July 24, 2018 I2018-1
The Governor of California
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Speaker of the Assembly
Sacramento, California 95814
Dear Governor and Legislative Leaders:
Pursuant to the California Whistleblower Protection Act, the California State Auditor's Office (State Auditor) presents this investigative report summarizing investigations concerning allegations of improper governmental activities that were completed between July 2017 and June 2018. During this time period, the office received 1,331 calls or inquiries within its investigative jurisdiction and conducted investigative work on 1,481 cases that we opened either in previous periods or in the current period. We determined that 1,018 of these cases lacked sufficient information for investigation or are pending preliminary review. We conducted additional work on the remaining 463, of which 86 resulted in either an independent investigation by our office or a referral to the involved state agency for further investigation.
This report details seven substantiated allegations involving several state agencies and two university campuses. Through our investigations, we found misuse of state time and property and economically wasteful activities. In total, we identified an estimated $200,000 in inappropriate expenditures.
For example, two employees at California State University, Fresno failed to perform their work duties for thousands of hours during a period of at least five years. From 2013 through 2017, these two employees failed to account for more than 5,100 hours by taking extended breaks and leaving campus without permission. This misuse of state time cost the State more than $111,000 in salary paid for work not performed. In addition, the employees' managers failed to ensure that these two employees performed their work.
In another investigation, we determined that a director of nursing at one of California's adult prisons violated state law by removing a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) from patient care duties and assigning her to perform the duties of an office technician. This resulted in nearly $30,000 of unnecessary salary payments from May 2015 through July 2016, including overtime payments to other nurses who covered the LVN's assigned post.
State agencies must report to the State Auditor any corrective or disciplinary action taken in response to recommendations made by the State Auditor. Their first report is due no later than 60 days after we notify the agency or authority of the improper activity and monthly thereafter until corrective action is completed.
ELAINE M. HOWLE, CPA
California State Auditor