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In a message dated 97-03-01 14:01:40 EST, chrisw(--nospam--at) wrote:

<< ...most sanctions (5-10 per quarter) range from  mandatory ethics training
to suspension for a period of years.  ... Enough reality for you?>>

These numbers gloss over a distinction I previously made about disciplinary
actions.  California also publishes reports, which I receive.  If the range
of transgressions that licensees in my state are successfully disciplined for
are representive, very few of those 20 to 40 cases each year Minnesota will
be on charges related to inadequate or incompetent design services, or
rubberstamping.  The more common charges are over things such as
misrepresentations to customers, not following requirements for consumer
notification/protection, misleading advertising, failure to record required
surveys, inadequate maintenance of records, practicing without a license or
with an expired license, etc.  In states that only issue a generic PE
license, charges of practicing outside of area(s) of competence may more
frequent due to greater temptations to engage in figureheading or
rubberstamping.  These mal/misfeasance cases and cases involving
procedural/statutory violations are beside the point, however large their
numbers may be in your state.  THE FACT IS, FEW ENGINEERS ARE DISCIPLINED FOR
ACTUALLY DOING POOR ENGINEERING!  Remember, we are talking about " ... the
engineer who accepts $500 to produce two sheets of calcs and a sketch he
seals."  This level of due diligence is unlikely to result in charges by a
board, especially if the structure is in a category that is exempt from the
practice act, such as residences.  In the remote event charges are brought,
they are even less likely to succeed.  Punishment for poor engineering is,
unfortunately, less a reality than a virtual reality. 

<<As a registrant, we are obligated to put the public interest paramount. It 
ain't no 'strategic plan' just the fact of registration.<<

But it's obvious that many registrants don't feel obligated to consistently
put the public's interest first, and they suffer little or nothing over it.
 The reality is that the long arm of the law doesn't reach as far as we may
like in nabbing scofflaws.  And few of us will have the stomach to be
volunteer policemen.  There was a case some years ago in which a principal in
a well known office asked the state board to evaluate the competence of a
principal in another well known office (both in California).  The case was
very nasty, replete with charges of discrimination, defamation, unethical
business practices, and counter charges of incompetence.  It made the pages
of ENR several times.  The case dragged to an inconclusive and unsatisfying
close, with both parties bruised and bloodied, and no victors other than the
lawyers who pocketed big fees.  In this increasingly litigious society, this
case should give food for thought, and pause, to those who may consider
making a referral to the board that could result in someone losing his
license and livelihod.  An aggressive defense that impugns the referer's
motivations, integrity and competence should not be surprising.

Progress in achieving the common goals of the engineering profession -
 compliance with the spirit of our licensing laws and canons of ethics -
won't start until a significant percentage of us voluntarily subscribe to
them.  In my opinion, at least 75% must do so, or the 26+% outside the fold
will provide enough capacity for the bottom feeders to continue to depress
the fee and quality levels and distort ethical business practices.  It's
problematic whether that level can ever be achieved.

Franklin Lew, SE

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Subject: Re: building code minimums for wood frame
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Richard Lewis, P.E.
Missionary TECH Team

The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.