Regulations protect folks like Bill Weitkemper

COLUMBIA, 8/29/12 (Beat Byte) -- Columbia city manager Mike Matthes recently enacted new whistleblower protections; and measures to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.

Established July 1, 2012, a new waste, fraud, and abuse hotline for city employees "provides the opportunity to express any concerns regarding the possible theft, waste, or misuse of City funds or other resources in a confidential, anonymous manner," Matthes informed employees in a June 29 memo that directs them to:

The same memo also establishes the new whistleblower policy, a telling recognition of Bill Weitkemper's work trying to reform city utility billing practices.   The public works superintendent and first recipient of the Ed Robb Public Service Award has blown the whistle for years on City Hall tactics to lower utility bills for large, prominent customers while rates soar for everyone else.

Matthes' whistleblower policy expressly prohibits retaliation for "reporting improper activity," and although Weitkemper won't need anonymity, also protects the identity of whistleblowers who come forward.