A state employee working for one of Indiana’s executive branch agencies misreported 250 hours of work time, costing the agency more than $7,000 in overpaid wages, according to a report from the Office of the Inspector General published Friday .
In January 2022, the office investigated an anonymous complaint alleging the employee misrepresented his work hours between July and November of 2021. The inquiry followed an internal agency investigation that found the employee spent long periods of time returning his work texts and phone calls and, in some cases, didn’t respond at all.
The employee was not identified.
After his first supervisor retired in June 2021, the employee was placed under a second supervisor.
The employee said he had difficulty focusing on his assigned projects and working his full, regularly scheduled work hours. The internal investigation also found that his badge-swipe records indicated that he was arriving later and leaving earlier than his regularly scheduled hours.
The employee was fired following the results of the internal investigation, and the OIG certified the case to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for criminal changes relating to theft, ghost employment and official misconduct.
The office declined to file charges in the case because the employee paid back the full amount of $7,617.50.
The OIG report also documented three other instances of employees in executive branch agencies failing to adhere to work policies, although none of the cases garnered enough evidence to constitute ghost employment.
Those employees weren’t identified.
In one instance, an employee used sick time in lieu of her personal or vacation time for use on various trips or vacations, a violation of the Indiana State Personnel Department’s sick leave policy.
The employee was cleared of any foul play after the OIG learned that the supervisor had permitted her to do so.
In another case, the office investigated a complaint alleging that a state employee was visiting various websites unrelated to her job duties while working from home while at the same time failing to complete some of her job-related duties or participate in meetings.
But the agency failed to provide the OIG with enough evidence to prove definitively who accessed the websites and how long they were on them.
In a fourth instance, an employee was not submitting a remote log for the days she worked from home, but the employee was cleared of any wrongdoing because the agency did not require her to fill out a remote work agreement—contrary to the state’s flexible work agreement policy.
The OIG’s report did not list the names of the executive branch agencies, which can include the office of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer of state, auditor of state, attorney general and the secretary of education.
The four cases involved employees working in four separate agencies, according to Stephanie McFarland, spokesperson for the Office of Inspector General.
The OIG report recommended that supervisors provide clearer expectations regarding remote work, monitor their employees’ use of state time and enforce the State Personnel Department’s hybrid work policy.