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Board Meeting Minutes — March 27, 2009

Board Chair James Miller’s and Board Member Lisa Miller-Strunk’s Board Meeting presence via teleconference was acknowledged. Chairman Miller deferred duties of conducting the meeting to Vice Chair Cynthia Mitchell.

Board Chair James Miller’s and Board Member Lisa Miller-Strunk’s Board Meeting presence via teleconference was acknowledged. Chairman Miller deferred duties of conducting the meeting to Vice Chair Cynthia Mitchell.

CALL TO ORDER

Board Vice Chair Cynthia Mitchell called the meeting of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to order on March 27, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in the John C. Hall Hearing room of CSLB Headquarters in Sacramento, CA. A quorum was established.

Board Secretary Edward Barnes led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Board Members Present: Board Members Absent:
James Miller, Chair (T)*   Stephen Matich
Cynthia Mitchell, Vice Chair   Bernedette Medrano
Eddie Barnes, Secretary    
Robert Brown    
Joan Hancock    
Matthew Kelly    
Louise Kirkbride    
Robert Lamb    
Ed Lang    
Lisa Miller-Strunk (T)    
Bruce Rust    
     
CSLB Staff Present:
Stephen Sands, Registrar Pete Tuminia, Enforcement
Don Chang, Legal Counsel (DCA)   Tammy Borgman, Enforcement
Michael Brown, Legislation   Alan DalPorto, Enforcement
Amy Cox-O’Farrell, Information Technology   Patrick Halverson, Enforcement
David Fogt, Enforcement   Shelly Beard, Enforcement
Rick Lopes, Public Affairs   Venus Stromberg, Public Affairs
Karen Ollinger, Licensing   Jeanette L. Ayubi, Executive Office
Bob Porter, Testing    
Heidi Lincer-Hill, Testing    
Peter Sugar, Enforcement    
     
CHAIR’S REMARKS AND BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS

Vice Chair Mitchell read aloud the instructions for teleconferencing and called roll to establish a quorum. Board Members and those in the audience were asked to introduce themselves.

Vice Chair Mitchell asked Board Member Robert Lamb to recognize members from the Northern California CSLB SWIFT office for their participation on the Service and Repair Task Force, which led to an enforcement judgment earlier in March that is the largest in the CSLB’s 80 year history.

The task force’s years of investigation of a fraudulent network of service and repair contractors based in Glendale secured a three million dollar settlement in San Diego County Court. The settlement will provide more than one million dollars in restitution for defrauded California consumers, and will reimburse CSLB for its fees in pursuing the case.

These service and repair companies provided emergency repairs involving electrical, plumbing and heating and air conditioning. The parent company SRVS Charge Inc. and its dozen or so affiliated companies placed full page advertisements in the Yellow Pages throughout California with 800 numbers that rang to the central call center that dispatched repair workers. Service technicians used false and misleading statements to perform unnecessary work, for which they often charged customers exorbitant prices.

The Service and Repair Task Force was established in September 2007 to combat the fraudulent contractors. The task force was comprised of deputy attorneys general and CSLB investigators from Northern and Southern California. Pete Tuminia, recently retired from the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, was recruited to lead the task force based on his background and experience.

The task force partnered with other state agencies and local law enforcement to conduct numerous sting operations throughout 2008, targeting the suspected fraudulent service and repair contractors and identifying the technicians and techniques used to defraud consumers.

Southern California CSLB staff’s efforts in this endeavor were acknowledged during the Enforcement Committee Meeting on March 19, 2009, including recognition of the task force leader, Pete Tuminia. Board Member Lamb further praised Mr. Tuminia’s unique experience and skills as a peace officer and supervisor/commander that proved important in accomplishing this successful endeavor. Member Lamb, with the assistance of Mr. Tuminia, presented certificates to CSLB Staffers Tammy Borgman, Alan DalPorto, Patrick Halverson and Shelly Beard.

Member Lamb then requested that Pete Tuminia provide an in-depth account of CSLB staff contributions to the Service and Repair Task Force. Mr. Tuminia did so, then called upon CSLB consultant, Mr. Robert Dresser, to brief the Board on the legal efforts made throughout the years leading up to the settlement, and how resolution of the case was made possible through the efforts of the Service and Repair Task Force and its partnership with other state agencies, and the offices of various Deputy Attorneys General.

PUBLIC COMMENT SESSION

Vice Chair Mitchell asked whether anybody cared to make public comment. CSLB license applicant Timothy Christopher Anthony approached the podium to make the Board aware of recent complications he had experienced while attempting to obtain his license. DCA Legal Counsel, Don Chang, advised Registrar Sands to recuse himself from Mr. Anthony’s presentation. The Board offered suggestions and asked Licensing Chief, Karen Ollinger, to assist Mr. Anthony. Registrar Sands returned to the meeting following Mr. Anthony’s presentation.

With no further public comment, Vice Chair Mitchell asked for review and approval of Item D on the agenda.

Approval of the February 11, 2009 Board Meeting Minutes
  • MOTION:  A motion was made by Board Member Matt Kelly to approvethe February 11, 2009 Board Meeting Minutes and seconded by Board Member Robert Lamb. The motion carried unanimously by an 11-0 roll call vote.

