Monthly Archives: July 2016

Failure to prosecute

IOC Stops Short of Banning Entire Russian Delegation From Rio Olympics,” The Wall Street Journal,  July 25, 2016.  The title says it all.

Does the punishment you get for violating a rule depend heavily on who you are?  Have the gold medals from Sochi lost their luster?  Has the institution been seriously, and perhaps irreparably, damaged?

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What’s governance?

In Thursday’s The Wall Street Journal several major corporate players posted a full-page ad titled “Commonsense Corporate Governance Principles.”  There was an accompanying article, “Corporate Leaders Back Best Practices,” The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2016 B3.

I was struck.  While there was a lot of language about independence and trust and leadership and transparency, the words “duty” and “compliance” were not mentioned.

Curious.  Principles without a mention of duty.  One wonders why we have problems with corporate governance.

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Do we use the information we have?

What if critical systems don’t easily include information on critical items?

There are unique ID numbers on some medical devices such as pacemakers and hip replacements.  But the nature of medical billing systems makes it difficult to include this information in the normal medical information flow. This complicates recalls and the like.

“Medicare Backs ID Numbers For Devices,” The Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2016 A3.

Medicare has, after years of requests, finally supported adding the unique IDs to billing records, so the devices are easier to track. FDA had pressed for this for years.

What information do you have and do your IT systems prevent you from using it?  Who needs to approve the changes necessary to make things work better together?


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Sounds of silence

I have been quiet for several reasons.  One, The Wall Street Journal was having delivery problems for several weeks.  While I use the digital edition for my posts, I read the paper copy each day to find my material.  Two, I was on vacation.  Three, I try to avoid politics in this blog, and it’s been a busy time, politically.

Hard to report dispassionately the decision by the FBI Director not to recommend indictment of the former Secretary of Commerce based on the facts the Director laid out, and the language of the applicable statutes.  It seemed that he was saying that the Secretary had likely/possibly violated the law but no reasonable prosecutor would bring such an action.

What does it say about information governance when the rules are not applied to the higher-ups?  Why have these rules?

I’m not recommending prosecuting if there is no likelihood of conviction — that would be a waste of time.  But this one seems to be a close call, and there are policitcal consequences of both action and inaction.  What is the impact on compliance throughout  the US government with applicable law of the decision to not even bring the case before an impoartial fact finder (either court or jury), but to instead to leave it to the investigator to make the decision?

What does this say about the average (or reasonable) prosecutor?

If the Chief Executive of your company doesn’t follow company policy, and everybody in the company knows it, do you take disciplinary action against him/her?  If not, can you expect people to follow any policies at all?  Is that a fundamental failure to fulfill duties, on multiple levels?  How does the Board explain this to the shareholders?

How can you enforce information security and retention policies in your company when this is what is rolling out on the TV screens every day?

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