The Consultant - 2008 - (Page 48)

CONSULTANT’S FORUM ACF Code of Ethics: Canon 15 What You Don’t Say or Do Can Hurt You BY JAMES A. BURNS, ACF Canon 15: ACF Consulting Foresters will engage, or advise their clients or employers to engage, other experts and specialists in forestry and related fields whenever the clients’ or employers’ interests would be best served by such actions, and will cooperate freely with them in their work. Does this mean we, as ACF members, need to have a comprehensive and specific knowledge of all aspects of forestry and related fields? The answer, of course, is no. If it were yes, none of us would qualify as members. You are not expected to be a specialist in everything. As I see it, the test for fulfilling this canon, which would also apply to civil law, would be: Knowledge acquired during education, training and experience that one would reasonably be assumed to possess. In a civil trial, an attorney would examine the total collective experience a person has had to establish what he or she should have some knowledge about. When you have your annual medical exam you don’t see a brain surgeon, but are examined by a general practitioner, who, you trust, will refer you to a brain surgeon if some anomaly in your test results is detected. Closer to our profession, let’s say, E.Z. Buck of Quick Bucks Forest Management Service is aware of a potential property boundary dispute developing on land he manages for a client. E.Z. has a degree in forestry, and in the last 10 years of consulting has knowledge of similar problems on other lands. He knows a registered surveyor and lawyer are needed to resolve this problem. Perhaps E.Z. realizes he can’t do the work required in either specialty so there is no income for him in this matter, or maybe he simply doesn’t want to get involved for any number of reasons. In any event, he is silent about the problem at hand and does nothing. The fact that E.Z. is neither a registered surveyor nor attorney is no excuse for silence. He would be in violation of Canon 15 if he were a member of ACF, but he was never allowed in the organization because of other prior non-professional activities. Hopefully, his client filed a civil lawsuit against him and used our code of ethics as a standard of professional conduct (this is my story). All of us in the forest management area of consulting are involved with selling timber for our clients. Reporting this income for taxes is one area where many foresters fail to carry out their obligation to clients under Canon 15. Capital gain tax treatment of timber sale income is detailed under Sections 631(a), 631(b) and related sections of the Internal Revenue Code. This is a highly specialized area of the tax law. The terminology used and appraisal requirements specified are written for experienced foresters. Most accountants do not have the kind of background or experience needed to implement these requirements. THE CONSULTANT 2008 Jim Burns 48

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Consultant - 2008

Executive Director’s Message Mapping the Future of ACF
President’s Message ACF Celebrates 60 Years
Professional Forestry Education: The Present, from a Texas Perspective
The Future of Forestry Education: Will We Prepare Relics or Icons?
Forestry and Consulting: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Carbon – A Forestry Opportunity?
Advocacy – Its Benefits May Come With Frustrations
Katrina Top 10: Public Policy Advocacy Lessons Learned After Hurricane Disaster
‘Mighty Giants’ Details Rich History of American Chestnut Tree
The Cost of Breaking in New Employees
Hiring Practices: Questions You Shouldn’t Ask a Job Applicant
Graduate Forestry Degrees and Consulting Forestry
Taxation and Land Devaluation: An Examination of the Tax Burden on Non-industrial Private Landowners
Forester Licensing: Essential to Guarding the Forestry Profession
Forester Licensing: Not Worth the Effort
ACF Code of Ethics: Canon 15 What You Don’t Say or Do Can Hurt You
Philippe Morgan: European Forestry Consultant Extraordinaire
The Final Word: A Tale of Two Technologies

The Consultant - 2008