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The CEO's Wife Is Killing Us!

By decalant ·
When the CEO's wife decided she wanted a Blackberry wireless email device about a year ago, our entire IT department (four of us - a group of contractors hired to replace a poor previous IT group) deliberated for days over how to handle the situation.

The old IT folks had allowed her to keep corporate equipment at home and had supported her. We were worried about the implications of this - she is not a corporate employee and the setup would be out of our control - BUT, she is the CEO's wife. In the end she got a brand-new computer and a Blackberry.

At first things went well, but the environment in which she worked became unstable after awhile. She was using a product for the Blackberry that was initially intended for demo purposes: the Desktop Redirector. We needed to make a change to the Blackberry setup.

Later, she wanted MS Office. Our helpdesk agent installed it at the corporate office from a network share. This caused problems down the road and an onsite visit hadto be scheduled to reinstall using the CDs so that the installation could be modified later.

Through all of these relatively minor issues she has steadily voiced what we all perceive to be unreasonable expectations regarding the performance of her equipment. She has repeatedly jabbed the support staff who try to assist her. She reports how "incompetent" we are because we cannot prevent a 5MB attachment from violating her ISP-imposed mail quota.

Consider some of her most common statements:
"I don't care."
"I do not want to call and talk to any technical person. I should not have to."
"You are being paid to make these computers work."

This situation is critical. We are in danger of losing our jobs and my boss who has been working in the IT industry for 19 years has never been placed in a situation like this before. We are at a loss. Can anyone please provide guidance?

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Budget Items and Policies

by plumley In reply to Make her a budget item.

A)Policies - especially those that seem to oppose doing the work, are the best tool. Docummented exceptions to policy are a great defense when questioned.
B)Budget - track the expenses involved. Physical property for inventory, and work hours used. You will find the hours speak loudest. In most businesses the IT services are a cost center under the CFO - he needs to be involved.

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Circumvention

by teligence In reply to Budget Items and Policies

Who is it that said "If you can't work thruogh a problem, work AROUND it!"??? Try dropping an "anonymous" quantification to the Board of Directors of the business resources expended. Looking at it from a black & white approach, it's actually a misappropriation of corporate resources.

Careful, though! The Board might think it's a good idea and include THEIR families also!!! (In that event, buy a few shares and show up at the next stockholder's meeting to make a case...)

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I agree with tstraight

by noura20 In reply to Make her a budget item.

I think that could be a great idea, if applied tactfully.

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an ethical dilemma?

by jjwood In reply to Make her a budget item.

I haven't seen in any of the replys any mention of the ethical issues here. If this is a public company then shame on the CEO for using company resources for personal benefit. He is afterall just a temporary steward of those resources. It's not like he doesn't make enough money to pay for the service, which is exactly what he should do. You should bill him the going rate and he should be asking you to do so.

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BTDT has it correct

by mikatrob In reply to BTDT

This happens all the time.
Family must be treated like customers, the key word being customers, Policy normally states how customers will treat IT. While documenting work completed, outline why this customers call back and ticket status (amount of tickets etc) are abnormal.
Your IT dept should note within the company computers are ALWAYS connected to the Corp network to get updates etc.. but this is a system that maybe does not connect for Virus updates, and other patches that Corp system get. Your own words state that normally there is no problem with MS office installs from network shares but this system is not On-Site when it sends a request to the Corp network, Assign someone who can handle difficult customers and not be condiscending while letting her know she will continue to have difficulties by design rollouts are internal

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How about company policy?

by wallowamichael In reply to BTDT has it correct

If the CEO (CFO, COO, etc.) is going to allow/order Technical staff to take care of the spouse's PC at home, then they should be willing to put that item into company policy. Then, not only can you keep track of time and billing for C level home technical support, you can say 'it's part of my job!'
One of two things will happen pretty quickly. One, more staff will be hired to support the increased demand for technical support from the home users (I can barely keep a straight face!). Two, the policy to support home users of any kind will be removed, and the spouses of the directors will have to find their own tech firm.
Which brings me to another point, if you don't already have a relationship with a local tech/pc shop, you should create one. They would most likely be very happy to take care of your telework and/or spouse computers for whatever fee they're currently charging. That way, when the phone call comes in to help configure a home pc, you have someone with a little knowledge on the other end of the line.

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How B&%$# do you want to be

by AB3424W In reply to BTDT

If she is not a corp. employee, then she is receiving something of value from the corp, & a irs 1099 needs to be filed for the value of the services & good she got. If the boss is the major owner of the corp it might not work, but if it is a publicly traded co. then she needs to pay taxes on the value of the good & serevices she gets. Also the board of directors might be interested

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IRS Implications

by martin_ternouth In reply to BTDT

The CEO's wife is receiving a Benefit In Kind from the company.
This will equate to the commercial arm's-length cost of
providing the service to any single private user. Log the time,
cost it at full commercial consultancy rates (plus a small
customer surcharge if you normally apply them) and pass a
memorandum through your boss to the CEO.

Explain that the company is not of course recharging his wife,
but wishes to ensure that she declares the benefit on her tax
return to prevent an IRS Special Investigation of her affairs or
those of the company.

That should work . . .

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Good one!

by cswearingen In reply to IRS Implications

Perfectly stated.

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Ya, that'll work

by MaxPower1111 In reply to IRS Implications

That'll work to get him fired or at least on the S**T list. Who's to say the CEO won't perceive that as a form of blackmail?

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