Friday, March 22, 2019

Friends Friday - Truth Or Consequences

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
I have been wrestling with a delegate situation at work for the past three weeks. Let me start with saying that this is not a transgender-related issue, so no need for you to continue if you want this drama to go there. 

My HR director skillfully navigated the E-Verify self-inflicted problem and I was happily settling in and contributing on a daily basis. I do enjoy working! This is my fourth non-profit gig and know the ins-and-outs of posting, processing, acknowledging gifts. Plus I am a query SQL/data base expert. I am not a big fan of the Raiser’s Edge software product, however, it is difficult to counter the most used and successful tool in the market. It is designed to comply with fundraising/accounting best practices and help non-profits navigate potential legal/ethical issues. I am good at using the package. 

Not long after I became a full-time employee, request started from my immediate boss to change already posted/processed/acknowledged funds and appeals. Both of which are tied to the separate and interlocked accounting system. I could see that these changes were to enhance and consolidate her overall year-to-date totals against goals. I became suspicious of some of the request and worked to stay within acceptable accounting practices. I was new and eager to please. 

Next, the request became murkier. I was told to enter gifts that were not posted receivables from accounting. I said no. After refusing to enter these amounts as gifts, I was told they could be entered as pledges and the donors payments/gifts would come over time; thus, she could still count the income. I agreed to enter these only if there were recorded amounts (pledges) with signatures. After researching these, I found that only half had signed forms. The pressure became intense. I questioned the remaining “pledges” and in writing (e-mail) said I would only enter signed agreements. I was painfully aware of the consequences of my action at this point. This was no way to start a new job.  

The next business day, I was called into my bosses office and was presented a form to sign, stating that I would do what I was told and was given a date/time to have the demands done. I signed the demand letter to avoid being terminated on the spot. I returned to my desk and completed my resignation letter so I could leave of my own volition. I submitted my resignation to HR at the end of the day. My letter only stated that my supervisor and I had irreconcilable differences in a business matter. When pressed, I went no further.  

Thus ending a three-month contract project and six-week employment stay. I took the job seriously. I liked the job. I liked the place. And I liked the mission.  I appreciated being part of a team, providing a service of which I agreed and could relate. 

I am disappointed and do question my actions. Should I have been more flexible/understanding of my supervisor’s needs?  Or, did I do the right thing, sacrificing my job in the wake?  Comments please...

Several of my friends at work have already reached out to say they miss me. I miss then as well.  


  1. I admire your ethics, and your courage to do the right thing.
    You were in a no-win situation; if you did it, you were opening yourself up to liability
    if a new boss or auditor questioned your actions.
    With luck, you will stay in contact with some of your new friends, They can be references
    if you look for a new gig. Good hunting!

  2. In a world where lying is the normal mode of operation,it's great to see your actions. The value of any job is based on the satisfaction that YOU get from it. No one has to lie to make a supervisor look good.

  3. I too applaud your courage and integrity. I agree with the statement about opening yourself to liabilities and possible legal problems in light of the ever growing investigations into the collage entry scams. I have a feeling that more and more investigations will follow.

  4. First, you did the right thing by resigning.

    Your boss's actions bordered on the illegal. But I'm not a lawyer, so I can't say this for sure. The only thing I'd have done differently is to tell HR what was going on. You were being put in a spot where you'd get the blame if someone found out what was done. It would have been your word against your boss's word - and you know who'd win there.

    However, if this still bothers you, you can submit a polite letter to HR, and give them the full reasons why you left the organization. You would also say something to the effect that you have no animosity towards the organization, and that you wish them success in the future. After this, you can invite a friend from the office out for a drink - just to find out if anything happens....

    Just a thought....


