Paper Trail Reveals DA's Hidden Payroll

The Investigative Unit uncovers documents that show the DA's office tracked free time off for select employees who lost their bonus.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Investigative Unit uncovers documents that show the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office tracked free time off for select employees who lost their bonus. This story first aired on May 13, 2013 at 11 p.m. Jenna Susko reports.

    Documents and handwritten notes from the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office reveal an internal record-keeping system that tracked free time off for select employees.

    County Executive Jeff Smith tells NBC Bay Area no one in the county knew about the second set of books.

    "It really points out that I can't trust the DA with the payroll system," Smith said in an interview Monday. "It means I have a whole other department that I have to babysit."

    To view the documents click here.

    The paperwork shows math, crossed out numbers and notes tracking hours of administrative leave given to lead attorneys since September, 2011. No one at the county could tell the Investigative Unit whose handwriting appears on the documents or from whose computer they were generated.

    It comes after the Investigative Unit exposed last month DA Jeff Rosen ordered lead attorneys' time sheets be altered to change vacation and sick time to administrative leave, allowing them to bank vacation time which they could later cash out.

    Rosen told NBC Bay Area his administrative leave policy was to make up for a five percent bonus that lead attorneys lost from their contract during budget cuts in September, 2011.

    To view the original report click here.

    "He knows from all of the episodes that occurred during the negotiations of this contract that it was specifically intended to remove the five percent," Smith said. "Finding a back-handed, secret way to put that back in is really not something that someone with integrity would do."

    Smith said county payroll and county administration were not aware that the DA's Office had an independent tracking system for time off. He plans on implementing new oversight to monitor the DA's payroll.

    "We are going to have to figure out a way to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again," Smith told the Investigative Unit.

    The DA's office provided NBC Bay Area this statement:

    "The District Attorney's Office has provided the public and the media with many documents and statements outlining our contractually authorized use of administrative leave. There is no 'second set of books' or 'second payroll system.' The Attorney General’s Office is civilly reviewing the administrative leave issue. Out of respect for the integrity of that process, we will defer further public comment at this time...We will continue to work with the County Executive's Office to serve the People of Santa Clara."

    "I would just expect a lot more from an elected DA who is the senior law enforcement official in the county," Smith said. "I would expect him to be upfront and straightforward about it and they just weren't." 

    Do you have a tip for the Investigative Unit? Email us: TheUnit@nbcbayarea.com

    Tweet us: @jennasusko @putnamproducer