It is currently Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:59 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 54 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor Gen
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1646
Since I've been asked what my "deal" is with the PHMC and 757 offline, and why I don't "trust" their decisions, I'll assume others think that my concerns about collection management are misplaced territorial idiosyncracies. They are not, and I think it's important to document the basis for these concerns.

In order to provide substantive background, I give you a 2010 audit report by then Auditor General Jack Wagner (who would have been a fine Governor.)

If you are unfamiliar with this report, which features phrases like "lax oversight", "exposes the artifacts to damage and potential theft", "lacks sufficient authority over curators" and "many curators are not concerned about artifact accountability", that is understandable; but if you insist that those of us who are aware of it, and its conclusions-now that you are being made aware of it aren't acting in good faith-pardon me if I dismiss you.

And Ross, I GUARANTEE you that this report has more to do with funding than 1361.



http://www.paauditor.gov/Media/Default/ ... 102810.pdf


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:51 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:33 pm
Posts: 8
And how exactly does this report relate to a deaccessioned steam locomotive?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:53 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1646
And how exactly does this report relate to a deaccessioned steam locomotive?

Is this question meant to be a joke?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:17 pm
Posts: 509
Location: Scranton, PA
So, if I read this right, according to the audit, 0.04% of artifacts, collected over the last century could not be located? Interesting.

Also took note of the statement "The commission should consider reducing the number of artifacts maintained by the commission". Looks like at least one of Mr. Wagner's recommendations is being followed in the case of the 757.

Food for thought indeed.

_________________
Dave Crosby


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1566
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Interesting for sure. A have long wondered why a forensic audit of the whole 1361 fiasco was never done. From publicly available facts it sure did look like there was a lot of money "missing" or at best foolishly spent.

My WAG is that if there ever is a forensic audit done of the 1361 project there will be some rightly worried players in Lackawanna County??

IMHO-Ross Rowland


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1646
"So, if I read this right, according to the audit, 0.04% of artifacts, collected over the last century could not be located? Interesting."

Actually, you do not read it right. You missed reading the Auditor General's response to this assertion on page 21:

"We did not conduct a 100% inventory; therefore applying the number of missing items of 1883, against the entire inventory collection of 4.6 million items is illogical".

Illogical it is-the way to extrapolate about the number of items in a population from a sample exhibiting any attribute (such as "missing") is to multiply the sample error rate by the size of the population. The response you hung your hat on was clearly made by somebody who has no statistical literacy. Moreover, losses occur over time. There's no indication that these losses are one-off's and no longer still occurring.

Remember, the AG is conducting their audit in accordance with professional audit standards which means that they have to know and utilize valid statistical methods-and have the report survive peer review. Most government auditors compose their reports imagining that the salutation would be "Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury" and that there would be some opposing legal counsel eager to exploit any and all errors.

Even if .04% was a valid statistical inference-it would only be acceptable if there was a mandate to maintain the collection with a specific loss rate in Title 37-which there is not.

I also find that number "interesting", but I suspect I think it is wholly unacceptable based upon objective criteria, whereas you had a visceral reaction.


"Also took note of the statement "The commission should consider reducing the number of artifacts maintained by the commission". Looks like at least one of Mr. Wagner's recommendations is being followed in the case of the 757.
posting.php?mode=reply&f=1&t=41003#
Food for thought indeed."

Without noting that there there are criteria and conditions governing the reduction of assets through deaccessioning or disposal -the food is junk food.

Page 53, indicates some of the criteria utilized in deaccessioning:

1.) No longer meets agency's mission or purpose:

It's a locomotive in a railroad museum. Does not apply.

2.) Present unnecessary duplication:

It is the only super power engine, the only non-PRR road power, the only engine with a four-wheeling trailing truck.. Does not apply

3.) Present a clear danger to people or collections.

Does not apply.

4.) Requires repatriation to Native American Peoples.

Does not apply.

Honestly David, you are a smart guy, I expected more reasoned response from you other than one laden with nebulous aspersions of incredulity. This was one was truly disappointing.


Last edited by superheater on Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1646
"Interesting for sure. A have long wondered why a forensic audit of the whole 1361 fiasco was never done. From publicly available facts it sure did look like there was a lot of money "missing" or at best foolishly spent."

Actually Ross, I'm fairly certain one was done, but not by the Auditor General. I remember having a conversation off-line with a newspaper reporter about it.

Instead there was an audit performed by the PP&R Comptrollers' Office (Doesn't exist any more, all six compartmentalized Comptroller's Offices were consolidated by the Office of the Budget several years ago).

I searched high and low for it and it was not available online the way the Auditor General's reports are posted for ready public access. Of course 1361 was a pet project of Rick Geist before he lost his seat and as I recall the funding source was one of those appropriations we like to call WAM "Walking Around Money". (Panem et Circenses, bitchez).

I suppose if you filed the Commonwealth equivalent of a FOIA request, you could obtain it.

I would think if available on-line, it would be available here.

http://www.budget.pa.gov/Pages/search.a ... locomotive


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1646
Ross, also can you please comment on the second post by rrmuseum in this thread?

