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Why We Edited Comments on BearingPoint

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

We're big fans of free expression here at CIO Insight, and we also thrive in the wide-open culture of the Internet.

So why did we take down several comments from this article on BearingPoint CIO Eric Goldfarb?

Because not every forum is the same, and not every comment is appropriate for every forum. Our goal here is to create a place where senior IT people can discuss the issues facing the CIO community, not to enable a free-for-all without any rules.

BearingPoint filed for Chapter 11 earlier this year. Goldfarb spoke to us about the challenges of retaining top employees in that environment.

Tough times bring out strong emotions, and the piece got a lot of comments. That's OK -- but many were personal shots at Goldfarb, or made factual claims about BearingPoint's business that were not documented -- and all of these were left by anonymous commenters.

That last part crosses a line at a site like this. We do allow some anonymous comments, but if you want to call out a person by name, or make claims about a business, then we're going to hold you to the same standards that have long prevailed in letters to the editor -- we'll need your real name. If you can show us why you wouldn't want your name published, we'll consider running the comment anonymously.

BearingPoint is not an advertiser, nor do we have any other business relationship with the company. As far as we can tell, there is no legal reason for us to remove these comments.

We're doing it out of our sense of what is decent and right, and what creates the most valuable publication for our readers.

Bring on your comments. Be brutally honest -- but extend that honesty to your own identity if you are going to take a shot at someone else.

That's the standard for this particular online community.

Thanks.

Ed Cone, managing editor, online, CIO Insight Brian Watson, editor, CIO Insight

 
 
 
 

14 Comments for "Why We Edited Comments on BearingPoint"

  • M. Merrin February 11, 2010 9:33 am

    An afterword: it's worth noting how it all ended for Eric Goldfarb and his staff at BearingPoint. Goldfarb, the author of this much commented upon article on staff retention, did just what his article claimed to tell other CIO Insight readers how to prevent - he jumped his sinking ship with a bonus check for $250,000 leaving his staff behind. The original bonus was for over $300,000 and was filed on March 23rd, barely a month after the company filed bankruptcy on Feb 18, 2009. It was filed publicly and word got around to his staff, making things very uncomfortable for Goldfarb when his staff confronted him about it on his "monthly IT-wide team conference call" which he touted in his article as being one of the "keys to retaining talent". When asked why he agreed to receive this bonus he became very uncomfortable and said he "worked really, really hard" and mumbled something about all the money he�™d been expecting to make in stock options but now would not get since the company was being sold to the highest bidder. After the call ended, he called several of his staff trying to elicit pity, telling them how stressed he was how hard he worked, and reiterating how deserving he was of the payout. He paid them compliments and promised he�™d be calling with a job "when all this over and after I�™ve taken a long vacation on a beach somewhere." In short, he was trying to calm them down and shut them up until he made off with his cash. It�™s worth noting that at the time he was arranging this payout for himself, BearingPoint staff were being told that the company may not have enough money to pay them their unused vacation time and staff were being strongly encouraged to take vacation before they were laid off. At this point, few expected to see any severance, but Eric and the executive team were earmarking a few million for themselves. Sensitive to the economic climate and news stories of executives making off with huge bonuses while their companies failed, the bankruptcy judge denied the request. A few months later, on July 24th they filed again requesting slightly smaller bonuses for fewer executives, and most importantly they filed this *privately*, perhaps so Eric wouldn�™t have to face his loyal staff on his IT-wide conference call. This time the payout was approved and Eric cleared $250,000 and slipped into his lifeboat and rowed away to "better opportunities" no doubt, while his staff remained on board.

  • Not an Eric fan June 23, 2009 12:09 pm

    Anonymous - since I am still currently working for BearingPoint let me clue you into something that you may have missed in your assumption. Since I know him and know when he left, I can tell you that Lyle Brown was RIF'ed after our Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing. During this time, the employees were told that we were working with our creditors to emerge as a company. The employees who got released during this time were the luckiest of all the BearingPoint employees in that they got their severance and their PTO paid to them. Shortly after Lyle (and also Tom Davies - check his statements on this website too) were let go, the word was passed down that the company would be broken apart and sold piece meal to various entities (Deloitte, PWC, etc...) and assurances were given that we (the remaining employees) would get our severance and PTO as well. The plan was that those transferring to Deloitte or PWC would get no severance but would get their PTO paid out which they had earned. Those who were not going to Deloitte or PWC would not only get their PTO but severance as well (since they would be left without a job). Now - the junior creditors are back in court trying to prevent the payment of PTO and Severance ( the same PTO and severance that we were assured we'd get) to the remaining employees. The judge has yet to rule on this motion but a decision is to be made soon. So Lyle was let go after the Chapter 11 filing but before the company was broken apart and before the junior creditors went to court to block the employees (who didn't run the company into the ground like the executives) from getting severance and their PTO which they earned. This is how Lyle and some other former BearingPoint employees could've been paid their severance and PTO and yet some remaining employees are fearful of a backlash from Eric if their names are out in public. If the judge rules we can get our PTO and severance, we have alot to lose by exposing our names right now. I'm quite sure after all is said and done and the lights are turned off in BearingPoint that you will see more and more ex-employees make their names known. Hope my valid statements clear things up for you.

  • Anonymous June 17, 2009 3:34 pm

    "Not an Eric Fan" was worried about not getting severance or PTO if he spoke out, and Lyle claims to have received his severance. It was my understanding that there have been no severance payments for some time, and nobody (including those who transferred over to Deloitte) is likely to see a payout for their PTO... Makes me question the validity of both comments.

  • Ed Cone May 30, 2009 8:44 pm

    Dennis King, The First Amendment protects our right to speak freely without government sanction. Publications make decisions about what to publish all the time, based on their own standards. Just so you get the terms straight -- what we did is not called "censorship," which is government control of speech, it's called "editing." We've made a lot of progress since the post above -- two IT execs from BearingPoint have published comments under their own names, and the story is moving forward. Thanks for your interest.

  • Dennis King May 29, 2009 5:05 pm

    In the United States we are allowed to to take "shots" without censoring in any way but if you got the guts to speak out "shots" then put your name on the paper. If your comments do not get posted it is because this guy does not like what you said and then he is in violation of the first amendment and he should go to Cuba where you are shot in the head if you speak out against something that the government or there friends do not like. Sense Obama became the new nut everyone in business is running scared. Scared of him that is! SO if you got guts to speak then put your name down and I will still respect you for having the guts to say what is on your mind. What say you Mr. Cone You have the Floor Mr. Cone

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