Oxebridge Quality Resources has filed an official appeal against the US TAG to ISO TC 176, citing cronyism and a flawed election process for the recent TAG leadership posts.

For months, Oxebridge has communicated various concerns to both the TAG and its oversight body, ANSI; neither organization took action on the informal requests, and the TAG leadership ignored them entirely. ANSI declined to take action, requiring that Oxebridge first exhaust the appeals process with the TAG directly, a point Oxebridge disputes. Vice President and Founder Christopher Paris said:

ANSI has a responsibility to root out cronyism and to ensure fair, democratic elections regardless of whether or not stakeholders file official complaints. Holding off such investigations while waiting for all the proper paperwork to be filled out is an abdication of its duties, and will only result in more pressure on ANSI from Congress and the private sector.

According to Mr. Paris, the official filing was also prompted by “a wall of silence” that Oxebridge encountered when trying to work the issue behind the scenes, directly with TAG personnel.

I personally called the TAG Administrator’s office to discuss these matters, and was put into voice mail. They never returned the call. Subsequent emails were sent, and went unanswered. I wrote to both Alka Jarvis and Paul Palmes to give them the opportunity to resolve the issue quietly, and they ignored the emails. The TAG has made it clear they will only communicate about such issues when formal complaints are filed, so this is the only avenue left open. They could have saved the expense and embarrassment of a public complaint by being honest and transparent, but chose not to.

ISO TC 176 Secretary Andy Kwong likewise declined to take action, also deferring the matter, even though the Secretary is tasked with ensuring the members comply with ISO Directives.

The complaint against the TAG 176 leadership is technically labeled an “appeal” only because this is what official ANSI TAG procedures call such issues. The procedures allow Oxebridge, and any other “directly and materially affected U.S. national interested parties who believe they have been or will be
adversely affected by an action or inaction of the TAG or its Administrator” to file a formal appeal with the TAG.

The Oxebridge complaint raises two serious allegations. First, that the TAG Leadership in general, and Alka Jarvis in particular, conducted a fundamentally flawed election, designed to continue a history of cronyism, and to intentionally deny access to leadership by otherwise democratically nominated  candidates.” This was prompted by witness accounts that revealed Ms. Jarvis had selected her chosen nominees — Craig Williams and Paul Palmes — prior to them having been formally nominated; the nominations appear to have materialized only after Ms. Jarvis had pre-selected them as candidates, approached the two, and received their personal agreement to run. Meanwhile, Boeing’s Alan Daniels, who had been nominated by the membership but not selected by Ms. Jarvis, was denied a place on the ballot. No explanation for Mr. Daniels’ absence from the ballot has been given.

The second allegation accuses the TAG of failing to properly vet the resume of the eventual winner of the Chairman position, Paul Palmes. Oxebridge investigations revealed that Mr. Palmes may have exaggerated his ISO 9001 experience by more than 20 years, and may have lied on the official nomination form he submitted to the TAG when he nominated himself for the position. Oxebridge alleges that Ms. Jarvis and the TAG leaders did not vet Mr. Palmes because they wanted to ensure his election. Just a few weeks after the election, Mr. Palmes appeared as a keynote speaker at an ASQ event alongside Ms. Jarvis and JP Russell, one of the members of the Nominating Committee that developed the official ballot that had included Mr. Palmes, but rejected Mr. Daniels.

The Oxebridge complaint provides a solution for the TAG:

It is recommended that the TAG cancel out the results of the previous election, and hold new elections between candidates formally nominated by the membership, without exception. Furthermore, it is recommended that the TAG take appropriate action to curb cronyism in its ranks, and limit the dominance of private consultants in the leadership, which stands in violation of ISO and ANSI rules prohibiting the control of any single stakeholder group.

Oxebridge has also called for Paul Palmes to step down as Chair-elect.

The complaint was sent to Julie Sharp, the TAG Administrator within ASQ, per the instructions of ANSI, however it was responded to by a different ASQ functionary, Jennifer Admussen. Oxebridge has responded by requesting Ms. Admussen recuse herself, as she is named in a separate FTC complaint against the TAG, due to her role in attempting to replace Mr. Paris with a TAG consultant at an ASQ speaking event. The TAG’s “preferred” consultants include Mr. Palmes, as well as most of the other TAG leaders. Oxebridge is alleging the action amounts to abuse of power and illegal anti-competitive practices, where the TAG works to ensure that  its leaders have access to public events and publishing deals, while working to deny that access to non-TAG professionals.

The TAG has indicated it will respond within 30 days. Oxebridge is still calling on ANSI to take independent action, as it questions whether the participants in alleged cronyism are qualified to independently investigate themselves.

You may view a PDF of the complaint here.

 

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Why we report on these topics

Since 2000, Oxebridge has worked to improve ISO and related certification schemes by identifying problems and then proposing solutions. We report on issues affecting standards users because so few other news outlets do. Our belief is that in order to fix the problems in these schemes, we must first understand the nature and breadth of those problems. Our reporting aims to do just that. Elsewhere on the Oxebridge site you will find White Papers and other articles proposing ideas to correct these problems.

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