There are good reasons for conflict-of-interest laws that impose restrictions on federal employees who want to talk about jobs with private contractors.
In spending taxpayer dollars, the government's contracting process must be open, competitive, fair and aboveboard.
But government employees have broken those rules at times, and even ethically managed companies can fall short on occasion.
Which appears to be what happened when Gallup sought to hire a Federal Emergency Management Agency official who was involved in awarding contracts to the firm. The details were contained in Department of Homeland Security documents and detailed by a World-Herald report last Sunday.
Gallup and the government have now reached an agreement, and it's a positive for both.
Gallup's chief executive officer, Jim Clifton, ceded authority over the company's government division, and Gallup will provide extensive ethics training to employees.
In turn, the company can continue to compete for federal contracts. And the government can continue to benefit from Gallup's expertise and services, the quality of which wasn't an issue.
The actions the government is requiring of Gallup are comparable to what federal agencies have sought from other contractors in an appropriate, ongoing monitoring of government business practices.
These developments should not besmirch the reputation of the company and its employees, nor should they in any way distract from their many contributions to Omaha, to Nebraska and to clients worldwide.
For the past decade, Omaha is fortunate to have a company that brings so much to the city.
Gallup operates in 20 countries but picked Omaha as its home. Now marking 10 years on the riverfront, Gallup employs 1,400 Nebraskans.
It has brought 50,000 business people to the city. Its campus serves as a dynamic “front porch” for Omaha.
Its employees have given to the community in countless ways, and more than two dozen Gallup leaders have served on the boards of nonprofit groups.
Gallup hit a bump in the road. It has made a course correction, and Omahans can stand behind the company as it moves forward.
The executive director of the Business Ethics Alliance at Creighton University's College of Business, Beverly Kracher, said of Gallup: “They care deeply about trust and integrity and honor. Knowing them, they will want this situation to be able to be used as a learning experience for other business leaders and business people.”
That's another valuable contribution Gallup can make.