A Los Angeles–based inspector for the state Industrial Relations Department’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, who chose to live in San Diego and stick taxpayers for the cost of her long-distance commuting, is a prime target of the state auditor’s latest “Investigations of Improper Activities by State Employees” report, issued June 29 and covering 2009.
“During her employment with Cal/OSHA, the inspector lived in San Diego,” the audit report says. “In 2006 and 2007 the inspector received $1,260 in reimbursements for 108 meals when she traveled to and from the Los Angeles area for meetings and other work-related tasks.” Adds the report, “The inspector acknowledged that she frequently did not eat any meals during her commutes from San Diego to the Los Angeles area, yet she still claimed the maximum meal reimbursements.”
That wasn’t the worst of it. The unidentified employee also billed the state for her time while moonlighting to the tune of $264,000 as a trainer for the California State University system and giving speeches at conferences. “The inspector improperly used 1,810 state-compensated work hours at a cost of $67,716 to teach the training courses for the state university and to give presentations for the professional association,” auditors found.
In addition, “She misused a state vehicle on numerous occasions to travel to the course locations.” During the 21 days the staffer taught training courses, she racked up an unauthorized $861 worth of expenses driving her state vehicle. At the same time, she billed the state university system $268 for mileage reimbursements.
The woman’s manager was criticized for letting her get away with it all: “Because Cal/OSHA management did not require the inspector to provide a day-by-day accounting of her work hours, neither the former official nor the manager had any assurance that the time sheets they approved were accurate.” The employee subsequently resigned. “Industrial Relations stated that it was reviewing its options for obtaining reimbursement from the inspector. It further indicated that it was still deciding the appropriate action to take against any individuals involved in the supervision or management of the inspector.”