Alabama Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors

CLEAR Investigative Excellence Award

In what was probably the worst case scenario presented as a complaint to the Alabama Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, longtime investigator Bob Herbert worked through the kudzu like intricacies. The work paid dividends and was recognized not only by those in the office and on a national stage as he was presented CLEAR’s Investigative Excellence Award in September.

“The complexity of the investigation…,” Herbert said, “originally what appeared to be a complaint on two projects – two churches – began to snowball. More information led to additional cases. Then led to talking to code officials throughout Mobile and Baldwin counties. It led to additional victims.”

The case being referenced is Roddy Fitzgerald / Commodore Steel which led to not only the heaviest fine since BELS convened for the first time in 1936 and an eventual felony conviction. Fitzgerald was fined $30,000 and pled guilty to multiple counts of felony forgery, identity theft and theft for the stealing of multiple licensed professional engineers’ seals.

“This is truly a worst case scenario for the individual,” Herbert said. “It would have never been caught by the municipalities because everything appeared to be as it should be. It was a set of design plans submitted by an engineer. The only way we found out was that an engineer had questions about the design plans and contacted the engineer whose seals were on the plans. That’s how it all got started. Had that not happened, Roddy ‘could’ still be doing this and taking advantage of the public and the public would be at great risk.”

The CLEAR (Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation) Investigative Excellence Award recognizes an investigator who has demonstrated exceptional performance in a particular case or has a history of excellent performance beyond what is expected or required.

“I was humbled to get the award,” Herbert said. “Just looking at the stage and seeing the other individuals and groups that did wonderful things. For me to be listed among them was very humbling. I was very thankful the Board and Rick (Huett, BELS Director) even submitted me for the award and that CLEAR selected me. It makes it even more humbling.”

Herbert and BELS would like to extend special thanks to Det. Sgt. Keith Miller with the Mobile County Special Investigation Unit and Baldwin County District Attorney Administrative Chief Howard Eddy for their help during this lengthy investigation that began in 2013.

Scroll to 5:23 on the video link to see the Clear Award Video Presentation for Mr. Herbert