September 30, 2010
Multiple Comments Attached
I must ask, why do we need to 'award' Whistleblowers?
The answer is actually easy: Because the Whistleblowing system is actually destructive to the people who are attempting to do the right thing.
This needs to be changed.
In a 'real-life' situation, when someone blows a whistle, where do you immediately look? Not at the situation the whistleblower is attempting to draw attention to. No. You look at the person blowing the whistle. Whether a referee on a field of play, a police officer chasing a potential felon, or even a drowning life-guard pointing out a drowning victim - in each case you look to the whistle blower, not to the incident.
Unfortunately, this has been the case with the SEC and whistleblowers as well.
What must be created is a mechanism by which the person seeing 'wrong' behavior does not need to reach for a piece of day-glow orange safety equipment to get needed assistance.
Those witnessing lesser actions, and wanting help to correct it often do not "blow whistles," because it will cost THEM, the people trying to do the right thing.
What they need is a safe space, and informal process where they can quietly, and with appropriate support discuss what they have seen, and how best to get it addressed.
Rather than 'increasing' awards for whistleblowing, which introduces numerous conflict of interest questions, the SEC could do a great deal more by requiring the regulated community of financial services firms to create organizational ombudsman programs.
The Dodd-Frank Bill requires one Ombudsman in the SEC, and that is a good beginning. An SEC Ombudsman capable of accepting issues from the SEC workforce could make a major difference in how issues are raised in that organization.
But far more would be achieved by regulating the need for 'to-code' Organizational Ombudsmen in every regulated firm of more the 500 employees.
Members of the Ombudsman profession, including myself, stand ready and able to assist the SEC consider and implement this powerful human technology.
John W. Zinsser
Pacifica Human Communications, LLC.
(Attached File #1: whistleblower-16a.pdf) (Attached File #2: whistleblower-16b.pdf) (Attached File #3: whistleblower-16c.pdf)