When State Workers are Investigated, They Stay Home: Cost Oregon $3.2 Million Last Year

Who’s Keeping Track of how State Agencies Conduct Internal Investigations? Apparently, it comes down to KGW News to get that job done. 

HERE’S WHAT THEY FOUND: State employees who come under internal investigation for alleged misconduct are often put on paid administrative leave until the case is resolved. This is an understandable practice when investigations are carried out in a timely manner. But timeliness might not always be the norm in the state of Oregon, according to the KGW News report.  

 

Their public record analysis revealed that the state paid 288 employees a total of $3.2 million to stay home from work in 2019. Over half of these state employees were on paid administrative leave for over a month. And 25 state employees were on leave for six months or longer.  

Surely some cases are extremely complex and require a lot of time to properly conduct. Still, unlike Washington and several other states, Oregon does not have any statewide regulations on the books that would apply oversight and institute timelines in order to prevent investigations from excessively dragging on. Many of the limitations that are in place are the result of collective bargaining agreements, and thus do not apply to state employees across the board.   

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS A DIFFERENT STANDARD: Although federal agencies have been slow to adopt it, the Administrative Leave Act of 2016 caps investigative leave for federal employees at 10 days a year and establishes procedures for agencies seeking extensions of 30-90 days.  

By JD Brookbank