For this podcast series, I visited with Vin DiCianni, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of Affiliated Monitors, Inc. (AMI), as a retrospective of the company’s first 15 years. AMI sponsored this podcast series. This series is much more than simply the history of AMI as it details the rise of independent monitors in the US at multiple levels: the federal government, state agencies and local authorities as well as internationally. AMI has been at the forefront of not only the use of independent monitors but also the dramatic growth of the compliance and ethics profession over the past 15 year. This is a history of both the rise of independent monitors as well as the government’s embrace of corporate compliance and ethics programs. During this episode, DiCianni discusses how the use of independent monitors has expanded.
DiCianni noted that the use of independent monitors has greatly expanded over the life of AMI. This expansion has been at all levels of domestic government: in the federal sector, in the state arena and down to the municipal level. It has also expanded into the international sphere as well as the private sector. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) began using monitors in the early 2000s around money-laundering (AML) prosecutions. Independent monitors were used by a wide variety of other federal agencies, from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to the Department of Defense (DOD).
AMI has provided independent monitorships in a wide variety of situations, including AML prosecutions at the federal level. At the state level one of the earliest was in Massachusetts, involving the Big Dig in Boston Harbor. At the municipal level, there have been independent monitorships around public schools and even pension plans. AMI’s work has extended into areas as diverse as prisons to alcoholic beverage regulatory issues. The subject matter expertise of AMI can have different focus, working with different levels of government. In the federal focus, there is compliance and ethics concentration, with state regulators the monitorship may be more focused on businesses meeting their regulatory obligations and with municipalities, the focus may be more around contract issues of procurement and execution.
I was intrigued by the structure of an independent monitor and how broad the work is to the various types of matters. DiCianni noted that independent monitors come “in all shapes and sizes, you could work on a gigantic international or multinational company to a midsize or small size company down to individuals. So each case is very different. Each case will have a certain set of conditions or criteria for the monitor.” He further explained this is why a well-crafted settlement agreement is required as it will detail the rights and obligations of all parties. It might lay out the requirements for the monitor and should lay out the reporting schedule and other items or issues the parties must consider going forward.
I asked DiCianni if he could provide an example of an independent monitorship which tied all these elements together. He related that AMI acted an independent monitor in a civil rights case out of New York City a number of years ago. Based upon this work “AMI received a call from the New York State Attorney General’s (AG) office. They had a small manufacturing company on Long Island which had hired and employed all disabled people. The company got into hot water with the state EEOC function for equal employment of violations. The state AG’s office was in a quandary, as it did not want to close down one of the last manufacturing company’s in this particular city on Long Island. However, the AG had to deal with these realistic problems that the company was having in the EEOC realm. AMI came up with a model under which the company implemented an ethics and compliance program for the state’s EEOC. Some of the elements included a hotline, AMI put on EEOC training for the staff and the management team. AMI then monitored the company for a period of time, to ensure the solution desired by all parties was obtained.”
Another example involved a railroad company that “got in trouble for some unauthorized activity on the billing under a contract. AMI was required to understand not only what had happened, how it had occurred from the root cause standpoint. From this root cause analysis, AMI was able to detail some of the deficiencies in the company’s control and create the monitorship around those issues.” The bottom line, as DiCianni stated, is that “we’re very comfortable monitoring almost any situation because of our years of experience doing it.”
Join us tomorrow where we discuss the marriage of an independent monitor with ethics and compliance programs.
For more information on how an independent monitor can help improve your company’s ethics and compliance program, visit our sponsor Affiliated Monitors at www.affiliatedmonitors.com.