City of Oxnard Whistleblower Policy
The City of Oxnard Whistleblower Policy authorizes the Internal Auditor to receive complaints from city employees and members of the public who wish to report an improper governmental action. An “improper governmental action” is defined as “any activity by a local agency or employee that is undertaken in the performance of the employee’s official duties, including activities deemed to be outside the scope of his or her employment, that is in violation of any local, state, or federal law or regulation relating to corruption, malfeasance, bribery, theft of government property, or willful omission to perform duty, is economically wasteful, or involves gross misconduct”. The complaints received by the Internal Auditor shall remain confidential, and the identity of the complainant may not be revealed without the permission of the complainant, except to an appropriate law enforcement agency conducting a criminal investigation.
Upon receiving a complaint, the Internal Auditor may conduct an investigation into the facts alleged in the complaint to determine whether an improper governmental action has occurred. Before launching an investigation, the Internal Auditor’s staff will conduct a careful evaluation of the complaint to determine whether it has enough potential merit to warrant the expenditure of city resources to conduct an investigation. We therefore ask that you keep the following points in mind when filing a complaint:
- We need a clear and concise statement of what you are alleging is an improper act, why you believe it is improper, and what evidence there is to confirm that what you are saying is true;
- If you don’t provide a name or other information that clearly identifies the person you are alleging to have acted improperly, and the department where that person works, we may not know who to investigate;
- If you do not identify witnesses or documents that will support what you are saying, we may not be able to verify that what you are saying is true;
- While you may submit a complaint anonymously, we may not be able to determine whether your complaint has merit if we are not able to interview you;
- Submitting copies of any documents that will support your complaint is extremely helpful to our evaluation process. However, please submit copies of the documents, rather than the original documents, as they cannot be returned. If we need the original documents we will ask you for them later.
After the Internal Auditor receives a complaint, any investigation resulting from the complaint is confidential, so the Internal Auditor’s staff cannot provide any updates about what is being done to investigate the complaint or what information has been uncovered. Information about the investigation will not be released unless the Internal Auditor substantiates that an improper action has occurred and issues a report about it.
City employees who file a complaint are entitled to protection against retaliatory action by their employers for filing the complaint.
Who may file complaints with the Internal Auditor?
- City employees
- Anyone else, including contractors who do business with the city, job applicants, and persons obtaining services from the City
Who can the Internal Auditor investigate?
- Every office, department, division, bureau, board, and commission of city government
- Any employee of the city government, including elected officers and appointed officials
What are some examples of improper conduct investigated by the Internal Auditor?
- Improper contracting
- Misuse of city property
- Conflicts of interest
- Improper overtime
- Improper expense reimbursements
- False time and attendance reporting by City employees
What are some examples of improper conduct that is not investigated by the Internal Auditor?
The Internal Auditor’s role is to investigate complaints that are primarily related fiscal matters and is not designed to investigate all complaints received. Complaints received that do not include improper government activities and not investigated by the Internal Auditor include, but are not limited to the following:
- Sexual harassment
- Hiring practices
- Job dissatisfaction
- Public works complaints, such as water and sewage outages
Complaints received that do not relate to fiscal matters may be forwarded to the appropriate Departments and/or Human Resources in accordance with the City of Oxnard Personnel Rules and Regulations (effective July 18, 2017).
May I file a complaint anonymously?
You have a right to file a complaint without providing us with your name or any other information about who you are and how we may contact you. However, we may not be able to investigate your complaint if we cannot talk to you to confirm the information you are providing or obtain additional information. Please remember that if you identify yourself to us we will not reveal your identity to anyone else without your permission, except to appropriate law enforcement personnel who are conducting a criminal investigation.
What should I include in my complaint?
We will not undertake an investigation unless we have a basis for believing that your complaint has sufficient merit to warrant the expenditure of resources on an investigation. You should therefore include a clear statement of what you believe the improper action to be, why you believe the action is improper, who is involved, and what evidence we may examine to confirm that what you are alleging is true. Your complaint should therefore include:
- A clear and concise statement of what you are alleging to be improper action and why you believe it is improper
- The name or other information that clearly identifies the person you are alleging has acted improperly and the department where that person works
- The names and contact information for any witnesses who can confirm the truth of what you are saying
- Copies of any documents that will support what you are saying. Please do not submit original documents, as they cannot be returned.
What happens after I file a complaint?
We will evaluate your complaint to determine whether it has sufficient merit to warrant an investigation. If we launch an investigation in response to your complaint, we will perform the investigation confidentially. This means that we will not report to you or anyone else about the progress of the investigation or what the investigation has found. The investigation will remain confidential unless the Internal Auditor issues a report on the investigation. If we need additional information from you, we will contact you.
What can the Internal Auditor do if the improper action is substantiated?
- Issue a confidential report to the Fiscal Policy Task Force and City Council
- Confidentially report the matter to the District Attorney, the Attorney General, or any other entity having jurisdiction over the matter
- Issue a public report on the matter, keeping confidential the identities of the individuals involved
- The Internal Auditor does not have enforcement powers and cannot order a department or official to take any action
There are several ways to file a complaint. Choose one of the following methods to anonymously report fraud, waste and abuse:
File a Complaint
There are many ways to file a complaint. Choose one of the following methods to anonymously report fraud, waste and abuse:
You may file a complaint online. Please complete the Fraud, Waste and Abuse Reporting Form to be submitted to the Internal Auditor.
You may call our Fraud, Waste and Abuse Whistleblower Hotline at (833) 350-0002 for English speakers and (800) 216-1288 for Spanish speakers. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
You can e-mail your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure that your complaint includes all the necessary information requested. It is preferable that you submit your complaint online through the City’s website above to ensure all necessary information is provided.
You may file a complaint in the form of a letter to the Internal Auditor addressed as follows:
Oxnard Internal Audit
Price Paige & Company
677 Scott Avenue
Clovis, CA 93612
or you may fax the letter to the Internal Auditor at (559) 299-2344.