James began working for NewCo nearly 20 years ago, eventually moving up to the position of facility and maintenance supervisor. During the past 20 years, NewCo experienced significant growth in which James played a major part in the expansion plans. Because of his great service and abilities, James earned great respect in the company. Although helpful to the company, James was forced to leave the company because of severe health problems.
Earl was called in to replace James. The sudden departure of James kept him from working with James and learning the proper policies and procedures James had put into place before he left. The lack of training created a problem for Earl, who was faced with finishing the projects James had started. The major project James left was a construction project where the price had already been determined but no work had begun. Unfortunately, Earl could not find any contractor information, nor could he find any of the contacts James had worked with.
As Earl continued to search, he realized he was in more trouble than he thought because no records were available for any of the work James had performed. The lack of information forced Earl to bid the contract out to a new contractor. When Earl received the new bid and presented it to management, they were surprised to find that the new price was 30 percent less than the original bid.
Management believed the new bid price was wrong and questioned Earl to ensure he had included all of the requirements for the project. Once they determined he had, they began to ask more questions. As they looked around and reviewed some of James’s previous activities, they realized that he was no longer bidding out projects but rather giving them to specific contractors. When reviewing these contractors they found that they had no information for the contractors on file. They didn’t have any addresses, phone numbers, or even tax ID numbers for payments. All they had was a name, and from that information they cut a check and James delivered the checks personally.
Based on this new information they began to question other employees about James’s activities. They found that others considered him secretive and that he refused to allow anyone to work with him on his projects. Others told management that James had also recently become violent and erratic with many of the employees. Because of the number of red flags, management called you in to investigate James’s previous activities.
Who would you interview first and why?
What type of information would you look for?
Who else would you interview? How would you approach each of the different individuals? What factors will affect your approach?
When would you suggest approaching James? How would you handle his interview?