By Elizabeth Harrington
An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official flew nearly every weekend from his office in San Francisco to his home in southern California, amassing $69,000 in “excessive trips,” according to the Office of Inspector General (OIG).
A new audit found that the former Region 9 Administrator also charged taxpayers nearly $4,000 for ineligible travel costs, as the official made 88 trips that he said were work related in just three years.
“The former Region 9 Administrator made excessive trips to Southern California and claimed ineligible travel costs,” the OIG said. “He made 88 trips in total from October 2006 through January 2009. For 51 of the 88 trips (58 percent), the former Region 9 Administrator traveled to Orange County/Los Angeles County (OC/LA), California, near the former Region 9 Administrator’s residence, at a cost of approximately $69,000.”
The former official lived in Aliso Viejo, Calif., in Orange Country, though he mainly worked out of the Region 9 headquarters in San Francisco. The audit found that the official “traveled almost every weekend” to Orange County.
“Our analysis noted that the former Region 9 Administrator traveled to the OC/LA area almost every weekend,” the OIG said. “Most of the time, his flight departed from Oakland International Airport (OAK) to John Wayne Airport (JWA), located approximately 11 miles from his Aliso Viejo residence.”
The official also claimed meal and mileage expenses while he was home. The OIG noted that junior employees were responsible for approving his travel and questioned whether “subordinates would adequately review their supervisor’s travel.”