Report I99-2 Summary - August 1999

Investigations of Improper Activities by State Employees:

February Through June 1999

RESULTS IN BRIEF

The Bureau of State Audits (bureau) administers the Reporting of Improper Governmental Activities Act (act) contained in the California Government Code, beginning with Section 8547. The act defines "improper governmental activity" as any activity by a state agency or state employee during the performance of 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 receives and investigates complaints of improper governmental activities. To enable state employees and the public to report these activities, the state auditor maintains the toll-free Whistleblower Hotline (hotline). The hotline number is (800) 952-5665.

If the state auditor determines reasonable evidence exists of improper governmental activity, the bureau confidentially reports the details of the activity to the head of the employing agency or the appropriate appointing authority. The employer or appointing authority is required to notify the state auditor of any corrective action taken, including disciplinary action, no later than 30 days after the confidential investigative report is transmitted and monthly thereafter until it completes corrective action.

This report details the results of the six investigations completed by the bureau and other agencies between February 1 and June 30, 1999, that substantiated complaints. Following are examples of the substantiated improper activities:

Office of Criminal Justice Planning

An employee engaged in the following improper activities:

  • Falsely claimed 259.5 hours of work for the State that she in fact worked for one of three other employers, costing the State $6,522.

  • Failed to take leave to cover 233.5 hours she was away from work, costing the State an additional $5,637.

  • Claimed 46.5 hours in sick leave that she actually worked for two of her three other employers, costing the State another $1,103.

  • Charged the State for inappropriate travel expenses totaling $1,175 and placed personal telephone calls costing $448 on state telephones.

Department of Transportation

  • A superintendent improperly authorized the purchase and installation of pumps costing more than $40,000 without first obtaining competing bids and then directed a subordinate to obtain bids after the fact.

  • The subordinate altered one of the bids and did not include another in his documentation.

Department of Developmental Services

A manager of the Frank D. Lanterman Developmental Center engaged in the following improper activities:

  • Interfered in a civil service examination, which his son and daughter were taking.

  • Lied about his interference in the examination.

  • Failed to remove an examination panel member from interviewing a candidate the manager knew to be the panel member's brother.

Department of Health Services

The Laboratory Field Services Branch mismanages cash, resulting in the State losing interest of at least $10,000 and increasing risk of theft.

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

Appendix A contains statistics on the complaints received by the bureau between February 1 and June 30, 1999, and summarizes our actions on those and other complaints pending as of January 31, 1999. It also provides information on the cost of improper activities substantiated since 1993 and the corrective actions taken as a result of our investigations.

Appendix B details the laws, regulations, and policies that govern the improper activities discussed in this report.


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