Audits: Calif. Facilities Issued Improper Pay to Medical Staff, Guards
A California psychiatric hospital and state prison made improper payments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars over three years to medical staff and corrections officers, according to state audits released Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports (St. John, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 8/20).
Details of Audits
For the audits, the State Controller's Office reviewed the payroll processes and practices of California Department of State Hospitals-Patton and California State Prison-Sacramento from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2013.
The audits are the first of 14 similar reviews to be conducted this year (SCO release, 8/20).
At DSH-Patton, the audit found:
- About $900,000 in improper payments from 2007 to 2011 related to false work and vacation time reports that were reported between 2010 and 2013 ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 8/20);
- $27,834 in overpaid leave balances for 25 of the 98 employees reviewed; and
- Miscalculations of overtime pay, resulting in three employees being overpaid by $1,902 and three employees being underpaid by $1,219.
The audit also found a pattern of employees signing each other in and out of shifts (Nelson, San Bernardino Sun, 8/20).
In addition, DSH-Patton failed to follow policies on:
- Attendance reporting; and
- Out-of-class compensation (SCO release, 8/20).
Meanwhile, a separate audit found that more than 75% of the extra pay given to CSP-Sacramento officers who were overseeing inmate workers was inadequately documented ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 8/20).
At CSP-Sacramento, the audit also found:
- $64,635 in improper payments for institutional worker supervision pay;
- $40,574 in improper buy-backs of vacation and personal leave credits; and
- $11,142 in premium pay to employees who were not eligible or lacked documentation to receive such compensation; and
$6,402 in improper payments for misstating holiday credits and leave balances (SCO release, 8/20).
State Controller John Chiang said the two facilities are "at risk of additional fraudulent or erroneous payments" if such practices are "not mitigated" (San Bernardino Sun, 8/20).
Cindy Woolston, chief of the Department of State Hospital's Office of Audits, objected to the findings, arguing that the auditors examined too few documents. Specifically, she said the incidents of fraud should not have been included in the report, as they were already revealed by the facility's staff ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 8/20).
CSP-Sacramento spokesperson Bill Sessa said the prison has implemented safeguards to prevent further misconduct, including:
- Improved staff training processes; and
- Tracking logs to ensure payments are properly approved (San Bernardino Sun, 8/20).