Lesser known is the quarterly whistleblower report by the San Francisco Controller’s Office, which encourages city employees and members of the public to report suspected misconduct among city officials and agencies. San Francisco counted a record 732 whistleblower reports last fiscal year, and the Department of Building Inspection was the most frequently targeted agency in the controller’s most recent report.
The Standard reviewed the 152 whistleblower reports filed from January through March of this year, which include allegations of illegal overtime to growing cannabis on city property. Here are five anonymous reports that stood out from the pack.
One employee was accused of showing up to work reeking of marijuana. To make matters worse, the person was allegedly growing weed on city property.
Though the city could not substantiate the claims, the employee did get a reminder of the city’s drug policy, which definitely does not allow workplace consumption or distribution of substances.
Some San Francisco employees were accused of intentionally exceeding overtime hours to make extra money—despite the fact that city employees earned a median income of $126,000 last year. Two different whistleblower allegations say that city employees falsified overtime hours and attendance reporting.
One investigation found a city manager worked more than 520 hours of overtime in a single year, which is only allowed under special authorization. The whistleblower also alleged that the same manager created “unnecessary work to justify overtime” and worked certain shifts known to receive a premium rate. The second and third claims were not substantiated, however.
Last year, SF police paid millions for police officers to work fewer overall hours—largely because of overtime.
One particularly creepy whistleblower allegation states that an employee took pictures of other employees without their consent. The claims couldn’t be corroborated, but department management counseled the employee following the complaint.
In one of the more intense allegations made to the controller, two employees of a city-issued contractor are accused of assaulting a member of the public and failing to adhere to “security protocols.” The contractor independently investigated the case, and the two employees were subsequently fired.
“The contractor stated that it will continue to provide staff with de-escalation and harm reduction training and techniques, and reinforce its zero tolerance for violence in its policies, procedures, and staff meetings,” the whistleblower report notes.
A handful of city-contracted organizations and employees have come under fire for misconduct allegations in recent months. An Urban Alchemy worker fired a gun in an April 2021 shooting, claiming that he acted in self-defense. The organization was criticized when the worker was tapped for a promotion just two years later.
Having one full-time job is hard enough; working two sounds like a nightmare—but apparently, more than a few city employees are giving it a go.
A whistleblower reported that a city employee worked an unauthorized second job, which conflicted with their primary job’s duties, and an investigation confirmed the claim. The employee sent in a request for approval that was later rejected, forcing the employee to give up their second job.
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