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Was Caltrans culture prepared to deal with technician who falsfied inspection data?

By dcuff
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 at 9:07 am in Bay Bridge, Caltrans.

A state Senate transportation committee on Tuesday offered an unusual forum to question whether Caltrans did enough quickly enough when it discovered one of its technicians had falsified inspection data on construction projects. State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, asked whether the Caltrans culture built around hard data and orderly procedures was prepared to deal with a case when a renegade worker acted outside the norm.

Click here for a story from this newspaper and click here for a Sacramento Bee story.

DeSaulnier and others on the Senate Transportation Committee suggested Caltrans’ management system was not prepared to deal with technician Duane Wiles, who was not fired until earlier this month even though a whistle blower reported suspicions about his work nearly three years ago. Was Caltrans culture partly to blame for the slow response? DeSaulnier asked.

Wiles also worked on inspections on the new Bay Bridge foundation, although Caltrans said it found no evidence Wiles falsified data on the Bay Bridge project

According to press reports and agency officials, the technician apparently submitted duplicated data from old inspection tests and presented it as fresh results from new tests aimed at ensuring construction work was strong enough.

This sounds to me like a trick shortcut by a  cheating student: submit an old paper from an old class and submit it as a new paper in a new class. To be sure, the big difference is that Wiles’ data collection was part of the procedures to ensure that Caltrans bridges, overpasses, walls and other structures are safe.

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