EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSWASTE WATCH
from Eyewitness News Online
Workforce W.Va. Employee Reimbursed Thousands Of Dollars In Travel Expenses
Reported by: Kennie Bass
Videographer: Matt Durrett, John Tincher
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Jan. 31, 2013 6:46 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 1, 2013 12:53 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Claudia George's job responsibilities changed when in addition to overseeing the state's northern Workforce West Virginia field offices, she was also given responsibility for the southern offices when that region's manager resigned.
"This was double the work. It was much more travel than what she was doing originally," Courtney Sisk with Workforce West Virginia said.
George lives in Fairmont, but she routinely commuted to the Charleston Workforce West Virginia headquarters.
For more than two years she submitted mileage, hotel and food expenses totaling nearly $80,000.
"The people of West Virginia were best served by this arrangement because this director was the best person to fill this role," Sisk said.
On at least two occasions letters were sent to the auditor's office by Workforce West Virginia employees, complaining about the practice of reimbursing George. The letters claimed that it was fraud and a misuse of state funds.
The auditor's office says the forms were properly submitted, so they had to pay the bills.
"Everything is in accordance with state regulations. Those are the travel guidelines that state agencies and state employees follow," Sisk said.
Workforce West Virginia acting executive director Russell Fry says as of Friday the reimbursements will end when George takes over as Acting Director of Field Operations. However, since no additional hires are taking place, it appears that move could have been made back in 2010, saving taxpayers a hefty sum in mileage, hotel and food bills.
Fry and George declined our requests for interviews.
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