The Guy Holding the Toilet Brush is an IT Consultant

IT program managers working in jails and prisons need to know who their friends are when disaster strikes. Many detention centers are very old structures and many endure patch work to the infrastructure. For example, a pipe can burst and flood your server room. A hurricane can blow cameras around compromising security. Or, a contractor could cut a fiber line feeding an entire complex. Your voicemail is full with questions like “what do we do now Mr. Tech Guy?”

Because the IT program manager will most likely not have any say in how infrastructure is managed, as the go to person for IT issues, you must establish a relationship with certain staff in order to manage resolving an IT problem that resulted from a utility disaster, for example, such as a line being cut or equipment shorting out.

Here are your friends as an IT manager in detention centers:

Maintenance Supervisor, Building Operations Supervisor, Kitchen Supervisor, Laborers.

They guy cleaning the toilet is likely to be cross trained and the holder of pertinent technical information that you may need. He probably assisted with running the network wires that power your internal network or he knows who did the work.

Don’t be fooled. The guy holding the toilet brush is an IT consultant.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

This post doesn’t apply only to detention centers…or to IT. There’s a lesson in this post for cross-training employees regardless of their field or function!

James E. Evans, MISM, CSM


A good article! Looks as if you’ve hit the GovLoop ground running! You article reminds of area(s) covered during a psychology class back in my grad school days. The IT consultant with the toilet brush is the one with what is called expert power. They are the real “go-to” people or knowledge keepers. Like Andrew states, you do get this information from cross-training. The ultimate cocktail is be the one with all 5 powers;

  1. Legitimate Power
  2. Expert Power
  3. Referent Power
  4. Reward Power
  5. Coercive Power

Some of these powers exist in the same person. Some are shared. It’s just good to know that they exist AND who has them.

Kudos to the IT guy with the toilet brush in one hand and the knowledge energy ball in the other.

Brett de Boisserre

@James & @Jaime

Thanks for the comments…”Referent Power” & “COOP plan.” I learned two very important things today and it’s only 7:30am. My day is off to a great start!