Todd I. Selig - Durham Town Administrator and....Plagiarist? [Update] - Granite Grok

Todd I. Selig – Durham Town Administrator and….Plagiarist? [Update]

Our own Scott Morales, almost as a footnote, asks whether Durham gas tax supporter and Town Administrator Todd Selig plagiarized a chunk of his editorial posted at the blog and news site NH Insider on March 21 ,2013

Todd Selig – Opposing An Increase in the Road Toll is a Hard Road to Travel for NH Legislators

Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 07:47AM

The Importance of HB 617 to New Hampshire

by Todd I. Selig

The correct answer to Scott’s question is yes.  Take a look.

Two important points stand out.  First, the content is posted as “by Todd I. Selig,” and second…regarding the text in question, there is no attribution, no links, nothing is put in quotes, there is no formatting to denote a quote or the content of others,  and you’d have to be blind not to see, as Scott infers, that he lifted an entire chunk from a News release by TRIP, a national transportation Research Group, and passes it off as a paragraph of his own.

Identical text in red.

Here is the second to last paragraph of Selig’s letter, by Todd I. Selig  posted at NH Insider.

New Hampshire faces an annual transportation funding shortfall of $74 million, more than one third of the state’s major roads are deteriorated, nearly a third of Granite State bridges are in need of repair or replacement, and the state’s rural traffic fatality rate is disproportionately higher than that of other roads in the state.  Unless NH can increase transportation investment, conditions are projected to worsen significantly in the future.  This serves none of us well and works against the NH advantage.

And here is the opening to the first paragrpah from the TRIP News release dated February 12, 2013.

At a time when New Hampshire faces an annual transportation funding shortfall of $ 74 million, more than one third of the state’s major roads are deteriorated, nearly a third of bridges are in need of repair or replacement, and the state’s rural traffic fatality rate is disproportionately higher than that of other roads in the state. Unless the state can increase transportation investment, conditions are projected to worsen significantly in the future.

Durham Town Administrator Todd I.Selig does mention the TRIP report from which he draws so heavily further up in the previous paragraph, but only in reference to the data in that paragraph.  The closing remarks are in no way identified as belonging verbatim to the news release, and we are left to assume the words are Selig’s.

As Scott writes regarding Selig’s ‘heavy lifting’ in his close…

 I wouldn’t put it past him. What his is his and what’s your is his  whether it’s money for taxes or written word.

Selig does provide a lengthy Bio at the end of his letter, filled with wonderful things about Todd.  We can only assume that he has done more than his fair share of research and writing to have achieved so much.  A smart guy like that must know how to cite sources and understands what is fair use and what is not.   He must also know that many professional organizations, including schools and universities, have a zero tolerance policy for failing to properly credit sources and quotes, given the breadth of his professional credentials.  But he never mentions that he lifts entire paragrpahs from reports and then passes them off as his own thoughts or observations.

Should we just assume that this is the first time?

[Update] The identical letter has also now appeared at Seacoast Online.  H/T to Susan Olsen for the find.