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Whistleblower FAQs

1. Why does Oakland need a Hotline?

2. What will the Office of the City Auditor do?

3. What should I include in my report?

4. What happens after I file a report?

5. Where do these reports go? Who can access them?

6. Is the hotline and website report confidential and/or anonymous?

7. What kinds of things should be reported?

Why does Oakland need a hotline?

  • It is important to Oakland’s elected leadership that City employees have a safe place to voice their concerns of potential wrongdoing.

  • The presence of a reporting system reinforces the message that all City officials, managers, and employees are expected to be held to the highest standards of ethical and legal behavior and to act as stewards of taxpayer resources.

  • A confidential reporting system administered by the elected, independent City Auditor ensures objective review of reports.

  • An effective reporting system can be the most useful tool in reducing losses of City funds and resources due to fraud, waste, and abuse of position.

What will the Office of the City Auditor do?

We provide the public and City employees with a safe method to report incidents of possible fraud, waste, and abuse, or misuse of City resources, and protect City employees from retaliatory acts. This process is not intended to replace or supersede any normal managerial and/or personnel communication channels. In addition, to protect the confidential reporting process, updates of actions will not be provided.

What should I include in my report?

Provide as much detail as possible including, who, what, when, where and how. Be as descriptive as possible; include dates, names, location, amounts and witnesses. Provide documentation to substantiate your report. Please note; we will not pursue an investigation unless we have sufficient basis that your report has merit.

What happens after I file a report?

  1. You will be assigned a unique code called a Report Key and a password. Be sure to write them down and keep them in a safe place. If you lose your Report Key or password, you will have to create a new report.
  2. Your report is immediately sent to the City Auditor’s Office where we will review the complaint.
  3. After 5-6 business days, please come back to this page, click on Follow-up on Report, and check for feedback or questions from the City Auditor.
  4. Once all questions have been addressed, we will take appropriate action on the complaint; however, to ensure the confidentiality in the reporting process, updates of actions and results will not be provided.
  5. Don’t want anyone to know you filed a complaint? You can choose to make your name and contact information anonymous.

Be assured that at every step of this process your confidentiality will be protected. If you want to keep your complaint confidential, please do not discuss it with others, including family, friends, and coworkers, as it may jeopardize your confidentiality.

Where do these reports go? Who can access them?

Reports are entered directly on the EthicsPoint secure server to prevent any possible breach in security. EthicsPoint is a comprehensive and confidential reporting tool. EthicsPoint reports are available only to specific individuals within the City Auditor’s office who are responsible for evaluating and investigating Hotline reports, while maintaining the utmost confidence.

Is the hotline and website report confidential and/or anonymous?

Yes, you can make reports anonymously to a live operator or complete an online form 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. As a result of The Whistleblower Protection Act, all reports are confidential and updates will not be provided. Discussion of your report with others, including family, friends and co-workers, may jeopardize your confidentiality and affect the investigation.

Additionally, EthicsPoint does not generate or maintain any internal connection logs with IP addresses, so no information linking your computer or mobile device to EthicsPoint is available. In fact, EthicsPoint is contractually committed not to pursue a reporter’s identity.

What kinds of things should be reported?

Common examples included: submitting fictitious invoices for personal goods and services; theft of City property, such as inventory or supplies; payroll or timekeeping fraud; falsely reporting expenses for reimbursement; stealing a check the City issues to another payee; taking or “skimming” cash paid for City services – such as parking, permits, or fines; utilizing City property for personal use; computer fraud or information theft; accepting a bribe, kickback, or illegal gratuity; bid-fixing; recording fictitious sales; and auditing or accounting irregularities.

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