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  • NRM_Oz
    replied
    When interviewing for my 1st ever National LPM job I came clean with my to be boss and said - I don't drink with anyone, lunch with anyone or become friends outside of work with anyone due to the nature and conflict of interests in my role. I kept myself away from all of the BS and the buddy buddy system so I could avoid any issues when I investigated someone (even senior management) and pushed for criminal prosecution ...... oh yeah and terminating their sorry buttocks in the process.

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  • integrator97
    replied
    I'm just thinking out loud here. I like freebies as much as the next guy. Since I own the business, go ahead, Try and sway me with your stuff.

    That being said, shouldn't some thought be given to the ethics of tipping a security guard in some situations at least. I bring you free coffee, or cokes, or goodies, that don't cost me anything cause I get them free where I work (and you guard). Now one day, I'm lugging out a ream of printer paper. Or a toner cartridge. Or a monitor, used, yeah, they just got new ones. Or some carpet from this construction site. Know what I mean.

    It's one thing if it's the owner or boss, maybe another if it's not. On the other hand, some people are just nicer or friendlier. I guess, just bear the above in mind, and definitly question even the guy who's always extra nice.

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  • NRM_Oz
    replied
    I recall some blokes from Sylox who came around for a demonstration and were busy handing out free pocket screw driver kits to all my crew. I made sure the IT team got some, as these $3.00 items were valuable for them and for us to use in corporate security work.

    I think I now receive 5 free USB flash drives every month. I only use 3 at a time and after upgrading to the biggest sizes, now pass them on to my state based teams to use. Same as diaries ............ I still use a manual diary for records and once I find one that suits me I give away all others as I can only use 1 per year.

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  • CameraMan
    replied
    Originally posted by Security Consultant View Post
    Consider the 'private industry' company who had contracts with different branches of the government. They were caught giving gifts to government employees they were doing business with. In response the company had to put all of their employees through ethics to make sure they understood the federal laws. To this day all employees are required to undergo certified ethics training yearly.

    Consider the University President who somehow was allowed to place his name in a box to win an all expense paid trip to the Bahamas. His name was pullled as the winner. He understood that he was not allowed to win the trip -
    I don't think his wife still understands.

    The ethics laws for private industry doing business with the government are very exacting and must be strictly adheared to. But then, in many European countries all income from bribes is tax deductable and must be must be claimed as income.
    Whenever I shake the hand of anyone involved in GSA sales, I count my fingers afterwords, in any company I've ever worked for. Those guys are shadier than mortgage brokers.

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  • CameraMan
    replied
    Wednesday I have training with a popular dvr-and-camera company whose name starts with an 'e' and ends with a 'focus'. They are my number one recomended line... even though they never give me free stuff.

    Hell, the rep can't even manage to give me a non-wrinkled business card when he sees me.

    Still, I recomend them over everyone else, because 1) I have had good experiences with their product in the past, and 2) they are real cheap.

    Of course, if anyone from that company is reading this, free stuff, while morally wrong, is still awesome. Buy me lunch, I'm broke because we just had a baby.

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  • Curtis Baillie
    replied
    Originally posted by CameraMan View Post
    Of course, I'm in private industry. Also, I'm not the one handing out bags of swag to the military guys.
    Consider the 'private industry' company who had contracts with different branches of the government. They were caught giving gifts to government employees they were doing business with. In response the company had to put all of their employees through ethics to make sure they understood the federal laws. To this day all employees are required to undergo certified ethics training yearly.

    Consider the University President who somehow was allowed to place his name in a box to win an all expense paid trip to the Bahamas. His name was pullled as the winner. He understood that he was not allowed to win the trip -
    I don't think his wife still understands.

    The ethics laws for private industry doing business with the government are very exacting and must be strictly adheared to. But then, in many European countries all income from bribes is tax deductable and must be must be claimed as income.

    Leave a comment:


  • SecTrainer
    replied
    Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
    Is there an actual "problem" legally with part of the vendor criteria being "they give us stuff?"
    I understand the spirit in which you're asking what might seem to be a tongue-in-cheek question, Nate. And, you could ask the same question even more strongly:

    Would there really be anything illegal with making "free stuff" the tie-breaker between two vendors in a close bidding situation? What if you even wrote this out:

    ________________

    CONTRACT AWARD REQUIREMENTS:

    1. Vendor must have been in business for at least 5 years.

    2. Vendor must have no unresolved civil actions pending with respect to previous work performed.

    3. Vendor must use certified technicians to install the equipment.

    4. In the event that two or more vendors' bids are found to be acceptable, the one with the best free stuff, as determined by a majority vote of the Free Stuff Committee, shall be awarded the contract.

    5. The decision of the Free Stuff Committee shall be final. The vote shall be taken after the interested parties compete in an obligatory period of two months for intensive free-stuff-giving in order to prove the parties' stuff-giving willingness, inventiveness, and capabilities. By this means, the parties shall demonstrate which one wants the contract most.

