Tips submitted to the City of Sacramento's whistleblower hotline more than doubled last year.
Last year, 173 tips were submitted by phone, in person or online.
City Auditor Jorge Oseguera says one of the tipsters claimed an unusual number of people with family ties were working in one department.
"Utilities Department has had issues regarding perceived nepotism problems in the past. We got a tip regarding it being an issue in the present, so we looked into that."
An investigation found 40 employees are related. The department is now creating a policy that addresses nepotism in hiring.
Another complaint focused on the amount of lead at a city gun range.
Anyone may submit an allegation to the whistleblower's toll-free number or to the auditor's office directly.
Investigators classify each as low, medium or high priority. A high priority tip includes a need for immediate action, a safety concern, criminal activity, collusion, or a financial loss to the city of more than $75,000.
Medium priority could include a loss of $25,000, abuse of authority, or a number of small problems that could be referred to a department for review.
Low priority include losses less than $25,000, time abuse, wasteful practices, or allegations that lack credibility or evidence.
Employee relations, policy violations, and abuses of position are the most common complaints.
About 20-percent of complaints were found to be unrelated to the city or were canceled.