Editorial: Watchman on the Wall

A 124Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

In this issue we have Dick Elgin’s open letter to NCEES which details why the proposals before us are bad ideas. We also have the NCEES response to my Fire Alarm editorial. Lately we’ve been asked why we are devoting so much coverage to the licensure experience requirement when many say it is limited only to Idaho. Changes start at the state level. States take cues from other states. The proverbial all-consuming tsunami starts with a single crack in the ocean floor. We’ve also been questioned about Chad Erickson: Chad represents the watchman on the wall, and has taken it upon himself to sound the alarm about yet another erosion of our profession, and with it, an erosion of the protection of the public. Taking a break from the licensing exam issue, in this issue Chad is back on his other horse, the one that reminds our readers that the paramount issue in boundary surveying is evidence. Not proration, not expediency, not anything but evidence and how it trumps all else.

For those of you who are just now tuning in, I’ll recap: The item of the NCEES Model law under surveillance reads:

54 4. Practice of Surveying–The term "Practice of Surveying," as used in this Act, shall mean providing, or offering to provide, professional services using such sciences as mathematics, geodesy, and photogrammetry, and involving both (1) the making of geometric measurements and gathering related information pertaining to the physical or legal features of the earth, improvements on the earth, the space above, on, or below the earth and (2) providing, utilizing, or developing the same into survey products such as graphics, data, maps, plans, reports, descriptions, or projects. Professional services include acts of consultation, investigation, testimony evaluation, expert technical testimony, planning, mapping, assembling, and interpreting gathered measurements and information related to any one or more of the following ... (https://cdn.ncees.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Model_Rules_2014.pdf)

Idaho’s proposed legislation, both in September of 2014 and now, is near verbatim to the Model Law. So, what is the problem? Indeed, there was no problem until the Executive Director of the Idaho Board of Licensure of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors declared in September of 2014 that Idaho’s proposed legislation would remove the boundary experience requirement from licensure, while preserving the 4 year experience requirement, thus allowing more young blood into the profession. This event is confirmed by those who were present, circulated literature and by subsequent e-mails between the board and Idaho SPLS. Before this event there was no public record of such an interpretation being made, but after this event all hell has broken loose. The cat was out of the bag, if you will, and the ensuing efforts to stuff him back in border on the comic.

The light continues to be firmly focused upon the Model Law. Why it became focused there is no longer relevant, for in the new light we can see the law and read the Law ourselves. Ignore Chad Erickson if you will, but ignorance of the Law is no excuse. In the law do we see an emphasis on boundary surveys? Do we see an overt requirement for boundary experience for licensure? Do we see anything that might actually prevent the emphasis of one experience over another? In this era of globalization and the vanishing line between government and corporations, the claim that states are autonomous and unaffected by NCEES actions is disingenuous. Let us once again ask the question: Are the public and the property infrastructure of the United States adequately protected by the NCEES Model Law? What say ye?

Marc Cheves is editor of the magazine.

A 124Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE