San Luis Obispo County’s new whistleblower hotline

December 31, 2013

San Luis Obispo Countycounty has implemented a whistleblower hotline for employees and the public to report financial waste fraud and abuse. [Tribune]

Jim Erb, the county auditor-controller and treasurer-tax collector, said the new program will be used as a tool in anti-fraud programs implemented to strengthen the county’s stewardship over taxpayer resources.

In order to protect the anonymity of tipsters, the county has contracted with The Network Inc. of Norcross, Ga. Whistleblowers can provide information by calling (855) 326-9623 or online at

Erb’s office will investigate allegations of financial fraud while reports of sexual harassment and timecard abuse will be forwarded to department heads.



The one major flaw I see in this program is that the person controlling it, Mr. Erb, is part of the County structure.

For a successful whistleblower program to occur, those in control of it have to be outside of the organization being monitored. It is simply too difficult to avoid conflicts of interest, especially since those who wield the power in the SLO Co government seem to be absolutely clueless about the issue of “conflict of interest.”

Example: The useless county counsel who facilitated official sanctioning of the working relationship between Gibson and his floozy.

For there to be a real clean-up in SLO County, the State will have to step in. I haven’t seen much of an example of SLO County’s ability to successfully monitor itself for fraud and improper actions, have you?


Seems to me that the most effective “whistleblowing” tool that the people of SLO County have ever had is Cal Coast

If Jim Erb really cares about spending a little money on transparency and accountability in SLO County government, he should send Cal Coast News a donation.


Anonymous? HA! It’s a trap!


Hope it gets a lot of use!


Agreed, but let’s hope it is for the right reasons.


One of the flawed/fallacious, but often unstated premises, in all conspiract theory arguments is the idea that it is possible/probable for information to be successfully kept hidden for

long periods of time. Another, even more important thinking flaw among conspiracy theorists

is confirmation bias. In other words. the idea of a conspiracy is accepted first, and any/all

information that comes after this acceptance is used (sometimes with truly amazing apologetic mental gymnastics) to “confirm” the belief in the conspiracy. This, of course, is

the exact opposite of critical thinking, wherein information is gathered, analyzed, and evaluated BEFORE a conclusion is reached.


Most of what you say is true but there is something missing. While it may not be “possible/probable for information to be successfully kept hidden for long periods of time,” it is not necessary for information to be kept hidden that long for severe problems to arise.

There are those who take what they can get by any means and move on before the scams are exposed.

If they have sufficient power, the corrupt politicians/officials/business people may even be able to suppress distribution of scandalous information from large segments of the public who don’t pay much attention to information unless it comes from “major” media outlets. (Locally, that would be the TV stations and the Trib.) Unless the scandals are widely broadcast, it can be hard to get local authorities to prosecute it if the person involved has sufficient political clout. Many Americans are generally very A.D.D. when it comes to scandal and tend to forget or ignore scandals that don’t come to light both quickly and with great emotional impact.

So while conspiracy theorists can go overboard, it is also possible for conspiracies to occur. They may not be as thoroughly planned and coordinated as some think, but the power to hide them is sufficient to be a concern.


I would like to see your evidence for your claim that “One of the flawed/fallacious, but often unstated premises, in all conspiracy theory arguments is the idea that it is possible/probable for information to be successfully kept hidden for long periods of time.”

One of the fallacious, but often stated (and implied) false premises by conspirators–is that people who speak of conspiracies (especially those who attempt to out conspiracies) are “conspiracy nuts.”

Most people don’t want to appear to be a mentally unstable person of any kind. Therefore, this bug-a-boo onus placed on claims of conspiracies greatly facilitates the ability of conspirators to successfully engage in harmful conspiracies.

This greatly aids those who are involved in conspiracies to be successful in their conspiracies.

The fact is, conspiracies (small and large) occur every day, and are quite common in human interaction.

When two teenage girl secretly plan to engage in an activity that secretly excludes a third member of their group, that is a conspiracy. When two people secretly plan to exchange drugs for money, that is a conspiracy. When two people, married to different partners, plan to meet in secret to have sex, that is a conspiracy.

Workplaces are filled with conspiracies, large and small, that occur every day. These conspiracies occur between employees, between employees and management, between company representatives and their customers, and in just about every subgroup of people involved in the workplace and their contacts outside of the company.

Some of the worst conspiracies occur between members of our government with the target being profiting by activities that are harmful and/or illegal to the public they are supposed to serve.

Conspiracies are such a normal part of human interaction that, indeed, it is at least equally as likely that claims of conspiracies are valid than invalid.


As Barbra Streisand sang, “Where do I begin?”

Jorge Estrada

How much will this waste, fraud and abuse program cost? Will this be funded through monies previously targeted for public improvements or maintenance?


For heaven sakes, do you work for Halliburton or what?

I think we need to look at how much it will save.

Example: Julie Tacker, by the hard work she does as a political activist, forced the OCSD BOD to deal with their previous criminal baboon of a general manager, Geaslen, before he was able to create the extent of destruction visited on the OCSD rate payers by the previous GM, Montemurro.

Tacker also, by her whistleblower activities, has forced the OCSD BOD to more quickly deal with their latest baboon of a general manager, Mr. Curtis, than they did with Geaslen.

In each case, because the BOD was forced to deal with the baboonery of their latest GM more quickly than they had previously, it saved the rate payers money.

Think of all the waste and fraud in the Middle East conflagurations our last two U.S. presidents got us stuck in. How much taxpayer funds could have been saved if we had a functional whistleblower system that dealt with the criminals (like those who run, and profit from, companies like Halliburton) who run mega war machines.


I have to wonder if this is a sincere effort to address bad behavior by public employees and officials, or just a way to get information on what needs to be covered up and hushed up before the news media can get hold of it.


If they had this conduit and refused to give out the number, now that would be a cover-up.

I like it.


Excellent point to be strongly considered!!! Time will tell….


I think it is more likely that, if this whistleblower effort isn’t what it is touted to be, that it is simply window-dressing to make people think something is actually being done.


All levels of government are corrupt and loaded with fraud, waste and abuse. Employees who try to correct these abuses should be rewarded, not punished.

The biggest cause of massive corruption in all levels of government are the Public-sector Unions.

Will whistleblowers be singled-out and punished by the racketeering, organized-crime thugs of the Pubic-Sector Unions?


Have to disagree on the union bit,their doings pale in comparison. The biggest waste in our local government comes from corrupt our sourced managers, crooks who call themselves lawyers and politicians who are supposedly serving the public, cronyism,nepotism and incompetent management.