Vice Chair Mitchell asked for a motion on the staff recommendation to support legislation as summarized in Agenda Item E and asked Legislative Chief, Michael Brown, to provide comment. Mr. Brown began by stating that Assembly Bill (AB) 370 will require mandatory jail time after the third offense. Board Member Kirkbride asked whether staff had estimated the number of anticipated three-time offenders. A discussion ensued among Board Members about the bill’s potential impact on the state’s overcrowded jails and prisons, given some lawmakers’ resistance to consider legislation that might add to the overcrowding. Board Member Barnes commended Legislative Chief Brown on his efforts to follow up and provide clarification on the jail terms connected with repeat violations of AB 370.

Review and Approval of Staff Recommendation to Support AB 370, AB 457, AB 1074 and Senate Bill (SB) 820
  • MOTION: A motion was made by Board Secretary Edward Barnes to Support ABs 370, 457 and 1074 and SB 820 and seconded by Board Member Robert Lamb.
    The motion carried unanimously by an 11-0 roll call vote.

Vice Chair Mitchell then took up the bills recommended for opposition unless amended. Mr. Brown indicated that AB 449 was not intended to impact the Board, but could impact Public Affairs’ public relations vendor contract, with its prohibition on expending state funds for use in advertising. He added that the oppose position would be lifted if the bill was amended to exclude CSLB or special fund agencies in general from the ban.

Mr. Brown indicated opposition to SB 405 stemmed from the employer/employee relationship in the legislation that was outside CSLB’s scope as a consumer-oriented Board. Member Lamb pointed out the lack of funding for CSLB to assure compliance with the bill’s provisions.

Regarding SB 389, Mr. Brown indicated his desire to work with the Senate’s Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee’s (B & P) staff to improve feasibility of the bill’s implementation, given the large number of licensees that would have to undergo criminal background checks in a relatively short amount of time.

Vice Chair Miller Indicated SB 258 had been moved from the "oppose unless amended" to the "watch" position, as a result of a vote in the CSLB Legislative Committee on March 23, 2009 at CSLB Headquarters.

Review and Approval of Staff Recommendation to Oppose Unless Amended AB 449
  • MOTION: A motion was made by Board Member Matthew Kelly and seconded by Board Secretary Edward Barnes to oppose AB 449 unless amended. The motion carried unanimously by an 11-0 roll call vote.
Review and Approval of Staff Recommendation to Oppose Unless Amended SB 389
  • MOTION: A motion was made by Board Member Matthew Kelly and seconded by Board Member Robert Lamb to oppose SB 389 unless amended. The motion carried by a 10-1 roll call vote. Board Member Louise Kirkbride cast the "no" vote.
Review and Approval of Staff Recommendation to Oppose Unless Amended SB 405
  • MOTION: A motion was made by Board Member Matthew Kelly and seconded by Board Member Robert Lamb to oppose SB 405 unless amended. The motion carried unanimously by an 11-0 roll call vote.

Board Member Miller-Strunk responded to Board Member Kirkbride’s concerns regarding SB 389, stating that the opposition was of the time frame given to process 280,000 licensees approved prior to 2005 being too short. Since 2005, all new licensees or those changing or adding classifications have been required to submit fingerprints for criminal background checks. Mr. Brown indicated a letter would be sent to B & P Committee members, clarifying CSLB’s position. He assured Board members the "oppose" position would not lock staff into a position that would render staff unable to negotiate provisions of the bill. Board Member Brown indicated the issue wouldn’t go away. Registrar Sands indicated as a non-health related Board, CSLB might be granted more time to complete background checks and that the Department of Justice which must conduct the checks might also support granting more time, as increased checks would impact its staff’s workload. Board Member Miller-Strunk then said she wanted to publicly state on record that in the event SB 389 passes, and CSLB staff had to conduct retroactive criminal background checks on current licensees who have not changed or added to their licenses since 2005, that Board members who are CSLB licensees should be the first to sign up to submit their fingerprints. She said that would reinforce that the Board was not against eventual implementation of background checks for all licensees. Vice Chair Mitchell indicated her willingness to be fingerprinted when and if that time came.

Vice Chair Mitchell then introduced discussion of the bills for which CSLB staff recommended a "watch" position. Board Member Kirkbride asked whether SB 599 might be voted upon separately, as she wished to discuss that bill further.

Review and Approval of Staff Recommendation to Watch AB 484, AB 660, SB 392, SB 436, SB 502 and SB 683
  • MOTION: A motion was made by Board Secretary Edward Barnes and seconded by Board Member Edward Lang to watch ABs 484 and 660 and SBs 392, 436, 502 and 683. The motion carried unanimously by an 11-0 roll call vote.

Board Member Kirkbride asked why staff did not recommend a "support" position for SB 599, given that it improved the public’s ability to access information about disciplinary action against licensees. Mr. Brown indicated the law already mandated Boards to disclose disciplinary actions against licensees. Board Member Kirkbride asked whether CSLB already did what SB 599 requires all professional licensing boards to do. Mr. Brown indicated CSLB already complied with provisions of SB 599.

Review and Approval of Staff Recommendation to Watch SB 599
  • MOTION: A motion was made by Board Secretary Edward Barnes and seconded by Board Member Edward Lang to watch SB 599. The motion carried unanimously on an 11-0 roll call vote.
ADJOURNMENT

Vice Chair Mitchell adjourned the Board Meeting at 9:45 a.m.

 

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