97 ideas posted
Who and why the TBPG was established and how much does it cost the State to operate it.
Submitted by Henry 2 years ago
Henry Wise presents only one side, his biased side, of this drama. July 31 or August 8 is not enough time for a decent public or professional/learned response. It takes time - a two or three month cycle to inform affected and relavent citizens/"PG's" about the commenting device -which is quite new- here. I suggest that these comments about the abolishment of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists be extended to September 30 or October 31 to allow time for the summer to pass and people return to work (there are many foeld trips in the summer) and the first Fall meetings are held; there are monthly bulletins that also take time to announce this feedback service. You will get more particiaption with this advice I am offering.
Mr. Baird: The deadlines for each focus area discussion, including that surrounding the regulation of geoscientists, can be extended. The initial deadlines were programmed to encourage the initiation of discussion as soon as practicable. The intent of the Texas Red Tape Challenge is to encourage discussion and, where possible, collaboration, on potential changes to state regulations. If extending a deadline for a focus area allows for more participants to engage in a meaningful discussion, and the potential for greater collaboration on ideas and solutions, then we are more than willing to do that. I would like to add here that informed discussion, and not just votes up or down on comments, will help better inform decision-makers in the end.
Whether you're for or against something, you're by definition biased. Please keep personal attacks out of this discussion and stick to the topics. As far as your suggestion for more time to discuss this topic, I don't know that you'll see more persons discussing this in the future, but I've got no objection to continuing the discussion. The length of this discussion will be determined by the moderator.
Extension of the discussion period is a good idea, but in my opinion, it doesn't need to be extended for two or three months. Extension to mid to late August should be ample time for a response period.
I would like to see what profession those voting against the TBPG or raising the questions represent, and would bet a great majority of these represent one group that has fought against the establishment of the TBPG since the begining, and continues to fight to get it removed. I have experienced this in my workplace also, from a select group of this other profession that desires to control all aspects of our work and profession. It is a long running fight for control and power, and ultimately money. As a professional geologist in Texas, I support the continued fight to keep the TBPG and the rules as established. There is always room for improvement in any profession and licensing board, but make sure everyone is assessed by the same standards. If one board is being reviewed, all the boards should be reviewed in like manner and held to the same level of critique (a level playing field). It would also be nice to know if there are lobbyists from the opposition that are pushing for this questioning of our board. With all the bigger issues going on in our state, does the Legislature really have time for these petty turf battles.
Quote me, "I have nothing to gain and represent no one nor do I represent or act for any organization." My life work is an honest open book. There may be others out there but I have not seen or heard from them; I have only heard from the promoters of the Texas TBPG for their selfish reasons and because they can and have the time and interest to continue to misrepresent the geological profession. I am against licensing of geologists. I am against the government controlling what is a free market by intelligent, hard working people. The Texas TBPG behaves like a homeowners association and has similar over-bearing powers delegated down to them.
Licensing does not protect the public as other occupational licenses may do when associated with broad and hard to identify services, such as hairdressing. Geology is different and it is a relatively small group and members of the group know each other and those hiring depend on word of mouth and recommendations and not some silly Texas State license. I have been a professional for 40 years and I stand on my word and always protect the trust I have earned. My advice is to study what a State occupational license really means and we don't need it; it does not protect the public.
There may be a need for about 600 professional geologists in Texas to provide sealed reports to government agencies because the agencies have no way to identify good people;
I have studied the issues here for over ten years, in Texas and in other states, and have my disciplined opinions and many facts do not agree with many who prefer self-serving one-sided information to encourage the continuation of Texas state licensing. My goal has been to present the strengths and needs and also the weaknesses and liability increases of Texas State licensing of geology.
Those that the Board (TBPG) has licensed are mostly not qualified to do public service related geologic reviews and studies. Of those licensed, perhaps 500 to 800 may have the required experience to provide the level of knowledge needed for water resources or environmental planning or remedial work. The majority of those licensed by the Board (TBPG) applied out of fear. Fear was their primary reason for applying and paying a license fee. The numbers will change going forward. With only 500 to 800 thinking they are better off with a license that will bring the revenues below the costs, down to about $150,000 to $200,000 per fiscal year. That fact will inspire those state political leaders to abolish the Board in its entirety. A better use of the PG's license fees is to contribute the dollar amount to the HGS for continuing education or to apply for a peer reviewed meaningful, useful certification from the AAPG-Division of Professional Affairs. As a developer and advisor on public Earth resources, I trust peer reviews and distrust anyone with a Texas state license. Peer review by intelligent earth science community leaders is much more valuable to the general public than any rubber stamped state license. If you feel you need to protect the public, then tell me from what, for crying out loud?
