Office of Mental Health

 

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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Office of Mental Health
Dual Employment


Issued: December 19, 2013
Link to full audit report 2011-S-47
Link to 90-day response

Purpose
To determine whether Office of Mental Health (OMH) employees who are dually employed at other State or City agencies are working their required hours at each job. The audit covered the period July 1, 2009 through July 25, 2012.

Background
OMH's mission is to promote the mental health and well-being of all New Yorkers, focusing on providing hope and recovery for adults and children with serious mental illness or emotional disturbances. OMH employs about 15,300 individuals throughout the State, some of whom are also employed by other government agencies. OMH policy requires certain employees to file for approval for outside employment. Such employment may not interfere with the employee's job responsibilities nor represent a conflict of interest.

Key Findings

  • Between July 2009 and June 2010, 906 OMH staff members were also employed by another State or New York City agency, 139 of whom we selected for further review based on several risk factors. Follow-up showed 25 of these staff violated time and attendance rules resulting in payroll payments for time potentially not worked.
  • Several cases showed a pattern of routine, improper activity such as claiming to be working two places at the same time, not allowing sufficient commute time between the end of one shift and the beginning of the next, and charging sick leave at one job while actually working at another. OMH's failure to enforce time and attendance requirements allowed these individuals to circumvent controls, sometimes with management's knowledge.
  • In most cases, due to poor supervision and recordkeeping practices at the agencies, it is not possible to determine whether these staff failed to work required time at OMH, another agency or both. We estimate the cost of these abuses of time and attendance procedures could be as high as $130,000. Since some of these employees held second jobs for many years, it is possible that costs associated with these abuses may be significantly higher.

Key Recommendations

  • Work with the other agencies involved in these cases to determine whether the dually employed individuals we identified are continuing to abuse time and attendance procedures. Take appropriate actions as warranted, including recovery of salary payments, adjustment of pension salary and service, and assisting in any further investigation.
  • Ensure that other dually employed staff are working the time for which they are being paid.
  • Provide pertinent time and attendance training to dually employed staff and their supervisors, and ensure that required policies and procedures are followed.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Metro-North Railroad: Forensic Audit of Select Payroll and Overtime Practices and Related Transactions (2010-S-60)

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey: Management and Control of Employee Overtime Costs (2009-S-87)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: John Buyce
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236