The Ray DeGorgio-signed GM Validation Sign-Off for the “stealth redesigned” ignition has been much-mentioned for the fact that it showed GM did sign off on engineering changes without a part number change. But the most interesting part of the document seems to have been little discussed anywhere: the unfilled fields for “GM Validation Engineer” and “Purchase Order No.” Perhaps the asterisk next to them means something important…
“Required information,” of course. Requiring sign-off from a Validation Engineer is exactly the kind of measure quality control processes take to ensure defects don’t go undetected. Not providing that level of accountability, even when the documentation requires it, indicates deep problems within GM’s engineering operations. That these “required” omissions were never caught any further up the food chain indicates that the accountability problem is not limited to rank-and-file engineers like DeGiorgio.
But if there’s anything more core to an automaker than engineering and quality control, it’s financial control. Without Purchasing Orders, there literally is no car business. In this sense, the lack of a P/O number is the most shocking and troubling aspect of this generally troubling document. Either that information was supposed to be added at a later stage in the document’s chain of custody, or this is a sign that financial as well as engineering quality skeletons await in this latest rummaging through of GM’s closet.
If that’s the case, investigators should start talking to the SEC. In the same year that this document was produced, the SEC charged Delphi’s CEO, CFO, Treasurer and others with a “Wide-Ranging Financial Fraud.” Perhaps the files from that old case might help explain what’s going on here… you know, if they still exist.