NC National Guard soldiers overpaid during Hurricane Matthew, au - | WBTV Charlotte

NC National Guard soldiers overpaid during Hurricane Matthew, audit shows

(Photo by Robert Richardson | CBS North Carolina) (Photo by Robert Richardson | CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) - An audit released by the North Carolina Office of the State Auditor on Thursday revealed that many state National Guard soldiers were overpaid while assisting in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

According to the audit, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety used the wrong active duty pay rates to pay soldiers who worked in the aftermath of Matthew.

During the audit period, DPS processed 4,354 payments that totaled $1.7 million for 1,285 National Guard soldiers, nearly 91 percent of which were incorrect, according to the findings.

Auditors recalculated wage payments to the 1,285 soldiers and found that 1,166 soldiers were paid in error. The overpayment resulted in a $38,559 (2.3 percent) net overpayment.

According to the report, those funds could have been used for other Hurricane Matthew disaster assistance purposes. The overpayments, $28,919 of which is federal money, are being questioned.

"The errors occurred because the National Guard, a division of the Department, did not have procedures in place to ensure the correct rates were used," the audit said. "The Department used the State Active Duty system to make the payments. However, review and verification procedures were not in place to ensure that the correct military pay tables were obtained and entered timely in the State Active Duty system."

The auditors recommendation based on the findings was that DPS "should establish procedures to ensure the correct pay rates are entered timely and verified in the State Active Duty system."

In a letter to State Auditor Beth Wood, DPS Secretary Erik Hooks and Chief Financial Officer Doug Holbrook wrote that the department agreed with the findings and that the North Carolina Controller's Office "will review, verify and document timely updating of the... military pay tables on an annual basis."

CBS 17 reached out to the North Carolina National Guard who issued the following statement:

Once the State Active Duty pay error was identified, the North Carolina National Guard and the Department of Public Safety put procedures in place to ensure this does not happen again.

We will continue to work with DPS to resolve this issue and have no further information available on this topic at this time.

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