News / Calgary

City’s whistleblower program saw 49 per cent jump in use in 2015: auditor

Investigations as a result of complaints only climbed 3 per cent

Metro File

Almost 50 per cent more city employees sought to blow the whistle on something they found inappropriate last year than in 2014, according to the city’s auditor.

Auditor Katharine Palmer’s annual report to council, which goes to the city’s audit committee Thursday, looks at the program and how it is working for city employees.

According to the Palmer, there was a 49 per cent increase in the number of new files opened in 2015 when compared to 2014.

Of the 88 files opened in 2015, 35 warranted investigations. That number only increased by 3 per cent over 2014 numbers.

Palmer reported that the city increased resources to clean up a number of outstanding files in 2015. There were 73 files still open, and at various stages of completion, at the end of last year.

Coun. Richard Pootmans said the growing number of files could be slightly misleading, as there have been years since the program’s inception in 2007 when they saw nearly 100 files opened.

Overall, he believes the program is healthy and working.

“I agree with the auditor’s report that they view this (increasing use) as growing confidence in the program. From the little bit I’m familiar with it, there’s still some lack of clarity on what the terms of the whistleblower program are about.”

He said the program’s key focus is on waste and wrongdoing for city employees or city operations. Pootmans has seen examples of whistleblower files being redirected to administration when they are actually human resources issues that don’t warrant full investigations.

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