On January 4th, the Denver Post published an editorial on Colorado Governor Bill Ritter’s actions in the case of a Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Finance (HCPF) whistleblower. HCPF administers taxpayer funds to recipients of Medicare and low-income children. In December, the State Personnel Board found that HCPF accountant Annmarie Maynard was “wrongly fired” for blowing the whistle on the department’s attempt to hide $8 million it over-collected from the government. Governor Ritter is appealing the personnel board’s ruling that he should consider disciplining the executive and deputy directors of HCPF for violating the Whistleblower Act. The Governor is also appealing a state Department of Labor and Employment ruling that Maynard was wrongly fired.
The Governor’s attempt to defend the department instead of protecting the rights of state workers and taxpayers is extremely troubling. However, HCPF ‘s new policy could set a dangerous precedent for the rights of all American workers. This policy, implemented by executive director Joan Henneberry, prevents HCPF employees from making secret recordings in the office. In response to the policy, NWC president Stephen Kohn stated, “Many red flags go up here, any rule that restricts [taping] does great harm.” While Governor Ritter’s office argues the policy protects client confidentiality, the article correctly notes that only the posting of the tape outside the office, not simply making the recording, would jeopardize confidentiality. The case is currently being appealed. The Governor and his appointees have failed to protect Colorado’s employees. It’s time for Colorado’s judges to uphold the law and defend whistleblower protections.
To read the article please click here.