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Board Meeting Minutes

February 16, 2006
At The Stanford Court Hotel,
905 California Street, San Francisco, California 94108

Call to Order

Board Chair Bert Sandman called the meeting of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to order on February 16, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. at The Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco. A quorum was established.

Board Vice Chair John Hall led the Board in the Pledge of Allegiance. Board members, staff, and members of the audience introduced themselves.

Board Members Present:
Paul Baldacci Edward Barnes
Larry Booth Robert Brown
Paul Green, Jr. John Hall
Matthew Kelly Louise Kirkbride
James Miller John O'Rourke
Bert Sandman Jake Shirvanian
Don Zampa  
   
CSLB Staff Present:
Stephen Sands, Registrar David Fogt, Enforcement
Denise Brown, Chief Deputy Registrar Peter Sugar, Enforcement
Maureen Abbott, Executive Assistant Rick Lopes, Public Affairs
Don Chang, Legal Counsel (DCA) Bob Porter, Testing
Michael Brown, Legislation Karen Ollinger, Licensing
Amy Cox O'Farrell, IT Jonathan Buttle, Administration
Chair's Remarks and Board Member Comments

Board Chair Bert Sandman welcomed everyone to the San Francisco meeting.

There were no Board Member comments.
Public Comment Session

There were public comments from Sherry Mehl, Chief Deputy Director at Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). She told the Board that DCA has made customer service a priority and has assigned a Customer Service Manager to oversee internally the customer service policies. DCA is asking all the Boards to also make customer service a priority.

Ms. Mehl announced to the Board that a "secret shopper" survey of boards and bureaus was conducted to rate their responsiveness in answering phones. She stated that the CSLB ranked in the bottom third of the boards/bureaus surveyed. She also stated that the results would be shared with the Board.

Tim Wynne, a contractor, asked the Board for help regarding his frustration over the length of time it is taking him to get his license due to the fingerprinting law, having a previous criminal conviction, and waiting for clearance from the Department of Justice. Denise Brown, Chief Deputy Registrar, and Karen Ollinger, Fingerprinting Manager, told Mr. Wynne they would work with him to help resolve his issue.

Beverly Carr, Politico Group, told the Board that several of her clients had also had problems with the lengthy time it takes the Department of Justice to clear applicants and with the fingerprinting law.

Board Member John Hall stated that the fingerprinting law was implemented to protect the public because of the many consumers who had property damaged and money taken in the past. This law is necessary even though it may take some applicants a longer time due to screening because of past criminal records to get their license.

Kevin Burns, a landscaper and a member of the California Landscape Contractors Association, told the Board that because of the illegal activity in his area, a new task force has been created. He has been in contact with David Fogt and is trying to help educate the public in his area and told the Board if he could be of help in any area he was available. He is a strong supporter of CSLB and their efforts to protect the public.

Approval of the October 14, 2005 Board Meeting Minutes

MOTION: A motion was made by John Hall to approve the October 14, 2005 Board Meeting Minutes. A second was made by Jake Shirvanian. Motion was carried 13-0.

Legislative Committee Report

Mr. Sandman asked Legislative Committee Chair John Hall to present the Legislative Committee Report. Mr. Hall asked Chief of Legislation Mike Brown to update the Board on the legislative bills.

The following legislative proposals were submitted to the Board for its approval:

Change the Code of Civil Procedure

  1. Section 116.220 - Small Claims Court Actions Against Cash Deposits (Policy Issue)

    Changes To Business And Professions Code - Enforcement

  2. Section 7011.4 - Enforcement Representatives (Conforming)
  3. Section 7017.3 - Corrects A Statutory Reference (Conforming)
  4. Section 7121.6 - Imposes Misdemeanor Penalties Against Revoked Licensees Who Surreptitiously Operate Under The Licenses Of Others (Policy Issue)
  5. Section 7121.7 - Imposes Misdemeanor Penalties Against Licensees Who Employ Revoked Licensees In A Capacity Regulated Under The License Law (Policy Issue)

