Under the Dome

Dome: Durham Tech employee fired for working a private business on state time

jfrank@newsobserver.comMay 15, 2013 

A state auditor’s investigation into a Durham Technical Community College employee working a private business on the state’s dime led to the employee’s firing, a report released Wednesday revealed.

The investigation began with a call to the auditor’s fraud hotline describing an assistant registrar at the college’s Center of the Global Learner who ran a bird supply store and sold Amway products during business hours.

The unidentified employee initially denied any wrongdoing, saying she did the work on breaks from her state job. But auditors found that she accessed her private business’s documents and responded to phone calls during work time.

The report suggested disciplinary action, but the college terminated the employee in March after launching its own investigation after the auditor first began inquiring about the situation. The auditors report required 151 hours and cost $11,000.

Funerary board fails audit

A separate state audit released Wednesday found the N.C. Board of Funeral Service failed to comply with its inspections policy for funeral homes and crematories and track locations with serious deficiencies.

Inspections are required every two to three years, but the state auditor found they occurred every four to eight years for 22 of the 38 establishments surveyed. In the same survey, 23 deficiencies were noted, but the majority of the reports never noted whether a board inspector checked to see if corrective action was taken, the report states.

The agency said it is aware it wasn’t complying with its own policies and blamed its small inspection staff that cover 700-plus funeral establishments and 100 crematories statewide. It is considering adding another staffer or reducing the number of inspections. The funeral board audit required 390 hours and cost $28,000.

Brandon wants Watt’s seat

Democratic State Rep. Marcus Brandon made his intentions to seek Congressman Mel Watt’s 12th District seat official, according to Federal Election Commission documents made public this week.

Watt is President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Federal Housing Finance Administration. If confirmed, a Democratic frenzy is expected in the race to replace him.

A campaign treasurer for Brandon, a High Point political consultant, filed papers May 1, the day the president announced Watt’s appointment, to create the Marcus Brandon for Congress political committee, the first step needed to raise money for a potential bid.

GOP tries to taint McIntyre

The National Republican Campaign Committee is targeting vulnerable Democrats and trying to smear them with the taint of the IRS scandal in Washington. North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre is among them.

The NRCC, which spent big money to try to defeat the Democratic incumbent, wants McIntyre to condemn the IRS actions, as other Republicans and Democrats have done.

“Silence is simply not an option,” reads a NRCC statement, one of many the group is sending about the issue. “It’s time for McIntyre to speak out on this outrageous abuse of power.”

Staff writer John Frank

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