Friday, May 25, 2012

The Mayor has Left the Building

It is official.  I am now the former Mayor of Springerville Arizona.  24 months in city government and never been elected.....or on a ballot.

Here's what happened.  I had been working working with the town's community development coordinator on several issues.  One day she asks me if I would be willing to fill a vacancy on the planning and zoning commission.  At first I thought; NO.  Then I thought about it and decided that an informed opinion may be what the commission needed.  P&Z was fun.  6 months in, find out that a city council member is resigning so he can run for Mayor.  The current Mayor asks me if I would be willing to fill the vacancy on the city council.  So I go from Commissioner Muth to Councilman Muth.  So after a month the newly elected Mayor asks me if I would be his Vice Mayor.  So I accept.  Then after 3 months the Mayor resigns and ta da; I am the Mayor.

Some Highlights during my political career -
June 2010 - Plane crashes into the High School Killing all on board
June 2011 - The Wallow fire
August 2011 - The flooding caused by the fire.
Personally met with: Govenor Brewer, Senator Kyle, Senator McCain; Representative Flake, Representative Gosar - Because of the fire.

Between town stuff and surveying I am a tired boy......

Be safe this Memorial Day. And to my Compadres in the South - Viva La SALSA....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How Do We......

Here is a fundamental question that I have been going back and forth with in my head.  How do we improve the profession of Surveying without undo regulation?  It has been my observation that most of the surveyors I know are working at a pretty high standard that they have set for themselves.  This self imposed regulation is above the state required minimum; and the public benefits.  Yet there exists amongst us a group of practitioners that exist to get by with the minimum allowable.  We know who they are; we know where they are; we know what they do; we know they get away with it.  How do we fix it? or Do we fix it?

I am an advocate of MANDATORY continuing education.  That is no secret.  I personally believe that education is the key to raising the level of practice.  It isn't about APLS having a monoploy on seminars or the like.  The internet killed that idea.  Education is the key.  I honestly believe that most of the substandard practitioners out there do so because that is how they were trained.  I have seen examples of these ill-trained technicians get licensed and start to educate themselves and turn out to be good surveyors. I believe that once a person learns what they should be doing they quickly adjust what they are doing.  As far as the mandatory part.  Well quite simply some people have to be told they have to before they will.  Anyone that has children or had children knows exactly what I am talking about.

So now we face a question in Arizona...Do we change the minimum standards?  To be honest I am perched firmly on the fence.  On the one hand hand I agree that the current standards need to clarify some grey areas.  On the other hand I don't want the standards to micro-manage my practice.  There needs to be flexibility to make professional judgement.  If we kill professional judgement by over standardizing then we are a trade and not a profession.  I have loosely been apart of reviewing the draft of the new standards and can live with most of what is in there.  However I do not like the fact that the reason this is even coming up is because of people gaming the system.  Then again this isn't about what I like or dislike; it's about improving the profession.  So my internal boxing match shall continue.

Let me go back to professional judgement.  I think professional judgement is, at the end of the day, the final word.  Standards can be written but judgement is the key. Judgement is the why we do what we do.  Standards dictate how.  Standards cannot regulate judgement.  Nor can they fix faulty judgement.  Education is the key to bringing a positive change to faulty judgement.  In my ever so humble opinion.

Where does APLS fit in?  Well friends and neighbors I am here to tell you.  First and foremost; there is no reason that anyone should be excluded from APLS.  If you feel the dues are to high then let's address it.  If the Board of Directors needs fixed; let's address it.  If APLS has problems then the members need to fix it.  If the Board of Directors is made up of representatives from each chapter then there should be no disconnect between the chapters and the Board of Directors.  UNLESS of course directors tell one story at the chapter meeting and then tell a different story at the Board of Directors meeting.  We need a clear and honest picture of who we are; where we are going; and how we are going to get there.

So here is my vision:
1.  Mandatory Continuing Education will/can raise the level of professional judgement through education.
2.  The Minimum Standards do need to be updated at some level.
3.  The requirements for licensure in Arizona are no longer sufficient to define minimum competency.
4.  More interaction with the Board of Technical Registration to address violations and enforcement.

And to my Compadres' in the south.... Viva La SALSA!!!!!!      

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

At the Conference

Well I did just as I said I would.  I did not camp out in the Boundary portion of the seminars.  I branched out and attended mostly GIS stuff.  I will confess it was eye opening to see what is available.  Jack Avis opened my eyes the most and for that I am thankful.  I remember Jack from the early days of APLS before he went to Texas.  He was the most beneficial.

The Bylaws of APLS have changed and the Board of Directors is now mandated to become smaller.  This in my opinion is a good thing.  I never really understood why we sent 2 people from every chapter to the Director's meeting anyway.  My father was the President APLS when the senatorial system went into effect.  The bylaws also NOW allow electronic meetings.  Now this was forward thinking 10 years ago.  Old dogs die slow.  The rest is pretty much the same.

This next part is targeted specifically at the surveying community in the Metro Phoenix area.  Why is there only one chapter of APLS down there?  Up here it is understandable a few surveyors in a large area means travel to the meetings.  However down there; most of the in-state RLS's reside in the metro area.  So why hasn't the East Valley formed up, West Valley, North Valley or the like.  I would venture to guess that the surveyors in Payson and Globe would rather drive to Mesa than Show Low.

And where are the guys from Yuma?  why do we never see them.  Is it because of California being on the other side of the river?

Finally why is APLS turning people off?  I understand that not everyone will be like minded.  If it is stagnation at the chapter level then we need to get new chapters started that clear the baffles.  APLS should be bringing people in not turning them away.

Also heard rumblings about the licensing fee should be raised.  I agree with this.  What I pay for 3 years in Arizona isn't 1/3 of the annual fee I pay in Texas.  "That which we obtain to cheaply, We esteem to lightly..."  If Arizona BTR does raise the fees then APLS needs to drop theirs.  Just saying...

To the esteemed gentlemen I spent most of my free time cussing and discussing with (and you know who you are) I truly enjoyed the discussions.  I especially like it when the conversations get real.  I had fun and wish I could see you guys more often.  Viva La SALSA..........