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About the OIG

Mission

To provide a catalyst for improvements of BART operations and promote a credible, efficient, effective, equitable, fair, focused, transparent, and fully accountable form of governance.

Vision

To improve BART services by providing independent, objective, and reliable information regarding BART’s ability to meet its goals and objectives and establish an adequate system of internal controls, root out improper governmental activities (i.e., fraud, waste, or abuse), and address racial, gender, and ethnic inequities.

Core Values

A puzzle graphic showing four business values: Honesty, Integrity, Accountability, and Transparency.

Statutory Authority

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) was authorized in Bay Area Regional Measure 3 (RM 3), which voters approved on June 5, 2018. The measure was on the ballot for voters in the City and County of San Francisco and Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma Counties. RM 3 provided an annual allocation of $1 million in toll revenue to establish the independent OIG for the purpose of identifying opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of BART operations and delivery of capital projects, including toll-funded projects, and to ensure compliance with applicable federal and state laws. BART has the authority to increase the amount of funding provided for the OIG. Measure RM 3 included two provisions to ensure the Inspector General’s (IG) independence:

  1. The IG is appointed by the Governor of California to an initial four-year term. The BART Board of Directors may renew the term at will. The Governor selects the appointee from a list of three candidates nominated by the BART board of directors.
  2. The IG may be removed from office, subject to approval of the Governor, only if 1) a two-thirds majority of the board members votes for removal or 2) the IG violates a federal or state law or regulation, a local ordinance, or a District policy or practice relative to ethical practices, such as accepting gifts or contributions.

Duties and Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the OIG are codified in California Public Utilities Code Section 28840-28845. They include, but are not limited to, requiring the IG to:

  1. Examine BART’s operating practices to identify fraud, waste, and opportunities for efficiencies in administration of its programs and operations.
  2. Ensure the BART administration, the board of directors, and the public are fully informed of the IG’s findings and recommendations.
  3. Identify opportunities to improve data used to determine project resource allocations.
  4. Conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits and investigations relating to BART’s programs and operations, including, but not limited to, toll-funded programs.
  5. Identify best practices for delivering capital projects and recommend policies to enable BART to adopt these practices when practicable.
  6. Recommend policies that promote efficiency in the administration of programs and operations.
  7. Review and recommend best practices that BART should follow to maintain positive and productive relations with its employees and the collective bargaining units representing those employees.
  8. Provide a report, at least annually, to the Board of Directors and the California Legislature that summarizes significant problems identified in audits and investigations and whether BART has implemented the resulting recommendations.

Audits

California Public Utilities Code Section 28840-28845 requires the OIG to examine BART’s operating practices to identify opportunities for:

  • Efficiencies in administration of BART’s programs and operations
  • Opportunities to improve data used to determine project resource allocations
  • Best practices for delivering capital projects
  • Best practices for BART to maintain positive and productive relations with its employees and the collective bargaining units representing those employees

The OIG conducts performance audits to fulfill these requirements.

Performance Audits 

Performance audits contribute to public accountability and transparency by providing independent and objective analysis of the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs, operations, and activities. They provide findings, conclusions, and recommendations to assist management and those charged with governance and oversight with improving performance and operations, reducing costs, and making sound decisions.

The primary difference between a financial audit and a performance audit is that a financial audit expresses an opinion on whether management spent the organization’s funds the way they said they did, and a performance audit looks at whether the money was spent in the most efficient, economical, and effective manner. BART undergoes an annual financial audit that is conducted by a Certified Public Accounting firm. Financial audits are typically conducted annually, whereas performance audits look at a broad variety of topics and each topic is not required to be audited on any specific cycle.

