MAIL BAG: IGNORING THE PILE SWEPT UNDER THE RUG
New reader A. Grande of New York, NY writes, “I’m a contract administrator for a mid-size IT re-seller. The training classes I’ve been to say that my company should be reporting errors and delivery problems, but we don’t. My senior vice president says it will all be ok and that I shouldn’t worry. The pile of things we haven’t done, though, seems to be really adding up? Can you suggest something?” Great question, A. It can be tough to see potential contract violations go unaddressed in a company. At best, your company is making a bet with their own, or their investors’, money. At worst, they’re potentially exposing both themselves and the company to significant fines if problems are uncovered. It can be tough to be heard sometimes as a lower-level employee. If your SVP won’t listen, try another route. Most contractors should have anonymous hotlines where potential problems are reported. They’re usually set up so that people in legal or compliance get the information, not people in a specific business line. This is definitely a best practice. If your company doesn’t have one, though, try your contract manager or legal counsel’s office. While there is a tendency to put off potential problems so long as business is coming in the front door, ignoring problems won’t make them go away. They can and do get worse. It’s good to be concerned. Sing out to someone who will hear you.