Upon review of the proposed Board of Trustees policies, we are concerned about draft Policy 6100 “Detecting and Reporting Fraud.” https://www.ncc.edu/aboutncc/ourpeople/board_of_trustees/pdfs/BOT_Policy_SECTION_6100.pdf) Although to our knowledge, this policy has not been placed on a Board committee’s agenda, we would like to offer comments at this time so that our concerns can be considered during committee discussion.
Draft Policy 6100 makes reporting, “known or suspected fraud or irregularities” an affirmative obligation of every NCC employee. However, this policy deviates from the requirements set out in the SUNY Fraud Reporting Policy. http://system.suny.edu/compliance/fraud-reporting/fraud-policy/
- SUNY requires “each campus…to establish an easily accessible mechanism (fraud hotline) such as a toll free number, e-mail address, or facsimile number that individuals can use to report…” along with a guarantee of “limited confidentiality.” Policy 6100 does not provide for either.
- Policy 6100 should affirmatively offer “Whistleblower Protection” as in the SUNY policy.
- Policy 6100 is confusing and contradictory and places an onerous burden on the reporting employee. Policy 6100 applies a “due care” and “reasonable certainty” standard for reporting. It also contains the contradictory admonition that the employee “…not try to question anyone nor investigate…” while at the same time warning the reporting employee to “…take due care and thought, and make all effort to acquire reasonable certainty prior to reporting.” These requirements are mutually exclusive rendering the Policy’s requirements confusing and vague.
Moreover, while the Policy makes reporting an affirmative responsibility with NCC employees subject to disciplinary action for its violation, this reporting standard deviates from SUNY’s “Good Faith “ standard. The SUNY policy “…protects those who make a report, even if that report turns out to be incorrect. If the reporter, given the facts they had at the time, believed that the fraud they were reporting was true, they will be afforded protection from any retaliation.” This is an entirely different standard than the one this policy will apply here at NCC.