    Changes To Business And Professions Code - Licensing

  6. Section 7068.1 - Deletes Outdated Provisions (Cleanup)
  7. Section 7071.15-Repeals Outdated Procedural Requirements; Adds Clarification Relative To Maintenance Of License Bonds (Cleanup)
  8. Section 7072.5 - Deletes Outdated Provisions (Cleanup)
  9. Section 7145.5 - License Suspension of Associated Entities (Policy Issue)
  10. Section 7152 - Clarifies Home Improvement Salesperson Registration Requirements (Cleanup)
Approval of the December 15, 2005 Legislative Committee Meeting Report, Legislative Proposals, and Recommended Positions on Legislation

MOTION: A motion was made by Don Zampa to approve the Committee Report, Legislative Proposals, and Recommended Positions on Legislation. A secondwas made by Jim Miller. Motion was carried 13-0.

Executive Committee Report

Approval of the December 15, 2005 Executive Committee Meeting Report

Mr. Sandman asked for the Executive Committee Meeting Report to be approved.

MOTION: A motion was made by Jake Shirvanian to approve the December 15, 2005 Executive Committee Meeting Report. A second was made by John O'Rourke. Motion was carried 13-0.

Administrative and Information Technology Program Update

Denise Brown updated the Board. On November 1, 2005, the Registrar implemented an Administration Division Support and Improvement Plan. She explained the three administrative goals, the action plan, and assignments.

Mr. Sands thanked Sherry Mehl (DCA) for making DCA administrative staff available for weekly meetings with CSLB regarding administrative policies and processes and communication improvement so that there is no duplication of work.

On the personnel update, Ms. Brown reported that between October 2005 and January 2006, 22 hires were made, 18 employees were promoted, 5 temporary hires were made, and there were 34 internal transfers. Regarding examinations, the CEA I Chief of Licensing position exam is underway and recruitment is scheduled to begin in February 2006.

The Board discussed the Board's vacancy rate. Every state agency's budget is predicated on the assumption that the agency will have a 5% vacancy rate. Ms. Brown stated that CSLB was typically at about a 5% vacancy rate even with full time recruiting. Mr. Booth stated that in his business, he sometimes faced a 30% vacancy rate and 5% seemed small.

Information Technology Division has replaced the IWAS scanners and added software which cleans up images should the originals be of poor quality, replaced 130 printers, and replaced 160 personal computers. CSLB completed the installation and implementation of software for a Call Center (CC) Announcer which announces the expected wait time to talk with an agent.

Approval of Recommended Changes to the Board Member Administrative Procedure Manual

MOTION: A motion was made by John Hall to approve the changes to the Board Member Administrative Procedure Manual. A second was made by Jake Shirvanian. Motion was carried 13-0.

Approval of 2006 Strategic Plan

MOTION: A motion was made by John Hall to approve the 2006 Strategic Plan. A second was made by John O'Rourke. Motion was carried 12-1.

Jonathan Buttle, Budget Analyst, updated the Board on the status of the Spring Finance Letter for Fingerprinting. The letter requested an addition of 3.5 staff positions that the State and Consumer Affairs Agency disapproved because CSLB had current vacancies.

Approval of Spring Finance Letter for Fingerprinting

MOTION: A motion was made by Matthew Kelly to approve the Spring Finance Letter for Fingerprinting. A second was made by John Hall. Motion was carried 13-0.

Discussion Regarding State Infrastructure Plan and the Strategic Growth Initiative

Steve Sands reported on the Governor's Strategic Growth Initiative.

Mr. Sands had attended a meeting at Agency at which he explained the role of the construction industry and the CSLB in meeting the billions of dollars in infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. Mr. Sands reviewed the steps he had initiated to prepare for the growth in construction which would result from the expansion of infrastructure related construction.

