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Board Meeting Minutes

September 13, 2006
At CSLB Headquarters in Sacramento,
9821 Business Park Drive, Sacramento, California 95827

Call to Order

Board Chair Matt Kelly called the meeting of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to order on September 13, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. at the Contractors State License Board Headquarters in Sacramento. A quorum was established.

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

Board Members Present: Board Members Excused:
Paul Baldacci John O’Rourke
Eddie Barnes
Larry Booth
Robert Brown
Matthew Kelly
Louise Kirkbride
Robert Lamb
Stephen Matich
James Miller
Cynthia Mitchell
Donald 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) Larry Parrott, Personnel
Michael Brown, Legislation Karen Ollinger, Licensing
Jonathan Buttle, Administration Pamela Mares, Public Affairs
Bob Porter, Testing Amy Cox O'Farrell, Info. Tech.
Chair's Remarks and Board Member Comments

Board Chair Matt Kelly welcomed everyone to the Sacramento meeting. A special "welcome back" was given to Board Member Paul Baldacci and CSLB's newest Board Member Robert Lamb was introduced. Mr. Kelly also thanked the CSLB staff for their hard work.

Public Comment Session

There were public comments from two San Francisco attorneys, Jeffrey Sykes and Carl Switzer, regarding their client's construction dispute and lawsuit. Registrar Steve Sands left the meeting until the attorneys had completed their requests for the Board's assistance. The attorneys asked the Board to write a letter to the court stating that CSLB was staying their proceedings pending the court action. Chief of Enforcement David Fogt was asked to meet with Mr. Sykes and Mr. Switzer. Steve Sands returned to the meeting.

Board Chair Matt Kelly presented Senator Liz Figueroa with a Plaque of Appreciation for her endeavors in supporting the Board and the Construction Industry. Senator Figueroa stated that in the year 2000 the Board was on the verge of elimination. The previous Board and Registrar did not communicate with the Legislature nor help the consumer. Today, the Board is doing an excellent job under the leadership of Registrar Steve Sands and has become one of the finest boards in the nation.

Board Chair Matt Kelly also presented former Board Member Paul Green with a Plaque of Appreciation for his service to the Board. Mr. Green is currently running for the office of State Senator. He stated that he enjoyed his nine months on the Board and praised the staff.

David Kalb from Capitol Services had concerns regarding unlicensed contractors and the reciprocity agreements with Nevada. David Fogt said he would look into both issues and call Mr. Kalb.

Ron Givens from California License Services praised CSLB's Licensing Division for their well-organized and excellent work. He also commended the Public Affairs Office for their recent news releases regarding Aquarius Pools and for educating the public regarding pool contractors.

Approval of the May 11, 2006 Board Meeting Minutes

MOTION: A motion was made by Eddie Barnes to approve the May 11, 2006 Board Meeting Minutes. A second was made by Robert Lamb. Motion was carried 11-0.

Legislative Committee Report

Legislative Committee Chair Stephen Matich gave an overview of the summary of bills in the Board packet and asked Mike Brown, Chief of Legislation, for his report.

Review of Status of Legislation from 2005-06 Legislative Session

Mr. Brown reported that 30 bills were tracked and 14 of those bills are of special interest to CSLB. He highlighted the following bills:

AB881 - Watch, AB2455 - Support, AB2456 - Support, AB2457 - Support, AB 2658 - Support, AB2897 - Support, AB2927 - Watch, SB1 - Watch, SB1436 - Bill was signed yesterday, and SB1476 - Watch.

Presentation by Building Standards Institute

David MacLellan from the Building Standards Institute gave a presentation to the Board. The Building Standards Institute is a non-profit institute established for the purpose of providing consumer education in the field of residential construction. CSLB purchases their guidelines book and each Board Member was given the latest edition. Another purpose of the Institute is to share information among builders, specialty contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers regarding issues of product safety, methods of construction, and innovations in the trade. The Institute is headquartered in Sacramento and their mission is to provide timely, unbiased information to the consumer on issues such as building performance standards, code changes, maintenance suggestions, and new product information.

