In 2004, the Board enacted Chapter 2.206 of the Ordinance Code (which was subsequently amended and renumbered as Sections 2.14.060 through 2.14.100) to establish a process by which improper governmental activity could be reported anonymously and adequately addressed by the County. Since that time, State law enhanced whistleblower protections and authorized local government auditors to establish whistleblower hotlines.
According to a 2012 Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, 43% of frauds are detected through tips with 50% of tips coming from employees. An anonymous third party hotline provides employees with a more prominent, accessible and confidential way to report activities of concern. Establishment of an anonymous hotline operated by a third party vendor increases the likelihood that fraud, waste, and abuse will be reported as employees are often reluctant to report such behavior to management or human resources.
In December 2013, the County enhanced its whistleblowing procedures by launching a “Whistleblower Hotline.”
To report suspected improper governmental activity, complaints may be submitted through the County’s whistleblower hotline at 855-387-2497 or by submitting information online at www.reportlineweb.com/smcgov. Both the telephone and web-based reporting systems provide a confidential means to report suspected fraud, waste or abuse of County funds, property, or equipment. Both the telephone hotline and the online reporting system are administered by “The Network,” an independent third-party which has provided confidential reporting services to numerous public entities. All complaints – whether made through the telephone hotline or via the internet -- can be made anonymously
Complaint report forms are also available from the Office of the County Counsel and may be returned to any of the following offices: the County Manager’s Office, the Office of the District Attorney, or the Office of the County Counsel.