My most important role as secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet is to serve as the state’s chief financial officer. KRS 42.012 states that I am to advise the governor and the General Assembly in financial matters and “at all times protect the financial interests of the state.”
I take these statutory responsibilities very seriously, so when I read the criticisms contained in the recent article in the Herald-Leader about Tipline.KY.Gov, I felt it was my duty to set the record straight on behalf of the commonwealth’s citizens, which includes our state employees.
Tipline.KY.Gov is the result of tremendous thought, discussion and interaction between my staff and those from the Personnel Cabinet, other agencies with existing hotlines, the auditor of public accounts, and the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. We also communicated with officials from the cities of Lexington and Louisville to gain an understanding of how their tiplines work.
Tipline.KY.Gov is a tool that will provide me with invaluable information to safeguard the financial interests of the commonwealth. Not only does it provide information related to possible fraud, waste and abuse of areas under the purview of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, it allows the system’s primary users, when needed, to refer other matters to the auditor, the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, Inspector General (IG) offices in other cabinets, and law enforcement.
The reporting system also guides potential users to other resources in state government. (See “Other ways to get help” drop-down menu at https://login. redflagreporting.com/kentucky.)
The idea of managing a tipline within a central administrative entity is not new. We researched other states and found that tiplines exist within various offices and branches of other states’ governments.
For example, we found six states where tiplines are located within agencies similar to Kentucky’s Finance and Administration Cabinet, as well as a combination of other locations within state auditor offices, IG offices, individual agencies and legislative offices.
To criticize the tipline as redundant and lacking independence is akin to finding fault with our entire system of checks and balances that include not only commissioned law-enforcement agents, but also other trained professionals such as auditors and human-resource specialists.
For example, my Office of Policy and Audit, a statutorily created office, which is staffed with professional auditors with various certifications and experience, administers Tipline.KY.Gov. In addition, the Personnel Cabinet’s ombudsman, another user in the system, works cooperatively with my Office of Policy and Audit, other state agencies, and the Office of Administrative Services to investigate human resource related complaints.
To imply that only commissioned law enforcement agents are capable of investigating incoming reports is misguided as many of the reports coming into Tipline.KY.Gov do not require the expertise of those in law enforcement.
For example, complaints related to areas such as human resources, compliance, internal controls, as well as safety, require specific knowledge and expertise of state government procedures and processes. It would be a misuse of resources to refer such internal matters to commissioned law-enforcement agents.
I am very proud of my professional staff, as well as those of the Personnel Cabinet and other agencies across our great commonwealth. I am honored to serve with them as they carry out their duties with respect to safeguarding the state’s resources.
Finally, I am honored to serve in my role as the state’s chief financial officer and will use every tool available, including Tipline.KY.Gov, to fulfill my statutory responsibilities.
William M. Landrum III is Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
At issue: Herald-Leader article, “Beshear has ‘serious concerns’ about Bevin’s new $250,000 complaint hotline”