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Inspector General Clouseau strikes again

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* When a friend read me excerpts from this story last night I thought it was a joke. Nope

The former chief internal auditor for the State Employees’ Retirement System served a 20-day suspension without pay because he used his state email account for work related to a college course he was teaching, ate lunch at his desk against agency policy, and didn’t request enough leave time.

Lawrence Stone, 60, of Sherman was the subject of an Governor’s Office of Executive Inspector General investigation in 2010. The Executive Ethics Commission released the inspector general’s office final report on the case last week.[…]

Stone told investigators a former superior gave him permission to eat at his desk, which he said he did after spending his hour-long lunch period at a health club about three days a week. The report said Stone never sought such approval from the supervisor he had for at least four years.

“Employees are required to cover an extended lunch using benefit time, but Stone does not use benefit time to cover the time spent eating at his desk,” the report states.

It also states that surveillance determined that Stone was 43 minutes late coming to work Oct. 28, 2010, but later submitted a request for only 30 minutes of personal leave.

I kid you not. The Office of Executive Inspector General actually conducted surveillance of this guy on two separate days to make sure he was returning from lunch on time. And then he got busted for using an extra 13 minutes on one of those days.


This is the best they can do over there? Really?

* Read the full report if you dare.


  1. - Abe - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 9:40 am:

    At least they did not require him to work the 20 day suspension without pay.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 9:43 am:

    The report Rich posted also included a secret recording of another employee that the IG has yet to take down:

    “I told (Name Redacted) that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I’m, I’m quitting, I’m going to quit. And, and I told (Name Redacted) too, because they’ve moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn’t bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it’s not okay because if they take my stapler then I’ll set the building on fire…”

    The IG has video on this employee too, but are waiting for another day to release it to take the spotlight off the governor.

  3. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 9:50 am:

    Oh dear Jesus. What a waste. I would also venture a guess that Mr. Stone also worked before and after the advertised SERS hours and possibly even did work from home and did work on the weekends when it was asked of him (or expected of him). I eat at my desk all the time after I run an errand or head home to let my dog out. I also often work evenings and do events on weekends. The state seems to be overzealous following the Blago fiascoes. There is no rhyme or reason to be spending manpower and state resources on such a trivial matter.

  4. - mark walker - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 9:51 am:

    O’Willy: You on the special coffee again?

    (Maybe I need some. After reading Rich’s post, I didn’t realize you were joking at first.)

  5. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 9:53 am:

    You wonder why people are retireing in mass???

  6. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 9:56 am:

    Got my red stapler right on top of the speaker on my desk Willy.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 9:56 am:

    - mark walker -

    Use the ‘Google’ key …

    Yes, Snark … sorry.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:02 am:

    - ArchPundit -

    I wanted to let you know that “I’m gonna need you to go ahead come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around 9 that would be great, mmmk… oh oh! and I almost forgot ahh, I’m also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, kay. We ahh lost some people this week and ah, we sorta need to play catch up.”

  9. - Honestly - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:07 am:

    This is all the IG has left to do. It has a stated policy of bowing-out when there are other possible cases or actual crimes committed. For example, the IG won’t protect or help fired whistle blowers because there is a civil course of action, which is left to the fired employee to pursue at his or her own expense. The IG’s own policies make its office a form of waste and abuse.

  10. - Liberty_First - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:12 am:

    Someone must have had a grudge against this guy and set it all in motion. Lawyers and auditors only know to stop when the report is done and spare no cost in the process…..

  11. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:15 am:

    You know as a taxpayer, this isn’t really the stuff I want the IG or anyone to spend time on…

    He ate lunch at his desk? There is a rule against that? Seriously, adults who I help pay and who are likely educated spent time investigating if a dude ate at his desk…

    Good golly, I feel sorry for the people who have that job…

  12. - cynically anonymous - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:16 am:

    and yet when OEIG came out with a report about the current CFO at DHS with all kinds of findings (12/10 released on Christmas Eve), nothing happened. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

  13. - soccermom - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:23 am:

    OneMan — don’t worry. I have had the pleasure of being interviewed by the OEIG folks, and they are definitely not educated. It was terrifying to know that my career and my reputation were in the hands of such ninnies.

