Fish and Wildlife should follow the guidelines established in state regulations and initiate repayment from the manager for the costs associated with the misuse of the state vehicle.
Fish and Wildlife reported that the manager retired before it could collect $8,282. Thus, it notified the manager in May 2014 that it intended to intercept any future tax refunds to recover the costs associated with the misuse of the state vehicle. Subsequently, in lieu of taking this action or pursuing other legal actions, Fish and Wildlife reached an agreement with the manager that allowed him to repay one-half of the amount he owed to it. The manager repaid $4,141 in February 2015.
Fish and Wildlife submitted an invoice to the manager seeking $8,282 as repayment for the costs associated with the employee's misuse of the state vehicle. However, Fish and Wildlife has not reported the manager providing any payment in response to the invoice or Fish and Wildlife taking any additional steps to try to collect the amount owed.
In February 2013, Fish and Wildlife requested that the State Auditor provide it with documentation supporting the cost to the State and our conclusion that the employee misused state vehicles at the direction of her manager. We provided Fish and Wildlife with the requested information in March 2013, however, Fish and Wildlife has not indicated that it has taken any action to initiate repayment.
Fish and Wildlife reported that it had reason to believe a former regional official ultimately directed the vehicle misuse so it did not pursue the recovery of costs from the manager. However, had Fish and Wildlife reviewed the work supporting our conclusions and recommendations as it is allowed by the California Whistleblower Protection Act, it would have been aware that the manager acknowledged that he made the decision to allow the employee to use a state vehicle for her commute.