The Fiduciary Responsibility of Records Management, Trust…and ARMA

Trust concept

Information is the most valuable currency in the world and just as financial planners, asset managers, and investment bankers have a fiduciary relationship with a client’s money, there must also exist a fiduciary role entrusted with a customer’s information assets. This role is – and has always been – the records management professional.

The foundation of any fiduciary relationship is trust. Without trust between the parties involved, the fiduciary relationship collapses. And in the case of records management, unsustainable information chaos ensues.

Trust is built between two parties when both parties believe the other party is operating within an ethical framework. So, without ethical behavior, you don’t have trust. And without trust, a fiduciary relationship is impossible.

This is why ARMA’s aggressive participation in the global war on records management has far more serious repercussions than virtually anyone realizes. How can our customers expect to trust our professional integrity when the only professional association that represents our industry is so morally bankrupt?

By comparison, would anyone in their wildest dreams ever imagine the National Society of Accountants pressuring a major tech company to secretly destroy an honest accountant’s career? Of course not.

I continue to speak with a few courageous former members of ARMA leadership. Everyone I talk to identifies the same person as the “woman from ARMA” who used her influence at IBM to force me out of the company. Each of the of the people I speak with also identifies another former ARMA official as one of her co-conspirators.

As it happens, both of these individuals are Certified Records Managers – as I have long suspected they might be.

As a CRM who tries hard to live by the Institute of Certified Records Manager’s Code of Ethics, I reached out to ICRM President Paula Sutton back in early May. Over a series of emails, I told her what had happened and how I suspected that “the woman from ARMA” was likely a Certified Records Manager, and one or more of her co-conspirators was likely to be as well. I asked Ms. Sutton for her thoughts on my obligations as a CRM in this situation. She replied that the ICRM takes the Code of Ethics very seriously, but “in order to move forward with your complaint, we need a formal request made providing the identity of the ICRM member who allegedly violated the Code of Ethics and the nature of the violation.”

So, this is my Catch-22: The ARMA Board of Directors won’t investigate my allegations because they know my claims are true, and any investigation is bound to uncover far more appalling ethical behavior (and potentially illegal activities, according to my sources) by members of the Association’s past leadership. But the ICRM won’t convene an Ethics Review Committee until ARMA investigates my allegations and provides me with the names of the Certified Records Managers who strong-armed IBM leadership into forcing me out of the company.

My frustration can be debilitating at times…but the Infinite Game goes on.

Stearns - IntegrityThe current ARMA President, Jason Stearns, is a Certified Records Manager. Mr. Stearns gave a keynote presentation at ARMA Live 2018 entitled “The Power of Integrity”, so I can only assume he understands the significant importance of trust and honesty in our profession.

To date, Mr. Stearns has been entirely silent on this matter, so I am now reaching out to him publicly:

Dear Mr. Stearns,

I have provided overwhelming evidence that one or more members of your Association’s past leadership worked with my former employer’s senior management to attack my career and have me terminated from the company.

As a Certified Records Manager, I would like to believe that you understand the critical importance of the records management profession in this age of unsustainable information chaos. And, as a noted authority on integrity, I am sure that you understand that our ancient and noble profession will not survive if our customers believe they cannot trust us.

With this in mind (and remembering that you are subject to the ICRM Code of Ethics), I am asking you – for the good of the records management profession – to initiate an investigation into my allegations and provide me with the names of the former members of ARMA leadership who deliberately had me forced out of my job. 

The paying members of ARMA deserve to know that their leadership can be trusted, Mr. Stearns. If you refuse to investigate this matter, I am calling on you to resign your position so that your membership can find a President with the integrity our profession deserves.


Donald R. Lueders, CRM    

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