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RE: Pancake Breakfasts - Boy I'm hungry

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Greg,
The issues is not what Stan does to influence work his firm might obtain
although influencing contracts by issuance of gifts is not legal or
ethical in the United States. While it is difficult to enforce, it has
been a long time practice in the US to wine and dine prospective
clients, but at the same time it is unlawful in most business but not
enforces as I noted. If not enforceable, it is at the least unethical.

Beyond this, if Stan or Mr. X represents an Association who is
publishing or backing a code that can offer a benefit to their firms
practice rather than a benefit to the professional community, then this
practice is highly unethical if not illegal.

As I recall, in California, one of our representative and lobbyist at
state level was a former Civil or Structural Engineer. I doubt if SEAOC
would have had the clout at the congressional level without the support
of this man. In my opinion, this would have been ethical if the position
of the Association represented the not only the members of the
Association, but all non-members who are practicing in the state since
they are the practitioners of all code adoption or changes. This would
have cost SEA a bit of money, but they now have a means to poll the
votes of practitioners since the Internet has reached most businesses
and households. For those where it has not, there is still a fax
machine.

The bottom line is the issue of whom the POSITION of the individual who
represents a professional association best serves - the professional
practitioners or the indivial and his business.

Dennis S. Wish, PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Effland, Greg [mailto:geeffland(--nospam--at)butlermfg.com] 
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2003 3:44 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
Subject: RE: Pancake Breakfasts - Boy I'm hungry


As indicated in many posts I don't think that anything has been proven
to be illegal or immoral from Stan's actions.

A few questions for those that have jumped Stan for this supposed
action.

1) Is this (pancake breakfast) any different than introducing himself to
a potential client?  Other than the obvious expenditure of say maybe the
small cost of the breakfast.  Wow I had better watch out if I buy
someone a lunch??? Is McDonalds ok but AppleBees not... just where is
that line at? What if the pancake breakfast offered frozen waffles in
Stan's backyard?

2) If anyone is naive enough to think that at some level they don't
participate in such events then they had better look in a mirror...

Here are some examples of how "human interaction" can influence future
decisions:

	Example 1: Ever get work done by a friend or past acquaintance
because you knew them and thought you could trust them?  Car work,
computer work, etc.

	Example 2: Ever go back to a good restaurant because they had
good food or service?  Was their nice food or attitude immoral because
they were trying to entice you back for future services or more money
(tip)?  Ever tip a waiter/waitress because they provide good service?

	Example 3: Ever talk to someone hoping they would talk back.
Was that enticing them to so that they would talk back to you?

	Example 4: Ever advertise some thing for sale or services
available from your business?  Is this not a method of direct
solicitation? 

	Example 5: Did you ever send an e-mail soliciting/expecting a
response?  

In my mind what Stan did do was :
	1) introduce himself to other people that at some time in the
future may need services that Stan can provide.
	2) Give himself a chance a getting that work soley because
someone knew he could do that work...  Ever have a stranger just walk up
to you on the street and offer you money to provide a structural
design??? doubt it... Why?  Because they don't know you can provide that
service...

What he did NOT DO:
	1) Automatically get the next job that official has his hands in
	2) Solicit any illegal activity
	3) Offer any services that he was not qualified to perform.
	4) Did not offer any money to the individuals... At least as far
as I know he didn't give them a breakfast and a check for $xx dollars to
insure future work.

Wow, if introducing myself to a potential client (even if I don't know
they could be a potential client) is immoral then I am in trouble.  I
guess the moral people must be the ones that walk around with their head
down ignoring everyone so they don't accidentally meet a potential
client.  Are these the same ones that cut you off on the highway so that
you won't think they are just being nice to solicit work?  Won't lend
you a nickel at lunch time because that could be seen as favoritism...
etc..

Last but not least I would like to thank Stan for voicing his opinion
and not regurgitating it a thousand times (don't think I have seen any
reply e-mails to this topic from him in a while).

My *personal* view,
Greg Effland, P.E.
KC MO

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