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.

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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.

 

 

NSPE Executive Director Update to the Board of Directors – April 2019

Mark J. Golden, FASAE, CAE, Executive Director of NSPE highlights the following in the most recent Executive Director Update: April 2019
• NAE Convocation Addresses Diversity
• Upcoming Webinars
• 60 Years of Ethics Cases
• Technicians and the Engineering Team
• News from South Dakota

FULL REPORT linked here.
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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.

 

NSPE Executive Director Update to the Board of Directors – March 2019

Mark J. Golden, FASAE, CAE, Executive Director of NSPE highlights the following in the most recent Executive Director Update:
• Responding to Antilicensure Legislation
• Remember When: Software Engineers
• ‘Snooping’ on Government Contractors
• Preventing Sexual Harassment
• FEYA Winner Sends Thanks

FULL REPORT linked here.
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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.

Legislative Update: Letter to Commissioner Fariello

Please see the link below for a copy of a letter sent to Thomas Fariello, RA who has assumed the duties of Commissioner of NYC Department of Buildings following the decision by Rick Chandler, P.E. to step down.  We are awaiting a reply to our request for a meeting.  NYSSPE is hopeful that the meeting will lead to additional improvements at the DOB squarely focused upon the elimination of inordinate delays in the plan approval process.  Thanks to everyone who has helped with this initiative.  We will keep everyone apprised.

Letter from NYSSPE to Thomas Fariello, RA 

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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.

NYSSPE – FALL 2018 Select Legislative and Regulatory Update   

NYSSPE – FALL 2018 Select Legislative and Regulatory Update       

Parking Garage Inspections
NYSSPE commends the NYS Department of State and NYS Code Council for final adoption of regulations which are aimed at assuring public safety by requiring periodic inspections of public garages to be conducted by qualified professional engineers.  The new rule (Parts 1202, 1203, and 1204 of Title 19 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations) found at: https://www.dos.ny.gov/dcea/noticadopt.html has an effective date of August 29, 2018.  Inspections are required to be undertaken at least once every three years by properly credential professional engineers.  The Society had initially sought passage of legislation to address the absence of mandatory garage inspections in 2016 and thereafter worked with the Department of State and the Code Council to secure this important public safety measure.

Indemnification
Legislation addressing the issue of design professional contractual indemnification on public sector projects (state and local) was a top priority for the Society in 2018.  Unfortunately, after securing near unanimous passage the legislation (A8293-A Morelle / S6622-A Senator Ranzenhofer – 2018) in both houses of the legislature, Governor Cuomo veto the measure due to strong opposition from state agencies and local governments.  The legislation addresses public sector contracts wherein municipalities, state agencies and other governmental entities have inordinate leverage over the terms of indemnification.  Presently, governmental entities can and do unfairly shift the burden to design consulting firms for the cost of future contingent events such as property damage, personal injury and attorneys’ fees with liability arising solely from the terms of the contract and not wrongdoing on the part of the designer.  In many instances design professionals are unable to secure insurance to cover the scope of claims these provisions can generate.   The bill addressed indemnification inequity by voiding contractual provisions requiring defense and indemnification involving a public work to the extent that a design professional is required to defend and indemnify a municipality, state agency, and other governmental entity or other parties for damages that are not the result of the negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct of the design professional.  Responsibility for loses related to the actions or failures of other parties that are unrelated to the design professional services rightfully rest with the at-fault party or parties.  Design professions simply should not be compelled to provide indemnification for such conduct.

Notwithstanding the design community’s efforts Governor Cuomo vetoed the bill on the ground that the statute would have unnecessarily restricted state and local government’s bargaining power and lead to potential higher costs to governmental units. Both the New York State Conference of Mayors and the New York State Association of Counties along with the general contractors opposed the legislation.  NYSSPE remains committed to adoption of remedial legislation in this area over the long term.  Similar laws are in place in more than 20 sister states.

In the interim the Governor directed that state agencies review current indemnification requirement with a view toward ameliorating the terms of indemnification where gaps in insurance coverages are found.  The Society will be working to insure that our voice is heard on the agency level.

Bachelors’ DegreeProfessional Engineering
 Both houses of the NYS legislature have passed legislation in previous sessions which would for the first time in New York required an applicant for a PE license to have post secondary education consisting of a bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering.  Unfortunately, the Society has not succeeded in passing the bill in both houses in the same year.  We are optimistic that 2019 may provide an opportunity to secure passage in the same year.    [Read more…]

Legislative Update: Indemnification Passed in Assembly

A.8293A /S.6622A INDEMNIFICATION

A.8293A /S.6622A yesterday passed the Assembly, giving it two-house passage. The bill, which passed the Senate last week, protects design professionals from broad form indemnity demands in public works contracts on both the state and local levels.  These indemnity provisions shift responsibility for damages from the government or third parties (who were at fault) to PEs and other design professionals.  In short, when something goes wrong on a project, though no fault of the design professional, the law should not permit contract terms to shift responsibility to the design professional or the professional design firm. This is precisely what this legislation prohibits.

