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Board Meeting Minutes

May 11, 2006
At The Wyndham Emerald Plaza Hotel,
400 West Broadway, San Diego, California 92101

Call to Order

Board Chair Bert Sandman called the meeting of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to order on May 11, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. at The Wyndham Emerald Plaza Hotel in San Diego. A quorum was established.

Board Secretary Matt Kelly led the Board in the Pledge of Allegiance. Board members, staff, and members of the audience introduced themselves.

Board Members Present: Board Members Excused:
Larry Booth Paul Baldacci
Robert Brown Eddie Barnes
Paul Green, Jr. Don Zampa
Matthew Kelly
Louise Kirkbride
Stephen Matich
James Miller
Cynthia Mitchell
John O'Rourke
Bert Sandman
Jake Shirvanian
     
CSLB Staff Present:
Stephen Sands, Registrar David Fogt, Enforcement
Denise Brown, Chief Deputy Registrar Peter Sugar, Enforcement
Maureen Abbott, Executive Assistant Heidi Lincer-Hill, Testing
Don Chang, Legal Counsel (DCA) Larry Parrott, Personnel
Michael Brown, Legislation Karen Ollinger, Licensing
Jonathan Buttle, Administration Pamela Mares, Public Affairs
Richard Greyson, Enforcement Vicki Williams, Enforcement
Chair's Remarks and Board Member Comments

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

Remembrance of Board Member John Hall

Mr. Sandman asked the Registrar and several Board Members to comment in remembrance of the sudden passing of Vice Chair John Hall. Steve Sands told the Board that he and Mike Brown as well as Louise Kirkbride, Jake Shirvanian, and Eddie Barnes attended John Hall's Memorial Service which was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Steve Sands, Louise Kirkbride, and Jake Shirvanian praised John as being very practical, fair minded, a problem solver, a protector of the consumer, and a well respected member of the community. It was an honor to work with him and he will greatly be missed. Mr. Sandman asked for a moment of silence in John's memory.

New Board Member

Mr. Sandman announced that Speaker Fabian Nunez had just appointed Robert Lamb to serve on the Contractors State License Board. Mr. Lamb will serve out the remainder of John Hall's appointment. Mr. Lamb is the Business Manager of UA Local 582, Plumbers and Pipe Fitters and is from Cypress, California.

Mr. Sandman told the Board and staff that this is his last meeting as his term is expiring and he has moved out-of-state. He will miss everyone and has enjoyed his years on the Board.

This is also Board Member Jake Shirvanian's last meeting as his term is also expiring.

Public Comment Session

There were public comments from Jody Costello who represents Contractors from Hell.com. Ms. Costello had suggestions for the Board to address the ongoing problems of licensed contractors that are filing fraudulent liens against homeowners.

Chelsea McGraw, an artist who does wall/building murals, recently found out that she needed to be a licensed contractor. She is currently licensed as a C-33 House Painter because there is not a license classification for muralists and decorative painting on the walls of buildings. She asked the Board to consider implementing an artist classification or an exemption for such artists.

Kim Sailors, a Los Angeles resident, had issues regarding licensed contractors who sign contracts with the consumer and are not flexible. Most consumers do not know what their rights are. She suggested that it be mandatory for the licensed contractor to give the consumer a copy of the pamphlet which CSLB's Public Affairs Office produces when the bid is given and before the consumer signs a contract. The pamphlet educates the consumer of what his rights are. Ms. Sailors would like to see an industry standard contract that is easy to understand.

Jane Brant, a consumer, commended the CSLB San Diego Division for their work and help in the area. She stated there has been an ongoing problem regarding some licensed contractors who bully the consumer, file liens against their property, file breach of contracts suits, and force them to settle.

Doreathea Johnson, DCA's Deputy Director of Legal Affairs, extended best wishes to CSLB's departing Board Members Jake Shirvanian and Bert Sandman. Although the Director of DCA Charlene Zettel was unable to attend this meeting, she will be sending each of them letters of commendation and her best wishes for their futures.

Kathy Lamb, Deputy Attorney General on the G-3 Construction case, commended the outstanding job that CSLB's Investigator Vicki Williams has done regarding this case. Vicki's reports were clear and excellent.

Kathy Lamb also commended CSLB Investigator Kim Clanton for helping her with a consumer law class on consumer fraud that Kathy taught in San Diego last month. Ms. Lamb praised the great jobs that Steve Sands, Denise Brown, and David Fogt are doing.

