By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A California State Auditor report is shining light on some state workers caught behaving badly on the job.

The audit is titled “Investigations of Improper Activities by State Agencies and Employees.” It stems from an investigation into hundreds of allegations that state workers wasted taxpayer money while on the job.

One of the auditor’s biggest findings — a Caltrans employee who got a job in Sacramento, but never moved here. Instead, she flew here to work and had taxpayers pick up her tab.

According to the state auditor, this state employee gave herself quiet the travel budget, racking up thousands of dollars in airfare.

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She also got rental cars paid for, charged the state for mileage during her time in Sacramento, and was reimbursed for meals and incidentals too.

The audit shows Caltrans approved the receipts she submitted totaling more than $40,000 for her commute to work spanning from February 2016 to March 2018.

“It’s very disconcerting,” State Senator John Moorlach said.

Moorlach has been a critic of Caltrans oversight for years and calls the results of this audit part of a pattern.

“I get frustrated with the lack of good internal controls and management not paying attention, or maybe winking, like okay, let’s pay for her transportation and her commuting costs including a rental car, and just hopes no one catches it,” Moorlach said.

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In 2015 a state audit found a Caltrans engineer golfing instead of working on 55 of his scheduled days. In 2016 another state audit found Caltrans spending habits open the door to fraud.

Responding to the recent audit, a Caltrans spokesperson Matt Rocco issued a statement reading in part, “Caltrans is updating its guidelines and training to make sure that travel is assigned appropriately. We are also reviewing on a monthly basis those employees on travel status.”

The state auditor has asked Caltrans to determine if they can collect any of the money taxpayers paid for the state worker’s travel expenses. She is now retired.


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