Raleigh, NC -- A new state audit says managers and directors at the Department of Health and Human Services paid themselves and three other employees $580,758 in overtime -- that was never properly approved or documented.
North Carolina General Statute 126-1 explains that no salaried employee should be paid overtime unless approved by the state Office of State Personnel.
Read WFMY News 2's DHHS Coverage:
The news comes in the wake of another audit of the plagued department which details how officials grossly mismanaged the state health department and cost taxpayers million of dollars.
Officials at DHHS requested the overtime pay during the installation of a computer system designed to improve the state's Medicaid system.
In 2007, the state personnel office said the project is "time sensitive and requires many extra staff hours in order to meet various deadlines."
They further made their point in requesting the overtime pay by saying finishing the project on time would save the state more than $1.2 million per month and 90 percent of the overtime would be paid by the federal government.
State Auditor Beth Wood says the Office of State Personnel never checked into these claims, never asked for documents and verbally told DHHS to go ahead and pay the overtime.
Her report points out, no one outside DHHS understood that a significant majority of the employees who received the overtime pay were managers and not staff level positions as DHHS originally told the Office of State Personnel.
To add, the director of the approving agency never put any guideliens on paper explaining how the overtime pay would work, be processed or when it would expire.
Nine managers and executives at DHHS took the bulk of the overtime pay totaling $510,235.
The Medicaid Management Information System director took home $237,500 in overtime and three other employees took home the rest, $70,523. These payments were over a period of four years, which ended in 2012.
The state auditor says even with the overtime pay, the Medicaid computer system installation is two years behind and isn't scheduled to be finished until July 2013.
The original price of $265 million has also more than doubled.
The audit goes on to say managers at the state health department assigned an employee to process the overtime pay and incurred an additional undetermined amount of money in labor costs.
The officials decided to use the manual processing even though the department had just installed a new payroll system to comply with state law.
Some of the costs were a result of miscalculations; Wood's report notes sick leaves and holidays were processed as overtime.
Both the Office of State Personnel (OSP) and DHHS have both adopted new policies in light of the audit. A spokesperson with OSP explains there are strict new policies which state all overtime pay requests must be documented.