JCI’s unqualified experts

What follows is an email from Art Johnston who discovered that a lot of JCI’s so called experts were not liscenced to work in Minnesota. Dr. Dixon in addressing this question in the most recent Reader Weekly made it sound as though after giving this allegation a lot of thought the District could only think of one such example. Here’s the truth:

“The Reader has very interesting articles by Dixon and Nilsen and an excellent Q&A by the Reader editor. It is a very sad commentary that the Duluth News Tribune has refused to do any investigative reporting on the Red Plan controversy, but the little Reader (and even the Budgeteer) is doing excellent and real reporting on the issue. The Duluth New Tribune should be shamed. I hope that the Reader allows some of us to respond.

I would like to comment on the Reader question to Dixon about the SD using unlicensed architects and engineers. Dixon verifies that Chris Gibbs in not a registered architect. In fact, Dixon brags about that fact. Unbelievable. I’m attaching the SD Educational Adequacy report cover page and the enclosed (p. 11) Chris Gibbs resume. For the SD to use Gibbs is a violation of MN Statue 326.03. http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/bin/getpub.php?pubtype=STAT_CHAP&year=current&chapter=326. It is interesting that Dixon quotes verbatim from Gibbs’ resume. Does he not know anything else about him?

Dixon has now publicly brought forward the names of the unregistered architects that the SD has used. He neglected to mention others. Another is Harold Lerner who is listed in the JCI RFP as being on the JCI design team and an “AIA”. Another is Mark Beyer who is listed on the RFP as being on the JCI design team and a “PE”. These appear to be in violation of MN Statue 326.03. See the attached annotated RFP.

You may also be interested to know that JCI’s front engineer, Jeff Schiltz, is not a licensed Professional Engineer in Minnesota. Nor is Michael David who appeared to be JCI’s principal engineer in complying the Long Range Facilities Plan. Both of these people also signed the RFP of January 24, 2006, and David signed the JCI contract of June 2007. Technically, Schiltz and David’s appearance on the JCI design team may not be a violation of MN Statue 326.03, but they used the initials “ME” which has no professional engineering meaning, but is misleading to the lay public, like the school district.

The JCI RFP of January 24, 2006 has sixteen listed members of the design team. Of those eight that are listed as engineers or architects, two of falsely listed as professional engineers or registered architects, and only two are licensed Professional Engineers or Architects. There is also a question on whether JCI has violated MN Statue 326.14 which says:

326.14 CORPORATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS AUTHORIZED.
A corporation, partnership or other firm may engage in work of an architectural or engineering character, in land surveying, in landscape architecture, or in geoscience, or use the title of certified interior designer in this state, provided the person or persons connected with such corporation, partnership or other firm in responsible charge of such work is or are licensed or certified as herein required for the practice of architecture, engineering, land surveying, landscape architecture, and geoscience, and use of the title of certified interior designer.”

Mike Jaros to the rescue

I presume the Duluth Trib will get around to reporting this news but Mike Jaros the author of one of the laws which apparently gives the District the right to ignore voters on this massive scale has introduced legislation to put the animals back in the barn.

I stick up for him after a few incredulous people wonder how such a “tax and spend” liberal could do such a thing on the Duluth Citizen’s Blog

Here’s how I start my defense of Mike:

Sat Mar 29 15:53:33 2008 – [Mike Jaros is looking out for us ] By: Harry W
Mike Jaros is doing exactly what I would expect a liberal DFLer to do – and good for him. He understands that property taxes are the most regressive taxes in the state falling most heavily on those unable to pay them. He was elected just after the Minnesota Miracle in the 1970’s which placed a heavier burden for school finance on the state’s shoulders releiving poor and elderly property owners.

The illusion of choice

Virgil Swing, a former editor for the Duluth News Tribune and new columnist for the Duluth Budgeteer, has a very worthwhile column in this weekend’s Budgeteer:

Money quote:

“Some Red Plan supporters say critics are only a loud minority and the “silent majority” favors it.

There’s a foolproof way to test that theory. It’s called an election. The board should schedule one quickly. Then, when voters shoot down the $293 million plan, officials can look at more sensible solutions. There are already some floating around.”

Read the whole thing

An Unwise Plan

I’m back. Until the Red Plan is modified I’ll start posting again – mostly about the Red Plan.
To start with this is what Robert Aho, a Duluth architect whose speciality is contract administration has to say about Johnson Controls stranglehold on the building of the Red Plan.

“I believe there is a huge conflict of interest in this arrangement, which creates a disservice to the school district and our city. There is also little value in having the architects represent the contractor. It is similar to asking the fox to guard the chicken coop. Or asking your butcher to recommend a vegetarian diet. It’s just not smart.”

Read it all