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Old 05-07-2011, 07:18 PM   #21
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I would set your daily consulting rate at $2500 plus expenses and travel time and let them make the decision.
Considering the stakes, sounds like a bargain...
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:22 PM   #22
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I doubt my former employer would pay anything like that. They're cheap as the day is long. I'm sure the thought of even asking for compensation would make management's skin crawl. How dare I. It's my duty, my obligation. I, and many others, have been lectured many a time for even bringing up compensation issues, like working above my pay grade managing this project. Even suggesting that I be upgraded, even temporarily, brought frowns and wagging fingers. Such things are not talked about.

If I was a consultant, however...
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:11 PM   #23
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If they are so cheap as to not be interested in providing any compensation, then why would you want to accommodate their request? You have no job with them that they can threaten (which was probably the implied threat when you were "working above your pay grade" while there). You don't have any reason to care if they think you are a cooperative pliable person. It probably won't bother you if they put an unpleasant note in your permanent file. You likely have to name a figure that they will be willing to pay if you want the assignment, but likewise they have to be willing to accommodate a reasonable request if they want your help.
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:37 PM   #24
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Heed Gumby's advice. You do not know in which direction this will go. You need to get advice that you own.

My inclination would be to ignore them, but listen to your lawyer, not me. Find a good one.
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:45 PM   #25
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If I was a consultant, however...
I know it is not to your taste, but you might consider spending $50 and setting up a sole proprietorship and and a DBA and technically become a consultant. That way it is easier to say, Pay me. No need to go out and get prof liability insurance. It is useless and very expensive.
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:25 PM   #26
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Here's a nice little read I was pointed to (by DD) when a plaintiff's lawyer wanted to interview me about a former employer.

When Your Witness Is a Former Employee

There's a section on compensation, and the disadvantage that opposing counsel will cross-examine the person about this compensation. (That is, they'll make you out to be a mercenary paid to say whatever the defendant wants. :-( )
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Old 05-08-2011, 02:50 PM   #27
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(That is, they'll make you out to be a mercenary paid to say whatever the defendant wants. :-( )
The benefit is that he'd be paid handsomely to destroy any further motivation or credibility to launch a consulting career...
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Old 05-08-2011, 05:03 PM   #28
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Back in the day before I retired from Megacorp we were required to watch a particular video and sign off that we had seen it.

The plot of this fictional video was about a guy who worked for Megacorp. He retired, but took his personal Megacorp papers home and stored them in his garage.

Years later the Powers-That-Be came down on Megacorp about the retiree's area of responsibility. The Powers-That-Be somehow discovered that that the retiree had relevant documents in his possession. The Powers-That-Be obtained a search warrant and seized the documents from the retiree's garage. The information in the documents brought down Megacorp and landed the retiree in jail.

I repeat this video was totally fictional, but we were required to watch it and sign off that we had seen it.
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:26 PM   #29
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The Powers-That-Be obtained a search warrant and seized the documents from the retiree's garage. The information in the documents brought down Megacorp and landed the retiree in jail.
What was the alleged criminal act?
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:00 PM   #30
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So the moral of the story is supposed to be what? Since MegaCorp is likely involved in criminal activity, please do not save any evidence or you too will be caught up in the prosecutions. Like they wouldn't use an ex-employee as a scapegoat if they thought they could - having evidence might be the only thing that saves you from involuntarily taking the fall for the actions of others. Why would they want to make sure all employees know that.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:14 PM   #31
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Why would they want to make sure all employees know that.
Maybe they're worried that their ex-employees will write a John Grisham novel...
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:12 AM   #32
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(That is, they'll make you out to be a mercenary paid to say whatever the defendant wants. :-( )
They did that with me and I answered that they were paying my standard consulting rate plus expenses. It was a non-issue for the judge.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:15 AM   #33
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Just at the time I retired we were the winners of a Supreme Court decision concerning our ability to regulate topless bars and porno shops. A very lucrative business, they had managed to tie us in knots for years while they made millions as it was litigated. A new lawsuit was being considered and I was contacted about assisting MegaCity's hired litigators. My belief is that I would rather set myself on fire than get sucked back into that morass (the last lawsuit took a couple of decades to be resolved).

When I mentioned my fee for consulting on the deal the assistant city attorney inhaled deeply and said, "I'll have to kick that upstairs and get back to you." Three years later I'm still waiting for the return call.

