Report: City Employees Don’t Use Whistleblower Hotline
Monday, July 20, 2009
SAN DIEGO The city of San Diego’s whistleblower hotline to report fraud, waste or abuse received more than 100 calls over the last 9 months. However none of the ones investigated by the city auditor came from employees.
The city’s internal auditor investigated six of the calls. The remaining calls were sent to the relevant city departments for investigation. The audit committee knows that might be why many whistleblower calls came from the public rather than from city employees.
Councilman Carl DeMaio acknowledges the auditor doesn’t have the staff to follow up on every whistleblower call. But he said, “I want city departments to know that the internal auditor will review a sample and look at the documentation, that they cannot sweep things under the rug.”
One tip the auditor did investigate related to the city needlessly replacing more than 90 water meters at a cost of $30,000. The other pointed out that the wastewater department didn’t have a recycling program for valuable scrap metal.
According to the auditor’s third-quarter report, about half of the 119 calls to the hotline turned out to be unsubstantiated.
The auditor’s department will get one more full-time position next year -- that will be a fraud investigator.