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250+ posts Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 285
January 11, 2019 7:07 pm  
Posted by: A Harris

With one surveyor on the new board, we will always be in the minority.

That is unfortunate. It will be important to get the right person on the Board and it they'll need plenty of support testimony from the survey community - other surveyors verifying the position that he brings to the discussion - it's the only way the engineers can be confident that the Board surveyor is bringing a reasonable perspective to the Board. How many engineers on the Board?

- John

A Harris
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 7445
January 12, 2019 2:51 am  

5 engineers

1 surveyor

1 public member

All appointed by Govenor

Keep in mind that at present this is the recommended terms of the Sunset Commission.

There are also recommendations from the Surveying association, Engineers and every group of Professionals.

The Senate will make the final decision after hearing testimony from the groups spokespersons and any others allow to speak and give testimony concerning this topic.

The powers that have been given to police the surveyors by the TBPLS are regulated by what is bestowed by the Surveyors Act as written into law and what powers that are regulated by the House and Senate and signed by the Govenor.

Surveyors are also regulated by all licensed Surveyors as part of the Ethic portion of our professional status.

The state has not given the TBPLS the power to penalize anyone more than deciding the status of their license to practice land surveying.

The state has left any real power to the courts and judicial system thru actions of State and District Attorneys and individuals and other surveyors that choose to bring suit.

The actions that actually go before the courts are the ones that are decided to have merit by the presiding judge and grand jury.

It is not a done deal and with every prior Sunset Commission the licensed surveyors are once again tasked with giving answer to the Senate for the importance of a seperate regulation board for surveyors and how being regulated by engineers who have no interest in protecting the public in regard to land surveying.




Shawn Billings
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Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 2505
January 12, 2019 2:32 pm  

It does seem like the board could be bigger allowing for more diversity of opinion, but mostly these board members need to be able to determine if the evidence found in a complaint against a professional substantially conflicts with the professional standards. Also, the board has more power than revoking licenses, they can also assess fines and require ongoing probationary terms from a professional (such as requiring examples of work that meets standards).

Also, I'm not familiar with the current board of engineering, but I suspect that it covers many disciplines of engineering beyond civil, so it might make sense to have professionals from various facets of engineering on the board.


Shawn Billings, RPLS
Owner of Pendulum Surveying in East Texas

paden cash
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 9011
January 12, 2019 2:47 pm  

I asked our buddy Kent what he thought about this.  I'm not licensed in Texas and our state board has been lumped in with engineers since its inception.  But I had a feeling Mr. McMillan might have a personal view on this subject.  I also asked if I might quote him, and he agreed.  Here is his response:


Basically, the Texas Sunset Commission's mission has been to configure the administrative side of Texas Government as efficiently as possible to serve what the Commissioners understand to be the purposes of the various agencies and boards. The link below summarizes the actions that the Sunset Commission took toward those ends.

Here is the full scope of the boards and such presently under review by the Sunset Commission:

The real thrust of the Sunset Commission's recommendation is to revise the Professional Surveying Practice Act to substitute an entitiy to be a consolidated form of the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying with the Texas Board of Professional Engineers as the entity authorized to administer the provisions of the Act, i.e. oversee licensure, adoption of rules of practice, and handling of complaints about licensees.  I see that as fairly benign considering how sub-stellar the record of the TBPLS has been in those respects.

There is an underlying problem that is reflected in the Sunset Commission's proposal to eliminate the requirement that to be a Licensed State Land Surveyor in Texas you have to be a Texas resident. That is, the real mission of the licensing board is understood to be to produce lots of licensees so that surveying can be purchased by consumers at the lowest cost possible. Since I am consistently underwhelmed by the quality of work churned out by the LSLS licensees and think that the license is long past due for abolishment, I don't see a measure that will most likely further degrade the quality of surveys filed in the Texas GLO as other than merely accelerating the longdownhill slope toward elimination of the license.

So, bottom line, the role of the TBPLS has been so sub-optimal in rule making and enforcement, that I tend to doubt things can get much worse and are more likely to be improved by blending the engineers and surveyors, much as I dislike engineers as people, on the whole.

