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Ethics Matters

The independent Ethics Matters hotline and web site allow community members and employees to anonymously report concerns about the conduct of county employees, officials or agents of the county.

Ethics Matters adds to Washington County’s existing framework for maintaining ethical conduct and supporting organization-wide values among the County’s employees. The hotline and website simplifies the reporting of inquiries and complaints about the County’s ethical conduct by providing a single point of contact through a third-party, contracted service provider.

Need to make a report?

Submit an anonymous report by phone or website:

855-236-6972 

(toll free in the U.S. and Canada)

File an Online Report

Follow up on an existing report

After you complete your report you will be assigned a unique code called a "report key." Write down your report key and password and keep them in a safe place. After five to six business days, use your report key and password to check your report for feedback or questions.

Track a Report

Organizational values

The Ethics Matters hotline and website exist within a context of Washington County’s organizational values and guiding principles. We strive to provide services in an environment of trust, loyalty and civility which comes from open, honest, and direct interactions with each other and our residents. Our actions are intended to be in accord with the law and the public interest. We seek to ensure quality supervision and accountability throughout the organization.

Washington County also places a high value on all of our employees, priding ourselves on developing – and supporting – a capable and professional staff. We commit ourselves to employee development and active performance management.

In keeping with these guiding principles, Washington County encourages its employees and members of the public to report any known or suspected improper governmental conduct to a responsible County representative or to the confidential Ethics Matters hotline.

Policies and resources

More guidance about the ethical conduct of public employees can be found here:

Administrative policies

Washington County operates within a context of federal and state law, the Washington County Charter and a variety of rules and policies adopted to assist the organization in fulfilling its mission. A full listing of administrative policies can be found on the County web site, including these topics:

  • Reporting of Improper Governmental Conduct Policy
  • Personnel Rules and Regulations
  • Drug-free Workplace Policy
  • Harassment-free Workplace Policy
  • Violence in the Workplace Policy
  • Vehicle Use Policy

State and federal resources

The state and federal governments also provide guidance about ethical conduct of public employees.

FAQs

EthicsPoint, the vendor providing this hotline service, does not generate or maintain any internal connection logs with IP addresses, so no information linking your PC to EthicsPoint is available. However, the County’s network may be able to gather this information. If this is a concern, you can file a report online from home, or any internet portal.

Yes, you can log on using your unique user name and password and view the status of the investigation or you may also call the hotline to inquire about the status. However, no specific details of any on-going investigation will be provided.

See also:

You have the choice to remain anonymous or you may leave your personal information that will be kept confidential.

Once a report is received, the reporter will be given a unique user name and asked to select a password. The user name and password will allow the reporter to return to the Ethics Matters system, either by Internet or phone, and access the report, and answer any questions posted by the Hotline Administrator. This step is critical to ensure that there is sufficient information to guide the investigation and address the reporter's concern.

You can file a report 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone or by completing an online form. If you call the Ethics Matters toll free number, 855-236-6972, a live operator will walk you through the reporting process. If you use the online form, you can access the Hotline’s website from any computer with internet access. The web address is https://washingtoncounty.ethicspoint.com.

Note: When filing a report online, you are able to attach electronic documents to support your concern.

County policy and the State of Oregon’s Whistleblower Statute (ORS 659A.199 - 236) protects employees from being disciplined, discharged, or subjected to threats, or otherwise discriminated against in retaliation for bringing forth, in good faith, charges of unlawful conduct or conduct in violation of any County policy, directive, ordinance, or Charter provision by any officer or employee of Washington County.

See also:

The system is programmed not to send a report to a person who is the subject of the complaint. The person will not receive the notification email and will not be able to view the report. The Ethics Matters procedures describe the manner in which reports will be assigned to an appropriate employee or official for investigation.

A guiding principle for Washington County is for all County employees, officials and agents to commit ourselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct and to accept full accountability for our actions. The Ethics Matters Hotline is provided as a means for the public and employees to anonymously report allegations of governmental misconduct.

The Hotline provides both on-line (website) and operator-assisted (contact center) reporting options and augments other reporting options described in the Reporting of Improper Governmental Conduct Policy. The County will ensure that investigation and appropriate corrective action are undertaken in response to all reports received through the Hotline. 

The Ethics Matters Hotline is one avenue for the public and employees to report misconduct. Additional reporting options are described in the Reporting of Improper Governmental Conduct Policy.

The hotline is intended as a vehicle to report Improper Governmental Conduct, including: 1) abuse of authority, 2) gross waste of funds, 3) mismanagement, 4) theft or misappropriation of County assets; and 5) violation(s) of County policy, State and/or Federal law(s).

Once a report is filed, the system generates an email to the Hotline Administrator. The Hotline Administrator will work with the Hotline Advisory Committee to assign the investigation to an appropriate “receiving employee or official.” This employee or official will either conduct the investigation or assign it to another employee or agency as appropriate. The receiving or investigating employee will conduct an investigation in accordance with the requirements of the Reporting of Improper Governmental Conduct Policy. Upon conclusion of the investigation, a written report will be prepared. The report will summarize the allegations and findings.

Yes, reports of misconduct will be reviewed and investigated as appropriate.