  14. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:24 am:

    This is the city Springfield, the state capitol and fourth or fifth largest in the state. People expect governance to occur. When someone takes too long of a lunch break, or takes a pen home, then it becomes my business. I carry a Blackberry..

    Dumm a dumm Dummm..

    The story you are about to see is true, the names have been redacted so we might look a little less like poindexters…

    dum da dum dum

    It was October 18th, It warm for October and the sky was clearer than normal. I was working lunch fraud out of IAG, my partner is Richard Tracy the boss besides the Illinois Tax Payer was Frank Furillo.

    We had a report of a state employee eating lunch at his desk and exercising over lunch, potentially cheating the taxpayer out of seconds. The sort of thing that we would investigate, those are taxpayer seconds being misused.
    Dumm Dumm Dumm

  15. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:26 am:

    It could have been worse. Luckily, Stone remembered to include the new cover sheets on his TPS Reports.

    That IG has apparently thoroughly cleaned up the executive branch and has a lot of time on his hands. Quinn’s the governor, he should shut this nonsense down now.

  16. - soccermom - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:34 am:

    The General Assembly needs to take action. the OEIG’s office is wasting $7 MM that could be better spent on - oh, I dunno — keeping disabled kids at home with their families?

  17. - Shore - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:51 am:

    state government sounds like prison. you can’t eat lunch at your desk? surveillance?

  18. - anonymice - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:55 am:

    “. . . and a few other charges we shall dream up before the day is done, m’lord.”

  19. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:07 am:

    As Liberty_First noted, someone had a grudge against this guy and used the AG to retaliate.

    I’ve seen this done before. While apparently not the case here, the most blantant overreach I saw had the agency & AG actually verbally coercing the employee into violating State regulations. It went to court and ended up being ruled entrapment; the employee got legal costs and lost pay back … but they were under routine surveillance by ISP employees until they day they retired. At the same time, they didn’t seem to notice the political fundraiser ticket selling that was occurring right under their noses in state offices during working hours … all they had to do was look through the windows one or two offices over.

  20. - Hank - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:28 am:

    The truly sad part is that it took almost two years to release a report on a tiny “offense”. No wonder the big stuff in this state never sees the light of day!

  21. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:50 am:

    It is my understanding that not being able to eat lunch at your desk is a thinly veiled economic stimulus so that special interests such as cafes and lunch counters get more customers, and then are able to pump up the campaign coffers of the Governor and the Legislators.

    In my 40+ years of working, being forced to NOT eat at your desk, and having it monitored by video surveillance, is as about the single most asinine work rule I’ve heard.

  22. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:52 am:

    –It is my understanding that not being able to eat lunch at your desk is a thinly veiled economic stimulus so that special interests such as cafes and lunch counters get more customers, and then are able to pump up the campaign coffers of the Governor and the Legislators.–

    That has to be a gag, right?

  23. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:18 pm:

    Cincy, just how big is this Lunchtime Lobby, and how many millions are they pumping into campaign coffers as a result of this sinister plot?

    Who’s in on it? The Hamburglar? Mayor McCheese? Please tell me it doesn’t go all the way to Ronald himself.

  24. - Anon for now - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:21 pm:

    Courcelles: My lord, we have been at great pains to draw up an indictment of The Maid on sixty-four counts. We are now told that they have been reduced, without consulting us.

    The Inquisitor: Master de Courcelles, I am the culprit. I am overwhelmed with admiration for the zeal displayed in your sixty-four counts, but in accusing a heretic, as in other things, enough is enough.

    Saint Joan, by Bernard Shaw.

  25. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:33 pm:

    My theory can be the only reason for this.

  26. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:38 pm:

    And you thought the horse racing lobby was strong…

  27. - Emily Booth - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:43 pm:

    The issue wasn’t eating lunch at his desk; the issue was going to the gym for an hour and then eating lunch at his desk. He also was working a second job which conflicted with his regular job.

    These kinds of behaviors have gone on forever in men and women alike and if you have ever supervised, you’ve seen it all.

