SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The California State Auditor investigated more than 800 calls and inquiries to its whistleblower hotline from July 1, 2018-December 31, 2018 and found a number of instances of taxpayer money being misused.
Some of the various improper activities include:
- Caltrans paying $42,000 for a manager to travel from her home in San Diego to her job in Sacramento.
- State Hospitals paying $47,800 for an administrator to travel to Sacramento for work.
- Fish and Wildlife improperly appointing two senior management employees to positions as branch chiefs.
- A Department of Business Oversight manager giving an employee the interview questions for an open position before that employee interviewed; the employee got nearly $23,000 as a result.
- A Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation manager misusing a state car for his personal commute, resulting in nearly 42,000 commute miles and an estimated taxpayer cost of $22,500.
- At least five other Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation supervisors or managers misusing state cars for commuting purposes, resulting in an estimated taxpayer cost of $58,000.
- A prison administrator watching thousands of YouTube videos on his work computer during work hours.
The California Whistleblower Protection Act ” empowers the State Auditor to investigate allegations of improper governmental activities by state agencies and
employees. The Whistleblower Act defines an ‘improper governmental activity’ as an action by a state agency or employee during the performance of official duties that violates a law; is economically wasteful; or involves gross misconduct, incompetence, or inefficiency.” The hotline was activated in 1993 and has helped the Auditor identify improper government activity that have cost California $578 million.
From July 1-December 31, 2018, 571 of the 808 cases lacked sufficient information for investigation or are pending preliminary review. The Auditor conducted work, or will conduct work, on 147 cases. Another 28 cases were referred to their respective agencies to investigate. An additional 25 cases are being independently investigated. Requests were made to state agencies for 37 cases in order to assess the validity of the allegations.