And I agree with what others have said before me. If there is the slightest chance that you could have some personal liability on this deal you should have your own attorney. My former employer used to sing the same song, "If you and the city get sued the city attorney will represent you." That was true right up to the point that the city managed to get its case separated from your case. Too many former co-w*rkers saw the city attorney walk out the door of the courtroom as the judge inquired, "are you prepared for trial today Mr. Jones?"

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I repeat this video was totally fictional, but we were required to watch it and sign off that we had seen it.
Yep, the famous CYA training coupled with the attendance log. Other former co-w*rkers found themselves watching a past instructor holding copies of lesson plans and attendance logs from ten-years earlier while testifying, "that's not what we taught him."

That was usually followed by the city attorney's motion to separate the city's case from the employee's. "He's a rogue employee, your honor. His refusal to follow training and policy justifies our motion."

This thread makes me so happy that I left that place.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:24 PM   #34
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Well, I did get a call this morning. I am going to help out. Compensation was not an issue. The DAG told me to figure out a fair rate and they would definitely pay me. That softened me up a bit. The lawsuit involves a property owner than is claiming damages prior to the completion of the EIS that just so happens to be at the height of the real estate market.

They only want me for history so they know how things got to where they were. They do not expect to call me or expect the plaintiff to call me either. Knowing how these cases go, I am in agreement.

The AGs office will represent me if necessary and there are statutes in place that govern that. I doubt it will be necessary. I am only providing some background information and no one is claiming any wrong doing on anyone's part, just that they should be compensated for their property at 2007 prices instead of today's.

Based on my old wages plus benefits, extra taxes and such and some extra for my trouble I am asking for around $75 an hour plus travel and expenses. Not the $2500 a day proposed above, but seems fair.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:43 PM   #35
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Based on my old wages plus benefits, extra taxes and such and some extra for my trouble I am asking for around $75 an hour plus travel and expenses. Not the $2500 a day proposed above, but seems fair.
Not sure about your local market, but $75/hr is below market where I am for an engineer's loaded rate (including smallish overhead and profit). At least for someone who has been out of school more than a year or two. In case you want to get a few extra bucks...
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Old 05-09-2011, 02:46 PM   #36
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That might be low, but it's more than double my old salary, not including benefits. You are right, that a loaded rate would be more like $100 and hour on average. We'll see.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:31 PM   #37
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You no longer w*rk there. End of story.

Refer your former employer to your attorney, and let YOUR attorney call the shots. This could be smelly and you want to CYA from day one.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:58 PM   #38
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They only want me for history so they know how things got to where they were. They do not expect to call me or expect the plaintiff to call me either. Knowing how these cases go, I am in agreement.
I'm apparently in the minority, but I agree with your decision.

Challenges to right-of-way purchase prices are routine - there's a whole cottage industry of lawyers who specialize in representing property owners. I believe in the old law books there is something about eminent domain, fair compensation, and redress of grievances.

I've never heard of the EIS procedures being dragged into the determination of land value, however. (Limited knowledge - I mostly work on locally-funded projects, and we don't follow the full NEPA process used in federal-aid projects.)

Of course, in the old environment when property values "always" rose from year to year, an appraisal performed at the time of an offer could be presumed to be at a higher value than one pulled together using last year's sales comps. Sounds like a sharp lawyer is trying to make a case that fair compensation is the land's value at the time your agency was "ready and willing" to buy the land, as measured by some 2007 milestone in the EIS process.

Engineers don't get called to the stand to talk about land values. From what you have posted, it appears to me the DAG is just doing due diligence to put together a definitive EIS timeline for use in case the plaintiff and his land value "experts" make some progress on this theory with the court.

On compensation, I think $100/ hour plus travel expenses is a very fair rate for a consulting engineer with your experience. Bumping it up to $150 or $200 in the event court testimony is required would not be unusual.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:24 PM   #39
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That might be low, but it's more than double my old salary, not including benefits. You are right, that a loaded rate would be more like $100 and hour on average. We'll see.
$75/hour was what the U.S. Navy was charging the South Korean submariners to have a lieutenant commander teach them about damage control methods.

In 1998.

You're a real bargain!
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:19 AM   #40
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The catch with consulting is the time around your billable hours that you cannot bill for. That eats into the hourly rate very quickly, especially if you are not certain of a full 8 hour day. A 2 hour meeting at $75/hr is likely not worth it. At $150/hr, it may be. It is unlikely they have full days of work for you. Also consider how much time you have spent thinking about the request.

A per day fee is another way around the issue, if you're not comfortable asking for $150/hr.

Consider how much they have to save from your information.
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