Whistleblower hotline established for county employees, public

Jim Erb
Jim Erb jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

San Luis Obispo County has implemented a new whistleblower hotline for county employees and the public to report financial waste, fraud and abuse.

The hotline provides a means for employees and the public to increase accountability, transparency and responsibility in county government, said Jim Erb, county auditor-controller and treasurer-tax collector.

“The whistleblower hotline is a best practice tool used in anti-fraud programs that with strengthen our stewardship of taxpayer resources,” Erb said, adding that he believes that “the vast majority of SLO County employees, vendors and contractors are honest and ethical.”

Reports may be made anonymously by calling toll free (855) 326-9623 or online at www.reportlineweb.com/sanluisobispo.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reports that occupational fraud is most likely to be detected by a tip than any other means, Erb said in a report to the county Board of Supervisors. In order to promote anonymity, the county has contracted with an external hotline provider, The Network Inc. of Norcross, Ga.

Erb’s offices will follow up on reports of financial fraud while timecard abuse and sexual harassment complaints will be referred to department heads. Complaints of criminal activity will be forwarded to law enforcement.

The hotline will cost $6,000 a year with an additional startup cost of $2,000.

Other governmental agencies using The Network include the counties of San Bernardino, San Diego and Kern as wells as the cities of San Diego and Sacramento.