Board Secretary Matt Kelly recognized outgoing Board Members Bert Sandman and Jake Shirvanian by presenting each of them with a plaque of appreciation for their years of service as CSLB Board Members. Bert Sandman thanked the Board Members and staff for their hard work and support. Jake Shirvanian said he would miss the Board and staff, though not the meetings. He commended the Registrar for his leadership and said he was completing over 40 years as a Board Member.

Approval of the February 16, 2006 Board Meeting Minutes

MOTION: A motion was made by Larry Booth to approve the February 16, 2006 Board Meeting Minutes. A second was made by Matt Kelly. Motion was carried 11-0.

Legislative Committee Report

Mr. Sandman asked Chief of Legislation Mike Brown to update the Board. Mr. Brown reported that all CSLB bills are doing well. He recommended that the Board support AB2658. The Board had a "watch" position on AB881 and AB1883. After discussion, the Board decided to "support the concept" of AB881 and AB1883.

MOTION: A motion was made by John O'Rourke to adopt a "Support" position on AB2658, AB881, and AB1883; a "Watch" position on the other bills listed in the Board packet. A second was made by Matt Kelly. Motion was carried 11-0.

Executive Committee Report

Administrative and Information Technology Program Update

Chief Deputy Registrar Denise Brown updated the Board on the Administrative and Information Technology Programs. The task force that the Registrar had assigned to evaluate and make recommendations regarding changes and improvements in the Administration Division's organizational structure/procedures has completed its assignment. A series of recommendations are in the process of being implemented. The improvement plan establishes objectives for quality control and monitoring practices and procedures. The action plan tracks the overall progress made in implementing improvements.

The Chief of Administration position is being re-established. Ms. Brown explained the CSLB vacancy chart to the Board. Currently the Board has 20 vacancies for which it is recruiting. Karen Ollinger has been appointed to the position of Chief of Licensing.

Ms. Brown also explained the budget expenditure charts and the cost of using overtime and temporary help. When CSLB is allowed to hire more staff, there should not be the need to use as much overtime and temporary help.

Regarding the Information Technology Division, the SWIFT Unit is piloting the use of wireless laptops. If this technology proves to be of value, additional Enforcement staff will receive wireless laptops. The email and file servers for the remote staff have been upgraded. The large scale mainframe printers are being replaced. The new printers will allow the users to immediately print letters at their site/desk. Filenet has completed the workload reports and the development system is scheduled to be updated on June 8, 2006.

Budget Briefing

Budget analyst Jonathan Buttle gave a detailed report on the budget development and approval process for CSLB and most State agencies. He explained the budget process which has 3 parts: Budget Development, Budget Enactment, and Administration. The Budget Act is the primary source for appropriations for State agencies. Departments have the primary responsibility to operate within budgeted levels and to comply with any restrictions enacted by the Legislature.

Discussion Regarding Measurement of Customer Interaction with Board Constituencies

Steve Sands explained the proposed measurement draft to the Board. State and Consumer Affairs Agency has identified customer service as a priority. To meet the goal of providing excellent customer service, staff is identifying ways to measure the service CSLB provides.

Approval of Budget Change Proposal Concepts

Jonathan Buttle explained CSLB's three Budget Change Proposals. BCP's are for the Licensing Division Criminal Background Unit asking for 3.5 Program Technician II positions and $194,000; the Test Center Staffing asking for 9 Office Technician/Typing positions and $485,000; and the Licensing Division/Temporary Help and Overtime asking for 16 Program Technician II positions and $846,000.

MOTION: A motion was made by Matt Kelly to approve the three Budget Change Proposal concepts. A second was made by John O'Rourke. Motion was carried 11-0.

Update on 2006 Strategic Plan Action Plan

Steve Sands updated the Board regarding the action plans for Licensing, Legislation/Policies, Communication and Education, and Organizational Development. The Board had approved the 2006 Strategic Plan at the February 16 Board Meeting. License fee increases will not be necessary as CSLB has a large sum of money in its reserve. The Board's Sunset Review was scheduled for the end of this year but has been extended another year by the Legislature.

Review of Board Readiness in the Management of Disaster Response and Recovery

Steve Sands outlined CSLB's readiness plan for a disaster for the Board. The Public Affairs Office has a publication called "After a Disaster, Don't Get Scammed" and it is available on the CSLB website and can be mailed to anyone requesting it. The brochure is currently being translated into Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. After a disaster, CSLB issues press releases and consumer alerts. Chief Rick Lopes and his staff are trained to help staff the Office of Emergency Services Media Office. Immediately after a disaster, Enforcement staff survey the area and develop a plan to provide outreach and enforcement services. CSLB personnel staff Disaster Centers sponsored by OES, Red Cross, and local authorities to answer questions and provide CSLB publications. The Enforcement staff continues to monitor the area during the rebuilding process to protect the consumer.

