Magazine article Management Review

When the Spotlight Is on You

Magazine article Management Review

When the Spotlight Is on You

Article excerpt

regional inspector. A year later, the agency unveiled a reorganization plan for its Chicago office that would have resulted in the three whistle-blowers being demoted or fired. Me plan was eventually dropped after the three went outside official channels with their complaints about being harassed by the IRS brass.

What's the management lesson here? Protect whistle-blowers, no matter what the cost. To that end, the IRS has already started to develop more effective methods to help uncover and control wrongdoing, including an agency "hotline" so IRS employees can anonymously report instances of possible misconduct. To further insure objectivity, this program (as well as others being instituted by the agency) will be monitored by a panel of experts from outside the IRS. 71

Can we compete with Europe post 1992? According to New York's Democratic governor Mario Cuomo, much of the answer depends, in a word, on taxes. Or, to be more specific, on who raises taxes. In an address to the Council on Economic Development in New York late last year, Cuomo argued that President George Bush had passed the onus of raising taxes on to the states, even though key programs-education, the war on drugs and rebuilding the nation's infrastructure-desperately need to be bankrolled.

How does this affect our economic competitiveness? Says Cuomo, At the same time that Europe [with EC 92] and other governments around the world are consolidating for added strength, the United States is fragmenting. By not raising taxes, the president is telling New York and New jersey to get into a fight over income tax. He is telling Mississippi, which has a hard time raising the money it needs because many of its residents are poor, that the state is going to fall behind in education. He is sending Sam Skinner, the secretary of transportation, to lobby the states to raise taxes for rebuilding our infrastructure."

Barbara Clay, spokeswoman for the White House's Office of Management and Budget, sees President Bush's position differently. "It is certainly not true that the president is asking state and local governments to raise taxes," Clay says. "In all my years here, I've never heard those words come out of George Bush's mouth. In fact, the president was elected on a platform of no new taxes.' "

Whatever President Bush is or is not saying, money (or the absence of money) does talk. Re strength of elevating issues to a national concern is that you pay for them nationally and you defend them nationally," Cuomo says. "How can you make education a national concern and then say that the states have to pay for the troops? This is a radical proposition that can be very, very damaging to the country's future. I don't think we are thinking straight."

A dull roar suddenly quiets down to a hush as your name is called. When you step from behind the curtain, the light catches your eyes, blinding you for a moment. Your heart is pounding, your palms are sweaty but somehow you find your way to center stage. Before you is a room filled with people-all eyes focused on you-waiting to be enlightened. No, this isn't opening night on Broadway. Instead, it's you delivering the financial report at the annual stockholders' meeting.

Even the heads of Fortune 500 companies aren't exempt from stage fright. And who wouldn't be intimidated in this situation? Many people have a basic fear of speaking in public, but when that fear overwhelms them, an important presentation can fail miserably. …

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