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State reviews overtime abuse by some state employees

— Fulfilling a request by Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) in the wake of overtime abuses by a Vermont State Police sergeant last summer, the Office of the Vermont State Auditor issued a report that reviews Department of Public Safety payroll data, processes and procedures to identify areas of potential vulnerability, and makes recommendations for how to strengthen the state's ability to detect and prevent abuses in the future.

The Department of Public Safety confirmed that a significant portion of all payroll data reviewed by the auditor's consultants was verifiable through other independent sources; that there is a low risk of fraud for many of the procedures reviewed; and that improvements already underway will further reduce the risk of such incidents in the future.

The data collected and analyzed represents overtime accrued between January 2010 through September 2012, for all 800 Department of Public Safety employees. Prepared by StoneTurn Group LLP, as contracted by the State Auditor’s Office, the report provides a risk assessment of indicators for possible fraud and waste within the payroll process while offering recommendations to mitigate these vulnerabilities.

While the report is expressly limited to data, process and procedure review and is not intended to draw conclusions regarding any individual, the report did use a variety of custom queries and algorithms to detect anomalies in overtime and related issues. Through the review, StoneTurn LLC confirmed that the risk for possible fraud, abuse and waste was very low for the vast majority of DPS employees.

For individuals with time sheets identified in a high risk category through the report's metrics, where possible the payroll data was verified and found to be corroborated, with the exception of one individual, whose risk for possible fraud, abuse and waste was high by a notable margin.

This individual case resulted in criminal charges and has been resolved.

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