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RE: Who's in Charge ?

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I have a follow-on to this one.

I've recently been dealing with a public-sector client, name withheld, in
the guise of a fellow who is what we used to call a "designer"--i.e. a
non-degreed paraprofessional who has demonstrated some ability and
accumulated some knowledge appropriate for support of the engineers in what
they do. But in this case, this guy for whatever reason has been put in a
position where he has authority over the engineering consultants working on
projects in his district.

He has been a source of continuing problem for us, because he asks us to do
things that range from the mildly annoying--giving him information on
certain aspects of the job "on demand" instead of letting us do the job and
making the submittal milestones as required in our contract--to the
downright unacceptable--sealing drawings that are in a very preliminary
state, so that he can "expedite" construction.

Part of this guy's problem is simple ignorance, but I'm of the opinion that
part of it is malice. He is NOT a P.E., has never had to deal with the
professional and ethical aspects of licensure as a P.E., and very likely
(this is my personal theory) has a "hard on" for high-and-mighty
Professional Engineers who (as he sees it) don't know any more than he does
about how such a project should be done.

But since he is in a trusted position with an organization that is in effect
our biggest client, and since (being public sector) consulting contracts are
awarded based on "qualifications" (i.e. they don't HAVE to select you if
they don't "like" you), we have elected to say nothing, and try to work
around these issues. In some cases, we've successfully insisted that we
cannot do what is asked. He's backed down in those cases, but I'm sure we'll
have to pay the piper eventually, when we look to them for more work in the

Anyway, just to let you know that this stuff goes on all over the place.

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Greenlaw [mailto:cgreenlaw(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2000 12:44 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Who's in Charge ?

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.