Chula Vista Veterans Home Wasted Nearly $50K on Boom Lift: Auditor

The Chula Vista Veterans Home wasted nearly $50,000 on a lift it barely uses, the California State Auditor said in a report released Thursday.

The home, which is run by the California Department of Veterans Affairs, bought a Genie boom lift in July 2010 for $49,937.

The finance and purchase manager, who no longer works for the veterans home, submitted a purchase request for the lift to change light bulbs in the parking lot, paint the exterior walls, trim trees and maintain lighting, according to a veterans home official who was hired after 2010.

But in the last five years, the auditor's report says employees at the home have used the lift only 16 hours — an average of about 3.2 hours a year.

The auditor said if the Chula Vista Veterans Home had rented the equipment, it would have saved the state thousands of dollars “during a time when the State was suffering from a significant budget crisis.” The same company that sold the lift rents them out for $259 a day, $865 a week or $2,244 a month, with a $170 delivery and pickup fee, according to the report.

Had the boom lift been rented at that rate for one day a year, the home would have spent just $2,145 instead of $49,937.

According to the current official's statement to the state auditor, the home has “a minimal need” for the lift, and he would not have authorized the purchase if he was working there at the time. However, it does reduce safety and liability risks for employees who need to work in hard to reach areas, he said.

NBC 7 reached out to the California Department of Veterans Affairs about the report and received this statement Thursday:

“The California Department of Veterans Affairs is assessing the current value of the boom lift and, if appropriate, will take steps to dispose of the boom lift by sale or auction, in accordance with state policy.”

Among the auditor's other findings was a revelation that Caltrans officials approved the time sheets of an engineer who wasted 55 workdays playing golf.

To read the entire report, click here.

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