A former director of the Wage and Workplace Standards Unit in the Department of Labor reported that “a field investigator falsely reported time for years, but the department did not take action to investigate or reprimand the employee,” according to an audit of the DOL.
The auditors said their investigation confirmed two instances in 2018 when the investigator reported being in the field but his or her assigned vehicle was still parked at the Department of Transportation station.
“Internal controls are not effectively designed or implemented to prevent inaccurate time reporting for field investigators,” the auditors wrote.
The DOL, however, criticized the auditors for including 2018 findings in an audit that covered the years of 2015 and 2016, saying such findings should be reserved for a future audit. DOL countered that auditors were unable to substantiate that the time sheet falsification was an ongoing problem.
“While we agree that the former director should have addressed the abuse if he/she had knowledge of it, neither the agency nor the auditor were able to substantiate the accusation that false reporting of time had been a past practice,” the DOL responded.
“The former Wage and Workplace Standards Division director recommended that the auditors investigate the field investigator for fraudulent time reporting and indicated that it had been occurring for several years without repercussion,” the auditors wrote. “Therefore, the agency was aware of the issue and did not take action.”
The auditors also found one employee was using the state’s computer system for “unacceptable” reasons.
“Conducting non-state business on state-issued equipment increases the risk of compromising the state’s security system, data and network resources,” the auditors wrote. “Furthermore, inefficient use of time diminishes productivity and performance, and agencies may pay wages for work not performed.”
The DOL indicated the Department of Administrative Services had recently implemented a new internet filtering device to prevent future misuse.
The audit determined that a state program for pre-apprenticeship training for high school students was not utilized by employers.
The 2014 Step Up program, which is administered by outside consultants or the Workforce Development Board, provided a state subsidy for companies who were willing to take on high school students for training and employment not exceeding 2,000 hours or 24 months.
Auditors said it was unknown why usage of the program was so low, but the DOL said they “were told anecdotally that most companies did not want to participate in the program.”
“Employers were not confident they would achieve an acceptable retention rate and return on their investment with students as part-time employees,” DOL wrote.
The auditors also said the DOL lacked oversight of other Step Up program grants, although DOL said they have been monitoring the grants and have since retained part of the funds to pay for enhanced oversight.