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Audit: State Fairgrounds official received 'excessive' overtime pay

Posted July 21, 2011

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— The sales director for the North Carolina State Fairgrounds racked up "excessive and unjustified" overtime in recent years, and fair officials failed to address the situation, according to a state audit released Thursday.

In response to the audit, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, who oversees the fairgrounds operations, said the sales director position has been reclassified so that it no longer qualifies for overtime pay.

Auditors found that Claudine Davis earned anywhere from $14,700 to $23,100 in overtime between 2007 and last year. She told auditors that she sometimes has to meet after hours with people looking to lease fairgrounds buildings.

After Davis compiled 715 overtime hours in 2007, fairgrounds officials hired a temporary worker to help with sales, but Davis' overtime dropped by less than 40 percent in subsequent years, according to the audit.

The audit didn't include the hours Davis worked in October in its analysis because all fairgrounds employees put in extra hours during the annual North Carolina State Fair.

State Fair Manager Wesley Wyatt told auditors that he was "generally unaware" of what Davis was working on outside of normal business hours, and the audit questioned why the department would continue to pay her overtime.

Hiring the temp effectively increased the amount the fairgrounds was spending on sales by about 23 percent because Davis' overtime was never eliminated, according to the audit.

"Management’s insufficient monitoring of overtime hours allowed the facility sales director to accumulate excessive overtime and generate additional compensation," the audit states. "The addition of the temporary employee has not proven to be an effective approach to eliminating excessive overtime."

Troxler said in his response to the suit that the State Fairgrounds is understaffed in sales and marketing when compared with its primary competitor for events, the Raleigh Convention Center. He said any additional staffing would need to generate enough revenue to offset the expense.

The audit said the State Fairgrounds needs to perform "a comprehensive evaluation of the facility sales director's work habits and relative efficiency" before arguing that more staff is needed. Auditors cited a 2006 internal study by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that noted "poor time management skills and work habits by employees and relaxed work oversight by supervisors" as a reason for a high rate of overtime throughout the department.


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  • Rebelyell55 Jul 22, 2011

    If the state fair is under the Ag. com. agency, which I'm understanding is funded by the tax payers, why would not the rev. to the state fair brings in that goes to the state not be considered goverment funds? I'm sure when the stadium was built and the other building that came from what? You know don't ya.

  • chevybelair57sd Jul 22, 2011

    If it's discovered any state agency or dept is lacking in oversite and wasting tax dollars, the head and or supervisors should be put on notice. If the same are not funded by tax dollars, no tax dollars should be rewarded to them including free facility use

  • agman Jul 22, 2011

    Hey, if you don't know what you are talking about, learn before you post non-sense. The N. C. State Fair is totally self supporting and all salaries come from money made from their hard work. Not one cent of taxpayer money has been spent to pay Mrs. Davis.

  • chip slinger Jul 22, 2011

    This year will be my 5th year demonstrating my craft as a contract worker for the NC State Fair. I have had the pleasure of getting to know the sales director through my work there and she is a top notch professional. She's there early making sure everything is as it should be, and she tirelessly monitors each area during the day to insure that the state is being represented as it should be and everyone is being cared for.
    With the hundreds if not thousands of people she works with through the course of a year, I'm sure she has her hands full and I couldn't do the job due to the pressure. No matter how hectic things get, you can always look to Claudine to get it all straightened out in a very polite, professional manner. One of the other posts said that the report showed her as getting a 45K salary, which (if true) would show that she is definately not being over paid for all the money she has helped make for the state.
    Before you folks chime in and throw your stones you should co

  • weasel2 Jul 22, 2011

    I thought all state agencies were under the BEACON Pay System and Managers have to review time and sign off on it?????????

  • firecaptain2000 Jul 21, 2011

    RebelYell55... I don’t think I would consider “firing her supervisor”, but someone in a position of authority needs to step up and say… “Yes, I knew what she was doing and I approved it. Do you want to see how much money she’s raked in for the state as the leasing agent? It MORE than covers her overtime payments!”

    Fair Manager Wesley Wyatt didn’t help the story any with his comments. If I didn’t know better his statement alone would be enough for me to consider that something was inappropriate. That was poor judgment on his part. I think he must have been caught off guard and he was trying to divert attention when he should have been taking responsibility and providing evidence of her leasing work to the public in $$DOLLAR SIGNS$$!

    My organization alone will pay the state over $27k for 2 leases at the Dorton Arena each year and many of my phone and email communications with Mrs. Davis occurred after 6pm. Just saying the reporting here is not all inclusive of th

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 21, 2011

    Well with some of the testimony being posted I'll admit I maybe wrong, fire her Supervisor for lack of leaderships. Also, if she is making a very large salary already, then it's like any other job that a director has, they put in the hours, in most companies that expected.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jul 21, 2011

    And they wonder why people are fed up with taxes and refusing to pay more taxes.

    The more taxes we pay, the more government officials waste.

  • free2speak Jul 21, 2011

    I agree with firecaptain2000..I have in fact met her and dealt with her on many occasions and she does work alot after hours. Dont be quick to judge people unless you understand the nature of this business. Bottom line is the state always wants to put blame on an individual instead of taking blame themselves especially when it comes to money.

  • streetfightinman Jul 21, 2011

    I thought all state employees got comp time instead and,could not get payed overtime because the state does'nt have the money to pay.Milking the system is how I see it glad they got caught.