  28. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:52 pm:


    That may be, but the fact there is a rule against eating lunch at your desk seems, well, a bit silly…

  29. - The KQ - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 1:23 pm:

    OK, First of all one could in theory be eating at their desk AND working at the same time. Second, this all seems a bit silly. After 14 years as a State employee when I started working at my new private-sector job I would turn in time off for every minute I was late or needed to leave an hour early. My boss thought I was nuts and told me to stop turning in the time and just make it up somewhere - stay late, come in early - whatever was needed. It took a while to break the habit of trying to turn in those smaller time-off requests. I don’t think now I could go back to the microscope that is State employment. Come to think of it, if he wanted to could he have taken 43 minutes of time? I seem to remember that it needed to be in a certain increment.

  30. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 1:24 pm:

    Most people can eat and work at the same time. Who hasn’t at least snacked or had a beverage at their desk?

  31. - howie - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:06 pm:

    So, working at your desk is a violation which warrants an IG investigation? I’m surprised DOC has any employees left with all the paid lunches due to a severe shortage of staff!

  32. - Desk Jockey Dieter - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:35 pm:

    The investigation was a definite waste of resources, but lunch portion of the issue was obviously due to using a paid lunch hour to regularly do everything else but eat, but then returning to the office (on work time) to do what employees are supposed to do on that lunch hour. The rule sounds silly (and is), but these kinds of rules are created when abuse occurs. Several above have also admitted to misusing their lunch hours, then eating at their desks as a result. Except for the occasional emergency, eat on your lunch hour or in the car between errands. Stone should have eaten after his workout on the way back to work. A lunch away a day keeps the OEIG away.

    Try working at an office where no food or snacks are allowed at employee desks…and no drinks unless there are lids on them.

  33. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:35 pm:

    This is just sad on several levels.

    First, the waste and abuse of investigative resources by those in charge of “ferreting out” waste and abuse is pathetic. This complaint should have been sent back to the agency head with a suggestion that he clean his own house. The violations were solely of agency policies as the report indicates.

    Having a rule that folks can’t eat at the desk sounds really petty, but remember the old 90/10 (or 80/20, whatever) rule. 90% of the people could probably get along fine, but the other 10% would go overboard and ruin it for everyone. At my last agency, we didn’t have that rule, but asked people to use discretion. One person basically tried to set up a delicatessen in their cubicle, with minifridge, hot plate, the works. The food odors, not to mention the fire hazard, brought an end to that. In all likelihood, SERS is just trying to protect the decent furniture and equipment they got when they put up that new building, not trample on anyone’s rights. Besides, they also have a dandy breakroom.

    One would also think that a Chief Internal Auditor should not have to be told to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner and not cut corners in the most obvious way.

    Oh, and is anyone else surprised he ended up at CMS?

  34. - Peter Snarker - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:51 pm:

    The OEIG is, truth to tell, primarily a tool by which employees with grudges against each other can try and get each other in trouble.

  35. - Who Cares - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 4:03 pm:

    Ate lunch at his desk? Who cares. Don’t they have bigger fish to fry.

  36. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 4:42 pm:

    - Who Cares - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 4:03 pm:

    “Ate lunch at his desk? Who cares. Don’t they have bigger fish to fry.”

    Just don’t eat the fish at your desk…

  37. - IGs - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 4:58 pm:

    Chicago IG is pretty much the same. Decided to investigate some nonsensical garbage, ridiculous questions during interview…all the while trucking scandal was going on and IG was seemingly oblivious. Oh, and despite a recommendation of termination-the Department reduced it to written reprimand.

  38. - Quiet Sage - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 5:43 pm:

    With all the cuts in governmental services, this is what the State is spending its money on?

  39. - Secret Square - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 7:18 pm:

    “if he wanted to could he have taken 43 minutes of time? I seem to remember that it needed to be in a certain increment.”

    In my agency we are supposed to calculate our work time on our time sheets to the nearest 1/4 hour, so a 43-minute break would have to be registered as 45 minutes. However, I also believe CMS has rules saying that personal, vacation and sick time has to be taken in at least 1/2 hour increments, so if 30 minutes was not sufficient, you would have to claim a full hour — which would have given this guy 17 MORE minutes of free time.

  40. - Dyhams - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 7:57 pm:

    They don’t mention that Stone was stopped from completing an audit o a dept run by a well connected friend of Stone’s boss

  41. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 8:43 pm:

    Sounds kinky to me, Dyhaus.

  42. - Who Cares - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 8:51 pm:

    That IG Office needs to be abolished. They don’t even protect the whistleblowers.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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