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Board Meeting Minutes — September 10, 2009


Board Chair Edward Barnes called the meeting of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to order on September 10, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. in the John C. Hall Hearing Room, Contractors State License Board, Sacramento, CA. A quorum was established.

Board Secretary Robert Lamb led the Board in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Board Members Present:
Eddie Barnes, Chair   Louise Kirkbride
Robert Lamb, Secretary   Ed Lang
Robert Brown   Lisa Miller-Strunk
Joan Hancock   Bruce Rust
Matthew Kelly    
CSLB Staff Present:
Patricia Harris, Chief Deputy Director (DCA)   David Fogt, Enforcement
Stephen Sands, Registrar Rick Lopes, Public Affairs
Cindi Christenson, Chief Deputy Registrar   Karen Ollinger, Licensing
Don Chang, Legal Counsel (DCA)   Bob Porter, Testing
Michael Brown, Legislation   Peter Sugar, Enforcement
Amy Cox-O’Farrell, Information Technology   Jeanette Ayubi, Executive Office

Chair Barnes mentioned that Steve Sands would be attending the annual conference of the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA), during which CSLB would be recognized for earning NASCLA’s 2009 Innovation in Regulation Award.

Chair Barnes introduced Patricia Harris, Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Chief Deputy Director, who congratulated CSLB for its 80 years of service to the State of California. Ms. Harris emphasized CSLB’s role as a trailblazing agency among California state offices and in the construction industry nationwide for its innovations in methods such as arbitration, the use of industry experts, the implementation of a computerized testing system (developed in-house) as well as alternative forms of dispute resolution.

Chair Barnes read correspondence directed to Governor Schwarzenegger from Patty Riggs, Senior Legal Assistant of the Fluor Corporation, commending CSLB’s management and staff for its progressive, continued improvements in service benefiting the construction trade over the years, especially under the guidance and direction of Registrar Sands.

Board Chair Barnes requested that Ms. Cynthia Mitchell read into the Board meeting record the Joint Legislative Resolution presented to CSLB by Senators Darrell Steinberg and Gloria Negrete McLeod and Assemblymen Paul Cook, Bill Emmerson, and Brian Nestande. Former Board Member Cynthia Mitchell was elected 2009-10 CSLB Board Chair before her term expired. When California Governor Schwarzenegger did not reappoint Ms. Mitchell at the end of her term, the Chair position was assumed by then Vice Chair Edward Barnes.

Registrar Sands presented plaques honoring the involvement and commitment of industry representatives Steve Lehtonen and Don Burns for their years of service to CSLB.

Chair Barnes introduced and recognized Subject Matter Experts and Testing Center staff. All occupational analyses have been updated in-house within the last five years. The following individuals were recognized respectively:

CSLB Staff

  • Wendi Balvanz, Ken Boyd, Natalie Chernich, Karen Demetrio, Carol Gagnon, Laura Riedel, and Chelsea Van Zant

Subject Matter Experts

  • Keith Tallia, Clint Freedle, and Bob Lewis

Richard Markuson, Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA), expressed his appreciation to CSLB staff, since assuming responsibility for enforcing electrical certification on July 1, 2009, for its cooperative efforts with the Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

Licensee Gabriel Alley, Alley & Company Heating and Air Conditioning Company, requested the Board’s assistance with a case recently settled, which will reflect an adverse notation on Alley & Company’s listing on CSLB’s Web site. Board Member Kelly asked that Enforcement Chief David Fogt address Mr. Alley’s concerns.

  • Motion to Approve June 11, 2009 Board Meeting Minutes
    • MOTION: A motion was made by Board Member Matthew Kelly and seconded by Board Member Robert Lamb to approve the June 11, 2009 Board Meeting Minutes. The motion carried unanimously 9-0.

