Niagara Gazette

Columns

June 24, 2013

CONFER; New York needs to correct engineer training loophole

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — The old ways of doing things are not only more costly, but quite possibly, more dangerous as well. A key reason behind the continuing education requirement (clearly called-out in the law itself) is the guarantee of professional engineers offering a product or process that includes “the safeguarding of life, health, and property.” If this is so important — which it should be — why should seasoned government engineers be excluded from the clause when what they do so highly affects all of these factors? As mentioned, they are building our infrastructure and creating the facilities that give us sustenance. If they err in their ways, take an ill-advised shortcut, or use outdated if not suspect methodology than they are destined to put the citizens at risk. What if their inappropriately-prepared ways cause a bridge to collapse, a road to crumble, or the water supply to be tainted?

Because of this, government-employed engineers who have been under the employment of the taxpayers before 2004 need to be held to the same high standard that private-sector engineers or younger public-sector engineers are. Continuing education makes for a better individual and, in the end, a better and safer product. If this licensing situation is not changed this ill-advised placation of its longterm employees by our state government could put us all in harm’s way.

Consider that last week Transportation of America issued a report that said New York has 2,170 deficient bridges, a whopping 12.5 percent of the state’s 17,420 spans. Is that a symptom of the lack of training? Or is it a call for more training to help make whole our state’s infrastructure?

Gasport resident Bob Confer also writes for the New American magazine at TheNewAmerican.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobconfer.

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