  5. Hi Rhonda,
    So pleased the E-Verify issue got sorted and I knew that you would uphold principles. You are lucky that you did not 'need' the job but I really feel for people put into such a position who really have to work and I am guessing that the same could happen again to someone else who could not walk away as professionally as you did. Love Linda

  6. You did the right thing. The comments are all right on target and offer good advice.
    It is sad how much fraud and corruption takes place in the world of non-profits. Fundraising has become a full time occupation for many and accountability of donated funds is often sorely lacking.
    Good luck

  7. You did the right thing. It would seem that SOMEBODY wanted to 'count chickens' before they were conceived, much less hatched.

    "Just Get The NUMBERS"; That is the mantra of todays business world, wherever I have worked. Furthermore, after we 'get those numbers' we will make up NEW, BETTER, LARGER NUMBERS, and we will mindlessly march toward those numbers regardless of whether or not the numbers correlate to real success.
    Never mind the so called 'ethics' course at B-School. That is merely a 'check-off' on the college course list.
    Stated simply, 'fearless leader' was counting on finding a person who could be coerced into dubious compliance. When (not 'if')things did 'blow up and go to hell', you would have been left holding the bag. That 'thing' you signed is long gone--shredded.... Have a copy?

    Revenge, being a dish best served cold..... I recommend you 'drop a dime' on 'him' to TWO local media outlets-(helps keep THEM honest too, REMEMBER 'Capture and Kill?'), as well as to the executive board (each member gets their own, personal copy, delivered to their home, if possible) of that 'charity'. Oh, while you are at it, send a copy to the state A-G, just for kicks... I can just see the 'acid reflux' rising...
    There is a scientific sequence to 'dime-ing'. The news outlets and the A-G need to get the info about 1 or 2 days before the executive board gets their copy. AND the exec board needs to realize this as they read their copies. Exec board needs to get their copies on late FRIDAY AFTERNOON (use a courier!), just to totally RUIN their weekend!
    The idea is to put EVERYBODY in a 'jam' where all must act accordingly, in order to 'save their own hides'. Regardless of their feelings and relationship; 'somebody is goin' under the bus'
    Been there, done that, watched (from a safe distance, while still inside 'the store') the 'large corporate idiots' SQUIRM and then 'twist in the wind'. AND in my case, 'they' never knew who screwed 'em.
    Dont mess with 'the Velma'.

    1. WOW Velma - I am not going to mess with you! Love it. Yes I have a copy. Can't believe she put it in writing.

  8. Rhonda,
    You did the right thing to get out of there ASAP. What you observed and were asked to become part of is immoral and likely illegal depending upon how that pledge/donated data is used.

    However, I don't think your job is done yet. Far too often we observe something that is wrong and walk away letting the injustice/illegality/immoral actions continue. I don't know for sure what the consequences of the boss cooking the books will be but I suspect that at a minimum the boss' compensation is dependent upon making some goal. If the results are incorrectly stated because the books were cooked, those that benefit from the charity will be shortchanged by this. Of course, bad decisions made based upon the cooked data could be even worse.

    So, while I don't know if I agree with Velma's tactics, I think that you have a moral obligation to inform at least the oganization's BOD and at the same time the CEO. (I hate to be preachy but it is the way I was brought up on these matters.) If you don't you become a part, albeit a minor part, of the problem.

    Doing this might cost you but doing it will do two things: you will be better able to sleep at night and the crook will not be stealing from/cheating the charity. If you need an analogy, fake donations is no different than the fake accounts the Wells Fargo employees were booking.

    Good luck. I know you will do the right thing.


    1. One of our coworkers was a Veteran of Vietnam, and he warned of the FATAL FUTILITY of a FRONTAL ASSAULT. Go guerilla. Stay alive. Live to fight another day. DONT be used as a SCAPEGOAT. Velma

  9. Rhonda,
    I forgot to mention something. You questioned if you should have been more flexible. No, you were following what you understood to be proper accounting practices. Also, realize that if you had stayed and the you-know-what hit the fan, you would have been blamed by the boss and your reputation would have been sullied, possibly irrecoverably.

  10. Absolutely you did the right thing. Unethical, borderline illegal accounting is never a good thing to be a party to.