Enforcement Committee Report

Enforcement Committee Chair Matt Kelly praised enforcement's fine work in conducting sting operations this past week. A multi-area sting operation called the California Blitz was held in the following cities: Redondo Beach, Bakersfield, Napa, Elk Grove, and Santa Cruz. The California Blitz results include the arrest of 87 unlicensed contractors, 12 of these were taken into custody and booked into jail, and 28 administrative citations were issued for illegal advertisements.

Mr. Kelly asked Rick Lopes, Chief of Public Affairs, to provide the media reviews that this sting operation received. Mr. Lopes reported that the media is interested in reporting on the underground economy in order to alert and protect the consumer. Dateline NBC crews covered the stings in Elk Grove and Napa and are also interested in all the unlicensed activity in California. They are working on a story that will air in a couple of months and Mr. Lopes is currently working with Dateline. We expect to see long-term benefits with the media.

Alfredo Terrazas, the Supervisor of the Department of Justice Licensing Division, spoke before the Board. Mr. Terrazas praised Registrar Steve Sands, Chief of Enforcement David Fogt, and Case Management Supervisor Peter Sugar for the innovative programs they had implemented with the Attorney General's Office. They included AG training of enforcement staff, mandatory settlement conferences, and CSLB tracking of AG casework. He stated that the Deputy Attorneys General fought to take CSLB cases because they were well put together and they were typically "winnable". He said the Board's best practices should be followed by other programs in DCA.

Approval of the January 18, 2006 Enforcement Committee Meeting Report

MOTION: A motion was made by John O'Rourke to approve the January 18, 2006 Enforcement Committee Meeting Report. A second was made by Paul Baldacci. Motion was carried 13-0.

Enforcement Program Update

Chief of Enforcement, David Fogt, updated the Board on enforcement staffing, workers compensation fraud, investigative techniques, complaint-handling statistics, and pending case loads.

Approval of 15-day Notice for Modified Text for CCR, Title 16, Division 8, Section 869 (Criteria for Determining Rehabilitation), and Section 869.9 (Criteria to Establish Reapplication Date)

MOTION: A motion was made by Matt Kelly to approve the 15-day Notice for Modified Text for CCR. A second was made by Bert Sandman. Motion was carried 13-0.

Final Approval of Proposed Regulations to Amend CCR, Title 16, Section 868 (Criteria for Determining if Crimes or Acts are Substantially Related to the Contracting Business) and Section 869, and to add Section 869.9

MOTION: A motion was made by Matt Kelly to approve the Proposed Regulations to Amend CCR, Title 16, Section 868, 869, and to add Section 869.9. A second was made by Bert Sandman. Motion was carried 13-0.

Approval of Proposed Regulatory Action to Amend the CCR, Title 16, Section 884 (Recommended Assessments of Civil Penalties)

MOTION: A motion was made by Matt Kelly to approve the Proposed Regulatory Action to Amend the CCR. A second was made by Jake Shirvanian. Motion was carried 12-0 (one Board Member not present).

Licensing Committee Report

Licensing Committee Chair Larry Booth asked that the Licensing Committee Meeting Report be approved.

Approval of the December 2, 2005 Licensing Committee Meeting Report

MOTION: A motion was made by Bert Sandman to approve the December 2, 2005 Licensing Committee Meeting Report. A second was made by John O'Rourke. Motion was carried 13-0.

Licensing Program Update

Mr. Booth presented the Licensing Program Update. He reviewed the application graphs and reported that applications are now being processed in 3 weeks. Overtime is being used to keep the processing times at a lower level. Several positions have been added to the Call Center and it is now open until 5:00 p.m. daily. The CC Announcer is now working and it gives the caller an expected wait time before they will get assistance.

Testing Division Update

Bob Porter, Chief of Testing, presented the Testing Division Update. He reported that the waiting time for an examination date in San Bernardino is about 10 weeks. The waiting times for Norwalk or San Diego vary from 3 to 8 weeks. To reduce the waiting time to the Board's goal of 3 weeks statewide, seating capacities are being increased at the testing locations with completion expected by the end of 2006. The increase will be from 142 seats to 250 seats.