To be continued.

I thought Kent's opinion was an objective view and possibly even bordering on pragmatic...a word I might not have thought I could ever use when describing Kent's opinions...I wondered if he was losing his edge..or maybe wasn't feeling well.  The last sentence was the clue to resolve my fears.  A few moments later I read his next reply.  I believe all is well with our amigo south of the Rio Roxo.  Here's what he added:
I will add, though, that in my view the greatest failing of the current licensing system is in the licensing process. Trying the streamline the examination process by, for example, shifting to computer-based testing, is a long march in the wrong direction considering that the process of determining whether a person has the necessary skills and knowledge that professional practice requires is as much a matter of judging intellectual ability as anything. There are just too many dumb asses being licensed as land surveyors who have no real concept of what professional-level surveying practice amounts to and I don't have much faith that a machine-graded test with multiple-choice answers will solve that problem.
Kent is well and apparently still possesses his enduring critical views.
This post was modified 1 week ago by paden cash

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A Harris
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 7445
January 12, 2019 4:44 pm  

Any surveyor in Texas would have to be an Engineer before they would agree to be under the control of Engineers judging what a Land Surveyor is required to be and how their road to licensure is required.8

For the idea to be able to benifit the public and to fairly cover the professionals impacted by the change, every group would require equal number of representation on the board including public, surveyoy, engineer and any other group they regulate.

My opinion is that no other group has the necessary education to decide what is necessary for Land Surveyors than Land Surveyors.

In the immortal words of Richard Schaut, "If not the surveyor, then who".

The public is represented by members of the public that serve on the present board

Land surveying is not taught to engineers, architects and any other profession.

This post was modified 1 week ago by A Harris


Dave Karoly
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 9924
January 12, 2019 5:25 pm  

California started in 1892 as a Land Surveyor Board. Most practitioners then would write "John Smith, C.E." on the map and bill themselves as a Civil Engineer. Under the signature line would be "State Licensed Land Surveyor." In newspapers and City Directories from the first two decades of the twentieth century they were always Civil Engineers except for the County Surveyor. Mulholland's Dam collapsed and killed thousands of people in Ventura County so the practice of engineering was first regulated in 1930. They almost abolished the LS license and converted everyone to Civil Engineers but somehow the LS survived. We have had a combined board ever since. Geologists were added a few years ago. The Land Surveying privileges were removed from Civil PEs beginning in 1982 but they have a shorter road to the LS, this is not reciprocated, naturally. 

There are three times more pre-82 CEs practicing as there are LSs practicing but most of them probably don't use their LS privileges. My Uncle, for example, was a drinking water regulator, his job had absolutely nothing to do with Surveying but theoretically he could open a boundary Surveying practice.

This post was modified 1 week ago by Dave Karoly

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? -1 Corinthians 15:55


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flyin solo
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1168
January 16, 2019 5:45 am  

funny, in the days since first reading this post i've seen some more chatter in various places.  and a couple of the loudest moaners are guys who, based upon the work i've seen from them, are among the more inept (i won't say "unethical", even though that too is a possibility) ones around.  or, at least, the more inept ones around who are plugged into the online community...

which leads to this aside, now that i think about it: as somebody who has spent too much time online in the past, i'm pretty diligent now about keeping it "appropriate" (coffee time in the morning, mental breaks when CAD work gets too... you know, and a little bit at the end of the day).  but there are some cats who i can't figure out how they get anything done correctly at all, based upon the non-stop 24/7/365 social media activity.  there are 3 or 4 dudes in the state of texas that i happen to be connected with on linkedin (which i don't get on/use much), and i swear every time i log in to that site these guys posts and comments DOMINATE the day's stuff.  and, yes, a lot of it is topical and interesting... but jeez, i can't for the life of me figure out how these guys can post this much stuff (and read the stuff in the first place) and still competently oversee the work they're supposedly so passionate about (as all their posts would indicate).  anyways, just a thought-fart...

100+ posts Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 120
January 16, 2019 6:55 am  

Here is a link to the full report.

Sunset Commission Full Report

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