Town Square

Palo Alto looks to retain fraud hotline

Original post made on Apr 11, 2013

A hotline that Palo Alto set up on a trial basis last year to give City Hall whistleblowers a tool to report fraud, waste and abuse should be kept in place permanently, a City Council committee decided Tuesday night.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 11, 2013, 8:56 AM


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Posted by More-Information-Needed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2013 at 9:08 am

Although $2,600 is not a lot of money, given the low effective use of this resource--it seems like too much to operate a telephone account and an answering service.

Without some sense of the loss to the City by these employees, this topic seems very vague, as presented. No doubt the Auditor is going to avoid providing any meaningful evidence to the public that involves improper activities on the part of City employees.

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Posted by anony
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

The real benefit of the hotline is that they can figure out who is squealing on them, and retaliate quickly before the allegations leave City Hall. This is the perfect system to silence whistleblowers. Only a foolish employee is going to rat out a boss or co-worker with this hotline.

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Posted by Dan
a resident of Southgate
on Apr 11, 2013 at 11:59 am

The Hotline sounds worthwhile, but at a cost of $450 for each time this vendor logged a call, perhaps the City should open the RFQ to more bidders or renegotiate to a per call billing structure.

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Based on a couple of the comments made, people seem to think they know everything about anonymous hotlines.

Hotlines do not just consist of a telephone and answering service. Usually these systems are accompanied with a case management system. As far as the comment about not providing meaningful evidence - these are confidential cases that are being handled. Therefore they will be treated as such.

From what I gather, this hotline is intended to provide employees with an additional route to report fraud, waste, and abuse. It is designed to increase transparency to the publwic. I don't know what world you're living in, but this hotline is definitely not a system to "silence whistleblowers." Many organizations and other cities already use simlar systems and they work efficiently.