Enforcement Committee Report

Enforcement Committee Chair Matt Kelly updated the Board regarding the Enforcement Committee Meeting which was held in Sacramento on April 11.

Approval of the April 11, 2006 Enforcement Committee Meeting Report

MOTION: A motion was made by Bert Sandman to approve the April 11, 2006 Enforcement Committee Meeting Report. A second was made by John O'Rourke. Motion was carried 11-0.

Enforcement Program Update

Chief of Enforcement David Fogt reported that staff continues to focus on filling all allocated positions. There are currently 12 vacancies in Enforcement. Approximately four times each year a statewide supervisor's meeting is conducted to share information, develop complaint-handling strategies, identify training needs, review CSLB objectives, and recognize staff achievements. At the last supervisor's meeting, Board Members Paul Green and Cynthia Mitchell recognized the Enforcement staff for a job well done.

Mr. Fogt reviewed high-profile investigations. In March there was a sting and sweep operation held in Stockton and three in-custody arrests were made as well as nine Notices to Appear and six citations.

Election of 2006-07 Board Officers

Mr. Sandman announced that the Nominating Committee had made recommendations regarding the new Board Officers. Board Member Paul Green made a motion to elect Matt Kelly as Chair, Jim Miller as Vice Chair, and Don Zampa as Secretary. Board Member Cynthia Mitchell made a motion to nominate Louise Kirkbride as Vice Chair.

Board Member John O'Rourke moved and Board Member Jake Shirvanian seconded a motion to close the nomination for Chair. Motion passed 11-0. Matt Kelly was elected Board Chair 11-0.

John O'Rourke moved and Jake Shirvanian seconded a motion to close the nominations for Vice Chair. On a hand count, Jim Miller was elected Board Vice Chair 8-3.

Matt Kelly moved and Jake Shirvanian seconded a motion to close nominations for Secretary. Don Zampa was elected Board Secretary 11-0.

Note: At this time it was necessary for Board Chair Bert Sandman to leave the Board Meeting. Board Secretary Matt Kelly took the gavel and acted as Chair for the rest of the Board Meeting.

Discussion Regarding Measurement of Enforcement Program

Peter Sugar, Enforcement Manager, presented a PowerPoint presentation regarding a plan that was implemented in January 2006 to reduce the pending complaint inventory and he provided a detailed overview of the five charts and six graphs in the Board packet. The staff also discussed some recommendations on other effective measurement ideas, including trying to measure the effectiveness of sweeps and stings.

Approval of 15-day Notice for Modified Text for California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 16, Division 8, Section 884 (Recommended Assessments of Civil Penalties)

DCA's Legal Counsel Don Chang asked the Board to approve the proposed modifications to this regulation which specifies that the citations shall be assessed in accordance with the schedule which we specified and also other conforming regulations.

MOTION: A motion was made by Larry Booth to rescind the earlier action of last month of adopting the proposed Amendment of Section 884. A second was made by Paul Green. Motion was carried 10-0.

Final Approval of Proposed Regulations to Amend CCR, Title 16, Section 884 (Recommended Assessments of Civil Penalties)

Mr. Chang asked the Board to approve authorizing staff to make the modified text (G-4 & G-5) available to the public for 15 days and delegate to CSLB's Registrar to adopt that modified language provided no adverse comments are received.

MOTION: A motion was made by Larry Booth to act on Items G-4 and G-5. A second was made by John O'’Rourke. Motion was carried 10-0.

MOTION: A motion was made by Paul Green to authorize the Registrar to make any necessary editorial amendments. A second was made by John O'Rourke. Motion was carried 10-0.

Licensing Committee Report

Licensing Committee Chair Larry Booth updated the Board regarding the April 11 Licensing Committee Meeting.

Approval of the April 11, 2006 Licensing Committee Meeting Report

MOTION: A motion was made by Paul Green to approve the April 11, 2006 Licensing Committee Meeting Report. A second was made by Jim Miller. Motion was carried 10-0.

Licensing Program Update

Larry Booth and Chief of Licensing Karen Ollinger presented the update. The License application workload is now retrieved directly from the Board's mainframe computer system. Exam applications have been the most significant increase at 88%. The license processing times are two to four weeks. Mr. Booth reviewed the charts on pages 12-21. He and Karen also reviewed the Fingerprint Program which receives an average of 800 criminal offender records a month and is having a problem with approximately 66% of the applicants lying on their applications. If the applicant provides false information, his application can be denied by CSLB. In an effort to reduce the number of false applications, the CSLB is trying to educate the applicants by including a notice with the application explaining the importance of providing truthful information when completing it.

