The State Worker

Oops, wrong attachment: Tax department official mistakenly shares whistleblower complaint

A California Department of Tax and Fee Administration supervisor made a mistake many office workers dread last week, when she attached the wrong document to an email with multiple recipients.

In this case, the document was a whistleblower complaint, mistakenly attached to an email seeking nominations for a workplace award.

The department is taking nominations through September for “any team member or group of team members that you feel have performed exceptionally,” Chief Deputy Director Katie Hagen told managers and supervisors in an afternoon email sent Aug. 1.

Attached was an anonymous allegation that two managers were improperly vetting job candidates at the department, which was created to take on some duties of the former Board of Equalization. Multiple audits had concluded the board, which collected taxes, had allowed nepotistic hiring, misplaced revenue and misused state resources.

Hagen followed up 35 minutes later with an email asking recipients to delete the previous email.

“My sincerest apologies for the earlier email attachment, please delete,” she wrote. “Clearly I should not be recognized for my exemplary email communications.”

“This was a simple case of having a lot of work and electronic mail flowing too fast,” department spokeswoman Stacie Spector said in an email. “An email was sent to managers and supervisors with an incorrect document attachment. Once realized, which was immediately, the email was recalled.”

“There is always that one time where there is an unfortunate strike of the wrong key with any electronic interaction, we’ve all had our day when this has happened to us,” Spector added. “Fortunately it was caught very swiftly.”