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RE: PE Stamps on Drawings

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Barry,
Thanks for your comments and your points are well taken. Please allow me to
respond - in the interest of time, I'll try to keep it as brief as possible
(my posts have been too long for the list and are being returned) .

I expect that I will get some flack for these opinions, but am concerned as
to which issues the board feel are appropriate to warrant an immediate
response by a written position statement - especially one that speaks for
the entire membership. I object on the grounds that IF an exception exists
(and at least one did) blanket action may negate it and hurt some portion of
the profession. Appropriate time should be taken to go through the
established procedures to prevent this.

SEAOC resisted suggestions of taking similar action on the issues of
residential design. This, too, had a wide reaching effect on a large portion
of our members who are small offices and design predominantly residential
projects. What constitutes an urgency that the board is compelled to
respond? Given the prospects that most board members are affected by plan
stamping issues and not residential design, are they more likely to believe
plan stamping is a more pressing issue? I hope not, but actions are
interpreted by the members - good or bad.

While I might agree with the position the board takes on plan stamping, and
even believe that it represents the opinion of the majority of our members,
I adamantly believe it is wrong to establish a precedence that allows the
board to supercede the input from their membership.

I received responses to my post that were as general as the boards position:
"is all well and good-but-.." and that "[I] understand that the list server
provides a powerful tool for communication with the membership,[but] I also
believe that leaders must lead." These are excuses not valid substantiated
arguments.

Mark Deardorff reviewed some of the posts and wrote: "But sometimes, in the
interests of time, action has to occur before a consensus is reached.".
However, when he found out that the issues were known by the board for at
least a year he concluded: "Considering that this issue has been noticed for
a year, it shouldn't have come down to that. You are, of  course, correct.
There really shouldn't be a need for action without consultation except in
very unusual circumstances."

We have the resources to reach all members in order to draw upon the
majority consensus - fax, phone, newsletter, Listsevice, website etc. If the
board believed the issues to be so important to the members, their first
responsibility should be to insure that the arguments were presented to the
membership in an expedient manner. Members need not be chastised for failing
to find the issues, the responsibility lies with policy makers to bring the
issues to the members for resolution.

We have not, historically, voted members into the position of president of
SEAOC - this is an position assigned by rotation. We vote for board members
to represent the general members in an administrative function - not a
political one. Inasmuch as board members are not elected by policy, it is
important that protocol be followed until a consensus that represents the
majority of members is reached.

The responsibility to poll the members for a majority opinion lies with the
board members because they represent, not dictate to, the general members.

So what do we do about this? Well, we can;

1. Raise the budget at state and local chapters, to build an information
library (links to information and downloadable documents).

2. Expedite committees to religiously distribute important documents on-line
or by fax-back services.

3. Use the polling process on the SEAINT server to address relevant issues
at hand.

4. Expend more funding to allow information services to be maintained and
expanded by outside consultants. Although I feel that more productive use of
our dues is possible, I would not argue with an increase by a few dollars a
year to accommodate this important need.

4. Expand the monthly local chapter newsletters (paper copies) to include
important issues.

5. Publish schedules of events that require review and comments within a
given time period.

6. Offer incentives to engineers to invest in Internet Technology so as to
be linked to the engineering community.

7. Offer incentives for the education of members who are not computer
literate with free seminars, CEU's, workshops etc. The goal is to get the
majority of the members on-line so as to be able to solicit opinion polls
much faster and with virtually no cost to the organization.

8. Encourage older engineers who are close to or past retirement age to
continue their service to SEA members.  This is one of our most valuable
resource and it is important to develop relationships with younger engineers
in order to pass down the knowledge they posses.

9. Create an online Fax-back service - dial up, request a document, and
receive it minutes later. Easy and inexpensive to institute.

We are in a transition as the members become a part of the Internet
Technology (IT) professional network. This will unite the profession and
allow faster responses to issues. It is irresponsible for board members not
to recognize the importance of this service. The issues are starting to
surface and there are many off them. Members, when placed in a position to
be able to participate and offer valuable opinions are more likely to do so.
200 years ago representatives were elected to travel hundreds of miles to
create policy and returned months or years later to relay their
achievements. Today, the members are in control and can accomplish the same
feats in minutes. We need to recognize these strengths so as to avoid
creating policy on the fly and without the consent of members that can and
often do create more problems than they resolve.

Regards,
Dennis S. Wish, PE
SEConsultant(--nospam--at)Earthlink.net <mailto:SEConsultant(--nospam--at)Earthlink.net>
(208) 361-5447 Efax