Magazine article Security Management

When Your Boss Is a Crook

Magazine article Security Management

When Your Boss Is a Crook

Article excerpt

WHAT DO YOU DO IF THE MAN or woman you report to, the person who rates your performance and possibly directs your daily activities, is involved in illegal activities affecting your corporation? It could never happen, you say. Not my boss, you say ! Unfortunately, it can happen, it has happened, and it will happen again. Ask yourself the question that student military officers have been asked in training for centuries-what are your actions now?

It could happen like this: The problem first comes to your attention as you chat with a procurement section clerk during lunch in the employee cafeteria. He knows you are the director of security, but he also knows your well-deserved reputation for keeping sources of information confidential, as well as your reputation for fairness.

"There is something very irregular in the process of purchasing supplies for the hospital," he confides to you. "Someone is going outside of prescribed channels to make large purchases. I can't tell you any more than that, " he says as he gets up to leave.

"Thanks for the information. I'll check into the matter," you tell him, your own lunch gone tasteless with yet another problem to check out.

Your internal investigation convinces you that the vice president for insurance and physical plant has been taking illegal kickbacks from several suppliers. Further investigation dredges up documentary proof of fraud on the part of the VP.

The case is solid. You have no doubt that you can obtain an indictment and a conviction in any court of law.

There is only one problem: The VP for insurance and physical plant is your boss! He is a trusted official of the hospital, a family man, a church member, and a volunteer leader for the Boy Scouts. He also writes your evaluation and has recently given you a substantial salary increase.

Is this a security manager's nightmare or secret wish? What do you do? What do you say? How do you handle this problem?

To many security professionals, this situation may be one to relish. It's a chance to blow the whistle loudly and clearly on the one who has been giving you fits over your budget, your assignment of subordinates, and your policies. Payback time is here ! To other security professionals, this situation is a nightmare-a true-life, full-blown moral dilemma. A trusted associate, a valuable and cherished mentor, a friend is implicated in criminal activity.

I cannot provide you with a moral blueprint for proceeding in a case such as this. You must rely on your conscience and moral values to provide a compass to guide your actions. Church teachings, moral codes, and professional codes such as the ASIS Code of Ethics can help guide your way. You, however, must do what you think is best and then live with the consequences.

Let's follow one case to its conclusion. An American working in a Middle Eastern country as director of fire, safety, and security for the start-up of a large military hospital is confronted by the manager of the company-owned and -maintained city where all the hospital employees live. This city is under the security director's span of concern.

"From now on, you will report to me, and I will approve and oversee all the security functions of this project," the city manager tells our hero.

Sorry," you reply. "My contract states that I report to the project director. " Our hero attempts to educate the city manager as to security's mission. "I require the freedom to investigate and inspect everything that happens within the hospital and the city to best protect the project. "

"Perhaps you didn't understand me, " the city manager persists. "I have always supervised security in any project in which I have been involved. Many of the security directors I have supervised were much more experienced than you, they were older and wiser than you, and they all took my supervision without involving their egos. …

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