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Friday, January 19, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Audit: City employees violated lottery rules

An assistant director of the city’s Human Resources Department helped to conduct a raffle last summer at an event sponsored by a large non-city organization. City employees participated in that raffle in violation of city HR policies, according to a brief special report released by the Office of the City Auditor on Thursday.

Although city Human Resources employees prepare and administer city policies relating to games of chance, they apparently ignored those policies in this instance, according to the audit report.

Auditors declined to name the assistant director involved or the company that sponsored the conference in July 2017. According to a brochure describing the conference, 18 different businesses participated as conference sponsors.

Nathan Wiebe, chief of investigations for the auditor, told the Austin Monitor that auditors investigated the matter as a result of a complaint. The identity of the complainant is confidential and will not be released, he said.

Auditors say they talked to one city employee who attended the conference and participated in the raffle. That employee won a prize and told the auditors that they “assumed that the conference was City-sponsored due to the presence of ‘high-level’ City HR employees and because an HRD Assistant Director conducted the raffle,” according to the audit.

In response to the audit report, Human Resources Director Joya Hayes wrote, “As we are now aware of the drawing and items City employees may have received, I will ensure all employees who attended the conference are informed if they received something through a drawing, they need to return it to the HR organization that sponsored the conference.”

One employee received a book and another received an Amazon Echo as prizes, according to the report. The report does not name those employees. Department directors are responsible for making sure that their employees follow all city regulations, and supervisors are supposed to “actively monitor and manage Gifts, Favors, and the prohibition regarding Games of Chance involving Employees whom they supervise,” according to the audit.

Photo by John Flynn.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin Human Resources Department: This city department oversees city employees, who number over 12,000 strong.

Office of the City Auditor: This city department is created by the city's charter in order to establish and ensure "accountability transparency, and a culture of continuous improvement in city operations."

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