Proposed Suffolk County Charter Amendment by County Executive Steven Bellone Eliminating Professional Engineering Qualification

As a result of our Memorandum in Opposition crafted by NYSSPE Legal Counsel, Mark Kriss, NYSSPE was invited to speak at the DPW Legislative Committee on May 6, 2019.   Representatives of the Long Island chapter, Tom Petracca, PE and Andrew Haimes, PE addressed the committee sharing the views of both the chapter and the state societies.  The following statement was read by Mr. Haimes.

I am Andrew S. Haimes, P.E. and I am one of the past presidents of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers and past president of the Society’s Suffolk Chapter. NYSSPE represents the interests of the 25,000 licensees in New York State.

As stated in our memo dated 4/3/19, the society is strongly opposed to resolution 1312 that would allow the appointment of a non-licensed person as DPW Commissioner.

It is clear from the DPW Mission Statement and the County Charter that the DPW Commissioner is responsible for the supervision, and has the ultimate responsibility, for all the engineering done by the County, and for the County by consultants.  By State Education Law, this supervision of engineering and responsibility for engineering must be provided by a Licensed Professional Engineer. 

It is unrealistic, and even absurd, to think that a DPW Commissioner could effectively pass all of that engineering supervision and responsibility to others in the department.

The legislative intent of the bill is stated to broaden the qualifications  for the consideration of potential candidates for DPW Commissioner.  What the bill actually accomplishes is to open the position to unqualified candidates.  There are approximately 25,000 licensed Professional Engineers in NYS.  Has the County reached out to them?  It may take a while, but I would think the County could find a licensed PE who can also handle the administrative duties required of a Commissioner.

As a result of our efforts, the motion to install a Non-PE in the role of DPW Commissioner has been tabled and the motion to amend the wording in the charter has also been tabled.

An article quoting Mr. Haimes has been published in Newsday Online.


Note: NYSSPE facilitates posting on this blog, but the views and accounts expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not the views or accounts of NYSSPE, its officers or directors whose views and accounts may or may not be similar or identical. NYSSPE, its officers and directors do not express any opinion regarding any product or service by virtue of reference to such product or service in this blog.




  1. Great job guys.

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