We use laws, regulations, organizational policies and procedures, industry standards, expert opinions, terms of contracts and grant agreements, benchmarks, and leading practices as criteria against which to evaluate performance and make recommendations when we identify opportunities for improvement. Performance audits can benefit an organization by identifying, for example:

  • Opportunities to reduce costs or increase revenues through operational improvements
  • Programs, services, or activities that can be reduced, eliminated, or expanded
  • Gaps or overlaps in programs, services, or activities
  • Weaknesses in internal controls that can affect the organization’s ability to achieve its mission or increase the risk of fraud, waste, or abuse
  • Unnecessarily restrictive laws, regulations, or policies
  • Opportunities to increase transparency and accountability
  • Opportunities to improve compliance with laws, regulations, contracts, grant agreements, and policies and procedures
  • Leading practices that can be implemented to achieve better outcomes
Auditing Standards 

We follow the Government Auditing Standards (also known as the “Yellow Book”), which are established by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). These standards provide a framework to ensure that:

  • Staff who conduct the audits have the required skills and competencies to conduct the audits and do not have conflicts of interests regarding the topic they are auditing
  • Audits are conducted in an independent and objective manner
  • Findings and recommendations are fully supported by facts
  • Information and data used to support audit findings are valid, appropriate, and reliable
  • Management has an opportunity to review draft reports for factual accuracy and respond to draft audit findings and recommendations prior to the report being published
  • The OIG has an internal quality control process to assess its compliance with the Government Auditing Standards and its policies and procedures for conducting audits
  • The OIG undergoes an external quality control review, conducted by reviewers independent of the OIG, at least once every three years after beginning the first performance audit

We use other GAO publications to assist us in conducting our audits:

Selection of Audit Topics 

Topics selected for performance audits generally will be based on the results of an entity-wide risk assessment, but may also be selected based on the OIG’s knowledge of certain other risks or by request by the Board of Directors or BART management. Topics will primarily be grouped into the following focus areas:

  • Administrative operations (e.g., procurement/contracts, human resources, budget, accounting, grant management, and payroll)
  • Asset management
  • Construction management (i.e., operational and financial), including toll-funded projects
  • Customer service, community relations, and communications
  • Employee relations
  • Information technology
  • Rail operations
  • Safety and security

Outcomes considered in selecting audit projects include the potential for:

  • Cost savings or increased revenues
  • Improvements in public policies and operational practices, particularly through implementation of leading/best practices
  • Increased efficiency, effectiveness, and performance of BART operations
  • Enhanced accountability systems and transparency of BART operations
  • Enhanced reliability of data used for decision making and resource allocations
  • Improvements in internal controls
Audit Process 

The audit process typically encompasses planning, fieldwork, reporting, and follow up:

Planning:

  • Meeting to inform management of preliminary audit scope and objectives
  • Gather background information through interviews and research
  • Conduct a project-based risk assessment
  • Finalize the audit scope and objectives

Fieldwork:

  • Gather additional data and information as necessary
  • Analyze data for reliability
  • Analyze data and information for trends or gaps
  • Share initial findings with management and collaborate on potential recommendations
  • Formulate findings and recommendations for report

Reporting:

  • Write draft report and develop potential graphics to be used in report
  • Conduct an internal quality control review to verify the accuracy of the report based on data and information obtained during planning and fieldwork
  • Meet with management to review the draft report and obtain additional documentation if needed
  • Revise draft report, if necessary, based on management input
  • Prepare final draft for management’s response
  • Review management’s response for reasonableness
  • Publish report with management’s response
  • Present report to the Board and State Legislature

Follow Up:

  • Receive status reports from management every six months until recommendations are implemented or closed for other reasons
  • Review actions taken or planned for reasonableness
  • Provide results to Board and State Legislature

 

Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Investigations

Under the authority granted by California Public Utilities Code Section 28840-28845, the OIG investigates situations where fraud, waste, or abuse may have occurred regarding BART’s programs and operations, including contracted activities. The legislative intent is to encourage employees and citizens to report their observations of suspected fraud, waste, or abuse to the OIG.

File a Fraud, Waste, and/or Abuse Complaint 

When reporting online, you will be prompted to create a pin unique to your case. Be sure to keep your pin in a safe place as it cannot be retrieved. The system will generate a case number, which you should also keep with your pin. Later, you can use your pin and the case number to check on the status of your complaint.

