Many have read of the former Dixon, Illinois Comptroller’s (Rita Crundwell) theft of over $53 million in tax revenue over a period of 20 years. These numbers are particularly shocking given that the town has approximately 16,000 residents that are employed in factories and grain farms. Her purchase of horses, extravagant RV’s, and other luxuries with city money was brought to an abrupt halt when she went on vacation and someone was filling in for her.
While it is unknown how this could have been different if an ethics program, including an employee hotline and training, was in place, ethics training and hotline communications highlight the type of circumstances that were in place with Ms. Crundwell. She was the only person responsible for the city’s finances, banking, and checking. Ethics programs help establish an ethics policy (if one does not already exist), provide a base level understanding of ethics, fraud, and theft among all employees, and establish regular ethical processes and policies.
The payback for establishing ethics hotlines and training for a handful of dollars per employee are well established. Ms. Crundwell just helped accentuate this return to the investment.