If you have nothing to gain, why have you spent 10 years studying this issue?
"I HAVE NOTHING, ZERO, TO GAIN AND I HAVE BEEN STUDYING THIS LICENSING PROBLEMM FOR WELL OVER TEN (10) YEARS," PLEASE QUOTE ME, RALPH W. BAIRD. Those that know me including members of your Board TBPG know that I have nothing to gain.
Question: Is the Texas TBPG fee an occupational tax?
No more than any other license fees in any other state or country.
From a geologist who wants to post anonymously: I still think it is notable and I will probably get around to posting on red tape that for this $11,000,000 in fees generated so far the board has only found a total of eight (8) violations (none for actually doing anything that would endanger the public but all for not having or renewing a license in time.
If you want to post anonymously, why are your first and last names on every post???
ANSWER TO wkc KEVIN COLEMAN: I posted using my name to help and for another geologist who did not want his name posted; and he is worried about retalization from the Texas TBPG or from frinds of the Texas TBPG. Let me know if you don't understand that I was simply protecting his name. I'll try to explain that. I have many other emails from Texas licensed geologists who are unwilling to expose their names for the same reason.
If a person has something to say, they should say it and not rely on a third party to say it for them anomymously. It's just to easy to say you're representing someone when there's no way to prove it, not that I'm saying you're doing this, Ralph. Third party testimony isn't allowed in court and shouldn't be used here.
Retaliation for discussing opposing points of views is a violation of ethics, in my opinon, and should not be considered a problem. If you have an opinon, you should feel free to state it, but don't be surprised if someone rebutts it. That's what discussion's all about. Nothing personal about it.
Abolish ASAP the Texas TBPG so that no board of geologists is continuing to be established by statutory authority. Change Geologist certification in TEXAS to be based solely upon the registration requirements of the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG). If a geologist is not already certified by the American Institute of Professional Geologists, contact it directly for an application package:
AIPG, 1400 West 122nd Avenue #250, Westminster, CO 80234, (303) 412-6205, website: www.aipg.org.
Upon issuance, TEXAS geologist certifications shall have no expiration date and require no renewal fees or continuing education.
-------------------GOOD IDEA ---------------------
As discussed earlier and elsewhere, this wouldn't stop persons with no geologic background from practicing geology because there's no way to enforce it.
---- ---- ----
GOOD FOR THE US - GOOD FOR TEXAS - GOOD FOR GEOLOGY -
HISTORY OF PROFESSIONAL GEOLOGISTS THAT UNDERSTAND
Prior to 1963, numerous societies existed to focus on the science of geology and upon specialty areas within this science, but many geological scientists were concerned about the lack of any national organization which focused on geology as a profession. The practice of geology, particularly with respect to public responsibility, regulation, and business practice, had no established guidelines and no national representation. This deficiency was finally addressed in 1963, when a small group of dedicated geologists met in Golden, Colorado, to compose the Constitution and Bylaws for the American Institute of Professional Geologists. November 14, 1963, when AIPG was chartered as a nonprofit corporation, is considered the official date of the founding of the Institute. Martin Van Couvering was elected the first President, and the first AIPG Headquarters was located at the Colorado School of Mines. Members were distinguished as a "Certified Professional Geologist" and were authorized to use this title, abbreviated by the letters "CPG" after their name.
Steps were promptly taken to establish Sections of the Institute at the state and regional levels. In some areas, local organizations existed with the purpose of advancing geology as a profession. Members of these organizations recognized the advantages of having national affiliation and merged into the Institute. AIPG become a national organization with a membership of nearly 850 by 1965, little more than a year offer it’s founding.
By 1974, the Institute had a membership of over 2,000, outgrew its office at the School of Mines, and moved its Headquarters to 622 Gardenia Court in Golden, where it remained for eight years. Additional geological scientists such as geophysicists, geochemists, and engineering geologists expressed interest in membership. This broader constituency is also served under the certification title "CPG."
In 1982, Headquarters moved to its present location at 7828 Vance Drive, Suite 103, Arvada, Colorado. Today, AIPG has over 6,000 Members and Affiliates. They are organized into 36 Sections. AIPG is today located at 12000 Washington Street, Thornton, Colorado 80241.
