highlights tales of theft, waste of public resources, improper travel expenses and other illegal activity.
One employee of the Department of Industrial Relations told his boss he need to telecommute so he could care for his ailing mother and then secretly took a job at San Francisco hospital. He was paid $12,200 by the state for hours he logged at his hospital job, according to the report.
In one case, the manager at the State Water Resources Control Board had workers remove metal furniture from storage so it could be recycled for the metal and kept the $3,500 from the recycling plant rather than turning it over to accounting. She later returned all but $1,000.
A California Department of Transportation engineer assigned to a desk job used his truck and another engineer's truck to transport materials to a house he was remodeling during work hours in 2011. He also charged gas for several trips totaling 747 miles in 2012 made to work sites using his company gas card although he was assigned to work exclusively at the office. The employee received a warning letter in 2013 and was asked to reimburse the state agency $415 for mileage costs for the unauthorized visit to job sites. Caltrans also now requires a supervisor's approval for the use of state vehicles and keys are locked in a secure area.
The most costly infraction resulted from the Military Department's inability to keep accurate inventory records at Camp Roberts near Paso Robles. The department determined in January 2011 that $268,507 in property was missing, including wrenches, bolt cutters and chain saws. The department has been able to find all but $33,400 worth of equipment, but the state auditor said it has still not enacted all of the changes recommended by auditors to better keep track of equipment.