The case of the missing money.

Okay, time to review my notes to get to the bottom of this crisis. If the media notices then it’s going to get ugly real fast. Then what? Another black eye for a hospital already laden with black eyes.

It seems the Information Systems department was given a $1.5 million grant to finally upgrade its badly antiquated network. Just when things started looking up, the money mysteriously disappears, and no one knows who did it. It’s my job to find the culprit and fast before the media circus begins.

First on my list of suspects is Robert, the network administrator. He seems like a nice guy but appearances can be deceiving. But when I asked him about the money, he got a bit emotional. “An upgraded network means less time at work and more time at home with my family,” he told me, “and stealing the money is the last thing I’d ever do.” Sounds sincere enough.

Next I confronted Charles, the office manager. Seems like a grouchy guy, but I took my chances and asked him about the missing money. He too got emotional in his answer. “My wife is seriously considering divorcing me because I spend too much time at work trying to fix the network,” he said, “and if she leaves me, I am going to be one broken man. I love her too much to risk stealing anything.”

John the database administrator told me the same thing the other guys did, except it was more along the lines of “my boys are literally growing up without me around.” And he actually started getting teary eyed. I don’t know, but I think he meant every word of his statement.

Then I spoke to Kevin, the department director. He began acting very nervous, as if I was cornering him with a pair of handcuffs at the ready. I started to think I had my man but he managed to squirm his way out of my grip. “I mean, this is the first time that I’ve heard of this, I mean, thinking that one of us could have taken the money but it wasn’t me, I mean, I wouldn’t have figured out how to transfer it to my bank, not that I would, but I’d never do that, I mean, I’m not a thief and I don’t think anyone in this department is either.” Wow. A dead giveaway. Here’s a guy who’s nervous and rambling as if to hide his guilt.

I asked Kevin, “All right, why did you do it?”

“But I didn’t, I mean, I wouldn’t know how, I mean, I would never take anything that doesn’t belong to me. That’s not how I was raised.” As Kevin spoke he relaxed and began sounding more confident. “If I’m a thief, then I wouldn’t have a job now, would I? I already make enough money to live on without having to worry about stealing any more. Besides I think this is just what our department needs, a reliable network so my staff can spend more time with their families.” Okay, but I still considered Kevin a suspect.

Then I went to the administration offices to speak with those involved with the Information Systems department, starting with Oscar, the Chief Information Officer. “I don’t know why you’re suspecting me, ” Oscar told me, “but I was the one who suggested the grant to upgrade this old network of ours. It’s clearly on its last legs, and if it fails, I get yelled at as much as the staff in the I.S. department. It doesn’t make me look good, it doesn’t make them look good and it doesn’t make the hospital look good. Who would go and seek treatment at a hospital with such a poor network?” Oscar had proven his case and did it well.

When I went to interview Clint the CEO, I was surprised to hear from his secretary that he refused to grant any interviews, citing a heavy work schedule that required him to stay confined to his office. Interesting. This is coming from a guy who claims to be honest and accessible. But why would he not want to speak with me? Unless he’s hiding something other than his face…

I decided to return to Oscar for one last question.

“Does Clint have a grudge against anyone?”

“Hmmm,” Oscar pondered while stroking the beard on his goatee, “he seems especially hostile towards Kevin.”

“Any reason why?” I asked.

“Probably something to do with his lack of experience.”

That’s when it dawned on me. Out of a candidate pool of 7 people way more qualified and experienced than Kevin, Kevin was still hired, much to the annoyance of Clint. And due to the ongoing hiring freeze, no one could be hired to replace Kevin. That alone brought up a very possible scenario that the money was never stolen but perhaps revoked by Clint himself so he could pin the crime on Kevin to force his resignation. That made so much sense that it felt like I had finally cracked the case.

So I returned to the administration offices and forced my way into Clint’s office while ignoring the screams of his secretary. There Clint sat at his desk, playing Solitaire on his computer.

“What took you so long?” he calmly asked.

“You really don’t like Kevin, do you?”

“Hate his guts,” he said, “and yes, I planned the crime. I would have gotten away with it too had it not been for you, Mark Meddler!”

And whenever the culprit says my full name, I consider my job done.

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