7/13/2016Texas Board Reprimands Red Light Camera Engineer
Texas Board of Professional Engineers finds red light camera company employee failed to follow the law in conducting a traffic study.
The Texas Board of Professional Engineers on May 26 reprimanded the former engineering manager at American Traffic Solutions (ATS) for misconduct related to a red light camera study in the city of Magnolia. Robert B. Zaitooni worked for ATS from 2009 to 2014 producing the formal documentation that many states require before automated ticketing machines can be installed.
"Based upon the complainant's allegations, it appears you conducted engineering and related business affairs in an unprofessional manner by failing to include your Texas engineer seal, signature and date on the drawings," the board's compliance director CW Clark wrote in an October 22, 2015 notice of violation to Zaitooni. "Such actions show a lack of care and diligence in the practice of engineering. Further, you failed to include the firm registration number for ATS on the drawing. Such actions would appear to be violations of the Texas Engineering Practice Act and board rules."
ATS had asked Zaitooni to create a report that would justify installing a red light camera in the city of Magnolia at the intersection of Magnolia Boulevard and Melton Street. A local engineer wanted to see what justifications were made for the camera, so he asked the city for a copy. He received an installation drawing and some informal notes that did not address possible engineering alternatives to cameras, as required by the state legislature.
"As with my earlier complaints filed against the cities of Willis and Conroe, these municipalities, Magnolia included, seem to be engaged in a pattern of disregarding legislative intent and the clear requirements of the Texas Engineering Practice Act," engineer Will Boytim wrote in his complaint.
The board found the complaint was well founded and initially recommended a one-year license suspension and a $975 fine. Zaitooni called the charges "false and baseless," saying the city handed over preliminary versions of his work. The final versions did have his seal. The board was not impressed by this reply.
"Had the tone of Mr. Zaitooni's response been a bit less in your face, I believe I would have suggested that this case be closed as violation terminated without censure," board staff member Clif Bond explained.
State law requires that preliminary documents be clearly labeled as such, so in April, the board concluded that Zaitooni violated the law, but it decided a reprimand without the without the fine or suspension was sufficient.