The primary purpose of AIPG, to strengthen geological science as a profession, remains undiminished. AIPG remains dedicated to communicating to the public and to its representatives the importance to society of the profession of geology. The Institute promotes ethical conduct and seeks to protect the public and the geological sciences from unprofessional practice.
AIPG establishes qualifications for granting of the title, "Certified Professional Geologist," and certifies to the public that those geologists who hold this title have undergone peer review and have been deemed competent practitioners who are worthy of public trust.
<< from AIPG website and the Texas AIPG website to show that a system of peer review that works and a right and proper alternative to the TEXAS TBPG >>
AIPG is a good professional society. But let us be clear as to what position that AIPG holds on Licensure:
"AIPG Policy Regarding State Registration/Licensing of Geologists
(Adopted October 6, 1989 - Revised June 23, 2007)
AIPG fully supports the registration and licensure of geologists to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. Where there is no statutory regulation of geologists, the AIPG believes its certification of professionals by their peers as to their competence, integrity, and ethical behavior provides a standard to effectively protect public health, safety, and welfare. As the national organization of professional geologists, AIPG further recognizes the need for and advocates uniformity of standards so that the mobility of geologists will not be impeded, and so that their varied skills may be available throughout the nation."
It is clear that AIPG supports licensure of Geologist via statutory regulation by the States. AIPG does not view its own "certification program" as a replacement. In Texas, the Texas Section of AIPG supports the Texas Board of Professional Geosciences and the licensure act.
That's fine for geologists, but AIPG can not regulate the practice of geology in this or any other state. All it can do is certify that it's CPG's meet minimum qualifications.
AIPG Members DO NOT support Texas Licensing.
I am a long time CPG by AIPG and I and others, as members of AIPG, do not support Texas State Licensing by the TBPG.
What is TAPG????? Is it a lobby group of friends of the Texas TBPG? I thought you and your guys disbanded.
AIPG has been involved in Support of Licensing of Geologist for a long time. The record is clear. What has been published IS the current stance of the organization.
Quoting Henry, a lot has changed; I agree with you Henry. Over-bearing licensing Boards and their abuse of State delegated powers were never addressed or even considered by those few members (those few holding office that had their personal opinions stated as the organization’s members’) who voted to endorse Texas State geological licensing and then having the enriched feeling they represented their members; they (those that testified to the Texas committees) never polled their members and should have done so. One poll later said 96% of those licensed admitted that they did not need a license for their professional work practices. We are now over $11,000,000 later.
AIPG, AAPG, AAPG-DPA, SIPES, and many other professional organizations' elected officers of the years past, went along with recommendations to endorse and encourage Texas State geologist licensing. If a poll were taken today, and only after both sides of this licensing issue were properly presented to the members, the results would be easily different. Geologists are smart and can tell what is going on. They don’t feel they have any control.
Let the professionals decide who is a professional and not some Texas Board TBPG executive director with a degree in psychology or something. Let them register geologists but don’t let them regulate geologists. It cost over $11,000,000 so far and how much more?
SIPES, AAPG-DPA and AIPG do an honest job of certifying qualified geologists; don’t they? –or don’t they? Step up and say so. Its true, non-governmental professional organizations have no governmental regulatory authority to arrest and file criminal charges against poor practitioners of geology. But, do you really want the Texas TBPG to have they kind of control over well meaning, honest geologists? Where are these offenders; there were only eight (8) identified offenders in 12 years. Are there more out there? You think?
A lot has changed. Government needs to be reduced in size; we must set priorities on spending. Private industry needs to step up and identify and certify those that are qualified professional geologists. The Texas TBOG has no way to determine whether a licensee will use good judgment or just use his Texas P-G license as a *** proxy *** for his resume and his inexperience.
It seems to me that the requirements for a PG are higher than that for certification from any of the Associations you mention above. The applicants for a PG must show the required experience and recommendations from their peers, just like the various Associations do. The application is reviewed by the entire Board, which has a majority of geologists on it. However, to obtain and maintain the PG you need to pass the ASBOG exam and maintain continuing education credits every year. You don't for any of the Associations' certifications.
The problem with certification, as has been discussed many times now,is that there's no way you can prevent incompetant persons from practicing geology. I'm not worried about well meaning, honest geologists. They'll always do the right thing. I'm concerned about those who don't know what they're doing, well meaning or not, and aren't concerned enough to stay up-to-date.
