Thursday, April 15, 2010

Runaway train

I watched most of the Sinclair Skinner hearing regarding the Department of Parks and Recreation contracts. The hearing can be summed up in two works: "train wreck". I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but Miss V was smelling something fishy coming from the Wilson Building. Mr. Skinner is an unsavory character that I wouldn't trust to watch my garbage. To the laymen, Mr. Skinner may appear knowledgeable about the principles of engineering. But to Miss V, who has a BS and MS in civil engineering, Mr. Skinner's testimony reeked of incompetence.

  • Mr. Skinner stated he has a degree in Mechanical Engineering. How does a mechanical engineer operate a civil engineering business? *raises brow* To the laymen, engineering is all the same. But engineers know that the knowledge gained from mechanical is not entirely (if at all) transferable to civil.
  • Mr. Skinner stated that he is a certified Engineer-in-Training. Newsflash to my laymen, EIT doesn't mean diddly squat. All it means is you passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
  • Speaking of the FE exam.... I was puzzled that Mr. Skinner couldn't remember when he sat for the exam. I don't know an engineer alive who passed that 8-hour exam and couldn't tell you the month and year they took it. (Miss V took it in April 2001)
  • It is unethical to represent a company as an engineering company when there is no professional engineer (PE) on the payroll. According to Mr. Skinner's testimony, when he initially started his engineering company, his business partner was NOT a registered professional engineer. Miss V and her business partner each have two engineering degrees, but neither one of us are licensed as a PE. Nowhere will you find anything that says we perform engineering services. It would be unethical for us to do that.
  • Mr. Skinner said that LEAD is an engineering company that provides services in civil engineering. However, they subcontracted the engineering work to other firms. **side-eye** Okay, then what does his company do? Push paper?
I hope in the next hearing the Council press Skinner more about his qualifications and ethics as an engineer.

Memorable Council Quotables
  • "Just so you know, Mr. Bowden [Skinner's Attorney], as the Committee Chairman I will have the last word." - Councilmember Thomas (Ward 5)
  • "So even though I'm not an engineer, I can start Yvette Alexander Engineering?" - Councilmember Alexander (Ward7)
  • "The purpose of the CBE program is not to profit at levels that shock the conscience." - Councilmember-at-large Catania
  • "Who is watching DC taxpayer money? Who is watching the ship?" - Councilmember-at-large K. Brown.
  • "No you don't believe so, you know so" - Councilmember Barry (Ward 8).
  • "You talk about your relationship with the mayor. You talk to him all the time. You never talk business with your friend, ever?" - Councilmember-at-large M. Brown

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