- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina Department of Labor improperly paid an employee more than $9,400 to commute 100 miles from the worker’s home in Lexington, according to state auditors.

Local media outlets report Tuesday that Kisha Holmes, deputy administrator of the department’s Wage and Hour Bureau, got the reimbursement for mileage, meals, hotels and parking related to her commute from Lexington to Raleigh.

In her report issued Monday, State Auditor Beth Wood noted that state employees aren’t allowed to receive compensation for driving from home to work.

Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry disputed some of the finding. In a response to the audit, she said that Holmes’ main work location is at her home, and the trips to Raleigh represented work-related travel, not commuting.

“Your staff did point out some administrative processes and practices that need to be improved,” Berry wrote. “We appreciate those recommendations and are already working to make the necessary changes.”

Berry has promised to review telecommuting policies, but her response didn’t include plans to stop Holmes’ reimbursements.

Auditors, however, dispute Berry’s claim that the position is based in Lexington. The audit also found that Holmes drove to Raleigh for 38 percent of her scheduled work days and that she did not have a valid teleworking agreement for the position that pays $68,000 annually.

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