Roland Burris – Guilty by Association?

Last month, Gov. Blagojevich of Illinois was arrested on corruption charges. This month he is being impeached. Is he the type of person you would want endorsing you for a position?

Apparently Roland Burris believes he is. Then again Mr. Burris appears to be gambling on the fact that he will get in just under the wire on this one. Another would-be Senator already turned down Blagojevich’s offer.

It is quite likely that Mr. Burris was not involved in any dealings with the troubled Gov. Most people appear to speak very highly of him amd say that he is a good man. That still will not stop his name and appointment from being tainted as he has been selected by a man facing alleged corruption and impeachment problems.

As a security instructor, I regularly bring these points up for discussion. It is a fact of life that if you associate with a criminal, you will be viewed as a criminal even if you are as honest as the day is long.

I once had a protective assignment running for a client at four different locations 24/7. It took a lot of manpower and a while to find out which personalities fitted in where. One guy thought he was in charge when he wasn’t and eventually I had to spell it out for him that he had to follow the rules like everyone else.

He wasn’t able to take being told what to do so he quit. I was able to handle one troublesome person quitting, that was no bother. What happened next though threatened my whole operation.

I discovered through the grapevine (the world of Executive Protection is quite small, even on a Global scale) that he had gone to work for a convicted criminal. That is professional suicide as no decent, self respecting company would ever hire someone like that as he couldn’t possibly trusted.

The criminal’s new employee then called the guys on my big detail a few days after landing his new job. He advised them that they could make $50 per day more if they left my assignment and went to work for the criminal. A couple of thm approached and said they were thinking of doing it as it meant an extra couple hundred dollars over the course of a week.

I told them that I could not stop them, but if they did go and work for the criminal and my ex-employee that they would never be allowed to work for me again as their professional reputations would be tainted beyond repair. Thankfully they took heed and stayed. The ex-employee was fired by the criminal and has been an outcast in private security in Virginia and the surrounding areas ever since.

Reputations are fragile and while they can be nurtured to grow strong, they can very easily be damaged beyond recognition. Treat yours well as it is the only one you have.

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