    6. In the event that diamonds or other precious gems, coins, automobiles, boats, aircraft, rare antiques, autographed first editions, original Beatles posters, Egyptian artifacts, items from the Ming Dynasty, home theaters, firearms or real estate are among the stuff given to the members of the FSC during this competitive period, valuation shall be performed by an accredited appraiser or auction house.

    7. In the event that the FSC receives gifts of stock shares in any public company, valuation shall be the closing price of said shares on the date of the share transfer, as reported by the appropriate stock exchange, multiplied by the number of shares transferred.

    8. In the event that the FSC receives gifts of paper currency of any foreign nation, the valuation shall be denominated in United States currency as computed according to the official exchange rate as reported by the federal banking system at the close of business on the date the currency is received.

    9. In the event that the mother-in-law of the CEO of this company shall be kidnapped and held for ransom pending award of this contract, her release thereby being proferred in the form of a "gift", the kidnapping bidder shall be given one U.S. penny and said bidder may keep the mother-in-law.

    10. Any bidder willing to marry the youngest daughter of the CEO shall be awarded the contract provided he agrees, upon completion of the work, to relocate with his wife to another state.

    11. The following gifts are prohibited: livestock, birds or bats of any kind, farm implements, explosives, fruitcakes, old Playstations, most illicit drugs (see attached schedule) and panties falsely purporting to have been worn by Britney Spears, it now having been firmly and graphically established by irrefutable photographic evidence that Ms. Spears does not wear panties. The FSC already finds itself in possession of several pairs of said counterfeit undergarments which it would be willing to dispose of very cheaply, having no knowledge and making no representation as to who actually did wear them.

    _____________________

    Where would you find the statute prohibiting even something as blatant as this, presuming that no governmental agencies, taxpayer dollars, stockholder or other public interests are involved and this is just simply a matter of business between private entities?

    The problem, of course, is that what is legal is not necessarily moral and is not necessarily even smart. I see two issues here:

    1. The "slippery slope" issue, or what is sometimes called "the camel's nose in the tent", or the "thin edge of the wedge". I doubt seriously that any companies that engage in "heavy" gift-giving and/or receiving will be able to successfully confine the practice to "just the private side of the game".

    2. There are no free lunches...never something for nothing. Here we have an integrator/vendor admitting that what amount to some cheap trinkets influence his vendor decisions, which we may presume in the CCTV game might involve tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars.

    One of the most widely-read books on persuasion is Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D. I recommend everyone involved in business management read it. Among others, he discusses these two cheap tricks of persuasion ("cheap" because they can be used to short-circuit rational thinking of the target):

    1. The power of establishing a sense of "obligation" with small gifts. A sense of obligation to someone else has enormous power, and repayment is very often disproportionately large compared to what was given. He mentions the famous Krishnas who would come up to a target in an airport and hand (i.e., almost force upon) them a flower which was worth very little. In response, a fairly high percentage of people would give them $5, $10, or $20 "donations". (Interestingly, the target would then usually throw the flower away in the nearest trash can and the Krishnas had people going around retrieving the discarded flowers to be used again!)

    2. The power of getting someone to make a small compromise before asking them for the big one. Tip them over the edge and get them started down the slippery slope; few will be able to stop themselves. The studies about this are truly amazing. Go up to a homeowner and ask them if you can put a large sign in their yard declaring their support for a political candidate and most will say "no" - even if they do support the candidate. Ask them, however, to put a sticker in their front window and many will say "yes, sure"...and NOW when you come back and ask them a week later about the sign in the yard, you are able to "convert" many of the people who agreed to paste a sticker on the window.

    Why does this work? People have a need to be consistent with their earlier decisions and commitments. We know that if you can get a person during jury selection merely to agree that they have no moral objections to the death penalty (a small verbal commitment seemingly of no consequence), they are much less likely to vote against the death penalty later if the defendant is found guilty.

    All of this is simply fascinating, but what I would suggest is that everyone who is in a position of decision-making become familiar with the hidden methods of persuasion and the way in which people seek to exercise influence over you. You'll find yourself skirting the edge of what you know is ethically questionable less often when you keep from being pushed over the line by these insidious methods.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 11-19-2007, 05:39 PM.

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  • N. A. Corbier
    replied
    I have to wonder something.

    Many people in contract security believe that its "bribery" to accept gifts. We all know, or should know, that you can't bribe a private employee (only a public one), unless they're acting in the interest of the state.

    But, what about CCTV vendors? They're not in an industry that emulates a public industry. There's no expectation that guards will be bribed, since they simply don't sell guards.

    Is there an actual "problem" legally with part of the vendor criteria being "they give us stuff?"