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12771


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:46 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:17 pm
Posts: 509
Location: Scranton, PA
I'm sorry to have disappointed you.

I did indeed miss the "not 100% percent surveyed" statement. What I didn't miss is that this audit was done under the direction of a person wanting to make a name for himself as part of future gubernatorial ambitions by appearing to be tough on waste and fraud. These "hit and run" on site audits were conducted in half a day's time at understaffed, under funded institutions and that the deficiencies specific to the RRMofPA were remedied within two weeks time. One of the "missing artifacts" in Strasburg was a hopper car, mistakenly cataloged as "L&NE" in one place and "LNE" in another.

But lets move on to some of the items you noted about deaccessioning:

"1.) No longer meets agency's mission or purpose:
It's a locomotive in a railroad museum. Does not apply"

How so? It was determined that the piece did not play a significant part in the museum's mission.

"2.) Present unnecessary duplication:
It is the only super power engine, the only non-PRR road power, the only engine with a four-wheeling trailing truck.. Does not apply"

Really? I see a big rusting engine in the back lot. I can go in the museum and see pictures of Lackawanna 4-8-4's, models Reading T-1's and so forth. I don't see that retaining the 757 is the only way you can tell the story of super power, or the NKP, or four wheel trailing trucks.

"3.) Present a clear danger to people or collections.
Does not apply."

Does the unit have asbestos? Lead paint? If the answer is yes, than for the purposes you outlined on page 53, yes, it does present a hazard.

So now in my opinion, which like it or not, carries no less weight than yours, is that the 757 qualifies for three out of four of the criteria you cited.

Furthermore, it is also an item that was donated, has no dollar value (save for scrap $), received minimal investment on the part of the taxpayer since its acquisition and would have in fact required considerable investment on the part of the taxpayer in the future.

I respect your experience as a state employee and your accounting degree and I also respect your opinion on this transaction. I'm just of the opinion that you're wrong.

As for this back and forth with you and Ross... To quote Shakespeare "A plague o' both your houses". Accusations, off topic rants, insults, inside barbs, conversations about deceased engineers do nothing to further the causes you both espouse so frequently on this page. Grow up already.

_________________
Dave Crosby


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1566
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Sadly my prediction came true.. This whole project should be a business school case study in exactly how to NOT conduct a steam locomotive restoration.

Classic example of a number of old truisms....1. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing....the 2 " managers" in Altoona and the 1 " manager" in Scranton knew just enough to totally run it into the ground..... 2. Too many cooks spoil the broth......between the 2 dunces in Altoona and the 1 in Scranton they got the University of Scranton involved initially to add another level of incompetence....3. when you find yourself in a hole...stop digging..... not this bunch !!!

As a friend of the court I went to Altoona and presented them with a plan to bring a small group of proven professionals ( all had successful mainline steam restorations to their credit) to Scranton, have them do a complete mechanical survey ( of exactly where the locomotive was then) construct a plan for going forward ( with timelines, milestones & budgets) so that the ARRMM BOD would know exactly what the truth was.

Here more than a decade later I do not recall all the numbers but I know the proposal had a very modest budget ( travel, motel while in Scranton, modest per diem etc.) and whether I included myself in the reimbursements I don't remember but I sure would have been entitled since I was organizing the whole exercise.

After months of dithering the 3 dummies decided to hire an engineering firm with zero mainline steam restorations to their credit and paid them a fee about 15 times greater than the budget covering my plan. Months and months went by and they finally got a written report that wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

Hopefully one really important and good thing has come out of this. That is the crystal clear lesson here....if you want to restore a steam engine to mainline service do 3 things.....1. Hire a proven professional to be in charge, 2. raise the funds needed to do the job and 3. stay COMPLETELY out of the way.

If that lesson is strongly apparent here then some good will have come out of this sad saga.

IMHO-Ross Rowland


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:18 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1646
If you were regretful, you wouldn't double down.

I'm sorry you want to believe this audit was somehow invalid because it was done under the "direction" of a politician seeking higher office-however if that was true, then no AG audit would be valid.

On the contrary, while the Aud Gen directs the efforts of the department, the actual audit is conducted by a licensed professional who is subject to professional discipline if he or she engaged in misconduct. No career auditor is going to imperil their source of income for the transient elected official. You have absolutely no basis to impugn the auditors or the quality of the work, other than you don't like the conclusions for some emotional reason.

As for the business with asbestos and lead paint, you have only asked whether the locomotive has lead paint or asbestos. I have no idea whether it does or doesn't, but of course if that is a a qualifying condition for disposal, then the criteria should apply to all other engines. I can certainly find a certified contractor for less than it takes to construct a six million dollar roundhouse replica.

Am I to believe that lead paint and asbestos were never on PRR stuff. Furthermore, asbestos can be abated just as effectively, if not more so as the PCB's that were on GG-1.