It matters not whether 96% of those poled said they did not need a license. What matters is that they voluntarily CHOOSE to obtain a license. A license that means about as much if not more than a certification from AAPG or AIPG.
As to your charge/snide attack about the Executive Director of the TBPG, HE does NOT decide who is a professional or not. He merely caries out the instructions of the board. An application that is submitted is only reviewed to see if all the information that is required by Statue and Rule are present. That information is then turned over to the Application Committee that is comprised of Licensed Geoscientist who then reviews the application and then will make a recommendation to the Full Board who ultimately decides who is granted a license or not. Kinda of like that Peer-Review system you are so fond of. The Executive Director does not determine the fate of an application.
Ralph, if you want a break and holding a license to protect the public's health and safety is too great, then you can certainly surrender your license. Since you claim that you have no need for it then it would be no loss. If you are concerned about receiving a letter from the board as a result, all you need to do is write them a letter and tell them that you are voluntarily surrendering your license and you will not hear from them again. Since you practice in an area not needing a license then you have no worry.
Matthew, I believe Ralph is involved in this discussion based on his principals, rather than a personal stake.
I, like Ralph, am in the Oil and Gas industry, and thus, currently exempt. Emphasis on 'currently'. Policies that remove control from the private sector and grant it to the government tend to start small, and grow exponentially over time. I believe this is intentional, but that's a debate for another day...
How the board is funded, or if it has any effect on me personally are secondary. The Principle is what's most important.
In the case of TBPG: how this was handled sets extremely bad precedent for dealing with future problems in the private sector. It effectively gives a government board control over your career.
I completely agree with Henry that we should keep personal attacks; and all emotion for that matter; out of this discussion. While I don't know Ralph personally, I think he is acting on principle, and doesn't intend anything ad hominem.
I, personally, am suspicious whenever a proponent of a government program claims that the intended purpose is to benefit 'the public' in some way. What is the proper definition of 'the public'?
I do not believe that such a thing is real. Let's say that it is a group encompassing all citizens. Groups are made up of individuals. The Texas State Constitution and US Constitution explicitly define innate rights for Individuals. There is no mention of 'group rights'. In fact, by definition, Groups have no rights, only the individuals within the group.
So the real question is, and should always be: 'Does this policy protect INDIVIDUAL rights?'
Any policy, who's claimed purpose is for 'public ________', almost invariable does not, and in fact does the opposite.
So which is it?
1. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one." or
2. "The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many."
(Ok, so I like Star Trek!)
This is, and always will be, a continuing debate. I'd suggest that it depends on the situation.
jmdumoit, I do not know what Ralph's motivation is or is not in this discussion.
The way the TBPG was handled was the correct way to handle the subject. This was not a case of Govt policy to remove control from private sector. It was not a case of creating something to control over someone's career.
Texas has a long history of licensing of professionals for the protection of the public's health and safety and it squares with Texas Constitution. In fact it starts back to the days of the Republic. Medical Doctors were regulated as early as 1837, Dentist in 1897. Clearly the state then as it does now play a role in safe guarding its citizens.
Now we can digress into a philosophical discussion on government and such, but this is not the forum. The topic is the Geosciences. IT is been aptly demonstrated since the issue of licensure was introduced in 1993 that geoscience has the ability to affect the public's health and safety.
Due to the title and content of the primary post in this thread I believe this is the appropriate place to note that while the supporters of the TX geoscience board testify regularly that their agency does not cost taxpayers anything because they bring in more than enough revenues from their own license fees to fund their own budget, I have never heard them acknowledge or account for how many of those licensees that pay the fees are employed at other State agencies (TCEQ etc) and whose license fees are paid for out of the budgets of those tax-payer funded agencies. How much revenue in license fees does the Texas geoscience board take in each year from other tax-payer funded state agencies that employ geologists?
If you're that interested, I suggest you talk to the TBPG about it. That's where all of that information's located. However, without contacting the individuals themselves you probably won't be able to confirm who's actually paying for it. I know I'm never asked by the TBPG if I'm paying for it or if my company is.
Your point being? The same goes for other licensed profissionals, such as PEs, who are employed by State agencies (TCEQ, RRCT, TXDOT to name a fine).
Paul C. Moore, P.G.
