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Author Topic: Meter Reading?  (Read 11758 times)
JBurke
Recruit

Posts: 6

« on: February 10, 2010, 09:44:10 PM »

Here's an interesting story.  An Alabama town is contracting with a private firm to manage its water district...after contracting with the Civil Air Patrol to read meters from the air???  If even technically feasible, I'd assume that they are using RF meter readers...but how is this even legal?
http://bit.ly/9y5hDP

As a side note, I looked up the local squadron...the commander just happens to be on the city council...hmmm
http://bit.ly/998dpQ

Only in Alabama...??



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JoeTomasone
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Posts: 1,661

« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 09:56:06 PM »

Holy (potential) Conflict of Interest, Batman!

Is it just me, or does that have the potential to backfire badly?

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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,895

« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 09:56:07 PM »

That's clearly a typo or a misunderstanding, CAP planes are not for hire, nor can CAP personnel be used for any commercial endeavors,
even for a municipality.

If its really true, be prepared for follow-up stories that involve the removal of anyone in the command chain who approved of this.
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Al Sayre
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Posts: 2,514
Unit: SER-MS-001

Mississippi Wing
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2010, 10:03:41 PM »

As a government entity, the city can enter an MOU or contract with CAP to perform a service.  Just like in MS, where we have contracts with Dept of Marine Resources and two Counties to perform the Sundown Patrol, and various other coastal operations.  In this case, the service happens to be airborne data collection.  What's the difference between that and counting wolves, moose, reindeer, migratory birds or any other of the myriad things we help state and local governments do.  I suspect that CAP was doing it for a lot less than what it is going to cost to put in the new meters and boxes etc. that they talked about in the article.  It seems to be a clever way to expand our services to the community and increase flight time.
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Lt Col Al Sayre
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Admiral, Great Navy of the State of Nebraska
GRW #2787
jeders
Global Moderator

Posts: 2,186

« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2010, 10:08:36 PM »

Unless these meters are the size of buses, how is that even possible. Definitely has to be a typo, or someone just doesn't know what they're talking about.
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If you are confident in you abilities and experience, whether someone else is impressed is irrelevant. - Eclipse
Al Sayre
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Posts: 2,514
Unit: SER-MS-001

Mississippi Wing
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2010, 10:17:13 PM »

The days of a guy walking through your back yards reading meters have been gone for several years.  Many areas have installed RF meters that can be read by a vehicle (or aircraft ) driving nearby. 

A few links:
http://tdworld.com/customer_service/pge_selects_acla_smartmeter/
http://mastermeter.com/pdfs/mm_casestudy_ivan.pdf
http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/6351223/claims.html

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Lt Col Al Sayre
MS Wing Staff Dude
Admiral, Great Navy of the State of Nebraska
GRW #2787
JBurke
Recruit

Posts: 6

« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2010, 10:18:08 PM »

If it's legal, it's definitely technically feasible.  Modern water meters are "read" by remote RF receivers.  I don't know what the range is...cities that use them often just have a vehicle drive through the neighborhoods pinging the units one by one down the street.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2010, 10:18:16 PM »

Unless these meters are the size of buses, how is that even possible. Definitely has to be a typo, or someone just doesn't know what they're talking about.

A lot of villages have RF-based devices that transmit to vehicles as they drive down the street, this is pretty common, and I would imagine those same devices have an "up" range as well.

It never occurred to me that those wings doing bird migration, or whatever, were getting paid to do that.  I simply assumed it was being done as a community service on a "once-in-a-while" basis.
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Al Sayre
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Unit: SER-MS-001

Mississippi Wing
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2010, 10:22:18 PM »

No, see CAPR 173-3 Sect 1.b
Quote
b. Reimbursement from other agencies will be in accordance with the current memorandum of understanding (MOU) or letter of agreement (LOA) with that agency.
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Lt Col Al Sayre
MS Wing Staff Dude
Admiral, Great Navy of the State of Nebraska
GRW #2787
JBurke
Recruit

Posts: 6

« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2010, 10:23:30 PM »

...and to Al, thanks for the info. 

I had no idea that CAP provided those kinds of services (data logging and wildlife, etc.).  I just knew that the planes are not to be used "for hire".  But I can see how other governmental entities could be a different story.  I'd be interested in hearing about other applications like this, as it seems like a good way to provide additional community services in rural areas.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2010, 10:31:18 PM »

No, see CAPR 173-3 Sect 1.b
Quote
b. Reimbursement from other agencies will be in accordance with the current memorandum of understanding (MOU) or letter of agreement (LOA) with that agency.

