A new state audit finds "gross mismanagement" of a rural vanpool program by the state DOT public transportation division, and the findings have been referred to the State Bureau of Investigation for possible action.
The audit report says that:
DOT allowed a Raleigh-Durham area company, 2Plus Inc., to operate the vanpool program with 38 DOT-owned vans for six years without a contract. The company received $4.3 million to operate the program for 11 years.
DOT vans were used to transport South Carolina residents to jobs in North Carolina.
An Outer Banks resort used DOT vans to shuttle its nonresident alien workers between the resort property and local housing.
2Plus billed DOT for $163,272 for personal mileage fees, backup fees and insurance deductibles "that appeared excessive or unreasonable." DOT did not review 2Plus invoices to make sure it paid only for reasonable expenses.
Miriam S. Perry, who retired in December as public transportation division director, personally managed the 2Plus contract, but she did not personally manage other DOT contracts.
Beth A. Wood, the state auditor, said her findings and Perry's role in personally managing the vanpool contract would be referred to the SBI.
Gene Conti, the DOT secretary, today named Teresa Hart the new director of the public transportation division. Hart, a 26-year DOT veteran and a registered professional engineer, recently served as unit head and project planning engineer for DOT's Project Development and Environmental Analysis Branch.