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Message From Peter Chiapppori

 

[ARCE Complaints Website Contact Form] New Luxor Dewatering Administrator‏

5/05/11

chiapporiarts@hotmail.com

From:

chiapporiarts@hotmail.com

Sent:

Thu 5/05/11 7:40 AM

To:

edjegypt@hotmail.com

 

Peter Chiapppori (chiapporiarts@hotmail.com) sent a message using the contact

form at http://arcecomplaints.org/web/contact.

To Whom It May Concern,

When ARCE sent a message to the membership regarding this new position, via

the standard e-letter, it was already 1.5 months overdue. Needless to say, I

was late with my application & credentials. Apparently, according to several

ARCE source members whom are friends of mine (including a past chapter

president), the position was already "given away" even if I had submitted an

application on-time. I was very frustrated since A) I am a seasoned licensed

architect/engineer (+30-years) having done several de-watering projects here

in the states & familiar with varying geologies, understand the mechanics of

ground densities & materials and have administered multiple teams of design

professionals & contractors simultaneously on large-scale projects, while

having years of field experience, B) I had just left Egypt having visited my

friend (an Egyptologist working in the VOK whose name shall currently remain

nameless), so I had just rudimentarily "surveyed" the existing area temples &

ARCE conservators at each locale C) I have a good command of the language,

know many of the locals & am a stone sculptor myself. I.E. I have hands-on

experience with different stones & know their properties & how they react

with other materials, including repair means, methods & techniques. I felt

this varied skill set was perfect for the tardy call for professionals from

ARCE.

ARCE sent a "thank you" letter stating the position had been filled. Only

later did I discover the individual didn't have the training or experience

that I had offered to ARCE. While it is mandatory here to accumulate

continuing education credits to maintain architectural licensure, I was

stunned to find out the person was not a design professional at all, having

no (professionally accountable) projects to his name. While the position

stressed this requisite & perhaps he can perform the job "adequately," it is

still an affront for ARCE to have acted so incredibly slowly in advertising a

position in the first place. When I called ARCE HQ in Texas the SAME DAY AS

THE ANNOUNCEMENT ISSUANCE, I was told they were already having "interviews"

with "applicants." This tardiness is highly UNprofessional & brings the

board's motivations into question.

Forgive me if it appears I am "venting," but the circumstances surrounding

the hire position for the Luxor dewatering coordinator are more than

suspicious, leading to no other explanation than the outcome was an

obviewscated excuse for a predetermined subjective move by the board.

Respectfully

RE: [ARCE Complaints Website Contact Form] New Luxor Dewatering Administrator‏

5/05/11

 Edward Johnson


Edward Johnson

edjegypt@hotmail.com

To chiapporiarts@hotmail.com

From:

Edward Johnson (edjegypt@hotmail.com)

Sent:

Thu 5/05/11 1:14 PM

To:

chiapporiarts@hotmail.com

Dear Peter,
 
I am not surprised, though I again saddened to learn of your experience with ARCE in respect to the Luxor project. You are not just venting, you are bringing up a very real problem with ARCE. I was just about to insert a new addition to what is already on the website about this in response to other comments I have received back from other ARCE members. I will now rewrite it a bit as a result of your speaking out concerning your experience.  
 
When Gerry Scott made the decision to hire Mr. Shearman, he personally told me that his decision was based on Mr. Shearman's experience in managing "big" projects in the construction field. As you may not know, because it was not ever published by ARCE, Mr. Shearman's claims in this respect revolved around his own individual and company website, in which his primary achievement of note was that he claimed to have taken over a money losing construction company in Toledo Ohio, which, when he departed it, it was supposedly doing $125 million a year in business. There were no details given about this which were capable of verification and conspicuously absent was any claim that the company was actually turning a significant profit. Also conspicuously absent was why he was no longer with that company if he had been such a success at it. Several people who also looked at this site, which I do not believe is now active, as I can no longer locate it on the web, stated to me that it was ridiculous and a joke.
 
Having worked with construction and development firms a great deal over my almost 40 year career in law, I am well aware that to someone not involved in the business, $125 million sounds like a lot, but that in reality this would be nothing more than a large, small construction company. Had Mr. Shearman been ramrodding major projects for  companies such as Bechtel or Parsons, which do multiple billions of dollars a year, I might have been more impressed, but still could not understand what skills were being brought into the project by Mr. Shearman which would benefit it. The claimed experience in managing "big" projects was dubious and not germane even if true, as the Luxor project simply wasn't big enough to qualify.  
 
