LaSalle Grad Glen Shumsky Is Making $100 An Hour--At Your Expense!
By Jim Nintzel
THE FORMULA USED to predict the flight of shotgun pellets was calculated by a French fella named Journee. It's no secret the French talk funny--and spell even funnier--and so there are a couple of ways people pronounce Journee's name these days. Some say Journey, some say Journae.
A few weeks ago, attorney Dave Hardy, who's representing the Tucson Rod and Gun Club in its suit against the U.S. Forest Service, asked Glen Shumsky, the "expert" who prepared a safety report about the dangers of the club's Sabino Canyon rifle range, if he was familiar with Journey or Journae's formula.
Shumsky said he had "used them both."
It was Shumsky's report alleging the dangers of ricocheting bullets that gave Coronado National Forest Supervisor John McGee the hammer he needed to shut down the range. But, as was noted in The Weekly's last issue ("Range War," April 24), Glen Shumsky is no expert in firearms. His background has long been in the sanitation field.
In fact, although he claimed to have "continuing education beyond the master's level at Montana State College...and other post-graduate studies at Montana State University, Texas A&M, the University of Washington and University of Arizona," Shumsky's highest academic credential is actually a GED, which he picked up after dropping out of high school. The "post-graduate studies" were nothing more than sanitarian conferences.
Shumsky also identified himself as a professional engineer, although he's not registered as such with the state, and claimed to be a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers. When he applied to the ASSE, he said he had three degrees: one from an Army school, an AA from Montana State, and a law degree from LaSalle Extension Institute.
The degree from the Army school was apparently a certificate he earned from completing a course in sanitation, and both Montana and Montana State say they have no record of Shumsky's attendance. But he may have indeed "earned" a law degree from LaSalle Extension University. You might be familiar with LaSalle, the original diploma mill--they used to advertise their "Correspondence Institution" on matchbooks and the backs of comic books, with a grinning graduate and the headline "Look who's smiling now!"
Those ads included a disclaimer: "No state accepts any law home study course, including LaSalle's, as sufficient education to qualify for admission to practice law."
There are other areas in which Shumsky has padded his résumé, mostly regarding his career experience, which got us wondering: Where did the Forest Service find this guy?
As it turned out, Shumsky submitted the winning bid when the Forest Service asked for proposals to do the safety survey of the range.
So we called Sylvia Nuñez, who oversaw the bid process, to ask about the other bids she'd received. But she couldn't tell us how many other bids came in, because she says that information isn't public record.
"The only information that's public after we award the contract is who it was awarded to and for how much," says Nuñez, although she helpfully suggested we file a Freedom of Information request to get the records.
While McGee said he couldn't answer questions about Shumsky's qualifications because the matter was still in litigation, Tom Quinn, chief ranger of the Santa Catalina Ranger District, defended the decision to use an "expert" with no background in ballistics.
"Although he may not be an expert in any one type of safety situation, such as gunfire and ballistics," says Quinn, "he has a great deal of experience--decades of experience--in taking existing safety standards from published manuals and applying those to on-the-ground situations and assessing whether they're consistent with published standards, which is primarily what we were looking for in the analysis of the Rod and Gun Club."
Quinn brushes aside questions raised by Shumsky's distorted résumé.
"I would have to give Mr. Shumsky the benefit of the doubt, I guess," says Quinn. "I wouldn't use the term 'not being forthright.' I certainly wouldn't use the term 'lying.' He's an older gentleman, I guess, and he apparently took some liberties, I guess, with his phraseology in his qualifications that might be different than some other people might interpret those qualifications."
Indeed--some people might interpret Shumsky's résumé as outright fraud. And since taxpayers coughed up the $25,000 paid to Shumsky, that's a fraud that's been perpetuated on all of us.
Even more astonishing, Shumsky remains on the government's payroll even after the revelations about his background, earning a staggering $100 an hour for his so-called expert testimony.
It's time the Forest Service severed its relationship with Glen Shumsky and demanded its money back.
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