Is NIGP silence a reflection of collective guilt or guilt by association?

Posted on August 17, 2016


“However, I struggle to see a legitimate justification for NIGP’s reluctance to release the audit report. It leads one to suspect, rightly or wrongly, that the contents must be very bad news – perhaps for all those who have received copies.” – Colin Cram, August 16th PI Post Comment

When I read the comment from Colin Cram, who is a 30 plus year veteran of the public sector world and a renown lecturer, it gave me pause for thought. By the way, and for the sake of full disclosure, Colin is the Chief Editor for our European Union Edition.

Colin’s comment – and more specifically his reference to what I will call the collective guilt of those who have received the report and are privy to its contents, made me think beyond the main players in the #CodeGate story.

Yes, NIGP CEO Rick Grimm is undoubtedly a main #CodeGate character, as are Periscope’s Matt Walker, Ken McFarland and Brian Utley.

But what Colin is suggesting is that beyond the above referenced individuals, there is perhaps a collective guilt or responsibility. Otherwise, as Colin would subsequently write, “one might have expected someone to have leaked the report by now.”

This raises the question . . . is there a collective guilt beyond Grimm, Walker, McFarland and Utley, or are we talking about guilt by association?

guilt by association 1

In my August 8th post NIGP Executive Board: A Forced Silence?, I was definitely leaning towards the latter.

My belief was that the good and decent professionals who were on the NIGP executive board, were caught up in something that they never anticipated. Their silence was not reflective of an effort to cover up their own actions, but was due to oppressive non-disclosure agreements and a loyalty to protecting the reputation of the NIGP itself.

I have to admit that the thought of direct involvement on the part of board members having advanced knowledge of the potential NIGP – Periscope conflict, which reared its head with the Missouri protest, did cross my mind.  However, and being somewhat of an optimist, I had hoped otherwise.

Reflecting on Colin’s comment, what if this isn’t the case? What if they knew about problems relative to a conflict of interest from the start? It would be hard to make a case for guilt by association under such circumstances.

Somewhere along the line, someone has to step up and do the right thing. Not only for the sake of their own peace of mind, but for the betterment of the NIGP and the public sector industry itself.

guilt by association 2