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  • CameraMan
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Warnock View Post
    Curtis, gifts and ethics have always been a troublesome issueds especially for government employees and members of the uniformed services. Having said that, anything anyone attempts to give you as any gift shoud be refused or if the WRITTEN POLICY states HAVING NO INTRINSIC VALUE, the definition of which is carefully spelled out, should be turned over to the personnel officer with a note of explaination and permission to accept such an article.
    We've all heard the term "slippery slope," and we all of know what an empirical cost curve looks like, then turn the example 180 degrees. Pointed down, isn't it? To violate written or implied policies is a sudden drop off of a cliff. There is no safety net for such behavior.
    Don't be clever and respond to the potential giver that you cannot accept the gift but the potential giver can donate it to their favorite charity. That represents intrinsic value to a person in your name. You are the vicarious giver.
    That will keep not only your butt out of a sling but your organization's as well.
    Enjoy the day,
    Bill
    Of course, I'm in private industry. Also, I'm not the one handing out bags of swag to the military guys.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bill Warnock
    replied
    Curtis, gifts and ethics have always been a troublesome issueds especially for government employees and members of the uniformed services. Having said that, anything anyone attempts to give you as any gift shoud be refused or if the WRITTEN POLICY states HAVING NO INTRINSIC VALUE, the definition of which is carefully spelled out, should be turned over to the personnel officer with a note of explaination and permission to accept such an article.
    We've all heard the term "slippery slope," and we all of know what an empirical cost curve looks like, then turn the example 180 degrees. Pointed down, isn't it? To violate written or implied policies is a sudden drop off of a cliff. There is no safety net for such behavior.
    Don't be clever and respond to the potential giver that you cannot accept the gift but the potential giver can donate it to their favorite charity. That represents intrinsic value to a person in your name. You are the vicarious giver.
    That will keep not only your butt out of a sling but your organization's as well.
    Enjoy the day,
    Bill

    Leave a comment:


  • CameraMan
    replied
    I should point out, too, that we have an entire department (the Bids department) whose sole job is to make other people happy by giving them free stuff. I notice that Marines and Navy people just love the hell out of our freebies, while Air Force guys are more ambivilant.

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  • CameraMan
    replied
    Originally posted by Security Consultant View Post
    So, without identifying your company, what is the policy on receiving gifts?
    Officially sanctioned.

    Being one of the largest businesses of our kind in the world, we are the exclusive sellers of and sellers to many different businesses. We sell tons of stuff to the government and in a lot of cases we are the only place to get certain stuff. Vendors do all they can to keep everyone of us happy, from upper management to the lowliest phone sales peons. Today I got a pen and a flashlight and a bunch of literature from 3 vendors who just stopped by (Monday is our slowest day so vendors come by pretty often). The loot when we go to training is even better.

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  • Curtis Baillie
    replied
    bpdblue - In my law enforcement days I had to set policy regarding freebes. There was one eatery that gave the first $4.50 free to all law enforcement officers. This was in the 1970s and that was in many cases a free meal. I met with the owner, many times, and explained the department policy. I had no problem with free coffee as every diner did that.

    The owner flat out refused to comply with the policy and I had to put his place off-limits to the officers. He even filed a complaint with the city officials who backed my decision 100%. Oddly enough this owner went out of business about 6 months later. Just goes to show how crazy it gets.

    This has always been a very interesting topic to me. I wrote about this topic extensively in a new book to released March 14, 2008 - Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention.

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  • bpdblue
    replied
    Gifts, tips, ect., another slippery slope of shades of gray.

    I know people probably hate this, but since we do work in a mode similar to law enforcement, would you agree that taking such items would be acceptable in law enforcement.

    Do you believe yourself to be a security officer first and foremost, or is your security job secondary to what ever else your duties require you to do.

    If you get something from a client, customer, vender, happy citizen, ect., who does that item really belong to. Should you really accept it. If someone gets mad if you don't accept it, what do you do with it.

    In (I believe) most law enforcement agencies, the proper proceedure in getting an item turned over to you (you notice I didn't say was given to you as a tip, or gift) is to turn in the item to the department.

    I know most places Love to have security and the police around, especially if they don't have security of their own. In my old department the rule on taking anything at a discount, or free, was that it had to be available to ALL city workers (librarians, clerks, park and rec., ect.) at that cost, or it was not acceptable. This rule came from the city attorney.

    AND YET, when you would go out on duty, in uniform, and meet up with a supervisor for coffee or something, we would always go to a place where the goodies were free.

    It is not that the supervisors were messing with me, I started in the department at the same time as the most senior ones, but it is just that was how it has been done for a long time.

    Now if anything was found, or given to an officer that was worth something, it would immediatly be turned over to the department.

    I always felt that nothing should be taken for free, or reduced cost, because of the "you now owe me" factor some people have already talked about here. But, as has already been posted here, I did do the freeby / reduced price thing because of other officers, from my department, and other departments, who counted on these things to save money. (Note, I worked graveyards, and the only places open for eating, including at our outstanding hotels, wanted us in there as much as possible, and had discount prices as incentives for that goal.)

    So, what point am I trying to make with all my ramblings. If you have not taken gifts and tips, don't start. If you have, you should try to stop. If you receive anything of great value, turn it over to you company. You will avoid any problems in this area if you follow these suggestions.

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  • Curtis Baillie
    replied
    So, without identifying your company, what is the policy on receiving gifts?

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