Professional Engineers in California Government is calling for the state to hire more inspectors after a recent California Watch report published in The Bee highlighted unsafe structural conditions in public schools across the state.
"The safety of school children is a statewide concern," PECG President Matt Hanson said in a Wednesday press release. "This means state inspectors, not private contractors selected by local politicians, must be onsite during school construction."
The union, whose members include senior structural engineers and architects at the Division of the State Architect, are involved with certifying that construction safety standards are met at public schools. The union has long opposed privatized engineering and inspection on state projects because, it says, the profit motive drives contracted employees to cut corners and that compromises public safety. It also claims that it's cheaper for state employees to do the work.
Private engineering firms dispute both claims. They have to do a good job to win repeat government business and keep working, they say, a pressure that state employees don't acutely feel. Factor in the the lifetime costs of hiring state employees versus the temporary expense of private contracting for determinate projects and, say private firms, they're a good deal for the government.
In light of the California Watch report and PECG's push for more state engineers and architects, what do you think?