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:
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.