Cuyahoga County Considering Revised Whistleblower Protections

Cuyahoga County headquarters in downtown Cleveland.
Cuyahoga County headquarters in downtown Cleveland. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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Cuyahoga County may make it easier for employees to report whistleblower complaints within county government.

County council gave a first reading to revised reporting safeguards Monday evening.

Councilman Dale Miller, a Democrat who introduced the measure, said it grew out of talks with county Inspector General Mark Griffin. The changes are intended to give potential whistleblowers more comfort in coming forward with complaints, Miller said.

“I want to see Cuyahoga County live up to the standards of efficient, ethical and highly accountable government that was envisioned when the charter was created,” Miller said

The ongoing investigations by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office into the jail and county administration also influenced the proposal “to some degree,” he said.

Current protections require employees who know of ethics violations to report them to the IG within five days.

The new rules would remove that time limit and allow reports to be filed with human resources or a supervisor, in addition to the IG. The revisions also would allow verbal complaints as well as written ones.

The proposal prohibits elected officials, employees and board members from retaliating against whistleblowers. Complainants could report retaliation to human resources, the IG or a supervisor.

Read the proposal below:

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