SACRAMENTO -- Several Caltrans workers falsified test data on transportation projects, claimed hundreds of hours of overtime they didn't work and engaged in an "inexcusable neglect of duty," California State Auditor Elaine Howle concluded in a probe released Thursday.

Much of Howle's findings have already been disclosed through media accounts, legislative hearings and Caltrans' own reports.

But the audit compiles the transgressions of a handful of Caltrans workers whose misdeeds cast doubt on the structural integrity of every project they touched, including the new Bay and Benicia bridges.

Specifically, Howle's investigation found that:

Several Caltrans workers falsified test data on transportation projects and claimed hundreds of hours of overtime they didn’t work, California State
Several Caltrans workers falsified test data on transportation projects and claimed hundreds of hours of overtime they didn't work, California State Auditor Elaine Howle concluded in a probe released Thursday.(Karl Mondon/Staff Archives)

  • Two technicians were paid more than $13,000 for 267 hours of overtime in 2008 they did not work. In addition, they falsely listed time conducting tests for which they received a higher pay rate.

  • From 2004 to 2009, a technician falsified 10 test results, and an engineer was involved in an additional incident.

  • The technicians' supervisor failed to properly oversee his subordinates' time sheets or detect the testing lapses.

  • The same manager improperly instructed workers in 2008 to take state-owned steel beams and other material to his property in Susanville. Some of the scrap steel was used for a large gate.


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    The falsified test data involved, in part, the new Benicia Bridge, the Lake Hodges bridge in San Diego, the La Sierra Avenue bridge in Riverside, an overhead sign on Interstate 580 in Oakland and a retaining wall in Los Angeles.

    Caltrans in 2011 examined the projects and declared them structurally sound, although the auditor questioned the state agency's delay.

    "Despite identifying these additional data falsifications, Caltrans did not at that time take any action to determine whether the structures affected were indeed sound," she wrote.

    The technicians and the supervisor were not identified in the auditor's report.

    Media reports, however, have identified Duane Wiles as one of the technicians. Caltrans fired him in 2011. But he appealed and was allowed to retire last year with full benefits.

    The other technician, Walter Wyllie, was initially suspended 45 days in late 2011, but the punishment was later shaved to 10 days.

    Howle is recommending the state seek reimbursement from the two technicians for the unearned overtime and pay differential.

    Caltrans also fired former supervisor Brian Liebich. His appeal is pending.

    Howle is advising the state to seek reimbursement from the supervisor of the value of the state-owned construction materials that remain on his property and the $2,000 it cost to return the steel beams.

    Read the full report at www.bsa.ca.gov.

    Contact Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-945-4773, lvorderbrueggen@bayareanewsgroup.com, politicswithlisav.blogspot.com or Twitter.com/lvorderbrueggen.