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Don’t allow trusted ‘Radars’ to subvert internal controls

All organizations have employees who are so smart, energetic and indispensable that they can manage integral functions without close supervision. But some of these “Radars” will succumb to their freedom and rob you blind.

“She was just like Radar on that TV show M*A*S*H,” said the distraught director of the 911 communications district in the rural Tennessee community. The district was responsible for answering 911 calls and dispatching emergency services to those callers. “She” was the assistant director entrusted to handle all aspects of the district’s finances until an investigation revealed she took about $80,000 from her employer. Because the district was funded by fees assessed on all landline telephones and cellphones in the county, every citizen was considered a victim of her fraud.

I knew the director was talking about M*A*S*H*’s Corporal Walter Eugene O’Reilly (AKA Radar) — one of the most beloved TV characters ever — because my father, a former U.S. Army helicopter mechanic, loved watching the show. He especially enjoyed watching the medevac helicopters in the opening credits and throughout the show.

The character Radar was a simple boy from Iowa who was drafted into the U.S. Army right after high school. He was endowed with super-human hearing so he could detect incoming medevac helicopters before anybody else. But it wasn’t these abilities that earned him his nickname. He also had extra-sensory perception. He appeared at his commander’s side before he summoned him, and he even finished his sentences. So, his boss trusted Radar to manage the administrative side of the medical unit.

For those who aren’t familiar with Radar’s talents, a contemporary movie example is Pepper Potts, who performs similar duties for Tony Stark, aka Marvel’s Iron Man. She runs his multinational corporation while he zooms around saving the day in his metallic suit.

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