To read NYSSPE’s entire memorandum in support CLICK HERE.

We extend a huge thank you to our members who have reached out to their legislators on this priority issue.  We would further like to thank other design professional organizations which have joined in the effort.  Governor Cuomo’s approval of this measure, now the focus of our attention, is the next step needed to put this law in place.

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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.

Legislative News: Suffolk Septic System Update

Mark Kriss, Esq, NYSSPE’s Legislative Counsel updated NYSSPE members at the Annual Conference meeting this past weekend on the Suffolk Septic System Plan.  He reported that currently we are hopeful that the bill will not be passed in the Assembly, which along with the Senate is expected to recess this week and not return until after the November 2018 elections.  All 213 state senators and members of the assembly, along with the Governor, are up for election and are focused on campaigning.

Currently the Suffolk County Division of Health Services (SCDHS) requires that a septic system for single family homes be designed by a design professional.  According to SCDHS protocols both a standard septic system and an Innovative/Alternative (IA) system, referred to as “nitrogen-reducing sewage disposal system” in the legislation must be designed by a “design professional”.

For standard septic systems, the SCDHS presently accepts plans prepared by a professional engineer or a land surveyor.  It is asserted by SCDHS that the county accepts plans from a land surveyor because in the County’s view the design of these systems is prescriptive based on their standards and requires little or no engineering.  In contrast, for an I/A system, the SCDHS requires plans to be prepared by a design professional (PE or RA).  The agency also require that the engineers be certified by the manufacturers of the system they are specifying so they understand the process design and installation requirements of the systems.   [Read more…]

Legislative Update: Procurement Guide

From Mark Kriss, Esq, NYSSPE Legislative Counsel:   The Society has been working collaborative with all of the other design professional organizations (AIA, ACEC etc.) to jointly lobby for legislation to address overreach by state and local governmental entities in the nature of mandatory indemnification clauses in design service contracts as a top priority.  We have also been focused on advocating for quality assurance safeguards in all design build contracts as the State’s 2018-2019 Budget negotiations move toward closure.

Read here: 2018 Plain Language Guide to Procurement Lobbying 

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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.

 

NYSSPE Official Ballot Results 2018-2020

The New York State Society of Professional Engineers is proud to announce the results of the Official Ballot for 2018-2020.  The following members were duly elected and will be installed in June 2018 for their terms, which will begin in July of this year. Joe Pasaturo, PE will serve as the NYSSPE 2020-2022 President.

OFFICERS
President-Elect : Joe Pasaturo, PE
Treasurer: Andrew Yarmus, PE
Assistant Treasurer: John Sucharski, PE

New York, Vice President: Rudi Sherbanksy, PE
Northeast, Vice President: Ernest Gailor, PE
Western, Vice President: William Klepser, PE

ELECTION OF AUDITORS
DeChants, Fuglein & Johnson, LLP

NOMINATING COMMITTEE CHAIR
Laura Pellizzi, PE

DELEGATES
Long Island Region Delegate
Jaclyn Peranteau, PE

Western Region Delegate
Ed Szpala, PE

New York City Region Delegate
Al Brand, PE

Northeast Region Delegate
Steve Moore, PE

The following positions were not up for election in this election cycle and the following incumbents will be re-installed into their current positions:
President- James Kuhn, PE

Immediate Past President
Laura Pellizzi, PE

Long Island, Vice President: David Macedonio, PE
Mid-Hudson, Vice President:
Andrew Yarmus, PE
Central NY, Vice President:
Peter Lautensack, PE

PEC Chair 
Richard “Rick” Miller, PE

PEPP Chair
Thomas J. Petracca, PE

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.

ICC April Government Relations Update

You can make the 2018 Building Safety Month a huge hit in your jurisdiction with a proclamation.  Scheduling a signing event with a mayor, a city council or a county commission is fairly simple. Just download a 2018 Building Safety Month proclamation (for free), and edit it with the name of the signer and the jurisdiction involved. Then, make the arrangement for a presentation on Building Safety Month, show this video and end it with the proclamation signing. For your office, you can also download (for free) the official 2018 Building Safety Month poster which you can copy and tape throughout the office. If you’d like to make a presentation to schools, you can download (for free) the official Building Safety Month Activity Book for Kids and hand them out. The activity book features color pages, crossword puzzle, word search, junior code official certificate and more.  Great to hand out from the building department counter or at school assemblies. For just $8, you can order a roll of 100 Junior ICC Building Safety Inspector badges. There are even two (free) downloads on how to conduct Building Safety Month events! Need a handout? Download the (free) Building Safety Month information brochure. There are other items for free or for purchase to help celebrate Building Safety Month in May and to raise the profile of code officials and the great service they provide to communities. Here’s the link.

Click here for the full ICC Report

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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.