Volunteer Services of Carlton County Inc. Fires Whistleblower
Commentary by Marvin PIRILA
After information revealed the massive profits the VSCCI was gaining from the transport of methadone patients, VSCCI fired the person they felt was the whistleblower. Individuals within the organization said this information has been highly safeguarded by the director up to this point. Phone calls are said to be closely monitored and/or channeled through her and issues are generally handled by close friends and/or relatives.
As a non-profit that receives considerable amounts of money from government grants, aid, and medical billings, this information should always have been readily available. The secrecy of how public monies are used is an affront to proper scrutiny. If there is a desire to withhold information, the organization should give up all grants and public assistance, and go private. Until then, the proper disclosure should be demanded prior to the award of any taxpayer funded monies.
The public deserves to know where every cent of taxpayer money goes. If it is going somewhere other than intended, then someone needs to be held accountable. In this case, more than twice the actual expense is charged to insurance companies and then banked as profits. How many more people could be helped if money was properly disbursed? How much would taxpayers really have to pay to rent their own homes via property taxes if their money was carefully disbursed? If we see such waste at local levels, one can only imagine how much is wasted on a national level.
The purpose of whistleblowing protections is to allow complete investigations that stop misconduct before it becomes widespread and creates additional crises.
The Founding Fathers themselves passed the first whistleblower law on July 30, in 1778, that stated, “That it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as other inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or any other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.”
“I am not being disloyal by coming forward to say there are issues here that need to be resolved.” Bassem Youusef, December 4, 2006 statement to NBC news.
This situation has now turned towards silencing the voice sounding the whistle, but was the termination warranted? The laws would seem to say the whistleblower was within his or her rights and was performing his or her civic duty in bringing this waste of taxes to the public light. While most sit on their backside and let wrongs go unchecked, this person showed tremendous courage and character by bringing this to the public’s attention. The world needs more heroes – those willing to do what’s in the best interest of our country and society – whether they must stand alone or are the lone voice in the distance. They haven’t forgotten the meaning of ethical, moral, and civic responsibility.