Earlier this month, San Diego's new no-nonsense auditor, John Torell, sent out a mass e-mail announcing that city workers could drop a dime on waste, fraud and abuse at City Hall via a newly established telephone hotline.
"The hotline's inaugural day has proven to be a busy one," he wrote. "Calls have already been placed by City employees wanting to voice their concerns."
And while the rank and file were busy ratting out their bosses, Torell had the unfortunate duty of reporting that those complaints had fallen on unsuspecting, albeit presumably sympathetic, ears. Turns out the city had mistakenly provided the phone number of the American Red Cross in Philadelphia rather than the independent company hired to field the calls.
It gets worse.
"Additionally, the awareness materials that we promised you now need to be reprinted," Torell wrote. "This will take a few weeks; we will distribute them as soon as they come in."
No word yet on how much it's going to cost the cash-strapped city to fix the printing gaffe, but leave it to San Diego's top waste watcher to find value in the lesson.
"It just goes [to] show that it is not easy to do the right thing," his e-mail said, "even when you are doing the right thing."