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A local authority employee who was misusing a taxpayer-funded vehicle and an inmate who made a habit of calling collect to harass a private citizen were among the wrongdoers busted as a result of tips received by the Erie County Comptroller’s Whistleblower Hotline, the Comptroller’s Office announced.

Sixty-seven confidential tips were submitted via email, telephone or letter between Jan. 1 and June 30, the Comptroller’s Office said in a report detailing the program’s performance in the past six months. The Comptroller’s Office investigated every tip, and 16 cases were closed as a result of those efforts. A further 15 tips related to misconduct by county employees resulted in the appropriate supervisors’ being notified.

Tips prompted the Comptroller’s Office to work with the Sheriff’s Department to ensure certain inmates were not receiving Social Service benefits they were not entitled to.

The Comptroller’s Office also forwarded 12 reports to the Department of Social Services for further investigation.

The report made suggestions for improving the program, including implementing a formal policy to protect workers who become whistleblowers and combining or linking the county’s whistleblower hotline with similar hotlines operated by Social Services, the sheriff and other entities.

Established in 2008, the Whistleblower Hotline targets cases of suspected fraud, waste and abuse in the county.

To submit a tip, call 858-7722, email whistleblower@erie.gov or write to Whistleblower Hotline, Office of Erie County Comptroller, Rath Building Room 1100, 95 Franklin St., Buffalo, NY 14202.

email: hglick@buffnews.com