“Nothing will kill a great employee faster than watching you tolerate a bad one.” – Perry Belcher

I saw this posted on LinkedIn. Truth is, I don’t even know who Perry Belcher is, but his statement certainly hit the mark. Morale is one of those intangibles that cannot be measured objectively, but is as important as any recorded performance statistic. Morale does not show up on a spreadsheet or statistics graph, but it is critical to the success of any organization.

I applaud State Police Commissioner James Rovella and Col. Stavros Mellekas for addressing an ugly issue: the cheating scandal within the current Connecticut State Police academy class. Their action of firing eight recruits — who were only days away from graduating — not only sends a powerful message to the remaining 54 recruits (and all the recruits that will follow), it resonates with the current 888 sworn personnel.

Commissioner Rovella and Col. Mellekas recognized that while the original misconduct of cheating was troubling, the denying of the cheating was more egregious. While the first could have been addressed with punishment, the second was fatal. Anyone can make a bad decision, but the inability to admit that decision and then lie to cover it up cannot be tolerated or remedied. No doubt, in light of the current staffing shortage, the last thing the head of the state police wanted to do was to reduce the graduating class by 13 percent. However, the worse alternative was to discipline the offenders, then let them graduate and become the enforcers of the law.

In my book, I addressed this very issue when I was forced by circumstances to become a whistleblower. However, in my instance, the FBI decided it was more important to save face and defend the misconduct of their agents. Instead of conducting a legitimate inquiry, the FBI opted to conduct a limited scope “investigation,” which is a fancy word for a whitewash. It fooled no one, least of all a federal judge and jury. This is one of the reasons the FBI periodically finds itself with the recurring stain of ethical lapses. The federal agency is more concerned about having its public image tarnished than it is of seriously addressing misconduct.

Good for Commissioner Rovella and Colonel Mellekas … for the good of the state of Connecticut.