A city of Charlotte audit of travel expenses has found that 25 percent of employees had a discrepancy or violation on an expense report.
For fiscal year 2016, the city’s audit department reviewed expense reimbursements for about 40 executives and 50 non-executive employees who have the highest reimbursements from all departments.
The total amount reimbursed was $933,255. Auditors reviewed $276,428 of expenses and found 2 percent of the dollar amount was inaccurate. That’s in line with past audits.
But the audit, released this week, did give details about an unnamed city employee.
The report said that between October 2014 and January 2016, the employee “chose to stay at one hotel chain in which the employee was an elite member, even if the conference hotel was less costly and would have negated the need for a rental car.”
In that instance, the employee billed the city for parking at the hotel and conference site, along with gas, tolls and mileage. Those expenses cost the city $415.
“In another instance, the employee spoke at a meeting which the employee attended only on Tuesday afternoon,” the report said. “However, the traveler explained that limited flights required him to arrive Sunday morning and depart Wednesday morning. Auditors discredited that explanation, finding multiple daily direct flights and many others with reasonable connections.”
The audit said the employee could have made the trip in one day, “rather than staying three nights at the preferred hotel when alternatives were located much closer to the meeting site, and driving a rental car 212 miles.”
The city declined to name the employee, saying it’s a personnel issue and not part of the state open records law. The city declined to say whether the employee still works at the city.
The audit made a number of recommendations to city officials.
Among them: Closely monitor travel advances to ensure they are properly reflected in the related expense reports, take stronger enforcement actions to change employee behavior, and have better technology for filing reports.