Mecklenburg Transportation System drivers and dispatchers were erroneously paid more than 900 hours of regular time when they were absent and should have been paid benefit time, according to a report by the Mecklenburg County Department of Internal Audit last week.
According to the audit, the MTS time reporting process does not effectively prevent and detect erroneous time entry by staff into the Countys myHR system. The result: 22 of 30 MTS drivers and dispatchers were paid a total of 904.6 hours regular time when they did not work and should have been paid benefit time.
Benefit time refers to vacation or sick days off, in which staff are paid their normal hourly rate.
Bill Carroll, a county spokesman, said the hourly market rate for a van driver is $14.67. Based on market rate, the total value of the erroneously paid hours is $13,276.35, he said.
According to the report, auditors could not determine whether drivers intentionally neglected to enter benefit time.
An investigation of the MTS began last August after a Department of Social Services manager informed the countys human resources department of problems in how MTS staff recorded hours in the countys official timekeeping system, myHR, according to the audit.
As a result, staff may have on occasion been paid for time they did not work, the audit said.
Among the issues noted in the audit is a lack of controls to ensure data integrity within various MTS Unit systems.
The MTS issued a statement Thursday that reads in part: We can say with confidence that if any hours were paid in error they will be repaid to the County by the employee(s) involved.
We would like to emphasize that our system worked the payment of erroneous benefit time was identified, reported and thoroughly investigated by a disinterested, separate County department. There has been no finding of intentional fraudulent activity, the MTS statement read.
MTS transports people ages 60 and older who are not in assisted living facilities or nursing homes; elderly people with disabilities; and qualified veterans traveling to and from Veterans Affairs hospitals in North Carolina and to and from medical clinics in Charlotte. It also provides transportation for adults and children who receive Medicaid.
The Mecklenburg County Human Resources Department is investigating the erroneous payment of hours.
The audit can be found here: http://bit.ly/MakKSe.