On his website, Mr. Shearman made claims about his long work with people in Egypt, including Ibrahim Soliman, the SCA Director at Karnak and the site prominently featured a photograph of Mr. Shearman with Ibrahim, making it appear that this confirmed his work in Egypt. However when I showed the site to Ibrahim and asked him what he knew about Mr. Shearman from his prior work with him, Ibrahim stated to me that he knew virtually nothing about him and had not actually worked with him. The photograph was taken at an SCA exhibition in the US which Ibrahim was accompanying at the time and when Mr. Shearman asked for a picture together, Ibrahim politely obliged. That was the extent of his work with Mr. Shearman. So, in actuality, while Mr. Shearman has worked in Egypt, it has been intermittant and only occasional, not continuously as Mr. Shearman and ARCE likes to portray it.  It would seem, perhaps, that one of Mr. Shearman's chief qualifications for the position was a talent for self promotion.         
 
I confronted Gerry about this when he arrived in Luxor with Mr. Shearman in tow in October 2009 and stated to him, point blank, that I felt this was a political decision based on the fact that Mr. Shearman was on ARCE's Board at the time, given his complete lack of qualifications in Egyptology, archaeology, conservation, or water management.  
Despite the fact that he subsequently reversed himself when it was politic do do so and stated that the decision to hire Mr. Shearman was made by the Board, Gerry denied this and advised me that the decision about who to hire and fire was strictly up to him and that if and when the Board told him who to hire and fire it could have his job back.
 
Either way, the timing and the lack of any qualifications for the position, as you have stated, is telling evidence that the result was preordained and did not advance the interests of the project and you are well justified in thinking that it was a form of political patronage, a sinecure given as a favor and in response to Mr. Shearman's need for a job, other than in Afghanistan, where he had been working before.
 
The subsequent management of the project bears this out as most of the projects we had been working on until Mr. Shearman came and I was turfed out, all of which were meritorious and needed, are either unfinished or have been abandoned, chiefly because neither Mr. Shearman or the staff he kept on have the experience and knowledge to move forward with them. What little work is being done is busywork, not significantly advancing the preservation of the monuments.   
 
My thanks for sharing your experience and speaking out on a matter which should be of concern to all ARCE members. The more people speak out about this kind of conduct, the more likely it may be that we will force ARCE to behave more transparently and in the actual interests of its members, the organization itself and the monuments, which should always be of first concern. It is my hope that more people will have the courage to speak out as you have.
 
May I have your permission to post your e-mail on the site so that others who visit it can see that the problem with ARCE is a genuine one and that while I have gone to the trouble of creating the site, there are other members who share the concerns? Making these experiences known to members will help to alert them to what is really going on and result in reform. I would list your response under a separate heading, e.g., "Members Responses" and add some of the others as they come in.
 
With my thanks and best regards,
 
Ed Johnson        

RE: [ARCE Complaints Website Contact Form] New Luxor Dewatering Administrator‏

5/06/11  


Peter Chiappori

chiapporiarts@hotmail.com

To edjegypt@hotmail.com

From:

Peter Chiappori (chiapporiarts@hotmail.com)

Sent:

Fri 5/06/11 8:24 AM

To:

edjegypt@hotmail.com

Dear Mr. Johnson,
 
I am familiar with much of the work you have done over the years. I'm pleased you have created a place that, hopefully, will make positive changes for the improvement of an inherently flawed organization. Having worked in government for more than a decade, I am well acquainted with the idiosyncrasies that hinder similar organizations. It is sad and damaging. I couldn't agree more with your statements regarding transparency of actions by ARCE (one of the reasons my friend left as chapter president... too much bureaucracy).
 
I didn't want to expose names but you have enumerated the parties & individuals perfectly. The information you provided confirmed the truth behind my disquieting thoughts and remarks. Please feel free to publish my letter & this response, if you so desire. Though I haven't been a lifelong member such as yourself, I am, however, still a member & just as concerned with the internal structure of ARCE's board and any remedy that could be applied for the betterment of all concerned.
 
Thank you for your exhaustive and revealing response. With such determination as you have demonstrated in creating this forum, I believe changes for accountability are close at hand.
 
Most Sincerely,
 
Peter Chiappori
Architect, Artist, Instructor of Egyptology & ARCE member
 

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