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Whistleblower Program

About the Whistleblower Program

We are committed to ensuring transparency, accountability, and integrity in Oakland’s Administrative Offices. The Whistleblower Program is one tool used to help achieve these objectives. This confidential hotline is for reporting fraud, waste, and abuse in City government, and is available to city employees, contractors, vendors, and residents. Additionally, to protect whistleblowers, there is an ordinance that protects City employees from retaliatory acts. The CONFIDENTIAL HOTLINE is available 24/7.

To assist Oakland’s Limited English Speaking (LES) residents, the Hotline provides over-the-phone interpretation services in over 150 languages, with access to more than 5000 interpreters for non-English callers, who are available 24/7, 365 days a year. LES residents may also request a meeting with the City Auditor to file a complaint in person. Interpreters are provided, free of charge.

Don’t want anyone to know you filed a complaint? If so, you can choose to make your name and contact information anonymous.

What to Report

For the Whistleblower Program, fraud, waste, and abuse are defined as follows:

Fraud is defined as the intentional misuse of City assets through acts such as, but not limited to, theft, embezzlement, or misrepresentation. Fraud can be committed by City employees, contractors, or vendors.

Examples of fraud include:

  • Accepting a bribe, kickback or illegal gratuity
  • Auditing or accounting irregularities
  • Bid-fixing
  • Computer fraud or information theft
  • Falsely reporting expenses for reimbursement
  • Falsification of records, such as time cards, travel or other expenses
  • Obtaining a benefit or service from the City for which a person, organization, or department did not qualify for
  • Recording fake sales
  • Stealing a check issued by the City to another payee
  • Submitting fake invoices for personal goods and services
  • Taking or “skimming” cash paid for City services, such as parking, permits or fines
  • Theft of City property, such as inventory or supplies
  • Utilizing City property for personal use

Waste is defined as the needless, careless or extravagant spending of City funds or misuse of resources due to inefficient or ineffective practices, systems, or controls.

Abuse is defined as the use of employment position with the City to obtain personal gain or benefit to which one is not entitled, for the employee or for someone else, such as a friend or family member. Such actions are an abuse of position and abuse of the public trust.

Complaint Evaluation and Expectations

The Office of the City Auditor will conduct a thorough analysis of each complaint and will then take the most appropriate action. At each step of the process, you can be assured that your confidentiality will be protected.

In order to protect the confidential reporting process, updates and conclusions of actions will not be provided. The Whistleblower is not entitled to receive information that is confidential to other parties involved in any allegations.

Discussion of your complaint with others, including family, friends, and coworkers, may jeopardize your confidentiality and protections granted under the Whistleblower Protection Ordinance.


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