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Re: California State Employees' Initiative

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I think the real issue about Proposition 224 is that it is bad law.  The
debate about who is best, consultants or government engineers, may feel good
but in reality it has more to do with the individual engineers than a
particular class. Calling each other names and casting dispersions on each
others capabilities is not productive.

I've been on all sides of the situation: former CALTRANS engineer (a very long
time ago), engineer with two private consultants, my own engineering practice,
another California State agency, a utility, a city council member buying
engineering services and currently a school board member also buying services.
>From all I've seen, the money issue is basically a wash.  On some projects,
the consultants costs are a little higher, on some projects the government
engineers are a little higher.  When all costs are properly considered the
difference is VERY SMALL on the average.  As far as competency, I've seen the
good, the bad, the excellent and the ugly on both sides of the fence.  Someone
mentioned that what is needed is a dynamic tension between all parties.  I
strongly agree.

WRT Proposition 224, the costs are not fairly compared.  All costs, not just
incremental, must be considered on the government side.  As far as
accountability, I've seen abuses on the consultant side as well as the
government side.  Again it is the integrity of the individual engineers that
is important.

What I hope the voters will do is turn Prop 224 down.  If PECG wishes to bring
it up again, bring it up on the merits.  Costs to monitor exist whether it is
a consultant project or a government project. Overhead and training costs
exist whether it is consultant or government project.  Profit on the
consultant side is offset by extra layers of management placed in the
government organizations by politicians (I can criticize politicians fairly
because I are one :<)  ) that are afraid to hire good managers then let them
manage.  Office space and equipment costs exist for both.  Clerical needs,
lawyers, accountants, etc exist for both.

The lost component in this whole discussion is what is best for the public.
IMNSHO, the public is ill served by the name calling and dispersion casting.
When are we going to realize that we all have projects because the public has
needs.  By using our talents, we can improve conditions for everyone.  There
is a place for all of us: consultants, governent engineers and yes, maybe even
politicians :< 0   .

Bill Cain, SE
Albany, CA