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December 2005 CIO Decisions Letters to the Editor

STEER CLEAR WHEN YOU CAN
I very much adhere to the sample boilerplate you presented in " Steering Clear of Vendor Bribes" [October issue], with some adjustments. When I receive a gift, such as a coffee cup, a T-shirt or a fruit basket, I give it to staff. When I'm asked to play golf, I pass the invite on to other senior managers and let the vendor attempt to influence them instead. In the U.S., keeping good ethics is easy.

I once worked in China building a data center and was asked to pay bribes to get equipment into the country without obstacles. My options were to go to the legal department, which would have said that bribes were against the law ; go to HR, which would have said bribes violated company ethics; or go to my boss (the CEO), who would have said, "Just get the equipment. Do what you need to do, and don't expose the company." So I hired an agent to help bring in the equipment, which came through without a problem. Ethics took a back seat to getting the job done.

Fernando Gonzalez
CIO
Byer California
San Francisco, Calif.

WALKING IN AN AUDITOR'S SHOES
I received my first copy of CIO Decisions and was delighted to see the "Audit Trail" section -- a great piece on misinterpreted words [April issue]. I've been an IT/IS auditor for 100 years, and the column offers good advice for folks who interact with an IT/IS auditor. I believe senior-level IT folks need to better understand their IT auditor and take advantage of his control knowledge.

Cheryl A. Abate
IS Audit Manager
Hillsborough County Audit Dept.
Clerk of the Circuit Court
Tampa, Fla.

SAYING NO TO SENIOR EXECUTIVES
I 'm afraid the Project Expert column "Mistaking Half-baked Ideas for Projects" [April issue] carries its own contradiction. The same people who are "seldom empowered to say 'No' to senior executives -- no matter how dysfunctional their ideas may be" also aren't empowered to insist that those senior executives comply with a sensible checklist of business case questions. The illustration tells the wrong story, with a boss dropping a techie down the chute; it's harder to picture a valiant technocrat trying to impose order on the whims of a herd of 600-pound gorillas.

Harlan Rosenthal
Computing Consultant
Fair Lawn, N.J.

A TEAM OF IRAQIS
I returned from 16 months in Iraq and was taken by the article "100 Days in Iraq" [April issue]. I was the operations manager/director for IT working with Dennis Plockmeyer, director of IT for the Coalition Provisional Authority's program management office. Along with some very talented Iraqi IT experts (contrary to the article's contention, there are many talented IT Iraqi personnel, but you have to look for them), we designed and implemented the most modern infrastructure and application system. Unlike the lone CIO, we had a team of both Iraqi and U.S. workers.

Steven J. Lucks
Operations C6
DOS/PCO-IT
Iraq

WE'RE NOT BOR--ING
I recently read your magazine for the first time and found it to be an excellent source of information. I have subscriptions to many magazines that deal with IT, most of which are bor-ing. But I've found the pieces "Steering Clear of Vendor Bribes," "Before Disaster Strikes" and "Tech Touchdown" -- my favorite because it relates to a similar situation that I've had as an IT director -- quite worthwhile. Case studies add great value to a magazine. Congratulations.

Eric Chez
IS/IT Marketing Director
Sky Mart Sales Corp.
Miami, Fla.

CORRECTION
Due to reporting errors, "Before Disaster Strikes" [October issue] mistakenly stated that AlphaStaff Inc. had been shut down by hurricanes four times last year; only its Boca Raton, Fla., headquarters was shut down four times. The story failed to note that the company had a business continuity plan, but it did not include provisions for replicating and restoring e-mail for its headquarters office. The story misstated the name and title of CTO Ralph Labarta.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU:
CIO Decisions welcomes your letters. Write to us at editor@ciodecisions.com and include your name, title, company, city and state, and a daytime phone number for verification. We may edit letters for clarity and length.

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