Point being the geoscience board supporters claim licensing geoscientists is no burden to taxpayers or the state budget since they generate their own revenue through license fees but in fact a portion of those fees generated are coming from other taxpayer funded state agencies. Point being the accounting is not transparent. Claims are being made about how much this agency costs or "donates" to the Treasury without accounting for how much of that money came from other state agencies paying fees to the geoscience board such that the true impacts of the geoscience licensing program on the overall state budget are unknown. Money that comes from other state agencies is money already collected from taxpayers. You can't pass it to another agency and then call it a donation from that agency to the treasury. It's a shell game. Also does anyone see a policy issue with one state agency paying another state agency to regulate the regulators? Red Tape.
Following up on P.C. Moore's comment. So you have no objection to TCEQ paying licensing fees for P.E.'s. You only object to the fees being paid for P.G.'s.
If you're really interested in finding out about this, I suggest you ask the TCEQ and RRC how many PGs they have on their staff and if those agencies have a policy of paying for the PG. Since there's approximately 5500 PG in Texas, I sincerely doubt that the TCEQ and the RRC, and any other agency, has enough PGs on their staff to even make 25%. My gut feeling is that it's more on the order of 10% or less. Which means the agency is still well self-funded in any case. You are making accusations which infer that more than half of the PGs in Texas work for the State of Texas. I suggest you look into it and let us know.
Yes, Henry, you are correct. The Point Being is that it is not a burden to taxpayers or the state budget. There are no negative costs associated with the TBPG budget since whatever costs that other agencies may spend on their employee's license is miniscule. That is why your Statement that APPROXIMATELY 1.2 million a year is accurate. It is to be noted that only approximately half of that money generated actually goes to appropriation for the agency. For Government work, the cost breakdowns are transparent enough.
Furthermore, the issue of agencies paying licensing fees is a non issue since this has been a common practice for decades. And if they did not pay for them, that money would be given to the employee anyway in the form of wages.
I see that the issue of who pays what for state employees is a red herring.
Idea: Expand the exemption in Occupations Code 1002.252 "(2) geoscientific work performed by an officer or employee of the United States practicing solely as such an officer or employee" to include employees of the State of Texas also. This would stop the undisclosed flow of funds from taxpayer funded agencies to the geoscience board which claims to be self-funded. Also, it is a redundant layer of regulation to require regulators from one state government agency to be licensed by another state government agency. In addition, the proposed exemption would reduce the anti-competitive nature of the geoscience board by allowing state agencies to open multi-disciplinary positions within the agencies (e.g., corrective action project managers) to individuals from other appropriate backgrounds besides just geology. Such positions previously were posted as requiring a science or engineering degree and now require a geoscience license due to the formation of the geoscience board which limits the applicant pool to only geologists.
TCEQ posts positions and sets requirements for those positions based on their needs. If they need a geologist to fill the position, why do you think they would fill the position with an environmental scientist?
The positions have been redefined to fit the licensing program. Market manipulation through licensing.
Licensing does not guaranty competence. There is an alternative.
QUESTION FOR YOU:
Are we brave enough to take back control and begin by taking away the decisions from state regulators as to whether we are qualified and competent, and put those decisions in the hands of our peers and clients who are in the best position to judge?
In order to obtain a PG you have to do exactly that. You have to submit recommendations from your peers and clients, and the application is reviewed by the Board Members, most of whom are geologists.
Another way of looking at this is if the TBPG is shut down, the State loses 1.2 million dollars per year. Not a good thing during these hard times. Also not a good thing is opening the door to unregistered non-professionals the chance to "practice geology" anew in Texas. The PGs that I know are not lame and incompetent, but are truly dedicated professionals.
Hi Bruce, I agree with you that the PGs I know, indluding you, are truly dedicated professionals.
I’m sorry but I am really unclear as to why the appropriateness of the TBPG is even being considered. I have practiced geology for the past 18 years and having been licensed as a PG since inceptions here in TX and in other jurisdictions, by completing exams to do so. The board provides accountability to the public for the profession. We have a standard of past and continuing education requirements and ethics to have achieved/maintain. Only licensing provides these standards that help ensure public protection. Numerous examples (including those witnessed firsthand) exist for unqualified professional conducting the practice of geoscience and impairing public safety.
Submitted by KL2112 2 years ago
Submitted by brianh 2 years ago
Ralph Baird attached:
Read this report.
2 years ago
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