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City of Tulsa's ethics hotline

An anonymous tip line and webpage for ethics complaints at the city of Tulsa gets just a couple of calls a week. But the value of it - the ethics hotline - is hard to gauge. The tip line costs the city $7,200 a year, but it has led to action against a few employees.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has the story.

It's just a web site , but for the city of Tulsa it was a big step towards giving employees a way to report problems without fear of retribution.

It's part of the city ethics reporting system, monitored by city auditor Phil Wood. "What I hope for the ethics hotline and the ethics commission is that it's a preventative." It was a companion to the city's ethics ordinance passed last summer by the Tulsa city council. Then, the concern was conflicts of interest, and that's been a good number of the complaints so far.

Tulsa’s chief internal auditor Ron Maxwell: "Conflicts of interest, theft of time, a few discrimination and harassment type calls." Ron Maxwell is in charge of making sure the complaints are heard and sent to the right people for investigation.

And that depends on whom the complaint is about. Ones about the mayor go to the city auditor for review, complaints about councilors go to the city clerk and other councilors, about the auditor to the clerk and council, about employees to the mayor and human resources. If it's a complaint about human resources, it goes to the mayor.

The ethics hotline and web site has taken 73 complaints since last July and resulted in 1 demotion and 1 termination. A report listing the complaints show most would be typical of any large work force and it's not broken down to show which ones were about elected officials.

The auditor says because all of the complaints are essentially personnel issues - none of the names are public.

The web site is not just for city of Tulsa employees - the public can make complaints too - but it's not for potholes and such - those complaints should go through the regular city web site.
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