By Architect of Record, Charles Slert – October 7, 2017 – 3 Part Series
Rumors abound for the last several months that there has been and is dissension amongst the Del Norte, Crescent City Veterans Monument Committee regarding our Point of Honor Monument project?
Based on my first hand knowledge and experiences; absolutely true! Curious, because when I found myself in combat, us G.I.’s always had a common goal and will to work together to defeat the enemy. Unfortunately, not so when it comes to our Point of Honor Monument evolving Committee over these now many years.
As the creator of the Point of Honor Monument vision Back in 2007 and the individual who single handily created all of the various Architectural “Instruments of Service” (the Monument project: Master Plan, Design Development, the original Point of Honor Fund Raising Brochure, Construction Drawings, designing the Monument Lighting, project related documentation, designing the Landscaping Plan and preparing the Construction Documents thereof, inner-acting and preparing all California Coastal Commission reviews, revisions and approvals, making multiple public presentations, securing of the Coastal Development Permit, Securing of the Crescent City Building Permit and providing hundreds of hours of our Monument project “Good Will” and project leadership over the past ten years, I am especially and more qualified to pass these Monument related project assessments than any other individual.
Why did I originally get involved with the Point of Honor project, which by the way I named.
Because, I am a Vietnam Combat Infantry Sargent Veteran doing a 14 month tour of duty at the peak of the war in 1968-69. Additionally I was a local involved Crescent City citizen, Public Servant and architect at that time. As a professional architect I believed I could create a project that would capture the imagination of the greater community, by creating a place of honor with a special “spirit” about it. I volunteered my professional services “Pro-Bono” as I was interested in creating a special place for my community for celebrating and honoring the Veterans (my colleagues) of Crescent City, Del Norte County and the community at large. Had I known it was going to take ten plus years and all of the personal hardships, sacrifices, multiple failures on the part of the Veterans Committee, as well as my significant out of pocket expenses, I would not have volunteered for that.
What’s my professional experience for those of you who may not know me?
I am a 35 year plus practicing CA State Licensed Architect winning over 50 Design Awards for my distinctive and time enduring projects over these years. I graduated with a BS in Architecture and a Masters in Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona. I have also taught Architectural Design at both Cal Poly Pomona and the New School of Architecture San Diego for ten years. Collectively, my experiences more than qualified me to design, produce and lead as architect, our Point of Honor Monument project. Currently, our Point of Honor Monument project has no architect. This past August 4th, as the project “Architect of Record” since I conceived it and shepherded it for the past ten years, the Committee, of which I have been a member since July 2007, called a meeting without notifying me. On this past May 26th they voted to “Abandon my Point of Honor Monument Design.” How would you feel after ten years of 800’s hours of sacrifice, contributions and out of pocket expenses, since I volunteered my professional services “Pro-Bono.” Now that’s real gratitude, respect and thanks from my fellow Veteran colleagues. My assessment and opinion, disgusting to say the least.
So what’s the source of the problems associated with our Point of Honor Monument project you ask?
Actually, it’s pretty simple. The introduction of a “Johnny come very lately,” Project Manager Adam Trask who is grossly inexperienced, naive and uninformed about the construction processes. He is misguided and the absolute worst project related communicator that I have encountered in my 35 years as an architect. So since his 2015 arrival to our project, he has repeatedly dropped the ball and grossly mismanaged our project, as the Project Manager. This has resulted in the “blind leading the blind, leading the blind,” repeatedly. Do you also find it curious, that this past February 10, Craig Bradford wrote me saying “Adam Trask Project Manager is incapable as project manager and is working independently with Harlan Ziegler.” And then additionally on March 3rd Committee Member Craig Bradford once again wrote me that Project “Adam Trask is trying to assume the architects role and is hoarding the information.” These assessments show there was an attempt to bypass myself, behind my back, as Monument Project Architect.
So as the Monument “Architect of Record” (for the past 10 yrs.) it is my professional role and responsibility to oversee each and every aspect of our project, reviewing, assessing, making recommendations and approvals to the Committee.
Which is exactly what I have done for the past ten years. As a very successful architect with over 35 years experience, the reason for my project successes has always been my hands-on leadership and involvement from the beginning through the successful completion of a project. But, apparently after ten years of taking advantage of my Architectural Master Planning and Design abilities, project leadership, shepherding, professional experience skills, and public service, they have decided that they can arbitrarily side-step the myself as the Monument architect. According to the California “Architects Practice Act,” this is not an option (unless there is some legal cause which there was not). These recent Committee actions are just one more piece of evidence of their project mismanagement, and recklessness, to the successful outcome of our Monument. One has to ask themselves why would they do this? Grossly misguided leadership. It’s just yet another example of their collective lack of experience and professional respect for Professional Industry Standards.
It is probably worth mentioning at this time that I have received two State of California Senate Certificates in 2012 from former CA State Senator, Doug LaMalfa for my leadership of the Point of Honor Monument project, with an addition Certificate in 2011 while serving on the City Council as Mayor.
In the past couple years associated with our Point of Honor Monument it has become clear to me that several things were amiss and ultimately compromising our Monument. Do you really think I’m going to sit idylly by and allow something that I have the largest (by far) personal investment of anyone involved in our project from day one? Hell no! So, as my job requires, I repeatedly called, wrote and voiced my objections, concerns and disapprovals to Harlan Ziegler President, Doug Plack VP, Adam Trask PM and Craig Bradford Committee Member. Apparently, they got tired of me repeatedly asking questions (that they rarely, but more usually never responded to), of my project follow through, challenging them and advising them of consequences. Collectively, these actions continued to put our project at risk.
My project and Veteran team assessments and observations were reinforced when I realized that President Ziegler, apparently felt he was substantially through with my “Architect of Record” services (in his mind), he chose apparently on his own to only communicate with me regarding our project “periodically” which once again is not an option, and it puts our project at considerable risk, additionally. Per the CA “Architects Practice Act” the Architect of Record is the ‘Project Team Lead Representative!” That’s the way we functioned, until Trask came along with another agenda. That’s also what our mutually negotiated March 27,2017 “Architect/Owner Approved Agreement” specified. Once again, these actions on the part of the Veterans Committee shows their inconsistencies and continued mismanagement.