- The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2006

The operations chief for the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer charged on the agency’s travel credit card more than $9,000 in relocation expenses on behalf of two relatives who were employed by the agency, according to a report by the D.C. Auditor.

The card was issued to Janet Mahaney, director of operations for OCTO, for her government business travel expenses only.

“Family relationships between OCTO’s director of operations and employees … may have resulted in tainted financial transactions and violations of the District’s employee ethics standards,” the audit conducted by D.C. Auditor Deborah K. Nichols reads.

The auditor’s office declined to comment on the relationship between Miss Mahaney and her relatives, Kim and Pedro Agosto, identified in the audit as “employees A and B.”

Miss Mahaney also double-charged the District for her relatives’ expenses that were reported as paid for by a $10,000 advance, the audit said. What that advance was actually used for was not documented.

“The lack of documentation evidencing the actual use of the $10,000 advance to employee A and the payment of expenses on behalf of employee A by OCTO’s director of operations with the District’s travel card facilitated improper duplicate payments or reimbursements to employee A and B as if it was a deliberate scheme to misappropriate public funds,” the audit reads.

Christina Fleps, general counsel for OCTO, said yesterday that the audit was conducted at the request of the agency. She said the agency no longer uses the travel credit card or pays relocation expenses for employees.

“The conduct described in the audit is almost four years old,” Miss Fleps said. “Based on our own review of records we compiled for the auditors, back in 2002 we discontinued use of the travel card and ended the practice of paying any relocation expenses. We’ll comply fully with the remaining recommendations in the report.”

The charges and reimbursement payments were made 2001 to 2003.

The audit does not recommend any disciplinary action against Miss Mahaney. Its recommendations include that OCTO officials obey employee ethics and reimbursement laws and not use the travel credit card for unauthorized expenses.

The audit also examines repayment of the relocation reimbursement totaling more than $28,000 paid to Mr. and Mrs. Agosto.

D.C. law allows for travel and relocation reimbursements per-employee of up to $5,000 for most positions and up to $10,000 for positions deemed “hard to fill.”

In 2003, Mr. and Mrs. Agosto were ordered by the D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s Office of Integrity and Oversight to repay $22,312.95 to the District from mostly unauthorized reimbursements.

The report issued last week orders Mr. and Mrs. Agosto to pay back an additional $5,826.28 in reimbursed expenses.

The pair previously had been allowed to keep that money as legitimate reimbursements.

But the audit found that because the positions taken by the couple were not categorized as “hard to fill,” that money was beyond the legally allowed limit.

Mr. and Mrs. Agosto are no longer employed by the District.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide