The California State Auditor’s office is your confidential avenue for reporting improper activities by state agencies or employees. It is your responsibility as a government employee to report any type of fraud, waste, or abuse, which ultimately protects scarce state resources.
In 2013 alone, the State Auditor received 3,103 inquiries and complaints from state employees and members of the public, most of which concerned misuse of state property, improper travel expenditures, and time and attendance abuse. Whistleblower complaints have triggered investigations revealing millions of dollars in wasteful spending in recent years, such as:
- Two state departments wasted state resources worth nearly $170,000 by improperly accounting for time off taken by their employees during a 12 month period.
- An administrator of a veterans home squandered more than $652,000 by executing two wasteful contracts that do not comply with state contracting requirements. One contract was for the construction of an adeventure park on the grounds of the home. The other contract was for the operation of a cafe and tavern at the home that could have been operated at no cost to the home.
- A state department missed an opportunity to collect an estimated $516 million in benefit overpayments owed to the State by failing for more than three years to participate in a program to intercept the federal tax refunds and other federal payments of those who were overpaid.
WHAT TO REPORT
Pursuant to Government Code section 8547.2, subdivision (b), improper acts by a state agency or employee that should be reported to the State Auditor include:
- Violations of state or federal law, including theft, fraud, or conflict of interest;
- Noncompliance with an executive order or Rule of Court;
- Noncompliance with the State Administrative Manual or the State Contracting Manual;
- Misuse or waste of state resources including property or employee time;
- Gross misconduct, incompetence, or inefficiency.
The State Auditor does not have the authority to investigate violations of internal department policies or procedures.
WHISTLEBLOWERS ARE PROTECTED
If you report an impropriety, you are protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act, which:
- Requires the State Auditor to protect your identity (except from law enforcement);
- Prohibits intimidation, threats, or coercion by state employees that could interfere with your right to disclose improper governmental activities.
If you believe that you have been retaliated against for disclosing an improper governmental activity, you should report this immediately to:
- California State University employees, write to:
- The Vice Chancellor of Human Resources
401 Golden Shore
Long Beach, CA 90802
- or contact the appointed campus administrator:
Charles Batey, Senior Investigator, firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 885-4918
HOW TO REPORT
You have three ways to report information to the State Auditor confidentially:
- Call the Whistleblower Hotline at: 800-952-5665 or 916-322-2603 (Fax)
(Note: The hotline is staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, callers may leave a brief recorded message during other hours.)
- Mail information to: Investigations
California State Auditor
P.O. Box 1019
Sacramento, CA 95812
- Submit a complaint online to:
(Note: The state auditor does not accept complaints sent by e-mail.)
HELPFUL TIPS WHEN FILING A COMPLAINT
- Prepare Before Filing. Before we can investigate your complaint, we must understand what you are alleging. We have found that complainants are more effective in communicating with us if they gather their thoughts before filing a complaint and prepare themselves to answer the following questions: What is the improper activity? Who acted improperly? Where does that person work? How can we prove your allegations is true? Why do you think the activity is improper?
- Support What You Allege. To open an investigation regarding your complaint, we need to know that evidence exists to support what you are alleging. So when you file a complaint, it is very important that you describe the evidence that proves what you are saying and that you give us the names and telephone numbers of knowledgeable witnesses. It also is very helpful for you to provide us with copies of any documents you have in your possession that will support what you are saying. Please do not submit original documents, as they cannot be returned.
- Consider Providing Contact Information. You have a right to file a complaint without providing your name or any other information about who you are and how we may contact you. However, we may not be able to investigate your complaint if we cannot talk to you to confirm the information you are providing or obtain additional information. Please remember that if you identify yourself to us we will not reveal your identity to anyone else without your permission, except to appropriate law enforcement personnel who are conducting a criminal investigation.
- Keep Your Complaint Confidential. We investigate complaints as confidentially as possible to protect both your identity as a whistleblower and our ability to gather information without interference. To protect the confidentiality of your complaint, we encourage you not to tell anyone that you filed a complaint with us.
INVESTIGATION OF COMPLAINTS
We investigate complaints and report the substantiated allegations to the head of the employing agency, the Legislature, and the Governor. In addition, some of the substantiated allegations will be reported to the general public, keeping confidential the identities of the state employees involved. These reports may be viewed on our website at www.auditor.ca.gov/reports. Substantiated violations of law will be referred to appropriate law enforcement agencies, as appropriate.