This may be legal, but does it fall into the intent of the use of CAP planes and people?

Its one thing for the town to pay for mission resources, a whole different deal to take money off the table that would go to some other business.

Who pays for the additional maintenance needed?  What about if someone is hurt doing it?  This is obviously not an AFAM.

This strikes me as another VSAF situation where CAP members' hyper-benevolence is being exploited to save someone from spending money.
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RiverAux
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« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2010, 10:33:23 PM »

Everything we do could potentially be done by private business for a fee. 
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Eclipse
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2010, 10:35:16 PM »

Everything we do could potentially be done by private business for a fee.

Agreed, but not generally at our rates, which are only made possible because of federal subsidies, and no labor costs.

On one hand that you could make the argument that .gov is .gov, and its all the same money pool, but on the other hand, that's not the way it really works.
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Pylon
Administrator

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Unit: NER-NH-038

Michael Kieloch, Marketing Communications & PR Leadership
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2010, 11:28:01 PM »

Its one thing for the town to pay for mission resources, a whole different deal to take money off the table that would go to some other business.

That money might not be going to another business.  The town might have diverted someone from other duties to drive/fly around to read meters.

Who pays for the additional maintenance needed?

CAP figures maintenance costs into our rates. 

What about if someone is hurt doing it?  This is obviously not an AFAM.

A.  That's what MOUs are for. 
B.  Our members are covered under separate CAP corporate insurance when doing corporate-assigned missions.  It's not just AFAMs that cover members "on the job".

This strikes me as another VSAF situation where CAP members' hyper-benevolence is being exploited to save someone from spending money.

It actually strikes me more along the lines of Civil Air Patrol not having a focused mission and so in our desperation to stay relevant (and justify our continued expense and existence to the powers-that-be), we're (as an organization) willing to take on pretty much any paying job that the regs allow for. 
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Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
Concord Composite Squadron, NH       
lordmonar
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Posts: 10,700

« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2010, 11:32:35 PM »

The intent of CAP aircraft is to fulfill the USAF missions assigned to us........but when not doing AFAM we can do just about anything else we want to (posse comutadas not withstanding).

I don't see any conflict of intrest at all.
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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
heliodoc
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« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2010, 11:41:49 PM »

Sounds like a desperation mission to me

AF running this mission?  That is debatable...but then I don't click every link on CAPTalk

".......we can do just about anything else we want to..??"

Really...the we ought to the biz I talked about last night

Getting all the laid off pilots currency or re currency or something  similar... 

Alot more along our lines that reading water meters...NOW that is a lame mission for CAP to claim its relevancy
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lordmonar
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Posts: 10,700

« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2010, 11:44:10 PM »

Did not say it was a good mission....but if someone is paying for the gas and maintenance.....are you going to pass up the chance to get free flying?
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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
heliodoc
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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2010, 11:51:31 PM »

^^^^
NAWW

that's for the 30 yr GOB's that did not get their freebie ride at the last SAREX for their "A" flights

Guys like me would still wind up paying for it......WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA >:D >:D ::) ::) ::)
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Spike
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Posts: 1,257
Unit: Top Secret

« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2010, 11:55:47 PM »

As a side note, I looked up the local squadron...the commander just happens to be on the city council...hmmm
http://bit.ly/998dpQ

That is called corruption.  This should be looked into and see if the member may be gaining from this action.
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lordmonar
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Posts: 10,700

« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2010, 12:13:20 AM »

As a side note, I looked up the local squadron...the commander just happens to be on the city council...hmmm
http://bit.ly/998dpQ

That is called corruption.  This should be looked into and see if the member may be gaining from this action.
Not really corruption.  Assume (Yes I know what that spells  :)) for a second that the CAP commander/City councilman suggested CAP for this job and then recluse himself from the debate/decision.

That is not corruption...that is called networking.

The Surrogate Predator Program was started the same way.  A USAF member on the A staff at ACC was tasked with filling an USAF training need that the current contractor could not fill.  He was also a CAP member and started the ball rolling for us to get this new mission.  Is that also corruption or good stewardship of TAXPAYERS' money?
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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Tall Tales  |  Topic: Meter Reading?
 


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