From: Charles Greenlaw <cgreenlaw(--nospam--at)speedlink.com>
Date: Tue, 04 Apr 2000 22:43:41 -0700
I looked over the material on that website [shown below]. The responses to
this issue by the Idaho PE Board are wimpy in the extreme. That Board must
be afraid of somebody or some entity that disfavors former City Engineer
Turner's position, which is founded in the timeless principle that a person
cannot be responsible for that which he does not have authority over. This
is not just a PE-peculiar principle.
In Sacramento where I live, city engineering staffers and engineer
consultants regularly kowtow to desires of city political officials in
matters where engineering determinations are expected to be, and purport to
be, objective and trustworthy. Neighborhood traffic control street
obstructions and barriers, touted glowingly even by the city's engineers as
"traffic calming", and which favor certain well-connected streetside
residents at the expense of safe and efficient movement of people and goods,
is the case in mind. Any distinction between the world's oldest and second
oldest professions has become hard to discern here.
I think the honorable engineer Turner relied too strongly on two things: 
Those professionalism precepts that engineers reassure each other with
but which the commercial and political world often finds inconvenient and
expendable; and  The impression that any attorney can obtain justice for
an honest client from any court.
In the private practice sector, like Dennis Wish has expressed in knowing
detail recently, if the person you are serving becomes dissatisfied with
your keen sense of duty and professionalism, he or she simply stops using
you. In city employ, they have to pull stunts to get rid of you and get
someone else who is more putty-like in their hands. Mr Turner resisted
instead of moving on, to his great cost.
Some 23 years ago, the Calif Dept of Transportation, which designs and
supervises construction of state highways and bridges, was routinely
assigning non-PE personnel to remote field positions where they made
responsible-charge engineering decisions. The PE Board had good
representation of govt-employed PE's at the time, and adopted detailed
definitions and conditions of responsible charge into state regulations.
(see Board rule 404.1 at their website, http://www.dca.ca.gov/pels -and
look under Title 16, Sec 404.1)
A lawsuit seeking to set aside this enactment was soon filed by private
practice plaintiffs California Council of Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors
and Ted C. Fairfield PE, its then-president. I have a copies of the pleading
and its exhibits, and of the Council newsletter article by Mr Fairfield
pridefully announcing their action against this enhancement of responsible
charge precepts. They argued that private practice firms would have to
employ too many PE's in order to comply, and couldn't afford it.
They dropped the lawsuit before trial, apparently as a no-hoper, and seem to
have found merit in the opposite position since. Mr Fairfield is currently
completing eight years as a dominant member of the Calif PE Board and made
no effort to alter rule 404.1 or its subject matter during that time,
although he lead the Board in an attempted, patently turf-enhancing, total
rewrite of the PE Act itself. The successor to the old 'Cal Council' now
virtually owns the PE Board, and government employed engineers are
essentially shut out. Their old feud continues however, on ballot
initiatives and in state politics. Individual engineers who work alone and
serve the custom residential public are routinely dealt with as third-class
PE's and as the disciplinary action targets of choice.
Ain't it a grand profession?
Charles O. Greenlaw, SE Sacramento CA
At 08:32 PM 04/04/2000 EDT, you wrote:
>Attention fellow SE's:
>Are you in responsible charge?
>Would you be willing to "PLAN STAMP" drawings not produced under your
direct supervision ???
>What if you refused??
>Want to see what might happen to you?
>check out the following website: