In just the latest example of local municipalities following the lead of state and federal governments in taking whistleblower protections more seriously, Napa County in California is looking to start its own whistleblower program to combat fraud and waste in county government.
After establishing a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the county determined that without a whistleblower program in place, potential fraud would likely go undetected.
Usually local whistleblower programs have phone numbers and websites through which people can get in touch with government representatives and leave tips. The Auditor-Controller for the county is already working on a version for Napa County, and the goal is for the program to be up and running by the end of the year.
Neighboring Solano county established its own whistleblower program in 2008, so the Napa County version is likely to take a lot of inspiration from it.
There have been some incidents over the years that have pushed Napa County in this direction.
In one case, an employee who was already on probation was lying down in his car during work hours. That employee was fired. In another case, a county employee worked massive amounts of overtime beyond what any single person could realistically work. The employee’s supervisor signed off on the time sheets, so the district attorney didn’t prosecute. However, the supervisor was disciplined and the behavior brought to an end.
There are all types of potential wasteful and fraudulent officials that can occur in county government, some more serious than others. But the more counties that take initiative and develop their own whistleblower programs, the more support there will be across the nation for whistleblowers at all levels of government.
For further guidance on the steps you should take when moving forward with a whistleblower case, contact a skilled Dallas attorney with Kardell Law Group.