Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Vernon suspends unlicensed engineer

By Jason Rowe
Journal Inquirer
February 1, 2006

VERNON - Town Engineer Tim Timberman has been placed on a month-long suspension pending the reinstatement of his professional engineer's license.

In late January, it was revealed that Timberman had been practicing without his state license for at least five years.

Under the town charter, the town engineer "shall be a professional engineer licensed in the state of Connecticut."

Timberman was suspended Monday and is not expected to return to work until March 1, by which time, his license should be reinstated, Mayor Ellen L. Marmer said today.

In the meantime, the town's engineering services will be performed by the staff of Meriden-based Cardinal Engineering, which also is providing design services for the town's $19 million road reconstruction project, approved by voters in November 2004.

Marmer said Timberman is working on a part-time, hourly basis this week to ensure a smooth transition between him and Cardinal Engineering's staff.

Once that work is complete, Marmer said Timberman's suspension would be without pay.

Cardinal Engineering is expected to bill the town for any services it provides during the next month.

Marmer said she did not know what Cardinal's rates would be, but added that the company has always treated the town fairly in pricing matters.

"I know he's embarrassed and feels very remorseful over what he has put the town and everyone here through," Marmer said. "Nevertheless, it's done and it needs to be rectified."

That lapsed license became public last month after an opponent of a proposed age-restricted housing project on West Street told the Planning and Zoning Commission that he could not find Timberman's name listed in the state Department of Consumer Protection's registry of licensed engineers.

Last month, Timberman said he completed the necessary paperwork and expected that his license would be reinstated at the Consumer Protection Department's next board meeting.

At the time, Timberman said he mistakenly allowed the license to lapse roughly five years ago.

While state officials have told him that their records indicate that the license expired in 1987, Timberman said today that he has provided the state with documentation that he held a license long after that date.

Reached at his Town Hall office by phone today, Timberman would not discuss how his license was allowed to remain expired for so long.

Timberman has served as the town's engineer since January 1989, according to town records.

At the time of the revelation, Mayor Ellen L. Marmer said she expected that Timberman's license would be reinstated by the middle of the month and that the discrepancy would not prove problematic for the town.

But given the seriousness of allowing a required professional license to expire, Marmer said the town's administration thought a suspension was warranted.

Despite the suspension, Marmer said, the town has always had and continues to have confidence in Timberman's ability as an engineer.

And Marmer added that rumors about Timberman's never having a license are false.

"I think Tim's engineering capabilities are excellent," Marmer said. "I view this as very serious" but "it really doesn't impugn his engineering or his 17 years of service to the town."

Marmer said the discrepancy with Timberman's license would not affect any projects he has worked on during the past five years.

And officials already are working on devising a system of keeping track of town employees' required certifications so a repeat of this incident doesn't happen, Marmer said.

©Journal Inquirer 2006