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"Of paramount importance, the program does not protect the whistleblower."
That's the conclusion of a San Franciso Civil Grand Jury report into the city's whistleblower program released today. It listed so many problems -- among them, that the Controller's Office which oversees the program takes on too many minor complaints, not leaving enough resources for the serious ones.
Here's an excerpt from the report:
- Approximately 28% of the records were either duplicative or clearly outside of the Whistleblower Program jurisdiction.
- Around 36% of the sample complaints did not fall within the category of waste, fraud, or abuse. Altogether, the Jury believes strongly the majority of these complaints did not warrant the time and resources of a program investigator. These issues, even if deemed valid, did not constitute a bona fide whistleblower allegation, and could easily have been handled at the 311 call center.
- The majority of the investigations were performed by the department listed in the complaint rather than the Whistleblower Program investigators.
You can read the entire report from the Grand Jury here, and Controller Ben Rosenfield's response here. Rosenfield says, in effect, that the Grand Jury spent the majority of its time talking to staff and not the officials who oversee the program. He also complains that the jury members inspected just 364 of its cases since 2004 -- they've handled more than 2,200.