Naughty State Workers: The 2009 Edition

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It's not a big story, but an interesting one: the annual report from state auditors of government workers who have done wrong.

And this year doesn't disappoint: improper travel expenses, inappropriate email, unnecessary consultants, and more.

Auditor Elaine Howle released this year's report this morning, which follows up on tips from state workers allowed and encouraged under California's Whistleblower Protection Act. The reports never include the names of the naughty.

Without further ado, some highlights...

* Travel & Lodging: The report says a former top official at the Office of Spill Prevention and Response received travel and lodging reimbursements for more than four years to commute between Sacramento and her home in southern California. That included some costs that were associated with the official working from home at what was dubbed her "southern California" office. Cost to the state: $71,747.

* Away & Paid: Auditors say an employee at the State Compensation Insurance Fund was away from work for 427 hours, but paid as though she was working. Cost to the state: $8,314.

* No Need For Consultant? The report says the Department of General Services hired an outside consultant to provide emergency preparedness training, even though the California Highway Patrol would have done the work for free. Cost to the state: $3,000.

* Potty Mail: Auditors say an employee at the Employment Development Department sent "vulgar" and "inappropriate" emails from his state computer, and also kept emails with sexually explicit photos on that PC. The report says on one day last April, the EDD worker sent 75 personal emails, and at other times was sending emails about a second job he had outside of the state. Auditors say management was aware of the issues, but "failed to take appropriate action." Cost to the state: embarrassment.

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About John Myers

John Myers is Sacramento Bureau Chief for KQED Public Radio and "The California Report," heard daily on 23 public radio stations across the Golden State.

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