Irregular Reporting of Societal IssuesSM

"Get your news weakly"SM 27 November 2006

New Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Measures Take Effect

Following several implementation delays, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that the latest round of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance measures will take effect on the first of January. The new measures will require all publicly traded companies to have on-staff linguists. The linguists will ensure proper use of critical language elements, including constructing requirements with the verb "shall" instead of the non-SOX-compliant "will". "Language are very important too the proper accountability of you're modern corporation", says Brian Cabeza, the new Language Office Compliance Officer (LOCO) with the SEC. A white paper available for download from the SEC's web site highlights some of the errors that the SEC hopes to avoid with the implementation of linguists, set as scenarios. One scenario reads: "Julie, an analyst with the corporate IT department, writes an email suggesting that transactions be sent to a 'third party entity'. The project spins out of control, falling months behind schedule, resulting in the loss of millions in shareholder value, and the misapplication of $11 billion in operating expenses as capital". The scenario concludes that the situation could have been avoided if Julie had a linguist ensure that she wrote "'registered electronic trading partner' instead of the vaguely worded and clearly insufficient 'third party entity' that she so carelessly used". While drawing some criticism for the new regulation, the SEC stands behind their policy requiring corporations to hire professionally certified linguists since competency with language is a specialized and little-used skill in Corporate AmericaTM. Bill Wordly, head of Accenture's new Linguistic Practice, endorsed the regulation, saying, "This new regulation has no downside; we prefer to see it as an opportunity".


Emergency Services Commission Formed

County officials announced a plan to create a commission to study the effectiveness of the Emergency system, with particular emphasis on the 911 service. "Customer service is our primary goal", says county executive Dennis McCheese, adding, "We want to ensure that customers have a pleasing interaction with us". One of the first priorities of the Emergency Services Commission (ESC) will be to investigate the type of hold music customers experience. "Reports are coming in that some customers wait on hold for as much as ten minutes", says McCheese. "This hold time is time that the county needs to be projecting an image to its customer base, and this image needs to be one of calming assurance", says Justin Doolittle, a senior partner at ImageMakers, a consulting firm that the county has retained to facilitate the effort. Following its charter, the ESC will be taking a close look at what kind of hold music will project the most reliable and reassuring image to customers during their time spent waiting on hold. "No options are off the table", says Doolittle. Sources close to the effort indicate that the leading options are classical and jazz, though a significant faction has already developed around types of pop music that are engaging and up-beat, citing "Burning Down the House" by The Talking Heads as an example. "We also need to be seen as relevant and fun", says McCheese, reportedly siding with the pop music faction. Sources also indicate that the E-911 service is also considering selling audio advertising space to insurance companies, lawyers, bail bondsmen, mortuaries, and psycho-therapists. "Change your whole paradigm and look at your E911 hold time as just one more opportunity to link customers with services that they honestly need", said Doolittle.

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© 2006 Lea Ann Mawler & Stuart Mawler