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CDF/OES NEWS

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  • raven@accessbee.com
    Interesting reading: California State Auditor/Bureau of State Audits Investigations of Improper Activities by State Employees: CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 13, 2003
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      Interesting reading:


      California State Auditor/Bureau of State Audits
      Investigations of Improper Activities by State Employees:

      CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION

      California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) officials made
      economically wasteful decisions when they allowed an executive to obtain a
      pilot's license at CDF's expense and to fly CDF aircraft. The cost to CDF
      for the executive's flight training was approximately $9,151. Based on the
      billing rate CDF charges to other entities for the use of its aircraft, the
      cost of the executive's nontraining flight hours was $78,116. The executive
      retired from state service before we completed our investigation.

      OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES

      Employees of the fire and rescue branch of the Office of Emergency Services
      engaged in the following improper activities:

      * Falsified reports to obtain thousands of dollars in inappropriate
      overtime and travel payments.
      * Allowed employees under their supervision to claim overtime regularly
      for nonemergency events such as attending training sessions and meetings on
      regular days off or for time spent commuting.
      * Used state resources and discounts for personal benefit.
      * Circumvented restrictions on the number of days temporary employees can
      work.

      GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES

      We reported that poor supervision and inadequate administrative controls
      enabled employees in the fire and rescue branch of the Governor's Office of
      Emergency Services (OES) to commit various improprieties, including claiming
      excessive overtime and travel costs. One of the employees has continued to
      incur excessive amounts of overtime. An employee received $35,743 (36
      percent of his wages) for overtime, and he received $40,523 (38 percent of
      his wages) for overtime . The employee incurred this overtime in part
      because OES permitted him to claim his commute as work time even though the
      employee lived at least two hours from his assigned work area. This issue
      was brought to the attention of OES in 1998 and again in 2000, but it
      continued to allow him to claim his commute as work time. Recently, OES
      reported that the employee has been reassigned to a work area where he
      lives. OES also reported that it has established administrative controls
      concerning overtime authorization and that it has counseled all branch
      employees that nonemergency overtime will not be incurred without prior
      authorization.

      GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES

      An executive and contract manager in the Disaster Assistance Division of the
      Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) engaged in the following
      improper activities:

      * Falsely claimed that they had made reasonable attempts to identify
      alternative and competitive sources of training services and that they had
      verified references for their preselected contractor. Ultimately, this
      improperly awarded contract totaled $77,500, and OES paid the contractor for
      some work not provided.
      * Apparently misled their deputy director about the subject matter of
      training to be provided on a $36,985 contract to obtain her approval. Then
      they exceeded their authority by changing the scope of the contract without
      proper approval. Ultimately, the contact was amended to total $90,588. OES
      also made payments under at least one contract for expenses not allowed
      under state regulations and entered into other contracts lacking sufficient
      specificity. OES does not agree that its executive and contract manager made
      false claims concerning their efforts to identify alternative contractors or
      that they misled their deputy director. However, OES is reviewing its
      contractor's bills and will recover overpayments or seek additional training
      if it concludes they made payments in error. Also, OES agrees that it
      improperly paid for some expenses and has taken action to ensure it does not
      happen again.
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