In Person: 2150 Webster Street, 4th Floor, Oakland CA 94612 – Please contact us at 510-464-6132 or InspectorGeneral@bart.gov to make an appointment and/or drop off documentation.

You may submit your complaint anonymously. However, we encourage you to provide contact information so that we may follow up if we need more information to complete our investigation. The OIG is dedicated to maintaining the confidentiality of complainants. In only limited circumstances must we disclose a complainant’s name, such as for an investigation that leads to criminal prosecution where the complainant may need to be called as a witness. Most cases do not require disclosure of the complainant’s name.

The OIG accepts complaints regarding allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse by BART employees, contractors, and all others doing business with BART. Anyone filing a complaint should have a reasonable belief that their allegation is true and must provide sufficient detail concerning the allegation in order for the OIG to initiate an investigation. This page provides additional information, including definitions of fraud, waste, and abuse, and examples of fraud, waste, and abuse that the OIG investigates.

Every individual regardless of religion, race, immigration or documentation status, or national origin is safe to seek and obtain assistance from the OIG. You may file a complaint if you are not a citizen and regardless of your immigration status.

Definitions of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse 

There are many examples of what can be classified as fraud, waste, or abuse, and the determination of whether an act is fraud, waste, or abuse depends on the facts and circumstances of each situation, including the severity of the issue. However, the definitions and examples below can help determine if a situation should be reported to the OIG. Fraud, waste, or abuse should be reported when it is committed by BART’s employees, contractors, consultants, or vendors.

California Government Code section 53087.6(f)(2) collectively defines “fraud, waste, or abuse” as “any activity by a local agency or employee that is undertaken in the performance of the employee’s official duties, including activities deemed to be outside the scope of his or her employment, that is in violation of any local, state, or federal law or regulation relating to corruption, malfeasance, bribery, theft of government property, fraudulent claims, fraud, coercion, conversion, malicious prosecution, misuse of government property, or willful omission to perform duty, is economically wasteful, or involves gross misconduct.” These activities also are also collectively referred to as “improper governmental activities.”

Individual definitions can generally be described as follows:

Waste: Waste involves using or expending resources carelessly, negligently, extravagantly, or to no purpose, whether intentional or not, to the detriment of BART. Waste includes incurring unnecessary costs as a result of inefficient or ineffective practices, systems, or internal controls and often results from inadequate oversight.

Abuse: Abuse is behavior that violates a policy or is deficient, improper, or excessive when compared with behavior that a prudent person would consider reasonable and necessary. It includes using something in a manner that is contrary to the natural or legal rules for its use or extravagant or excessive use that is the result of someone abusing their position or authority.

Fraud: Fraud is an act of using dishonesty as a tool for personal gain. It involves obtaining something of value for personal or financial gain or depriving others, or an organization, of something of value through intentional deceit, misrepresentation, or concealment of something that should have been disclosed. Fraud can occur through the spoken word or by an individual’s conduct and actions. Whether an act is, in fact, fraud is generally determined through the judicial or other adjudicative system. If the IG concludes that an act was likely fraud, the case will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for further review and a determination if prosecution should occur.

The following graphic shows the continuum of fraud, waste, and abuse, based on severity of the act:

May contain: text and paper
Examples of Fraude, Waste, and Abuse 

Examples of fraud, waste, or abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • Making travel choices or procurement/vendor selections that are contrary to existing policies or are unnecessarily extravagant or expensive
  • Personal use of BART materials, equipment, and/or time
  • Working in a non-BART position while getting paid by BART for the same hours
  • Calling in sick when not actually sick
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs during work hours
  • Creating unnecessary overtime
  • Altering/falsifying records or making false claims (e.g., travel claims, invoices)
  • Theft/embezzlement, including theft of time (e.g., claiming pay for time that wasn’t worked or not performing assigned work when on duty)
  • Conflicts of interest and ethics violations, such as using customer information for personal gain
  • False worker’s compensation claims
  • Inefficient procedures or management of resources (e.g., buying equipment that would be less expensive to rent, based on estimated usage; buying unnecessary materials or equipment; holding onto materials that could be returned, reused, or sold)
  • Misuse of authority (e.g., a supervisor asking staff to perform personal errands or tasks)
  • Misuse of position for personal gain (e.g., discussing future employment with a firm doing business with BART while having contract oversight responsibilities with that firm)
  • Gross mismanagement, such as circumventing BART policies and procedures
  • Gross neglect of duty
  • Intentional destruction, diversion, manipulation, misapplication, maltreatment, or misuse of BART resources
  • Substituting inferior products/materials or using counterfeit parts to reduce contract costs while increasing profit
  • Bid rigging or collusion
  • Receiving or giving kickbacks, bribes, or gratuities
  • Contractor overbilling (e.g., charging for more materials than were used or than the contracted price)
  • Falsification of certifications
  • Violations of laws, regulations, rules, policies and procedures, and provisions of contracts or grant agreements
Whistleblower Protection 

