Metro government will launch a new 24/7 anonymous tip line Oct. 1, enabling citizens and city employees to report suspected fraud, abuse and other unethical activities on the part of Metro employees, contractors or suppliers. The ethics reporting service is completely anonymous.
The city contracted the ethics reporting service with The Network Inc., a technology company that specializes in third-party whistleblower hotlines. Metro government will pay The Network $25,000 a year to develop and operate the ethics reporting tool. The number is 1-888-226-2264 and online reports can also be made on the city’s website.
“The establishment of a third-party anonymous tip line is an important step in increasing Metro Government openness and accountability,” said Metro Councilman Kevin Kramer, R-11, who sponsored the tip line ordinance, which the council passed unanimously in May. “I encourage both employees of Metro Government and the people of Jefferson County to learn this number and use it, along with the many other tools, such as LouisvilleCheckBook.com, to help make Metro government a leader in ethics and transparency.”
Earlier this year, LEO Weekly reported that the ethics tool had stalled in the mayor’s office for the past four years despite the recommendation of Internal Auditor Mike Norman. In several recommendations Norman said a comprehensive reporting hotline would strengthen ethics and government oversight.
In several interviews, representatives for Mayor Jerry Abramson told LEO the tip line conversation had been ongoing, but they believed there were a number of concerns about an anonymous tip line such as balancing the public’s right to know about complaints with protecting the reputations of the accused.
“The bottom line is making sure that taxpayer dollars are well spent, and that every department, division and agency of city government operates in an ethical manner,” Mayor Abramson said in a released statement this afternoon.
Employees are being made aware of the tip line via e-mail, posters and meetings, including orientation for new employees. It will also be featured on the city’s employee website.
All information received through the tip line will be forwarded to either Louisville Metro Police or Metro Human Resources for follow-up. The internal auditor also receives all reports, and a summary of information received will be provided monthly to the mayor, Metro Council, Human Resources, Ethics Commission and Human Relations Commission.