Local Politics

Troxler defends Ag employee against audit findings

Posted September 10, 2009

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— The state Commissioner of Agriculture is defending department practices after an audit found an employee had improperly used a state vehicle.

State Auditor Beth Wood outlined her findings in a letter to Commissioner Steve Troxler dated Aug. 19. Wood wrote that her office investigated Patrick Jones, deputy director of the Pesticide Section of the Department of Agriculture, after getting a tip that he was using a state vehicle for his commute.

The audit found Jones had used a state pickup truck to drive from his home in Reidsville to the agriculture office in Raleigh and charged the trips as comp time, for an estimated benefit of $36,546.71.

Troxler explained that Jones and his supervisor "intended that he would be working out of this home, traveling across the state" necessitating the use of a vehicle. Instead, Troxler wrote, "Jones ended up making frequent trips to Raleigh to work at the division offices on Blue Ridge Road."

He conceded that Jones's assignment had not worked out as planned and said his truck would be reassigned.

Troxler defended any use of the truck as a misunderstanding that did not warrant punishment. "We do not believe Mr. Jones engaged in any intentional misconduct, and therefore we do not intend to take any disciplinary action against him," Troxler wrote.

The department is working on a plan for more frequent reviews of duty stations and vehicle assignments, Troxler concluded.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • RonnieR Sep 10, 2009

    Well, in the article Troxler said that his duty station was at his home. If the State wants you to travel somewhere away from your duty station then you either do it during your normal shift or outside your normal shift. If outside your normal shift and if you're not exempt from overtime, then you get comp time/overtime.

  • lucyblaze2020 Sep 10, 2009

    I agree with lsr. It is all about politics!

  • Garnerwolf1 Sep 10, 2009

    And might I add that $36k is a WHOLE LOTTA comp time!!! Something don't add up.

  • Garnerwolf1 Sep 10, 2009

    wa4mjf: what official rule says he should have gotten comp time for this? Don't think it exists. Everybody has some amount of time commuting to and from - why should be get comp time except possibly beyond some average amount of commuting time? But the whole problem seems to be that he was coming to Raleigh on a very regular basis - so it seems his duty station was here, not his home. And pbj and hadenough: seems to me the grievance process is set up to benefit the employee and frustrate management - not the other way around.

  • HadEnough Sep 10, 2009

    pbjbeach - I think your mind is typing faster than your fingers. Much of this does not make sense.

  • pbjbeach Sep 10, 2009

    Question how much did troxlers little juant to china an japan cost the taxpayers of this state an where is the jobs an how new business for the state agrictuler did his trip generate for the taxpayers of this state i would love to hear the answer to this question. i personnaly think that governor dumpling should keep her a-- home in this state an take care of the states economic problems prior to her junting off to china an japan also at taxpayers expense. she should always put the instrest of the citizens an taxpayers of this state ahead of anything else period. she also needs to deincentivize all state agency an their budgets also an allow for the regulation of area where regulations are in need of being reimpletened thank you

  • wuffpackz Sep 10, 2009

    "It appears Ms. Wood is trying to justify her job given to her by Mr. Easley." -auto3440

    From what I recall, her job was given to her by the voters of the state of North Carolina. I personally didn't vote for her, but if you're gonna make a statement, don't make something up and look ignorant.

  • RonnieR Sep 10, 2009

    Garnerwolf, it says his duty station was his residence. So if he was required to be in Raleigh from 8 to 5 during those days he went to Raleigh, he was entitled to comp time for the travel.

  • HadEnough Sep 10, 2009

    pbjbeach - I agree the whole grievance process is set up to frustrate one in hopes you will just forget it. I found what works really well is to hire a lawyer and have him make a call to the agency head. Yeah it costs a little money but the results are immediate and then they don't mess with you anymore because they're scared.

  • pbjbeach Sep 10, 2009

    This employee of the ag department must be a typical k--s A-- that or a republican one or the other as that it semms unusual for the head of the agency to come to one indivsuals defense over a minor issue of the supposely misuse of a state vehicale. it appeared in my particular circumstance that i was terminated over trumped up charges within the ncdot to the point that because of my advanced age an length of service that they were just determined to push my as- out the door. an i wasn't even given the oppurnity to refute what they had charged me with just because of the fact that i chose to not jump through their greivence procdures hoops again. but i instead chose to go directly to the federal E.E.O.C. AN THIS AGENCY IS TOTALY USLESS ALSO AS THAT THEY HAVE A WORK SHARING AGREEMENT WITH THE NCDOT AN THEY DO WHAT EVER NCDOT SAYS TO DO THERE ISNT ANY KIND OF REAL FAIRNESS IN ANY STATE AGENCYS PROCESS AS WITH REGARDS TO THE TERMINATION OF STATE EMPLOYEES BUT IS DONE SO AT THE WIM OF A MA