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OPEN LETTER TO SAC JOINT VENTURE AND SEAOC MEMBERSHIP

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I   strongly endorse the very serious concerns expressed recently by Farzad 
Naeim regarding the propriety of SAC proposing to provide structural 
engineering services for the Cal State University at San Bernardino, if 
indeed that is a true statement of fact as stated in Mr. Naeim's e-mail.

Paragraph 1-4 of SAC Advisory No. 3 states: SAC is a joint venture of SEAOC, 
ATC and CUREe formed specifically to address both immediate and long term 
needs related to solving the problem of the WSMF connection". Further, at the 
end of the second paragraph on page 1.6: "the long term goal is to complete 
research and testing programs to develop sound guidelines for seismic design 
and detailing of improved or alterntive WSMF connections for new buildings, 
as well as reliable retrofitting concepts for existing undamaged structures 
and repair methods for dmaged WSMF structures".

It now seems tht SAC is endeavoring to expand on the charge for which it was 
originally created and endorsed. This, to me, creates major conflicts of 
interest, especially when one considers that, as far as presently known, SAC 
is yet to complete the original charge and obligation to the structural 
engineering profession as a whole and the membership of the three joint 
venture partners specifically. Further, it was never anticipated that SAC 
would enter into direct competition with the engineering membership from 
which it was formed.

The SAC WSMF has been proceeding for some four years now, and in spite of the 
fact that interim guidelines and advisories have been published, the 
structural engineering profession has yet to receive any comprehensive final 
report. Indeed, it is understood that SAC is having "second thoughts" on 
earlier interim recommendations based on continuing testing and analyses 
performed in 1997 and 1998, conducted after the earlier reports were 
published. This implies that SAC intends to use information from the SAC 
study not yet available to the profession, at the least a questionable 
position to assume.

One must ask how SAC would intend to proceed if it was successful in being 
awarded the work for the Sate University? It would not create its own 
independant staff to execute the work, suggesting that it would act as 
"middle man" in awarding the work to a qualified engineering firm. Who then 
would be in responsible charge, and would this do little more than add 
unnecessary overhead costs to the effort?

It would seem appropriate at this stage of near completion of the originally 
stated SAC goal for SAC to make a public statement as to what it sees as its 
ongoing charge, if any, beyond completion of the WSMF project. Does it intend 
to solicit more engineering work? With all of the agencies such as NEHRP, 
BSSC, IBC, ATC, not to mention SEAOC and its four associations, with whom 
engineers must maintain some manner of awareness, it seems to me appropriate 
that SAC close its books upon completion of its current effort, and if 
necessary, reconstitute itself in the future if some really meaningful 
research effort shoudl so demand.

Speaking of closing the books, I don't know how much of the originally 
requested $18,000,000 was finally authorized or used. I have requested three 
times that a general overall statement of income and expense be provided the 
SEAOC membership, this to let the interested membership understand where the 
bulk of the money was spent. I've never received any response to these 
requests. And this goes to emphasize how little the general membership of 
SEAOC knows or understands about the internal structure of SAC. It's stated 
to be a partnership, organizationally speaking. Are the delegates from the 
three sponsoring parties partners? Who controls the receipt and disbursal of 
funds? How are business and technical decisions made in this "partnership"?

How many other SEAOC members share my concerns and those of Mr. Naeim? Speak 
up!

Stephen Johnston
Past President, SEAOC
242 West 41st Avenue
San Mateo, CA. 94403