Berkeley’s city auditor is launching a new whistleblower program for employees and residents to report waste, fraud and abuse in local government.

Whistleblowers can already report wrongdoing through a hotline or to Berkeley’s Ethics Committee, but City Auditor Jenny Wong contends a formal program managed by her independent office — rather than the human resources department in City Hall — could encourage more people to come forward. Wong is elected by Berkeley voters and does not report to the City Council or City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley.

The City Council approved a resolution Tuesday to “support and endorse” the program, which “signifies our collective commitment to transparency, accountability, and good governance,” Wong wrote in a news release.

Wong plans to launch the program once her office has hired a new audit manager and developed procedures for handling reports, which she said will likely take several months.

The auditor’s office will use salary savings to pay for the new staff position for the coming fiscal year and seek additional funding from the city budget to support it in future years.

Nico Savidge joined Berkeleyside in 2021 as a senior reporter covering city hall. Born and raised in Berkeley, he got his start in journalism at Youth Radio as a high-schooler in the mid-2000s. Since then,...