Discussion with California Building Officials (CALBO) - CSLB Committee

Pete Guisasola representing CALBO gave a presentation to the Board. CALBO has been dedicated to the protection of the consumer and has been sharing information with CSLB for many years. CALBO is also focusing on the unlicensed contractor, owner-builders, and pool consultants who sometimes turn out to be unlicensed.

Construction Management Education Account - Review of the Report to the Legislature

The Construction Management Education Sponsorship Act of 1991 enacted a grant program known as the Construction Management Education Account (CMEA). The purpose of the CMEA is to benefit public postsecondary educational institutions that provide a specified curriculum in Construction Management Education. CSLB is charged with the responsibility of administering the CMEA. Through the CMEA Advisory Committee, the following six institutions were awarded grants totaling $239,000 for the fiscal year 2005-06.

  • CSU, Chico; CSU, Fresno; CSU, Long Beach; CSU, Sacramento; Cal Poly Pomona; and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Communication & Education Committee Report

Communication & Education Committee Chair Louise Kirkbride complimented the Public Affairs staff for their production of informative materials on topics that should be of great interest to consumers who are about to undertake the building or remodeling of a home. However, she was concerned that CSLB is a well-kept secret because few consumers are calling with questions regarding contractors. She would like the public to be more aware of our website to better protect them.

Approval of the June 23, 2006 Communication & Education Committee Report

MOTION: A motion was made by Eddie Barnes to approve the June 23, 2006 Communication & Education Committee Meeting Report. A second was made by Robert Lamb. Motion was carried 11-0.

Public Affairs Program Update

Chief of Public Affairs Rick Lopes reported that the Public Affairs Office (PAO) receives approximately 2 to 3 calls a day from the media. Between May and August, the PAO responded to 115 media inquiries. The media stories written portray CSLB in a positive light, and the media is showing the efforts CSLB makes to protect the consumer. On August 13, a 30-minute portion of Dateline NBC focused on unlicensed activity and the dangers of hiring an unlicensed contractor. The story was positive for CSLB and was seen by approximately seven million people around the country.

All of PAO's publications are being updated. Senior Scam Stopper Seminars are held around the state and are a very successful outreach tool to inform and empower seniors against fraud. The Spring/Summer edition of CSLB's Newsletter has been posted online and was mailed to the Board's 302,000 licensees.

Briefing on Website Update Project

Rick Lopes briefed the Board on CSLB's website project. The website is being evaluated by Katz and Associates and the Altosa Group to oversee a project to update it and make it more user-friendly. New features will be added and some changes will make it easier for the Board's stakeholders to navigate the website and find the services they need.

Jim Love from the Altosa Group gave the Board a PowerPoint Presentation which showed CSLB's current website and proposed a site navigation structure to fulfill the visitor's reason for coming to CSLB's website. The updated website will offer three new features. One will be specifically for consumers; one will be for licensed contractors; and one will benefit the Board's ability to communicate with all interested groups and parties.

The project is anticipated to be launched during the month of December. CSLB will be working with the Altosa Group to create the template design in order to conform to state standards and best practices. The Altosa Group will also work on building new features and content administrator software. The next step will be to design the new website, install software, edit as needed, and troubleshoot. CSLB web staff will receive the necessary training to use the software.

Enforcement Committee Report

Enforcement Committee Chair Cindy Mitchell gave a brief overview of the Enforcement Committee Meeting. Ms. Mitchell told the Board that she presented Certificates of Appreciation to Sacramento County Sheriff Deputies Troy Mohler and Jay Newton. The Sheriff Deputies were recognized for their support and assistance provided to Enforcement staff in the apprehension and prosecution of construction industry criminals.

Approval of the August 29, 2006 Enforcement Committee Report

MOTION: A motion was made by Eddie Barnes to approve the August 29, 2006 Enforcement Committee Meeting Report. A second was made by Robert Lamb. Motion was carried 11-0.

