Raleigh, N.C. — 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.