300-51
REPORTING IMPROPER GOVERNMENTAL ACTION

Department: HUMAN RESOURCES

Effective Date:    2/1/95

Supersedes:    6/9/94

Staff Contact:    B. Nelson-Glode

Approved by:    Earl Clymer

1.0 PURPOSE:

To establish policy and procedure for reporting improper governmental action by city officers or employees and for protecting employees against retaliatory actions.

2.0 ORGANIZATIONS AFFECTED:

All departments/divisions

3.0 REFERENCES:

Local Government Whistleblower Protection Act.

4.0 POLICY:

The City of Renton encourages the reporting by its employees of improper governmental action taken by City officers or employees and protects employees against retaliatory actions for reporting improper governmental action in compliance with city policies and procedures.

5.0 DEFINITIONS:

5.1    Improper governmental action means any action by a City officer or employee (excluding personnel action) that is undertaken in the performance of the officer's or employee's official duties, whether or not the action is within the scope of employment.

5.1.1    The action is in violation of any federal, state or local law or rule.

5.1.2    The action is an abuse of authority.

5.1.3    The action is of substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety or is a gross waste of public funds.

5.2    Retaliatory action means any hostile actions by another employee towards the whistleblower that was encouraged by a supervisor, senior manager or local official or any adverse change in an employee's terms and conditions of employment.

5.3    To interfere with the employee's right to report improper governmental action means that local government officials are prohibited from directly or indirectly using their official authority to influence, threaten, intimidate or coerce an employee for reporting improper action.

5.4    Emergency means a circumstance that if not immediately changed may cause damage to persons or property.

6.0 PROCEDURE:

6.1    Employees who become aware of improper governmental actions should observe the following procedure:

6.1.1    Bring the matter to the attention of the Administrator, if non-involved, in writing, stating in detail the basis for the employee's belief that an improper action has occurred.

6.1.2    Where the employee believes the improper action involves the Administrator the employee may raise the issue directly with the City Attorney.

6.1.3    In the case of an emergency, where the employee believes that damage to persons or property may result if action is not taken immediately the employee may report the improper governmental action directly to the appropriate government agency with responsibility for investigating the improper action. (See attached list of County, State and Federal enforcement agencies.)

6.2    The Administrator or City Attorney, as the case may be, shall take prompt action to assist the City in investigating the report of improper government action.

6.2.1    City officers and employees involved in investigating the report shall keep the name of the reporting employee confidential to the extent possible under law, unless the employee authorizes disclosure of his or her identity in writing.

6.2.2    After the investigation has been completed, the employee reporting the improper governmental action shall be advised of the results of the investigation, except that personnel actions taken as a result of the investigation may be kept confidential.

6.3    City officials and employees are prohibited from taking retaliatory action against a City employee because he or she has in good faith reported an improper governmental action in accordance with City policies and procedures.

6.4    Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for reporting an improper government action should advise their Administrator or the Human Resources Director who shall take appropriate action to investigate and address complaints of retaliation.

6.5    Employees may appeal to the Mayor if not satisfied with the findings of the Administrator or Human Resources Director, as the case may be, on findings of an investigation of a claim of retaliatory action by submitting a written complaint specifying the alleged retaliatory action and the relief requested. This request must be made not later than thirty (30) days after the occurrence of the alleged retaliatory action.

6.5.1    The City shall have thirty (30) days in which to respond after receipt of a written charge of retaliatory action.

6.5.2    After receiving the City's response, the employee may request a hearing before a state administrative law judge (ALJ) to establish that a retaliatory action occurred and to obtain appropriate relief provided by law. The request for hearing must be delivered within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the City's response to the charge of retaliatory action, or within forty-five (45) days of delivery of the charge of retaliation to the Mayor for response.

6.5.3    Within five (5) working days of receipt of a request for hearing the City shall apply to the State Office of Administrative Hearings for an adjudicative proceeding before an administrative law judge. Under state law, the employee must prove that a retaliatory action occurred by a pre-ponderance of the evidence in the hearing. The ALJ will issue a final decision no later than forty-five (45) days after the date of the request for hearing, unless an extension of time is granted.

