The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Tuesday adopted measures to enhance whistleblower processes and ethics and internal controls training for County employees.
The measures, designed to identify and prevent embezzlement and fraud within County government, were introduced by San Mateo County Supervisors Dave Pine (District 1) and Don Horsley (District 3). Horsley is the Board's president, and Pine the vice-president.
"In the wake of recent incidents of embezzlement and fraud both within County government and other local agencies, it is critical that San Mateo County protect taxpayer dollars by empowering County employees to identify and stop fraud as soon as possible," said Pine.
The Board of Supervisors approved three specific measures to improve whistleblower reporting and employee training.
The first measure requires the creation of a "whistleblower web page" that will be "easily accessible" and provide links to the whistleblower ordinance, various training resources, and online reporting pages.
Currently, employees can call the County Manager’s Office, the Controller’s Office, or the County Counsel, but they cannot provide a tip or lodge a complaint electronically via the web.
The web portal will be complemented with a "24-hour whistleblower hotline" for County employees managed by an third-party vendor to provide an independent and confidential method to report suspected fraud, waste and abuse.
The Board also approved the implementation of continuous, required employee training concerning ethical behavior; identifying and reporting fraud, waste and abuse; and internal accounting control responsibilities.
"These measures will enhance the procedures available to employees to report suspected fraud in an effective manner," said Horsley. "San Mateo County will be in a better position to then curtail possible fraud and embezzlement earlier, and reduce opportunities for theft."
"We would like to encourage other public agencies to adopt similar standards of training and reporting," Horsley added.
What do you think of the new policies the Supervisors approved? Are there any other County governmental issues that concern you? Tell us in the comments below.