I work for a tax-payer-funded public office headed by an elected official. My supervisor insists on contracting out some of our work which I have requested to do and with which I have some expertise. I have the time and ability to do this work without taxing anybody else in my work group. My supervisor’s supervisor knows I wish to do the work, but allows my supervisor to make the call about contracting it out. My supervisor is rumored to have had a past affair with the woman to whom he gives the work (source: her ex-husband). They do have a social relationship of some kind (have lunch together). On January 3, a newly elected official will head my office. I have been encouraged by co-workers to talk to the new head and his first assistant about this and other issues regarding my supervisor. But, I know I would be in trouble with both my supervisor and his supervisor if I did. Any advice? ************************************* Please keep this confidential. I was impressed with your thoughtful and detailed answer, and it spurred me to action which I think will be helpful to our office. I went to a trusted friend who is a level above me in a different department. She in turn approached my supervisor’s supervisor–a department head–to set up a meeting with me and the department head. My friend (whom the department head supervises and trusts) agreed to go along. My friend also met with me 2 or 3 times to review what I proposed to say at the meeting, and she gave me advice very much like the advice I see on your website (“stick to the facts and your own experience”). In a 2-hour meeting at a coffee shop, I explained all of the issues with the supervisor. I used a format I’ve seen you suggest in another “Ask A Question.” Every point I made had two parts: 1) “here are the facts that I know;” 2) “here is why it is harmful to our office.” It worked. The department head listened carefully, learned some things he didn’t know, and said the information altered his perspective. Since I didn’t know any facts about the alleged relationship, I didn’t mention it at all. In fact, the issue of contracting out work was only a small part of the conversation, which centered on other problems in my supervisor’s work performance. Sticking to the known facts established the credibility of the information and–I believe–is what reached the department head deeply enough to alter his perspective. This was not an easy thing to take on. My supervisor aligns himself closely with the department head, the head’s boss, and the head’s boss’s boss–who is the elected official. My supervisor also worked on the campaign of the new elected official–but only after it became clear the new guy was the front-runner. My supervisor displays his connections with top management to his subordinates and the rest of the office. As a result, it did not appear there was anywhere to go with information about how his job performance was hurting the office. But I found out the department head was much more open-minded than I had assumed. In addition, on a different channel, others who have the ear of the new elected official have approached him with concerns about my supervisor. (I think of this other channel as “the cabal”–because they are motivated by revenge, settling past scores, and power through intrigue). “The cabal” has mentioned my name to the new elected as a source of factual information. (“The cabal” mentioned me because, to my regret, I have complained about my supervisor to members of “the cabal”–thereby not following the advice you have given in other “Ask A Question” columns). As a result of urging from “the cabal,” the new elected has asked me to meet with him and his first assistant. But, the department head knew nothing of “the cabal” or the new elected’s request to meet with me. So, when I met with the department head, I brought him into the loop. Now he won’t be blind-sided–in fact, he’s better-informed than “the cabal”.In addition, he can suggest a solution, which he is well-equipped to do. If you’re interested, I will let you know what ultimately comes of this. I ask you to keep this confidential because I have proclaimed the value of your website to others in my office, and it has been suggested that we put your site up in our office intranet. I’d hate to have people know what went on behind the scenes in this situation. Thanks so much for all your help.