City audit uncovers flaw in employee pay system

SAN DIEGO - A new San Diego city audit found a flaw in the method for checking the so-called "add-on" pay for city employees and millions of your taxpayer dollars could have been wasted.

A new report found that the city of San Diego may have been paying some police officers extra money they were not eligible for.

Eduardo Luna, San Diego's independent auditor, told 10News, "It's a significant amount of money in the city. It's $34 million."

That is how much extra the city shells out on average to employees every year for add-on pay.

Some examples of who would qualify include bilingual police officers, firefighters who are also EMTs and employees who work the overnight shift.

In a random sample, auditors uncovered that 85 percent of employees who got the extra 3.5 percent pay for being bilingual may not have been eligible because the department did not re-test their skills every three years as required.

The total of the extra pay? Almost $800,000.

"You want to ensure that if you're paying this extra money to employees, which in most cases is pensionable, you want to make sure that it's proper," Luna said.

Another troublesome area for auditors was proof of certification for engineers. These employees qualify for 15 percent extra pay yet in a random check the city auditor found that 50 percent of them were either missing their state certificates or they were not current.

"It is a pretty high amount because we paid out almost $3 million dollars in registration pay," Luna said.

The audit found that certain departments were not doing a good job with keeping records. The auditor made several recommendations, including re-testing officers every three years on their language skills to make sure they are still eligible for extra pay.

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