Hotline operator

FARMINGTON — There’s now a hotline for reporting fraud and ethics complaints to Davis County government.

Fraud, theft, other lawbreaking, harassment, workplace violence, document falsification or other types of wrongdoing are fodder for the hotline.

“The key to a good fraud hotline is that people call with relevant issues, and they also provide a method to investigate it,” said Curtis Koch, county clerk-auditor.

Davis County fraud and ethics complaint hotline

Davis County has created a fraud and ethics hotline. Online complaints can be made here.

That usually means specifics such as names, dates, details and any other information or evidence that could give the auditor’s office or human resources investigators enough to start an investigation.

Since the hotline began operating in November, two reports have been looked into and “have not yielded significant findings or issues,” Koch said.

“I am hoping with time that people become more aware of it,” he said.

Koch said adding a hotline was identified as a best practice last year, and then the Utah State Auditor’s Office also recommended the practice to local governments.

“This is something that is common throughout the private sector, but it’s becoming more and more common in government as well,” Koch said.

Reports can be made by one of three avenues:

Calling 833 590-0007

Filling out an online form at www.lighthouse-services.com/davis.ut

Sending email to reports@lighthouseservices.com. Email reports must include Davis County’s name and the name of the county department involved

Reports are taken by Lighthouse Services, a Pennsylvania company that contracts to operate hotline services.

Public records show Davis County is paying about $1,000 a year for the service.

Koch said most reports will be forwarded to his office or the human resources department, depending on the nature of the complaint.

In February, the county commission approved a policy governing the hotline.

“This policy provides a method for employees to raise concerns while being reassured that they will be protected from reprisals for reporting issues in good faith,” the document says.

Though the policy addresses situations in which county employees may want to use the hotline, Koch said members of the public are welcome to use it too.

Davis County Clerk-Auditor Curtis Koch

Davis County Clerk-Auditor Curtis Koch in his Farmington office Aug. 4, 2017.

While reports can be made anonymously, the policy says anonymity can’t be guaranteed in all cases because “the identity of the reporting individual may become known through the normal course of an investigation.”

Harassment or retaliation against those submitting hotline reports will not be tolerated, the policy says, but adds that county employees who submit false allegations with malicious intent may be subject to disciplinary action.

While officials did not cite specific ethical problems that may have helped prompt the hotline’s creation, the county has been embroiled in several investigations that in part were triggered by complaints.

Those cases included several sexual harassment cases and an instance of bullying in the Davis County Sheriff’s Office in 2016-18. Also, county authorities and Farmington police are investigating alleged financial improprieties in the sheriff’s business office that arose in spring 2018.

The cases came about during the term of former Sheriff Todd Richardson, who left office in January this year.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net or 801 625-4224. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt.

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