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NC auditor slams Labor Department over official's commuting

Posted December 15, 2014

— The State Auditor's Office went beyond calling for changes in the state Department of Labor after a division official was wrongly paid nearly $9,500 to commute to Raleigh from her home in Lexington, calling out department officials for trying to justify the expense.

In an audit released Monday, auditors said Kisha Holmes, deputy administrator for the Wage and Hour Bureau, received $9,494 over an 11-month period for mileage, hotels, meals and parking while in Raleigh, even though her position was based at Department of Labor headquarters downtown.

Holmes had previously telecommuted as an investigator and regional supervisor with the Wage and Hour Bureau, and department officials contend in their response to the audit that the arrangement continued after she was named deputy administrator in 2013.

Auditors noted that the deputy administrator position has been based in Raleigh for more than a decade and that the letter to Holmes offering the job even notes that. Also, they said, the department's list of jobs available for telecommuting doesn't include the deputy administrator position.

"A complete and thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the deputy administrator's positions indicates that the NCDOL did not properly evaluate the position and add it to the list of job titles eligible for telework in the NCDOL telework policy," department officials stated in their response.

"The department's response uses ignorance of its own policies and failure to adhere to those policies as justifications for its noncompliance," the auditors wrote, calling the agency's response "misleading or inaccurate."

The audit recommends that the department adhere to state policies on employee commuting and telecommuting and review the home bases for all administrators to ensure similar problems don't recur.

Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said in a letter attached to the audit that the investigation "did point out some administrative processes that need to be improved," and she said department officials were working on any necessary changes.

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  • Larry Lynch Dec 17, 2014
    user avatar

    obviously criminal charges should be brought forth and obviously some terminations are in order. under Gov Mc I expect not even a slap on the wrist and probably some will be promoted. Isn't it time to recall the govnor?

  • USMC Vet Dec 17, 2014

    Glad someone's watching out over our money. Our legislators sure aren't.

  • 1jalapeno Dec 17, 2014

    What? Follow the rules? I'm Cherrie Berry and my face is in every elevator in the state.

  • dbop90 Dec 16, 2014

    This seems sort of petty....

  • Holly Atkins Dec 16, 2014
    user avatar

    She won't get fired even though she knew better! Repercussions for these types of employees are non-existent. They probably won't even ask her to pay it back!!

    With her salary of $68K those travel reimbursements just gave her a 14% salary increase! Talk about scamming the system!

  • RockInRaleigh Dec 16, 2014

    She has to repay the money right? Someone is getting fired?
    I wish I got paid to drive to work and had free lunches and dinner too

  • miseem Dec 15, 2014

    Seems like they would have picked up on this. The State Auditor has gone after other agencies for exactly the same thing. It's one thing to telecommute and report to the main office 2-3 times a month. Doing it about 2 days a week (the audit response reports almost 40% of the workdays required a trip to Raleigh) will obviously be questioned. Wake up. And watch your travel expenses.