Menlo Park Veterans Home audit discloses issues with outside work, nursing OT

TRENTON – A state audit of the Menlo Park Veterans Home released Tuesday showed, among other things, that 50 percent of employees with outside employment had not disclosed it as required.

According to the report prepared by the state Auditor, 36 of 72 workers had not self-reported outside work or political activity as required by policy.

“Failure to disclose outside employment to management increases the risk of a conflict of interest between the employee’s primary job at the home and any additional jobs,’’ the audit stated.

As a result, the management may be less aware of warning signs such as chronic absenteeism that may be driven by outside activities, the state audit said.

The auditor recommended an updated policy requiring workers file a new disclosure form annually.

The home management replied that it would pursue that updated policy and in the meantime, all employees would be surveyed.

As of June 30, the 312-bed home in Middlesex County had 299 residents. The state’s two-year audit period – July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013 – covered the annual general fund revenues of $17.8 million and general fund expenditures of $27.6 million.

The audit covered other issues as well:

*Reducing reliance on state appropriations by improved collection on delinquent accounts and increased participation in a federal Improved Pension program that could help those with war-time service;

*Reducing nursing overtime by better scheduling of the per-diem staff who fill in on weekends. The audit estimated as much as $230,000 a year might be saved this way.