West Valley Firefighters

Quarterly Newsletter

1st Quarter of 2012


Policy 2113: Whistle Blower Act

Policy 2113: Whistle Blower Act



YAKIMA, WA 98908

POLICY # 2113



REVISED: 5/13/08




This policy is established to meet the intent of the Local Government Whistleblower Act allowing Yakima County Fire District 12’s members to disclose improper governmental action and provides remedies for retaliation.


It is the policy of Yakima County Fire Protection District 12 (YCFD12) to encourage reporting by its members of improper government action taken by YCFD12 members and to protect YCFD 12 members who have reported improper governmental actions in accordance with the policies and procedures of YCFD12.


As used in this policy, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

1. “Improper governmental action” means any action by a YCFD12 officer or member:

a. That is undertaken in the performance of the officer’s or member’s official duties, whether or not the action is within the scope of the member’s employment; and

b. That ( I ) is in violation of any federal, state, or local rule, ( II ) is an abuse of authority, ( III ) is of substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety or ( IV ) is a gross waste of public funds.

“Improper governmental action” does not include personnel actions, including member grievance, complaints, appointments, promotions, transfers, assignments, reassignments, reinstatements, restorations, reemployments, performance evaluations, reductions in pay, dismissals, suspensions, demotions, and violations of collective bargaining or civil service laws, alleged violations of labor agreements or reprimands.

2. “Retaliatory action” means any adverse change in the terms and conditions of a YCFD12 member’s employment.

3. “Emergency” means a circumstance that if not immediately changed may cause damage to persons or property.


YCFD12 members who become aware of improper governmental actions must raise the issue first with their supervisor. If requested by the supervisor, the member shall submit a written report to the supervisor, or to some person designated by the supervisor, stating in detail the basis for the member’s belief that an improper governmental action has occurred. Where the member reasonably believes the improper governmental action involves his or her supervisor, the member may raise the issue directly with the YCFD12 Fire Chief or such other person as may be designated by the YCFD12 Fire Chief to receive reports of improper action.

In the case of an emergency, where the member believes that damage to persons or property may result if action is not taken immediately, the member may report the improper governmental action directly to the appropriate governmental agency with responsibility investigation of the improper action.

The supervisor, YCFD12’s Fire Chief or YCFD12’s Fire Chief’s, as the case may be, shall take prompt action to assist YCFD12 in properly investigating the report of improper governmental action. YCFD12 officers and members involved in the investigation shall keep the identity of reporting members confidential to the extent possible under the law, unless the member authorizes the disclosure of his or her identity in writing. After an investigation has been completed, the member reporting the improper governmental action shall be advised of a summary of the results of the investigation, except that personnel actions taken as a result of the investigation may be kept confidential.

YCFD12 members may report information about improper governmental action directly to the appropriate government agency with responsibility for investigating the improper action if YCFD12’s member reasonably believes that insufficient action has been taken by YCFD12 to address the improper governmental action or that for other reasons the improper governmental action is likely to recur.

YCFD12 members who fail to make a good faith attempt to follow YCFD12’s procedures in reporting improper governmental action shall not receive the protections provided by YCFD12 in these procedures.


YCFD12 officials and members are prohibited from taking retaliatory action against a YCFD12 member because he or she has in good faith reported an improper governmental action in accordance with these policies and procedures.

Members who believe that they have been retaliated against for reporting an improper governmental action should advise their supervisor, YCFD12’s Fire Chief or YCFD12’s Fire Chief’s designee. YCFD12 officials and supervisors shall take appropriate action to investigate and address complaints of retaliation.

If the member’s supervisor, YCFD12’s Fire Chief, or YCFD12’s Fire Chief’s designee, as the case may be, does not satisfactorily resolve a complaint, the member may obtain protection under this policy and pursuant to state law by providing written notice to YCFD12’s board that:

a. Specifies the alleged retaliatory action and

b, Specifies the relief requested.

YCFD12 members shall provide a copy of their written charge to the YCFD12 Fire Chief no later than thirty (30) days after the occurrence of the alleged retaliatory action. YCFD12 shall respond within thirty (30) days to the charge of retaliatory action.

After receiving either the response of YCFD12 or thirty (30) days after the delivery of the charge to YCFD12, the YCFD12 member may request a hearing before a state administrative law judge to establish that a retaliatory action occurred and to obtain appropriate relief provided by law. A member seeking a hearing should deliver the request for hearing to YCFD12’s Fire Chief, or his designee, within the earlier of either fifteen (15) days of delivery of YCFD12’s response to the charge of retaliatory action, or forty-five (45) days of delivery of the charge of retaliation to YCFD12 for response.

Upon receipt of request for hearing, YCFD12 shall apply within five (5) working days to the state office of Administrative Hearing for an adjudicative proceeding before an administrative law judge:

Office of Administrative Hearings

P.O. Box 42488, 4224 Sixth S.E.

Lacey, WA 98504-2488

PH. (206) 459-6353

YCFD12 will consider any recommendation provided by the administrative law judge that the retaliator be suspended with or without pay, or dismissed.


The Chief, or his designee, is responsible for implementing YCFD12’s policies and procedures (1) for reporting improper governmental action and (2) for protection of members against retaliatory actions. This includes ensuring that this policy and these procedures (1) are permanently posted where all members will have reasonable access to them, (2) are made available to any member upon request and (3) are provided to all newly-h