Testing Division Update

Testing Manager Heidi Lincer-Hill presented the Testing Division report. The waiting time for an exam date varies from 3 to 12 weeks. The Board's goal is 3 weeks statewide. In order to reduce reliance on temporary proctors to provide staffing at testing centers, CSLB has entered into an agreement with Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) for consulting services. CPS will review the test administration procedures and security risks and make recommendations for permanent staffing levels in each test center. Four people have been hired to work in the Test Validation and Development Unit and are in the process of being trained.

The Testing Division has completed a Feasibility Study Report (FSR) which included detailed specifications to develop new Windows-based examination software. The Division's existing software is DOS-based and is outdated. The new system, SCORE, is being developed in-house by the Testing Division's IT staff.

Update on the Licensing Information Center

Larry Parrott, Chief of Personnel, presented a PowerPoint presentation giving an overview of CSLB's Licensing Information Center (LIC). The LIC serves as the contact for consumers requesting information necessary to make educated decisions relative to the hiring of a licensed contractor. The LIC also helps applicants and licensees with their questions regarding licensing/fingerprint requirements, changes to an existing license, license renewal requirements, bonding and workers compensation requirements, complaint information, test site availability, and status of applications.

Jonathan Buttle gave a brief summary of events leading to the current state of the LIC, both in terms of staffing levels and technology enhancements.

Update on the Licensing of Mold Abatement Contractors

Mr. Booth updated the Board. In January 2005 there was a recommendation regarding an issue to license mold abatement contractors. It was recommended that the CSLB wait for the provisions of the Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001 (Senate Bill 732) to be implemented by the Department of Health Services (DHS). The Toxic Mold Protection Act was enacted to address concerns about the health effects of indoor mold exposure. In the absence of specific funding for the Toxic Mold Act, DHS has been authorized to receive voluntary contributions to support the department's activities pursuant to the Toxic Mold Act. Currently the fund contains $221. DHS scientists have conducted a technical review of the health issues related to indoor mold exposure toward the goal of developing permissible exposure limits (PELs).

CSLB will continue to monitor the issue, but will take no action to license mold abatement contractors at this time.

Approval of Intent to Award Construction Management Education Act Grants

The Education Act account is funded by donations from contractors. The Board has $239,000 in the account and would like to distribute the money to the "Construction Management Programs" at the California State University campuses in Chico, Sacramento, Fresno, Long Beach, Pomona, and San Luis Obispo.

MOTION: A motion was made by John O'Rourke to approve the disbursement of the funds to the universities listed. A second was made by Matt Kelly. Motion was carried 10-0.

Update on Statistical Reporting and Analysis Project

Jonathan Buttle explained the three automated reports that the project generates solely from CSLB's Licensing and Enforcement database. The Reject Report, Application Disposition Report, and Cycle Time Report are currently being analyzed.

Mr. Booth asked the Board to direct the Analysis Project to the Licensing Committee to fully discuss the cost verses the benefit, possible modifications to make the reporting better, and timelines for staff.

MOTION: A motion was made by Matt Kelly to send the Analysis Project to the Licensing Committee for review and recommendations. A second was made by John O'Rourke. Motion was carried 10-0.

Communication & Education Committee Report

Committee Chair Louise Kirkbride and Public Affairs Analyst Pamela Mares updated the Board. The Public Affairs Office continued its policy of aggressively distributing press releases to the media, especially to publicize enforcement actions and undercover sting operations. Since the February Board Meeting, there have been eight press releases from CSLB. A joint press release with the Office of Emergency Services was issued in March which warned consumers about the danger of hiring unlicensed contractors for disaster repairs.

The Spring/Summer edition of the California Licensed Contractor newsletter is currently in production and will be released in June. CSLB will also be an integral part in the planning and execution of a California Senior Summit which will be held in Sacramento in May. The Summit will identify the top senior frauds and scams to determine ways of addressing them.

How to Prevent Consumers from Being Harmed

The Board's goal is prevention. The Public Affairs Office puts forth an educational effort to help inform consumers about steps they should take to prevent problems with their construction or remodeling project.

Some of the current tools utilized to educate consumers are the CSLB Web Site, distribution of various publications, Senior Scam Stopper Seminars, appearances at Home and Trade Shows, direct mailings to homebuyers, Google Advertising campaign, classified newspaper outreach, and distribution of articles to foreign language media.

Review of Tentative Schedule

Matt Kelly announced that the next Board Meeting was scheduled to be held in Sacramento on August 3, 2006 at the CSLB Headquarters.

Meeting Adjourned
The Board Meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.

 

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