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Re: SEAOC $10.00 dues increases objection

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Dennis, Bill, etal.,

Where to start?  I would have liked to organize the following thoughts in a
more presentable format.  Maybe at some future date I will, but for the
present time please try to follow what most likely will be a trail of
rambling discussions on SEAOC (the state organization), the four member
organizations of SEAOC,  the national picture, etc.

For more than sixty years the four member organizations of SEAOC have
collectively done more than any organization in the country, or perhaps
even the world, to advance the practice of structural engineering.  The
state committees have produced the "Blue Book" and many other technical and
non-technical publications that are used world wide.  The discussions that
went into the preparation of these documents would have been almost
impossible if they were not conducted face to face.

The differences in approaches to various problems over the years has 
varied from one area of the state to another.  Gaining consensus among such
a variety of opinions has been and will continue to be a monumental task. 
The difficulties of this task will only be compounded as we move towards
the 21st century and one national code, the IBC.  If SEAOC and its member
organizations and individual members want to continue to have an influence
it has to be with a unified voice.

SEAOC currently acts as the chair of the newly formed NCSEA Code Advisory
Committees.  The desire of these committees is to have a relationship
similar to that which SEAOC had with the UBC through the ICBO.  If anyone
would like more information on these committees please contact me.

Starting in the early 1980's, when BORPELS made an effort to rewrite the
registration act, SEAOC has made an effort to influence there actions.  The
enforcement issue is just one area where we have been concentrating our
efforts.  Changing registration laws to allow only qualified engineers
practice in the field of structural engineering is another.  The job of
tracking both the state legislature and BORPELS is one that falls in the
job description of the SEAOC state office.

Coordinating the expenses of all the state committees is also a state
office task.  These state committee expenses constitute the largest portion
of the state budget.

SEAOC over the years has earned the worlds respect.  To maintain or enhance
that position takes a coordinated effort.  The individual member
organizations have more than enough to do dealing with their own local

SEAOC would not be participating in the management and earned funds from
the SAC program if it had not done so as a state organization.  SEAOC, as a
state organization, is also responsible for participating in helping
converge the "Blue Book" lateral load procedures with the NEHRP procedures
in the soon to be published IBC.

SEAOC has participated in the formation of the Structural Engineering
Institute (SEI) of ASCE.  SEAOC's leadership and inspiration was pivotal in
adding a "Business and Professional Activities Division" to SEI.  This
divisions focus is directed toward the non-technical aspects of structural

There are many more benefits that could be listed that have been the
results of having a state SEAOC office, but I have probably rambled to long
as it is.  Maybe the thing that SEAOC hasn't done enough of is tooting its
own horn for its members to hear.

Thank you for your time and patience,

Rawn Nelson

> From: Dennis S. Wish <wish(--nospam--at)>
> To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
> Subject: RE: SEAOC $10.00 dues increases objection
> Date: Monday, February 23, 1998 11:59 AM
> I received a phone call this morning from Pat Buscovich who is the
> California Chapter president and member of the state board for SEAOC. Pat
> was concerned about my comments as well as those that others have voiced
> opinions on.
> I asked Pat to write a submittal to this list with his arguments for
> justifying the need to maintain a state office.
> Pat's argument is based upon the need for SEAOC to have sufficient
> representation as the country moves to an international (one-code)
> code and beyond. He explains that the $10.00 increase will be used to
> representation to NCSEA meetings in Washinton D.C. to provide
> for SEAOC.
> He will be contacting Ken Luttrell to draft a post for this list. I asked
> him to provide information that relates to accountability for the funds
> spent by SEAOC (his figures were closer to $350,000.00 per year based
> 4,000 members @ $70.00 per member and additional funds secured from SAC).
> this time, it appears that SEAOC has been operating in the red which has
> been supplimented from SAC contributions.
> I hope that Pat is reading this since I am trying to recall from memory
> conversation and do not want to improperly report the facts. Please
> my accounts as needed.
> Here is my position:
> 1. I am in favor of a SEAOC as representation of each of the four
> I am not in favor of maintaining a physical office as such. I believe
> it can be done using better technical tools.
> 2. Although the state is operating in the red (at a loss), Pat reports
> each chapter is "making money" - a term which you must be careful of for
> non-profit organization. If this is true, then why can't the state office
> supported by chapter dues rather than tax the members as a separate item.
> Pat uses the CAC (Computer Applications Committee) as an example. He
> (as I had in prior posts) that at some point in the near future, the CAC
> will need to hire full time help to maintain the server and information
> storage. My argument on this point is that the CAC intends to be
> self-sufficient by generating income from the server to pay for the
> maintaince - not try to raise dues to accomplish this.
> Pat argues that if the state tries to raise money from seminars they
> be in direct competition with the chapters and therefore take money away
> from the chapters. I counter that the chapters should, therefore, support
> the state through profits rather than by increasing dues to the members.
> 3. At the very least, SEAOC should be utilizing the Computer Applications
> Committee to help establish new protocol to reduce travel and
> expenses. We have talked about this in the past, and it is time to start
> experimenting with Listservices for the committees in order to condense
> time needed for face to face meetings and the travel costs incured.
> 4. Pat guesstimated that approximatly 40% of the total income to state is
> used to maintain the office and staff. Personally, I feel that the work
> needed to be done by state level should be absorbed by each chapter
> than pay to maintain executive offices (here is where some of the profit
> the chapters can be used if needed). Publications and distribution can be
> done electronically in most cases, which reduces the cost and
> fee's considerably.
> 5. We, as members, need to question the travel expenses and the need to
> physical meetings on a monthly or quarterly basis to discuss and debate
> issues best left (as homework) to the listservices. The only necessity to
> have a physical meeting is for final organization of work that is ready
> publication. Remember, there is more than travel expense, these meetings
> include meals (during the course of the meeting) and the cost for the
> conference room when one is not donated.
> With this in mind, I await for the state's justification for maintaing a
> physical office and continued expenditures. I'm sure as a technically
> community, we should be able to help SEAOC and any other SEA or
> organization learn more productive and less costly skills to accomplish
> same ends. It only takes a little education and creative ability to see
> this can be made to work.
> Dennis Wish PE