COUNTY, STATE AND FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES

KING COUNTY

King County Ombudsman (General Complaints)

213 King County Court House

Seattle, WA 98104

296-3452

King County Environmental Division

Code Enforcement    296-6680

King County Health Center

Chemical and

Physical Hazards Line    296-4692

King County Prosecuting Attorney

King County Court House

Seattle, WA

Criminal Division    296-9000

Fraud Division    296-9010

Civil Division    296-9015

King County Health Services

Hazardous Waste

110 Prefontaine Place, South

Seattle, WA 98104

296-3995

Puget Sound Air Pollution Agency

296-7330

COUNTY, STATE AND FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES

STATE OF WASHINGTON

Attorney General's Office

Fair Practices Division

2000 Bank of California Center

900 4th Avenue

Seattle, WA 98104

464-6684

State Auditor's Office

Dexter Horton Building

Suite 1510

710 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA 98104

625-2854

State Department of Ecology

3190 160th S.E.

Bellevue, WA 98008-5852

649-7000

State Department of Health

Health Consumer Assistance

P.O. Box 4789

Olympia, WA 98504-7891

800-525-0127

Department of Labor & Industries

300 West Harrison, Room 201

Seattle, WA

281-5400

State Liquor Control Board

Enforcement Office

2101 Sixth Avenue

Seattle, WA

464-6094

Department of Natural Resources

P.O. Box 68

Enumclaw, WA 98022

825-1631

Puget Sound Water Quality Authority

P.O. Box Box 40900

Olympia, WA 98504

493-9300

Department of Social Health Services

Special Investigation Office

5200 South Center Blvd., Suite 23

Tukwila, WA

764-4048

Fraud Complaints

800-562-6025

UNITED STATES

Department of Agriculture

Office of Inspector General

915 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA

Supervisor Auditor

553-8290

Supervisor Special Agent Investigation

553-8286

Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms

Criminal Enforcement

915 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA

553-4485

U.S. Attorney

800 Fifth Avenue

Seattle, WA

553-7970

Department of Commerce

Inspector General

Office of Audits

915 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA

553-0801

Government Accounting Office

Fraud Hot Line    800-424-5454

Consumer Product Safety Commission Hot Line

800-638-2772

U.S. Customs Service

Office of Enforcement

909 First Avenue

Seattle, WA

553-7531

U.S. Department of Education

Office of Inspector General

915 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA

Audits

553-0657

Investigations

553-1482

Environmental Protection Agency

Criminal Investigations

1200 Sixth Avenue

Seattle, WA

553-8306

Federal Emergency Management Agency

130 228th Street S.W.

Bothell, WA

487-4600

Federal Trade Commission

915 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA

553-4656

General Services Administration

915 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA

Inspector General

Audits

931-7650

Investigations

931-7654

Law Enforcement

553-0290

Department of Health & Human Services

Food & Drug Administration

22201 23rd Drive S.E.

Bothell, WA

Trade Complaints    483-4949

Office of the Regional Secretary

General Counsel's Office

Inspector General

Audits    553-0452

Investigations        553-0229

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Office of Counsel

1321 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA

553-4976

Inspector General

Audits        553-0270

Investigations        553-0272

Interstate Commerce Commission

915 Second Avenue, Room 1894

Seattle, WA 98174

553-5421

Department of Interior

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services

Division of Law Enforcement

121 107th N.E.

Bellevue, WA

553-5543

Department of Justice

Drug Enforcement Administration

220 West Mercer, Suite 300

Seattle, WA

553-5443

Department of Labor

Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA)

1111 Third Avenue, Suite 715

Seattle, WA 98101-3212

553-5930

Office of Inspector General

Audits

1111 Third Avenue, Suite 780

Seattle, WA 98101-3212

553-5930

Investigations

1111 Third Avenue, Suite 785

Seattle, WA 98101-3212

Office of Women's Bureau

1111 Third Avenue, Suite 885

Seattle, WA 98101-3212

Mine Safety & Health Administration

117 107th N.E.

Bellevue, WA

553-7037

National Transportation Safety Board

19518 Pacific Highway South

Seattle, WA

764-3782

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

510-975-0200

Securities and Exchange Commission

915 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA 98174

553-7990

Department of Transportation

Office of Inspector General

915 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA 98178

553-5720

Department of Treasury

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms

Law Enforcement Division

915 Second Avenue, Room 806

Seattle, WA 98174

Department of Veterans Affairs

Inspector General

915 Second Avenue

Seattle, WA 98174

Fraud/Waste/Abuse Hot Line

800-488-8244