Q. What is the Good Government Hotline?
The County Auditor established the Good Government Hotline to provide County employees and the public with a method for reporting:
Suspected fraud, waste, and abuse of position.
Issues where an employee’s conduct broadly affects the integrity, efficiency, or effectiveness of County government.
Retaliation that appears to be based on a report submitted to the hotline.
Q. What types of situations should I report?
Review the reportable incidents and definitions, and use those as your guideline for filing a Good Government Hotline report.
Q. I am not sure what I have observed or heard involves fraud, waste, or abuse of position - but it just does not look right to me. What should I do?
Ask us. Review the reportable incidents and definitions, and use those as your guideline for filing a Good Government Hotline report. You may also contact the Auditor’s Office directly at 503-988-3320. All inquiries will remain confidential.
Q. If I see a violation, shouldn't I just report it to my supervisor or Human Resources and let them deal with it?
You certainly can, and many situations – such as general concerns about the work of a co-worker or the work environment – are more appropriately discussed with your supervisor or a Human Resources official.
Q. How does the Auditor handle Hotline reports?
For every tip we receive, we conduct preliminary fact finding and case analysis to determine if there is sufficient basis to undertake in-depth investigation. For every case, we can take one of the following courses of action:
Conduct our own investigation: We will investigate the report, depending on the severity and nature of the allegation.
Refer to law enforcement: We refer allegations of criminal conduct directly to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Request an outside agency to review the tip: Some allegations do not fall under the jurisdiction of the County. Such tips are referred to a county, state or federal agency for investigation. Examples of this include, welfare fraud, unemployment fraud, or mail fraud.
Conduct a full audit: We expand our investigation of a tip to a performance audit when it appears the issue may be more widespread than an individual instance.
Close a case if it lacks merit or sufficient information: Because cases can be made anonymously, we do not always obtain sufficient information to thoroughly investigate. In other instances, the case may lack merit to continue. We will close such cases during the initial review.
Refer complainant to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) or Protected Class Complaints Unit: The Hotline is not intended to receive reports of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation (not related to a hotline report).
Q. How can I make a report?
Reporters can access the Auditor’s Good Government Hotline in a variety of ways:
Proceed directly to the Multnomah County Good Government Hotline page. Follow the external link on the page to make a report.
Call 888-289-6839 (toll free) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Reports are taken by an intake specialist. Calls are not recorded and caller ID is disabled.
Access the Hotline vendor, EthicsPoint, at www.ethicspoint.com. Follow the "file a report" link and enter "Multnomah County".
Q. Where do these reports go? Who can access them?
Good Government Hotline online reports are entered directly on the EthicsPoint secure server to prevent any possible breach in security. The reports are screened by the County Auditor and Audit Staff. When you file a report online or through the EthicsPoint Call Center you receive a unique report key and password. You can return to the system again either by Internet or telephone and access the original report to answer follow-up questions and add further information that will help resolve open issues.
Q. What if my boss or other managers are involved in a violation? Won’t they get the report and start a cover-up?
The Good Government Hotline is designed so that implicated parties are not notified or granted access to reports they have been named in.
Q. Can I make an anonymous report?
According to Oregon hotline law, your right to confidentiality is protected, even if you provide your name and/or contact information. Typically, investigations are more effective if we are able to follow up with you, but if preferred, you can report anonymously.
If you choose to report anonymously, we can communicate with you through the online reporting tool. After you submit your report, you will be given a report key, password, and instructions for using the website to follow up. Please print or write down the report key, password, and instructions, so that you can check back on the complaint.
A report from home, a neighbor’s computer, or any Internet portal will remain secure and anonymous. An Internet portal never identifies a visitor by screen name, we do not collect Internet addresses, and the EthicsPoint system the hotline uses strips away Internet addresses so that anonymity is totally maintained.
Q. Why do we need the Good Government Hotline?
The presence of a reporting system reinforces the message that all County officials, managers, and employees are expected to follow the highest standards of ethical and legal behavior and to act as stewards of taxpayer resources.
A reporting system administered by the elected, independent Auditor ensures objective review of reports.
An effective reporting system can be the most useful tool in reducing losses due to fraud, abuse of position, and misuse of resources.
Q. Do County officials and managers really want me to report?
Yes. In fact, the County needs you to report. You know what is going on in the Multnomah County organization - both good and bad. You may have initial knowledge of an activity that may be cause for concern. Your reporting can minimize the potential negative impact on Multnomah County, its employees, and communities impacted by our work. Also, offering positive input may help identify issues that can improve the County’s organizational culture and performance.
Q. Do you give presentations or trainings on the Good Government Hotline?
Yes! We are happy to come meet with your department to talk more about the Good Government Hotline and how to use it. Presentations, including time for discussion and questions, can take 30-60 minutes, depending on the needs and interests of your group. In addition to attending staff meetings, the Auditor's Office can also come out for brown bag lunch sessions.
Please follow your department's procedures for getting management approval for the presentation, then complete this web form. A staff person from the Auditor's Office will follow up with you. Please provide at least two week's notice before your meeting date.