SALEM, OR — Today, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson released the Oregon Government Waste Hotline Annual Report. Since inception, the Hotline has identified approximately $16 million in questioned costs, errors, and potential savings that could result from improved efficiencies or elimination of waste or abuse.
The Hotline was established in 1995 for members of the public and state employees to report alleged waste, inefficiency, or abuse by state agencies, state employees, or persons under contract with state agencies.
Tips and complaints have steadily increased over time resulting in the Audits Division investigating 329 Hotline contacts in 2017—an increase of over one-third from 2016. In order to efficiently manage the acceleration of tips and complaints, the Audits Division has continually assessed and improved the Hotline program.
“The increase in the number of calls to the Hotline means more Oregonians are seeing the value in this important service,” said Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. “I and the outstanding Audits team here in the Secretary of State’s office are committed to doing everything possible to hold state government accountable to the citizens of Oregon.”
State law ensures confidentiality to every person making a report through the Hotline. Complaints include allegations of fraud, theft, unethical or improper workplace conduct, time theft, and misuse of state vehicles.
Upon receiving a tip or complaint, the Audits Division conducts an initial investigation of the alleged waste, inefficiency, or abuse to determine if the matter should be further investigated. The Audits Division is required to notify the Oregon Government Ethics Commission if potential violations of Oregon ethics laws are discovered. Law enforcement must be notified if potential criminal activity is discovered.
A 2016 study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that tips are consistently the most common fraud detection method. The study showed that organizations with a reporting hotline have a much higher likelihood of fraud being reported and addressed than organizations without a hotline.
Citizens and state employees concerned about government waste and inefficiency should contact the Hotline at (800) 336-8218. Tips and complaints can also be provided online or via USPS mail. Clearly mark “Confidential” on the outside of paper envelopes and mail to:
Secretary of State Audits Division
Government Waste Hotline
255 Capitol St. NE, Suite 500
Salem, Oregon 97310
Read the full report on the Secretary of State website.