The widely-read story today of the state’s $25,000 fine slapped on the Anoka-Hennepin schools for two teachers’ homophobic taunting of a student was a joint effort by Whistleblower researcher and reporter Jane Friedmann and Anoka County reporter Paul Levy. It’s also part of the Whistleblower team’s expanded mission: to report on how government agencies punish or penalize wrongdoing or misconduct. These enforcement actions deal with the same kinds of subjects we hear about every day at Whistleblower, thanks to your calls, emails and letters. I often tell the tipsters that yes, the government does have an agency with the power to do something about whatever gripe it is. The enforcers are often ones that you don’t hear much about, such as, in the Anoka-Hennepin schools story, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. Often we hear from people disappointed with the response from the official watchdogs – so Whistleblower needs to report when they do respond, not just when they don’t.
At the same time, Whistleblower is staying on task with our original mission: investigating and reporting on your complaints about ripoffs, injustices and other problems. Those are rolling in faster than ever. More than 200 came in last month alone. Sometimes it takes us a while to get to them – the tip that led to Whistleblower reporter Lora Pabst’s story last week about a troubled housing complex in Maple Grove originated with an email to Whistleblower in February. While we’re trying to respond to queries as they come, we’re also going back and contacting those that slipped by us over the past year. That’s why you may get an email or letter out of the blue, months after you asked us to investigate your complaint. There’s no way we can follow up on every tip, but we value each one. Keep them coming.