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Vt. concludes investigation into lack of spending oversight - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. concludes investigation into lack of spending oversight

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

A recently closed investigation clears all parties involved, but raises new financial accountability questions for the state.

The agency of human resources concluded an investigation Thursday. It looked into a lack of spending oversight in a department and if the investigation itself was a form of retaliation. No one will be disciplined but policies will be rewritten.

In this letter, Human Resources Commissioner Kate Duffy says their investigation did not justify taking disciplinary action against an employee with the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living.

The employee admitted allowing those under his supervision to sign his name on expenditure forms. The commissioner tells us, his case is not unique.

"He was not the only one even though most of the employees were aware of the policy and did it correctly," said Commissioner Duffy.

The employee argues the investigation is a form of retaliation for speaking to the legislature though the letter also dismisses that claim.

Commissioner Duffy says the expenditure policy is currently unwritten, but won't be for long.

Reporter Kyle Midura: What do you say to those people who see this as yet another example of an area where we didn't have enough financial accountability?

Commisoner Duffy: What I would say is there's always room for improvement.

There's no indication that the lack of oversight led to the theft of funds as is alleged in two recent high-profile cases.

Prosecuters convicted former Trooper Jim Deeghan for padding his time-card and billing taxpayers out of $200,000.

51-year-old Lisa Peduzzi is charged with stealing more than $70,000 by filing phony insurance claims in the office of risk management and buying big-ticket items with state checks.

"Security is not a static destination," said Jeb Spaulding, Vt. Administration Secretary.

Governor Peter Shumlin's, D-Vermont, staff say neither the Deeghan or Peduzzi cases indicated a systemic problem.

Spaulding says this investigation indicates just how seriously they take even the possibility of a security defect.

it's a question of controls. That's why we're concerned about it. That's the kind of practice that could lend to fraud," said Spaulding.

Typically details of Human Resource investigations are not public, but in this case the subject told his story to the media.

Despite being cleared, the investigated employee has not backed off his retaliation claims and has a pending lawsuit against the state.

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