A NEW Debate on the Forestry Profession

Joseph Zorzin redoak at forestmeister.com
Thu May 7 09:26:40 EST 1998

Susan112 wrote:
> Forest Fair wrote:
> >Susan,
> >
> >  Are you allowed to  recommend consultants to landowners, or tell them who
> >to
> >avoid?  In NYS, the service foresters are not allowed to make
> >recommendations,
> >and they follow the rules.
> >
> >  The state publishes a book of "cooperating consultant foresters" but there
> >is
> >no follow-up monitoring to weed out the bad actors.  It's useful only as a
> >shopping list, with no indication of quality or ethics.  Finding a good
> >consultant is a difficult task for most landowners.
> >
> >FF
> The consultants organization publishes their own list of members which I give
> out with the explaination about fees and percentages as well as an article
> reprint on how to choose a consulting forester.

And how does the public choose state foresters? Through civil service?
Not in my part of the country. And how the hell would staties know and
understand about fees and percentages. You should be very, very careful
with this stuff which you don't understand unless you've done it. If
you've done it, fine. I hold that nobody should become a state forester
without at least 10 years in the private sector, to learn some common

> Since the consultants organization has a # of years experience requirement for
> membership it excludes some recent graduates who have gone straight into
> consulting.  I will often include their names in a referral as they charge less
> and do good work from the contracts that I've done with them.  Maybe they
> shouldn't go straight into consulting out of school, but since we don't have
> many consultants in the state, and the recent grads do good work, I don't worry
> about it.

I don't have a problem with that. Caveat emptor.

> I have made direct referrals before to one consultant.. We trialed a formal
> referral system where we'd do this and if the consultant couldn't get to the
> request, he'd ask another consultant to do it.  This meant that the landowner
> would at least get a phone call from a consultant after inquiring about their
> services.  It was a bit cumbersome and not entirely fair in terms of spreading
> out the business so it was dropped.

It DOESN'T take a rocket scientist to see that it's A VERY BAD IDEA for
staties to recommend a specific individual. Do I need to elaborate? It's
called "possible conflict of interest". If there is a list, use the
list. If a forester develops a bad reputation, there needs to be a fair
way to remove that person from the list. In Mass. the staties wouldn't
DARE recommend an individual. I even tell "my" staties I don't want them
recommending me, because more than anything else I want them to run a
fair operation- fair to everyone- and avoid conflict of interest.

I suspect if the consultants in your state knew you were recommending
individuals and complaining about them charging too much, you'd be in
deep trouble.

> The only problem that I've had with a consulting forester's work revolves
> around one incident when I thought a sale was overmarked (billed on the
> percentage), thus my explanation about percentages and fees. Some consultants
> here don't balk at doing liquidation sales at the landowner's request, and I
> think that was the deal with that incident.   Anyway, I guess I've been lucky
> in that regard.  Loggers are another matter.
> Susan

It's absolutely NONE of your business to tell a landowner that a
consultant charges too much; absolutely none. How do you know what is
too much? Typical arrogant attitude of government. And who determines if
YOU get paid too much? You almost certainly get paid more than the
average consultant. Is that too much?

And don't send a snotty email to me privately like you did once before.
If you want to argue, we'll do it in public.


Joseph Zorzin, Der Yankee Forestmeister
"Still, after a year, the only forestry web page in the otherwise
sophisticated state of Massachusetts"
"Opposite Trails", a book proposal by David Gafney, National Park
Service naturalist, forester, and environmental attorney about his
hiking and photographing the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail
"In wilderness is the preservation of the world."
Henry David Thoreau

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