Enforcement Program Update

Chief of Enforcement David Fogt reported that CSLB is publicizing the fact that it wants to be accessible to consumers regarding the Aquarius Pools issue. CSLB is also working with the industry and Don Burns of SPEC has been the point person. Some other pool companies have agreed to complete the pools at cost. So far, there have been no consumer complaints regarding how the Board is handling the Aquarius Pools issue.

The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office and CSLB continue to achieve success. The partnership streamlines the procedure for processing consumer complaints against unlicensed contractors, enabling CSLB to refer cases to the City Attorney's Office within 60 days of receipt. Five of the cases referred are now being prosecuted as felonies by the L.A. District Attorney.

Board Chair Matt Kelly and DCA's Deputy Director Antonette Sorrick attended last week's sting in Elk Grove. The 2-day sting was done in conjunction with the Elk Grove Police Department and the Department of Insurance. During the sting, 19 were given Notices to Appear (arrest and release), 9 were booked into Sacramento County Jail, 5 were arrested for Business and Professions Code violations, 1 was arrested for an outstanding felony warrant for rape, and 3 were booked on vehicle code violations. The police towed 15 vehicles.

Approval of Recommendations Regarding Changes in Investigative Practices

David Fogt explained the changes in investigative practices being recommended by the Committee.

MOTION: A motion was made by Eddie Barnes to approve the Recommendations Regarding Changes in Investigative Practices. A second was made by Don Zampa. Motion was carried 11-0.

Approval of Recommendation Regarding Creation of "California Most Wanted List"

David Fogt explained to the Board that often unlicensed contractors frequently change locations in order to avoid arrest. The transient criminals, known as "Travelers", number in the thousands nationwide. They scam homeowners and perform substandard work at inflated costs. Their target is typically the elderly.

The proposed CSLB "10 Most Wanted List" would post the following information on our website: A photo of the suspect, the warrant number and date issued, bail amount, crime alleged, a notice if the suspect should be considered dangerous, identifying information (name, age, sex, height), a Board Unlicensed Contractor Hotline phone number, a brief description of the work contracted for by suspect, and a disclaimer that reads "All persons charged with a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

MOTION: A motion was made by Robert Lamb to approve the Recommendation Regarding Creation of "California Most Wanted List". A second was made by Donald Zampa. Motion was carried 11-0.

Licensing Program Update

Chief of Licensing Karen Ollinger reviewed the license application charts in the packet. She informed the Board that there has been an increase in exam applications and that management continues to monitor the licensing processing times on a weekly and monthly basis. The weeks to process have been reduced due to the fact that the staff is fully trained and pending caseloads have dropped. As mentioned by Board Member Eddie Barnes, she announced that Assembly Bill 881 becomes effective January 1, 2007 and requires that all active licensees holding the C-39 Roofing classification have a current Certification of Workers' Compensation.

She further reported that the Fingerprint Program has been operating since January 2005 and that last year CSLB sent fingerprint notices to more than 55,000 applicants. The large number of Department of Justice delays has decreased and CSLB's Criminal Background Unit continues efforts to reduce the number of falsified applications. Three analysts have been added to the unit.

Testing Division Update

Chief of Testing Bob Porter reported that the Oxnard Testing Center has been completed and is now in use. The San Jose Testing Center should be ready for business by mid-October. Two new examinations have been completed: C-39 Roofing and C-9 Drywall. Also, the Budget Change Proposal to add staff to the testing centers has been forwarded to the Department of Finance for review and, hopefully, approval.

The regulation that allowed the addition of experience points towards an applicant's score on the trade exam based on the extra experience they may have has been repealed as of September 9. Applicants whose experience points have already been approved will retain their points.

Approval of Recommendations Regarding Statistical Reporting and Analysis Project

The Licensing Committee requested the Board's approval of their recommendation that the Reject Report be discontinued; the Cycle Time Reports be generated from the CSLB imaging system rather than the licensing database; and, that the cost analysis project be suspended.

MOTION: A motion was made by Matt Kelly to approve the Recommendations Regarding Statistical Reporting and Analysis Project. A second was made by Paul Baldacci. Motion was carried 10-1. (Board Member Louise Kirkbride opposed)

Approval of Recommendation Regarding the Licensing of Muralists/Artists

The Licensing Committee requested the Board's approval of their recommendation to continue to license artists/muralists under the C-33 Painting and Decorating classification or the D-64 Limited Specialty classification.

