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State employees play on taxpayers' dime, report shows

Flickr photo by Rich Brooks

The state auditor's office yesterday released one of its regular reports on state employees behaving badly, highlighting examples of state workers taking improper gifts, fabricating expense receipts, failing to report used vacation time and otherwise costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Many of the investigations were prompted by whistle-blower complaints. You can read the full report here, but here are a few highlights:

  • During the course of six years, a Cal/OSHA inspector taught university classes on state time and failed to take leave for the hours she was out of the office. Cost to the state: $67,716. The inspector also charged Cal/OSHA for mileage expenses to and from the classes on several occasions, according to the report. The inspector has since resigned.
  • An employee at California State University Northridge allowed a small phamaceutical company to use a university laboratory at no charge for almost five years, costing the university more than $20,000. In its response to the report, the university said it would recoup the costs.
  • An employee of the California Architects Board allegedly faked receipts for $392 in lodging and meal expenses that she did not actually incur, according to the report. She and her familiy also regularly accepted discounts from a hotel she used for state business. According to its response included in the report, the Architects Board was investigating.
  • The Department of Social Services exempts an estimated 3,000 so-called "heritage schools" after-school programs from child care licensing requirements, "potentially putting children at risk," according to the report. The agency agreed with the audit's findings and will begin applying the licensing requirements to heritage schools.

Comments

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catsnbooks's picture
SOME state workers play on the taxpayers' dime. MOST of us work very hard, thank you very much. I would appreciate it if you would make the distinction. Simply saying state workers creates the impression, intended or not, that all of us are criminal or negligent. Do I think that this kind of mess should be reported and stopped? Yes, I do. I am a taxpayer. I also think that this kind of cheating is repellent whether it's public or private, and I've seen it in both public and private employment. I've also seen managers who were unwilling to deal with it in both public service and private industry, and I've seen people punished for reporting it in both places. The costs of this kind of theft gets passed on to the taxpayer and the consumer; it's just easier to see the taxes. I've also seen the state react by creating massive, draconian countermeasures that punish the innocent, cost thousands to run, and completely fail to catch the guilty, but that's another story.

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