State auditor’s findings show MBN executive director to repay $30K to taxpayers

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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – State Auditor Shad White released on Thursday the limited internal control and compliance review findings for for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics’ 2018 fiscal year.

In these findings, it shows that MBN’s executive director John Dowdy will be required to repay $30,122 to taxpayers.

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The improper payments identified in the audit came, in part, in the form of compensatory time buybacks.

“Compensatory time” is paid time off earned for working beyond traditional work hours, but in some circumstances, agencies are allowed to pay employees for that time instead of giving paid time off. MBN is required to obtain permission from the Commissioner of Public Safety to buy back the time, and Dowdy was paid for that time without permission and over the objection of staff.

Dowdy was also given a clothing allowance that, by state law, may only be utilized by law enforcement officers.

Auditors also determined the Director circumvented the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the internal controls designed to prevent unauthorized buy backs. The federal protections created by FLSA are not intended for highly paid managers and directors.

“The Auditor’s office must fairly enforce the laws around spending. Everyone—whether you are a clerk in a small town or a director of a large state agency—must follow those laws,” said State Auditor White. “Enforcing the law fairly is exactly what we are doing in this audit.”

The auditor’s office also recommended that the Bureau of Narcotics strengthens controls to ensure compliance with:

  1. State laws over compensatory buyouts
  2. Agency policies and state laws over procurement cards
  3. State laws and regulations over fringe benefits
  4. State laws over reimbursement for travel expenditures
  5. MAAPP manual and regulations over bank accounts; state laws over properly documenting and recording employee leave
  6. Travel policies and procedures over commodities.

These findings were made during a routine compliance audit. The auditor’s office said the findings are intended to enable the Bureau of Narcotics to carry out its mission more effectively.

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