Response to Ad Hoc Committee Recommendations

Mr. Booth updated the Board regarding the Ad Hoc Committee recommendations.

  • Recommendation #1 had asked for a complete review of the procedures pertaining to the processing and tracking of license applications. This review should produce thorough documentation and an auditable reporting mechanism.
    • Response: CSLB has contracted with the NewPoint Group to provide assistance in completing an assessment of the Board's licensing processes and organization. A detailed workload and staffing analysis was completed and the suggestions made are being implemented. There were 28 recommendations.
  • Recommendation #2 was the analysis of the issues surrounding rejected applications. This includes the recommendation of how to prioritize the applications that are rejected and resubmitted.
    • Response: The reject codes have been refined and this process is ongoing.
  • Recommendation #3 was a status update of the implementation of the NewPoint Group's recommendations. This would include an evaluation of the success or failure of the points already implemented, and an assessment of the feasibility of implementing the remainder.
    • Response: Most of these points have been addressed, but will be reviewed at the next Licensing Committee Meeting.
  • Recommendation #4 was the development of a clear and concise organization chart with job descriptions.
    • Response: This has been done and submitted.
  • Recommendation #5 was the development of an on-going strategy for communication between employees and all levels of management.
    • Response: This has been the main focus of the licensing staff. Meetings are held monthly with the Licensing Division, weekly meetings are held with the licensing management and supervisors, and weekly senior staff meetings are held with individual chiefs to discuss issues.
  • Recommendation #6 was the development of a get-well plan for oversight by the Licensing Committee.
    • Response: A Licensing Improvement Plan was submitted to the Board at its June 29, 2005 meeting. This plan has been implemented and will be monitored by the Licensing Committee.

MOTION: A motion by Eddie Barnes to approve the Ad Hoc Committee recommendations. A second was made by John O'Rourke. Motion was carried 13-0.

Update on Statistical Reporting and Analysis Project

Chief of the Information Technology Division Amy Cox O'Farrell gave a PowerPoint presentation updating the Board on the statistical report project which was begun in October 2005. Board Member Louise Kirkbride has led the project. This project consists of three automated reports (Reject Report, Application Disposition Report, Cycle Time Report) generated solely from CSLB's Licensing and Enforcement system/database.

Final Approval of Proposed Regulatory Action to Repeal CCR, Title 16, Division 8, Section 829 (Granting of Experience Points)

MOTION: A motion was made by Eddie Barnes to approve the Proposed Regulatory Action to Repeal CCR. A second was made by Paul Baldacci. Motion was carried 13-0.

Communication & Education Committee Report

Committee Chair Louise Kirkbride emphasized how important consumer education and outreach are to alert the public to ask the right questions and what information to look for when hiring a contractor to do work for them.

Approval of the December 2, 2005 Communication & Education Committee Meeting Report

MOTION: A motion was made by Robert Brown to approve the December 2, 2005 Communication & Education Committee Report. A second was made by Paul Baldacci. Motion was carried 13-0.

Public Affairs Program Update

Chief of Public Affairs Rick Lopes presented the update to the Board. The Public Affairs Office has continued its policy of aggressively distributing press releases to the media to publicize enforcement actions and undercover sting operations. Between October 2005 and February 2006, 18 press releases were distributed which led to extensive coverage for the Board. Also, the staff responded to more than 85 separate media inquiries and provided interviews to a variety of newspaper, radio, and television outlets.

Monthly "Ask the Board" articles are distributed to newspapers around California. The trial Google advertising campaign which was launched in November 2005 is doing well.

Committee Chair Louise Kirkbride and Committee Member Bob Brown lauded Rick Lopes and the Public Affairs Office for their great work.

Review of Tentative Schedule

Mr. Sandman announced that the next Board Meeting will be held in San Diego on May 11, 2006 at the Wyndham Emerald Plaza Hotel.

Meeting Adjourned

The Board Meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m.

 

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