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Commissioner: ATC agents misused cell phones

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Posted: Dec 19, 2012 12:03 PM by Russell Jones
Source: La. Alcohol and Tobacco Control

  Rating: 5.0 (1 vote)

BATON ROUGE - The state Alcohol and Tobacco Control commissioner said an audit recently found agents racked up thousands of minutes of personal calls on their state-issued cell phones, hundreds of them while on the clock.

Commissioner Troy Hebert said he ordered the internal audit after comments by a senior agent tipped him off to the potential misuse.

The audit revealed in a single month, one agent had 3,000 minutes of personal calls with more than 1,100 of those while he was working. During October alone, 22 enforcement agents used a combined 205 hours of time on their phones for personal use, more than 90 hours of which happened while they were on the clock.

Hebert said the personal calls were halted, and disciplinary action is pending.

"This type of blatant abuse of taxpayer dollars will not be tolerated," Hebert said in a press release. "Rather than spending their time dealing with ATC issues, agents have decided to spend hours on personal phone calls and claiming pay from the state while doing so. Then, to make it even worse, they were using a phone paid for by the state to do it."

The phone audit follows a previous audit of vehicle use by agents, which found several were actually at home when they claimed they were working. That audit led to the resignation or demotion of several ATC agents.

Hebert said the audit would be submitted to the legislative auditor and inspector general for further investigation.

News 2's Brittany Weiss will have more on this investigation tonight.

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