HDR: Partner in Crime?

Regarding Agenda Item B-9 for Reno City Council 8/14/19

I have grave concerns about granting further contracts to the HDR engineering firm.

HDR Engineer Michael McMahon testified for the city and against the neighbors in the Lemmon Valley Class Action suit on June 19.  He’s a hydro-meteorologist who testified that the rainfall in the winter of 2016 was the worst on record.  His testimony didn’t hold up under cross examination.  His methods were sloppy and didn’t support his conclusions.  He didn’t even want to agree to points he’d made in his deposition.

HDR Engineer Mark Forest testified for the city and against the neighbors in the Lemmon Valley Class Action suit on June 20.  He testified as an expert hydrologist.  His runoff calculations assumed that only 18% or rainfall would run off of developed properties.  The Truckee Meadows Regional Drainage Manual indicates that 65% of rainfall runs off of developed properties.  Forest did not review or corroborate his work with anyone.  Forest did not know that the retention basins specified by Reno for new developments were never built.  He was glib in court and was admonished by the judge.

Reno and HDR lost.  The case they made was not credible.  But, Reno paid HDR $325,000 to support the case against the neighbors.  So, HDR’s engineers are either dishonest or incompetent.   I can’t discern which.  But, there is no reason to be confident that the Reno taxpayers will be well served by their services.

The “Reno Good Old Boy Network” is a euphemism for “quid pro quo”.  Giving HDR a new contract at this point looks like Reno is paying off a partner in malfeasance.

3 thoughts on “HDR: Partner in Crime?

  1. I have worked as a technical consultant and fully support engineers/geologists/hydrogeologists registrations or certifications at the State level. This might reduce the level of technical incompetency, but more importantly, it gives both the State and it’s residents some confidence that work is conducted to County, State and Federal laws, regulations, and standards. I just saw a truck driving up on the Ascente property on Steamboat Hills and wondered if it might be yet another developer trolling the geomorphology. Good luck with THAT project. The technically-challenged and ass-kissy Lumos Engineers produced a decidedly feeble geotechnical investigation for that project (as required by the Conditions of the APPROVED technical map in August 2017), the results of which we residents may NEVER see! But I have plenty of evidence that it was a crap piece of work, and if ground is ever broken up there, I have every confidence that the rock will prove expensive to blast, grade and move, probably way too expensive! But Lumos gave Symbio the quality of work needed to satisfy the County Planners, which is not much. It’s the same at the Reno City level. All at the expense of the existing residents’ rights to a healthy and safe environment.

    Same with the Silver Knolls traffic study…..

    We can assume that the County Planners just LOVE all the work done by the developers’ consulting firms as they rarely have the expertise to give the engineering reports the scrutiny they need. Developers count on this. IF legislation were introduced to require geotechnical/hydrogeological registration, I would bet that the developers and the engineering firms who work for them would be the first to fight it.


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