So here you are, stammering emotionally about stuff that is outside your competence, accusing others you don't know of misconduct because you have some emotional reaction to a course of action and then have the audacity to issue complaints about maturity?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:58 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:17 pm
Posts: 509
Location: Scranton, PA
Easy there.

I've stated my thoughts, and your yours and it will do me no favors to keep arguing.

We're two people of equal (read: very little) importance in the overall scheme of things. We're coming at this from two different approaches: You from your 20+ years of computation and my equal length of time as a mere cog in the railroad business. Maybe I'm completely wrong about the 757, but I'd hardly consider myself emotional on this issue. I was emotional when Chicago won the World Series, I was emotional when FOX cancelled Son of Zorn. This disagreement? Hardly emotional on my part.

My posts about the 757 are just my admittedly under-educated opinions, nothing more.

As for the back and forth with Ross. Its beneath both of you.

_________________
Dave Crosby


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:02 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:08 am
Posts: 167
Dave Crosby wrote:
As for this back and forth with you and Ross... To quote Shakespeare "A plague o' both your houses". Accusations, off topic rants, insults, inside barbs, conversations about deceased engineers do nothing to further the causes you both espouse so frequently on this page. Grow up already.


This recent set of posts regarding 757 is especially confusing to me because Superheater seems to imply that government employees do not do a good job of preservation. He is going out of his way to document this alleged collection mismanagement by the Commonwealth. He also has stated that a gift of 757 to an OH group for nothing in return, something that most of us see as sound collection management in the best interest of this particular artifact, is in violation of the fiduciary duty the elected and appointed officials and the government employees have to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth.

He has also inferred that this was an issue in reference to the Federal Government's transfer of Canadian Pacific 2816 to Canadian Pacific, a for-profit corporation, in 1998. As Superheater noted in “B&M #3713 Restoration Thread Part 2”, “I don't have details on the transaction, but when we were prepping the 2816, it was with the implicit idea the repatriation of CP 2816 was an exchange transaction. CPR was supposed to provide something of value in return, perhaps favorable moves or diesel locomotives."

It is highly likely that 2816 is in better condition now than if it had spent the last 19 years outside in Scranton, but the 2816 transfer by the Park Service to a for-profit entity could be viewed as even more troublesome than the transfer of 757 because it greatly hindered public access to the artifact, especially here in the US. The public access aspect of collection management is an issue that comes up often, most recently with regards to the Berkshire Museum's announced plans to sell off some of its artworks.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/30/540429888/museums-plan-to-sell-40-works-has-art-world-up-in-arms?utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social

It appears that Superheater is saying that government fiduciary duties are at odds with sound collection management, and that government management of preservation is often lacking. So should government get out of the museum and preservation business? If so, then why does Superheater constantly flame Mr. Rowland when he suggests that STEA should be privatized?

Maybe all this will become clearer once Superheater's new "Friends of" group, the Iron Horse Society at Steamtown, gets to work. I'd be especially interested in how the group works with intelligent gentlemen like Mr. Rowland and Mr. Crosby, who may have differing views but are both dedicated, in different ways, to bringing the important story of steam railroading to the current generation. I am also curious as to whether or not Superheater will show as much enthusiasm for analyzing National Park Service preservation management practice in Scranton, including inventory control and project management (Boston & Maine 3713), as he has shown in these threads in his dissection of RRMPA and the 757 transaction. Time will tell.

For the sake of rail preservation in NE PA, I wish Superheater and his colleagues at the Iron Horse Society the best of luck.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:35 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8235
Location: Baltimore, MD
Dave Crosby wrote:
Furthermore, it is also an item that was donated, has no dollar value (save for scrap $), received minimal investment on the part of the taxpayer since its acquisition and would have in fact required considerable investment on the part of the taxpayer in the future.


The problem with this criticism is that it would also apply, for the most part, to ANY AND EVERY historic property under the control of the Pa. Historic & Museum Commission, and could be used to make the case that the Commonwealth, or any government, should NEVER get into the business of acquiring and owning historic properties or assets.

Think how much it costs to keep places like the Landis Valley Farm Museum, the Eckley Miners Village, the William Penn Museum, the Penna. Lumber Museum, the Joseph Priestly House, etc. preserved, in good repair, and accessible, to say nothing of staffed.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Another (The Last?) Word on 757 and PHMC from PA Auditor
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:54 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:17 pm
Posts: 509
Location: Scranton, PA
Quote:
Think how much it costs to keep places like the Landis Valley Farm Museum, the Eckley Miners Village, the William Penn Museum, the Penna. Lumber Museum, the Joseph Priestly House, etc. preserved, in good repair, and accessible, to say nothing of staffed.


Just to clarify my supposition above, it is an object (in this case 757) that has received no discernible investment, save for an occasional coat of paint (perhaps paid for by the Friends?). Therefore my statement could not be applied to the likes of PRR 460 or any of the other restored/conserved pieces and artifacts. Likewise it could not be applied to the museum building or grounds at RRMofPA or any similar examples at other PHMC sites which have seen expenditures great and small over the years.

_________________
Dave Crosby


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 54 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


 Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], elecuyer, Google [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 40 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: