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Gov. Pete Ricketts has denied a pay raise for the director of the Nebraska Natural Resources Department, who auditors say used a state vehicle for personal trips and falsified expense reports.

Jeff Fassett is paid $152,000 a year. He didn't get the 2.3% raise granted other state cabinet members in July.

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The state auditor's office said in June that Fassett had used a state vehicle for trips to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he has a home, and submitted falsified travel logs. The governor's office has said Fassett was permitted to work remotely from his residence to support his wife after she was diagnosed with cancer. Fassett's wife, Fran Cadez, died on June 27.

Fassett apologized earlier this week for the improper use of a state vehicle. The audit had noted that Fassett reimbursed the state $708 for travel expenses.

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