December 18, 2014

State auditor recommends changes in state relocation pay policies

The state auditor is recommending changes to how the state of Iowa pays relocation benefits to new, reassigned or promoted employees. Many state agencies and the Regent institutions cover moving expenses to attract and retain qualified individuals.

But, State Auditor David Vaudt says his review of the relocation benefits program has uncovered some rather large payouts and a few other problems. “One of the things that we found was a claim that was paid twice for $34,000,” Vaudt said. “The good news is the department did discover the overpayment and did recover it.”

That case, from 2008, involved a Department of Public Safety employee. The audit also found six D.P.S. employees who moved 22.5 miles or less were paid a combined $123,000 for relocation expenses.

“Two of those six moved four miles or less,” Vaudt noted. “You’re talking an average claim of over $20,000 for those six employees.” The D.P.S. requires certain employees reside within 30 straight-line miles of their “city of assignment.”

Vaudt is asking state agencies and the Regents institutions to review their policies for relocation expenses. He says the state should also consider placing limits on how much money is handed out. “Some states require the move to be at least 50 miles or more before they’re even qualified for relocation benefits,” Vaudt said.

The state audit shows Iowa paid nearly $8.5 million in relocation benefits to employees over a four-year period between 2005 and 2009.

See the full report here: auditor.iowa.gov/specials/0960-8990-B0P2.pdf