June 4, 2012
Around Town By Neal Tepel
On May 31, 2012, the City Council extend the Whistleblower Law to employees of City contractors and subcontractors. This will encourage those with information about fraud against the City to report it. Presently, the City’s Whistleblower Law only provides protection to City employees.
A significant portion of the City’s budget is spent on private contractors. There are currently more than 17,000 contracts in the budget. These contracts can often be susceptible to abuse and fraud. However, those who are in the best position to recognize wrongful practices are employees of contractors. Legislation passed May 31st will forbid City contractors and subcontractors from retaliating against employees who report contract fraud to City authorities.
The bill will also require contractors to post notices at job sites instructing employees on how to report information to the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) and informing them that they are legally protected to do so.
The council also voted to renew the New York City False Claims Act which encourages whistleblowers to come forward with information by offering them a portion of the proceeds if the City recovers money based on the information provided. Since its enactment, the law has proven to be a useful tool for uncovering fraud against the City. It is set to expire on June 1.
Whistleblowers are courageous individuals who are often the most important source for uncovering fraud and corruption.