MOTION: A motion was made by Paul Baldacci to approve the Recommendation Regarding the Licensing of Muralists/Artists. A second was made by Robert Lamb. Motion was carried 11-0.

Executive Committee Report

Executive Committee Chair Matt Kelly thanked the Board Members for completing the Executive Officer's evaluation. Mr. Kelly met with Steve Sands and reviewed the results which were an overall "outstanding" performance evaluation given by the Board.

Administration and Information Technology Program Update

Chief Deputy Registrar Denise Brown reviewed the breakdown of CSLB's vacancies. There were 21 vacant positions. Classification issues regarding the CSLB Enforcement Representative series are being discussed with DCA (Department of Consumer Affairs) and DPA (Department of Personnel Administration).

The Supervising Program Technician II and III interviews are currently in progress, and the hiring lists will be established by the end of September 2006. This list will make it possible for CSLB to fill some of the Licensing Unit vacancies.

The Board's final budget for FY 2005/06 had a total appropriation of $51 million; and, of that amount, the Board spent a total of $49.3 million. The Board's approved FY 2006/07 budget totals $52 million. Ms. Brown reviewed the budget charts in the packet.

Budget Analyst Jonathan Buttle gave a brief update regarding the Board's BCP package for FY 2007/08. There are 3 BCPs that have been signed by the Department of Consumer Affairs, the State and Consumer Services Agency, and are now in the Department of Finance for final review and possible approval.

The Information Technology Division has completed the development and implementation of the automated Enforcement Statistical Reports. A pilot program for the use of a wireless network will begin in the Santa Rosa office. This technology will allow the office equipment to work without the use of cables. The pilot for evaluating the use of wireless laptops for the SWIFT unit has been completed. This technology allows the staff to use their laptops while they are out in the field.

Briefing on the Whistleblower Protection Act

DCA's Legal Affairs Deputy Director Doreathea Johnson briefed the Board on its role in conforming to the provisions of the California Whistleblower Protection Act. Although Board Members would rarely be in a position involving this law, she advised members of the need to be aware of the law and its implications.

Briefing on Business Continuity, AKA Continuity of Operations/Continuity of Government (COOP and COG)

Chief of Information Technology Amy Cox O'Farrell gave the Board an overview of COOP/COG. Mandated by the Governor, COOP is the capability for state entities to continue essential program functions and to preserve essential facilities, equipment, and records across a broad range of potential emergencies; thus, preparing for a massive loss of personnel due to a pandemic emergency (such as influenza, weapons of mass destruction, and terrorism). COG is the capability to ensure survivability of constitutional and democratic government and the continuity of essential government functions.

The next steps are to develop a work plan and to schedule and conduct continuous training of staff and testing of the COOP/COG Plan.

Report on 2006 National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies Annual Meeting

Steve Sands attended the 2006 National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies Annual Meeting held in Scottsdale, Arizona on August 22-25. He reported that the NASCLA Meeting also discussed disaster recovery, centered on the Katrina aftermath.

NASCLA is trying to make it easier for contractors to get licensed from state to state, but has a long way to go. Mr. Sands accepted an award for the "2006 Innovation in Regulation" for the Contractors State License Board. This national award was created to recognize innovation, creativity and excellence in the regulation of the contracting/construction industry. CSLB has developed the Underground Economy Enforcement task force by sharing information and resources, and by eliminating bureaucratic red tape. CSLB has broken new ground in the field of proactive enforcement. It has joined forces with other state and federal regulators, and its partners are increasing the prosecution of illegal underground business. He stated that CSLB's Enforcement Program is a model for other states' enforcement programs.

Review of Tentative Schedule

Matt Kelly announced that the next CSLB Board Meeting is scheduled to be held in Anaheim at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel on November 16, 2006.

Meeting Adjourned

The Board Meeting adjourned at 12:45 p.m.

 

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