An American court has sentenced a former engineering safety manager to 78 months in prison for falsifying information about injuries at three nuclear power plant sites.

Now there’s a headline.  Here’s the bottom line:  An engineer for a contractor working on nuclear plants for the TVA falsified safety (think injury) data at the sites. He lied, as the court concluded based on both e-mail evidence (the engineer’s own words condemned him) and interviews with employees who said that they were denied or received delayed medical treatment in order to keep the number of injuries down. The Barimeter envisions the engineer saying, “Just go sit over there and be quiet until we submit the quarterly safety numbers.  Then we will get you some treatment.”

Stone & Webster (a subsidiary of Shaw) had a contract with TVA for maintenance and modification services at the Browns Ferry, Sequoyah and Watts Bar nuclear plants. Walter Cardin was the safety manager for Stone & Webster on those projects.  Because Mr. Cardin submitted false data, Stone & Webster was entitled to receive safety bonuses of about  $2.5 million annually under the terms of its contract with the TVA. Stone & Webster has paid back over $6.2 million to the federal government as part of its settlement of the case on civil charges based on false claims and contract fraud.

Mr. Cardin’s knowing misrepresentations (lies, as the judge noted) and his obstruction during the investigation (he denied falsification despite, as noted earlier, those damning e-mails) netted him the 78-month sentence.  There are no limits to what employees will do when incentives are misaligned — i.e., the employees get the idea to just meet the numbers required, even if the numbers are not real.

During the trial, evidence was
presented covering over 80 injuries that were not properly recorded by Cardin.
According to a statement from the US Department of Justice, evidence had also
shown that Cardin had “intentionally misrepresented or simply lied” about
how the injuries had occurred and their severity. Some employees testified that
they had been denied or delayed proper medical treatment as a result of
Cardin’s actions.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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