MAPE asks GOP Senate to remove misleading whistleblower portal
MAPE is asking Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka to remove a disingenuous “State government employee whistleblower portal” from the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus website.
In a letter to Gazelka, MAPE President Chet Jorgenson said the Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus is misleading state employees by using the term ‘whistleblower’ in hopes of obtaining nonpublic information for partisan political use.
He noted that using the site could put employees at legal risk, “This exposes our members to possible civil penalties or discipline by falsely cloaking them in the protections provided under the Whistleblower Act and encouraging them to share potential nonpublic government data, a violation of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.”
The portal page does not inform employees about, or encourage them to use, any of the state policies and procedures currently in place to report fraud or abuse.
Gov. Tim Walz called the site “politically motivated” and asked the Republicans to remove the portal. He and Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans raised concerns about the lack of internal controls around privacy and security of the comments submitted through the site.
The whistleblower portal is not housed on the Senate official legislative web page but rather on the Senate Republican campaign committee site. “This is a clear indication that the portal is a partisan maneuver as opposed to a genuine attempt to assist public employees to share their stories and improve their working conditions. We appreciate that politics and policy overlap at times, but we ask that you do not use our members’ livelihoods to an end by willfully misleading them into situations where their jobs are at risk,” Jorgenson wrote.
MAPE members suspecting fraud or abuse at their worksites are encouraged to talk with their local presidents, supervisors or MAPE business agents to help determine which of the procedures outlined by law and policy may be the appropriate next step.