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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

ASCE Buttons Its Lips

Posted By on Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 6:16 PM

They have nothing more to say.


When asked if members of the American Society of Civil of Engineers should have accepted medals from the Corps of Engineers while the same ASCE members were reviewing the Corps’ investigation (IPET report) into the levee failures, ASCE declined comment.


Following up on this week’s print story, “Post-Katrina Cleansing?" — regarding the civilian medals the Corps of Engineers presented to members of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ External Review Panel in February 2007, more than three months before the ERP issued its main report on the IPET — Gambit Weekly again asked (ASCE was contacted for the print article, but failed to respond) if it was a mistake for the ERP members to accept the awards?


Earlier this month, a task force appointed by ASCE to review the society’s role in engineering reviews issued its report and wrote this recommendation: “The Task Force found that the ultimate value of post disaster engineering reviews to society is directly linked to their credibility and credibility rests in a large part on the removal of real or perceived conflicts of interest (emphasis GW). 


Here’s how ASCE president David Mongan responded:

"The members of the ERP are highly regarded and immensely dedicated professionals who have, over the past three years, closely monitored IPET’s investigation. ASCE is proud of the ERP and its extensive body of work, which will ensure that the residents of New Orleans are better protected from future floods and storms. In light of their valuable contributions, we feel it is entirely appropriate for the members of the ERP to be recognized."


When it was pointed out that the our question had nothing to do with ERP members’ qualifications or the quality of work, but centered on public perception and the apparent conflicts of interest involved in the February 2007 awards ceremony, ASCE spokesperson, Joan Burhman replied: “The statement sent you encompasses everything we have to say on this issue at this time.”

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