Local News

State Audit Criticizes Agriculture Department

Posted May 21, 2003 5:42 a.m. EDT

— A state audit criticizes the Department of Agriculture for failing to provide proper documentation for employees.

The state auditor says a random sampling found 18 department employees did not have required immigration forms proving they are eligible to work.

The audit states the missing paperwork could result in payments to fictitious or ineligible workers.

The Department of Agriculture has agreed to make changes to provide the required documentation.

The audit comes amidst the controversy already swirling around State Ag Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps who is embroiled in a campaign scandal. Two of her top aides have pleaded guilty on federal charges and Gov. Mike Easley has asked Phipps to resign.