A GOOD DIALOGUE – PEF President Wayne Spence spoke to a state Standing Committee on Transportation in Albany December 3 about the reduced staffing levels at the state Department of Transportation (DOT) and the hazards and costs associated with the Design-Build Program. Spence was accompanied by Executive Board members who are civil engineers at DOT, William Holthausen and Paul Gendron.
Spence said PEF members are doing “less with less” and cited examples such as the state hiring one person to do the work that was done by five or 10 employees. He also explained how dedicated PEF members respond in times of crisis such as working 60-hour weeks to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and other PEF members who braved the “Snovember” storm that hit Buffalo in 2014. Spence and Holthausen explained the glaring flaws in the Design-Build program, which allows a contractor to design, build and inspect its own work without any other oversight.
Committee Chair and Assembly Member David Gantt engaged in a positive discussion with the PEF representatives, and recognized the need for the state to address PEF’s concerns. Gantt urged Spence to have further meetings to fully address the issues and find solutions.