September, 4, 2014 – Westmoreland County Controller Jeffrey Balzer announced the development of resources to facilitate the reporting and deterrence of Fraud, Waste and Abuse associated with County operations.
Controller Balzer commented, “Fraud is a huge subject in the world of business today. The corporate scandals of Enron, WorldCom and others have really raised the public’s interest in Ethics. Virtually every professional organization you could look at has strengthened their ethics policy or regime.
So we decided it was time to take a look at how Westmoreland County could “raise the bar” on the promotion of ethical behavior in the operation of county government. We took the county’s 7-year old anti-fraud policy and designed a complementary reporting mechanism that moves it into a more active role. Increased educational efforts are in the works as well.
“While my 26 or so employees do a fine job of monitoring the activities of county government, I really think having 2,000 Controller Fraud Site Page 2 employees, 370,000 citizens and lord knows how many vendors and other parties join us in our mission to strive to eliminate Fraud, Waste and Abuse will increase our effectiveness.
“To accomplish this objective we are rolling out functionality on the County website (Controller’s Page) to permit the anonymous reporting of suspicious activity. Informants may notify us by a webform, US Mail or by telephone (no caller ID) and we will initiate appropriate action to follow-up on each and every complaint or ‘tip’. Founded complaints will be referred to county management or law enforcement as the circumstances dictate. The telephone line will be operational within the next two weeks. The rest of the resource is live today.”
The implementation of this project was delayed by more than three months by the Board of Commissioners who had a series of questions and concerns.
“Although we do not answer to the Board of Commissioner, I really wanted to act in good faith to build consensus and to ultimately roll out the best possible product” said Balzer. “I particularly want to thank Commissioner Kopas and Commissioner Anderson for their support and input into this project.”.
The county’s website can be accessed at: www.co.westmoreland.pa.us