Audit: UO employees paid for OT they didn't work

EUGENE, Ore. - The University of Oregon is taking some heat after an audit revealed problems with their payroll.

The Oregon Secretary of State audited the UO Institute of Neuroscience time cards from 2011 to 2013.

The audit found 13 staff members were getting paid overtime for hours they never worked.

"I can't speak to the motivations of the indivduals involved, but once it became apparent to us there was some misuse of funds, we took steps to report it," said Julie Brown, a UO spokesperson.

The research unit in question manipulated their payroll, Secretary of State Kate Brown wrote in an open letter to the public.

The audit revealed UO leadership encouraged employees to make up losses due to the mandatory furloughs by working overtime or by logging extra hours on their times cards.

The state recomended UO have more organized payroll practices, which the spokesperson Brown said are already in place.

The secretary of state said "we cannot afford lax business practices in our system of higher education, particularly when skyrocketing tuition is making college unaffordable."

The UO wrote letter back to the secretary of state, saying the university plans to pay the money back.

But one of the students who spoke with KVAL News said this isn't an issue about time cards - it's an issue about unpaid furloughs.

"I'm actually now a lowly research assistant in the brain development lab and that work is incredibly important what they're doing," said Gwenthy Gibby. She said her lab is suffering due to budget cuts.

"It's a policy issue, and that's where we really need to address it, not some nickel and diming time sheet thing," she said.