Local Politics

Audit: State agencies overpay for temps

Posted January 6, 2009

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— Five state agencies paid temporary staffing agencies about $3.5 million too much over two and a half years because they didn't seek competitive bids for the service, according to an audit released Tuesday.

The State Auditor's Office reviewed the use of temporary workers in the state Department of Health and Human Services, the state Department of Transportation, the State Treasurer's Office, the state Wildlife Resources Commission and the state Office of Information Technology Services between July 2005 and January 2008. The five agencies spent $28 million combined on temps from eight providers during that period.

More than $18 million in contracts for temporary workers were issued without any competitive bidding, according to the audit. State law requires bids for purchases over $10,000.

Managers in the agencies told auditors that they didn't seek bids because of time constraints and because state law provides exceptions to bidding for "employment contracts" and "personal services." The auditors recommended clarifying the language in state law to avoid further confusion.

Auditors also recommended that state personnel officials write a standard contract to minimize the business and legal risks of using temporary workers, such as challenges for state benefits.

Agencies also need to require staffing agencies to screen for retired state workers so that retirees don't collect state retirement benefits while exceeding the earnings limits set by the state Retirement System, the audit said.


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  • spentrounds-full auto Jan 6, 2009

    Information Technology Services in state government is the biggest joke of all state agencies. They forced studies and reports from all state agencies over the last five years on the cost of temporary IT employees and continually violated their own mandates on hiring temp IT employees. George Bakolia, state CIO, needs to go.

  • Polar-Bear Jan 6, 2009

    The hiring freeze has caused a lot of agencies to go to mandatory overtime. Tell me how it saves money to pay overtime rates instead of hiring and filling vacant positions. The people in Raleigh need to get their heads out of the sand and see what is happening.

  • RonnieR Jan 6, 2009

    The state has/had its own temp agency at one time.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Jan 6, 2009

    Is using temps during a hiring freeze really saving any money?

  • joco cruiser Jan 6, 2009

    Just the tip of the iceberg

  • Bob3425 Jan 6, 2009

    they didn't seek bids because of time constraints and because state law provides exceptions to bidding for "employment contracts" and "personal services." sound like poor management I agree with davidgnews time for house cleaning.

  • davidgnews Jan 6, 2009

    State Agencies overpay for a lot of things. The Purchase and Contracts dept. is one more area of NC gov't that needs some deep housecleaning.