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Whistleblowing & Protections

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What can I do if I suspect fraud, waste, or abuse
in City government? 

As public servants, it is vital that we follow the laws for good governance and help hold each other accountable. We all have a responsibility to not only follow ethics guidelines.  

Therefore, there is a process for city employees and contractors to confidentially report issues they know about. This is referred to as “whistleblowing.”  

Whistleblowing, in this context, can include reporting about: 

  • Misuse of public funds  
  • Failure to report income or gifts
  • Illegal gift-giving & receiving  
  • Conflicts of interest
    (financial, familial, or romantic relationships) 
  • Wasteful and/or inefficient government practices 

You can file a whistleblower complaint on the Controller’s website

A good complaint includes:

  • Names of the person(s) involved
  • Rules you think were violated
  • Timelines for the events
  • Evidence

How are whistleblowers protected? 

Those reporting improper governmental activities are protected from retaliation. “Retaliation” could include being fired, demoted, suspended, or other similar actions against an employee.

People need to trust that they will not become a target of retaliation for reporting improper government activity.  

If the Ethics Commission finds that retaliation has occurred, the offender can face fines of $5,000-$10,000 as well as disciplinary actions. In addition, the retaliatory action could be reversed. 

Learn more about retaliations and their penalties

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