Individuals who report an improper activity by a District employee or contractor doing business with BART or who participate in an investigation of suspected ethics violations are protected from retaliation under California Labor Code Section 1102.5 and other California laws, as well as BART’s Whistleblower Policy.  Retaliation can come in many forms and be direct or subtle, such as demotion, job elimination, job or shift reassignment, denial of training opportunities, increasing or decreasing the employee’s workload, excluding the employee from team emails or meetings, or denial of future contract awards. Employees who believe they have been retaliated against may be able to file a claim with the California Department of Industrial Relations to seek injunctive relief under California Labor Code Section 98.7.

Investigation Process 

The OIG reviews complaints received to determine if they fall within the definition of fraud, waste, or abuse and are related to BART activities and operations. We open an investigation if the complaint meets both requirements. The OIG directly investigates some complaints, may hire an outside investigator for others, or may refer complaints to the appropriate department to investigate, particularly if the allegation appears to be immaterial or insignificant from a monetary or operational standpoint. If an allegation appears to be criminal in nature, the OIG will coordinate the investigation with the appropriate law enforcement agency.

If an investigation is initiated, the investigator identifies potential witnesses, suspects, and relevant documents, data, and evidence and their sources. The investigator obtains sufficient, competent, and relevant evidence to provide a reasonable basis for the investigative findings and conclusions. The investigator analyzes the information and evidence obtained to objectively determine if the allegation has merit, documents the results of the analysis, and prepares a report of the findings. BART management will have an opportunity to respond to the OIG’s draft report of findings and recommendations and may be asked to provide additional information if they disagree with the findings and recommendations. At its discretion, the OIG may modify the report based on additional information provided by BART management, but the OIG’s finalized findings and recommendations will stand once the report is issued.

The OIG reports the results of individual complaints to the Board of Directors and the General Manager as investigations are completed and publishes summary reports on the OIG website.

Although the summary reports are available to the public, any investigatory filed compiled by the OIG is an investigatory filed compiled by a local law enforcement agency subject to disclosure pursuant to California Government Code Section 6254, subdivision (f). This means that confidential information, such as interview records and names of complainants, are not available to the public.

Where to Report Matters Other Than Fraud, Waste, or Abuse 

The OIG responds to specific allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse by BART employees and those who do business with BART. We only investigate other improper activities or personnel issues if they have a component of fraud, waste, or abuse. Please review the definitions and examples of fraud, waste, and abuse above to determine if the OIG is the appropriate venue for reporting your complaint. Complaints that fall outside those definitions will be referred to the appropriate BART department or outside agency for review and resolution. For example, we do not investigate general management issues, such as a complaint from an employee who is simply dissatisfied with a supervisor, work assignment, or management decision. We also do not investigate personnel issues, such as performance ratings, suspensions, demotions, or grievances. For issues unrelated to fraud, waste, or abuse, we encourage you to contact the appropriate office listed on BART’s contact page.

 

An infographic about the Office of the Inspector General's role in investigating fraud, waste, and abuse within BART with examples and contact info.
Click to download
An informational brochure for the BART Office of the Inspector General, highlighting fraud reporting, contact info, and oversight role.
OIG Trifold Informational Brochure (click to download)

 

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