Thursday, September 23, 2010

Whistling while you work and getting paid for it!

After a summer hiatus on my writing, I am itching to get back to the keyboard and blow! And just in time too... as you may have gathered from our KLS website, reform abounds. And the potential for successful communication of the messages rung at the bell of governmental ineptitude and incompetence, perhaps even distraction hangs in the air with the passing of the financial reform act. Chief among the sections of interest is one on Whistleblowers. Not only are rewards that will finally be paid underscored (so little has been previously paid out), for those assisting the SEC with its job in impugning those violations that lead to actions against their perpetrating institutions and individuals, the slate is drawn up with some of the process necessary to a successful resolution of such investigations in the interest of state and whistleblower alike. The rest is still to come in the form of rules to be drafted by the SEC. Whistleblowers whose assistance leads to an action against offenders stand to not only be respected and not ignored, but to gain 10-30% of the penalty meted as a reward. What is more, they are to gain special protections where they may experience retaliation if they are insiders within the offending institution.

What does this mean? The message has been transmitted that whistleblower tips and complaints are an efficient mechanism to trigger governmental action. Whistleblowers are deserving of special protections because they are inherently at risk from their employers and others for the courageous actions they shoulder in order to affect changes in individual and systemic offensive and illegal behavior. And it means much more than that too. Two parties that started out on opposite sides have been enmeshed in a dance that is finally provided the music to choreograph change that is real and tangible. Out of a cacaphonous display of disparagement and anger, and earnest structured critique from private and public quarters, now at least on paper, a possibility for transformation has emerged.

This movement toward joining what you cannot beat is the kind of awakening (modest for now until we see it in action and the reality sinks in) we push protagonists into experiencing if we are novelists - even more so when confronted by systematic public milestones of the lessons learned smacking us in both congressional reviews of the IG's reports, and in actions taken, however suspicious against larger institutions. The display is convincing indeed, but do we believe? Has the faith been restored? Only time will tell.