RALEIGH — A state audit has revealed that the N.C. Central University Law School’s information technology and facilities director was given improper supplemental benefits to the tune of $59,271 during the last decade.
The report, released by State Auditor Beth Wood, found that the money was given to Gregory Clinton in addition to his regular salary.
The report released by the state auditor’s office did not name the director. However, Clinton is listed as the IT and facilities director on the law school’s Web page, and the university’s public relations department confirmed that he was the director.
Clinton “received salary supplements for extra work he performed for the law school as well as other departments in violation of state policy,” the audit says.
The audit notes that the State Personnel Manual says, “No employee whose position is designated as exempt from overtime compensation provisions shall be paid in any way for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek unless a specific exemption has been approved.”
In 2004 and 2005, Clinton was given salary supplements totaling $22,500 for organizing and managing a move from and back into the Turner Law Building when the building was undergoing an extensive renovation.
Clinton was asked to direct the movement from the Turner Law Building on campus to the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Building in downtown Durham. After the law building renovation was complete, he was asked to return the operations to the campus building.
According to the audit, Clinton said that there was never any discussion about additional payments for those duties. However, a former dean initially presented him with a $7,500 check as a bonus for moving the law school operations to a temporary location.
A new dean at the law school later provided Clinton with two additional $7,500 checks.
“The new dean said that [Clinton] told him there was an agreement between the director [Clinton] and the former dean regarding the payments,” the audit report says. “The new dean [who became dean in July 2005] said that he sought and received approval for the payments from the chancellor at the time.”
The payments came from the dean’s discretionary fund maintained by the law school’s private foundation. However, the payments were inappropriate because the work involved Clinton’s normal duties and state personnel policy prohibits such policy, the audit says.
In 2010 and 2011, he was given another $36,771 for his work in helping other departments install “enhanced instructional technology and academic computing” for other university departments.
The audit says Clinton was chosen for the project because of his “expertise and previous success” with installing similar technology in the law school.
The project director said that, “because these duties were in addition to his duties with the law school, she believed he should be compensated,” the audit says.
The report says that everyone auditors spoke to regarding the most recent payments believed that Clinton was eligible to receive the supplemental payments.
Clinton made $96,977 last year and $95,827 in 2010.
Clinton did not respond to an opportunity to comment on the audit.
The audit notes that state law requires the university to seek reimbursement of the payments, including garnishing an employee’s wages to recover the improper benefits. It also allows the university to seek reimbursement from the entity that made the overpayment.
In a letter to Wood, Charles Becton, interim chancellor at N.C. Central, acknowledged that the payments were in error.
“We will take action to recover overpayment of state funds in accordance with [state law],” Becton wrote. “Moreover, controls will be enhanced through additional training and redesign of internal human resource documents.”
Barry Smith is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.