Chair Barnes provided a cursory review of CSLB’s election process and the challenges faced when Governor Schwarzenegger failed to reappoint two CSLB Board Members at the end of their terms on June 1, 2009. In anticipation of the reappointments still being made by mid-November 2009, the following motion was made:

  • Request to Delay Elections Until November 12, 2009 Board Meeting
    • MOTION: A motion was made by Board Chair Edward Barnes and seconded by Board Member Matthew Kelly to delay the election of Board Officers. The motion carried unanimously 9-0.

Board Chair Barnes introduced Chief Deputy Registrar Cindi Christenson, who provided the Executive Committee Report. The benefits and restrictions involved in state offices being required to access the State Restriction of Appointments (SROA) list when filling vacancies was reviewed. Survey vehicle reduction plans were covered.

Amy Cox-O’Farrell, Chief of Information Technology (IT), presented the IT update. Ms. Cox-O’Farrell praised DCA’s new Chief Information Officer, then presented the status of current projects. All contracts must be submitted to the State and Consumer Services Agency for review and approval, which has proven challenging. The freeze of procurements resulted in deferment of credit card payment, pocket card printer and automated call distribution system projects from last quarter to this fiscal year. Ms. Cox-O’Farrell provided an update on the status of the iLicensing program (currently referred to as BreEZe) at the request of Board Member Kirkbride. The anticipated start up is scheduled for March 2010.

Ms. Christensen presented an overview of the budget status, which included detailed reports listed in the Board meeting packet. The furlough savings and reduction in equipment has allowed for deferral of a fee increase by CSLB through 2012.

Registrar Sands reviewed items covered in a memorandum included in the Board packet under Item F3, Impact to Board Operations Due to Executive Orders.

Each Division Chief presented overviews for their respective sections of CSLB’s Strategic Plan for fiscal year 2009-2010.


Chair Barnes introduced Legislative Chair Lisa Miller-Strunk to present the Legislative Committee Report. Ms. Miller-Strunk announced that AB 457, the mechanic’s lien law revision, was signed by Governor Schwarzenneger. AB 1074, clarification of contractor licensing law, is in the Senate Public Safety Committee. October 11, 2009 is the last day for the governor to sign or veto bills passed on or before September 11, 2009.

  • Motion to Change CSLB’s Position on AB 660 from Watch to Support
    • MOTION: A motion was made by Board Secretary Robert Lamb and seconded by Board Member Edward Barnes to reflect CSLB’s position on AB 660 from "watch" to "support." An objection was made by Board Member Rust to keep CSLB’s position at "watch."
  • Motion to Table Prior Motion on AB 660
    • MOTION: A motion was made by Board Member Joan Hancock and seconded by Board Member Louise Kirkbride to table the motion to change CSLB’s stance from watch to support. Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Legal Counsel Don Chang requested a show of hands on the Board’s vote: Motion carried 6 – 3.

Enforcement Committee Chair Ed Lang commended CSLB’s Enforcement staff on their work regarding the recent California wildfires. Enforcement Chief David Fogt reviewed the Enforcement program as outlined in the Board packet.

Resolution and restitution efforts of the Intake/Mediation staff realized well over $1 million returned to consumers in July 2009. By partnering with Adult Protective Services, CSLB was able to protect an elderly consumer from an unscrupulous contractor whose license was under suspension. Mr. Fogt highlighted other case studies to which Board Member Kirkbride inquired whether we are in the process of posting these examples on the CSLB Web site to educate consumers. Public Affairs Chief Rick Lopes assured the Board that staff is implementing a program for the CSLB Web site to include this type of information.

CSLB Enforcement staff has identified 10 counties interested in pursuing workers’ compensation violations identified by the Premium Insurance Fraud Task Force. This task force is funded up to $50 million per year to pursue unlicensed contractors with employees. CSLB has also identified 36 other counties that are heavily focused on consumer protection for sting operations. A meeting is scheduled at CSLB headquarters on September 21, 2009,with industry leaders, California Association of Building Officials (CALBO) representatives, and numerous California district attorneys to finalize plans to schedule stings over the next twelve months. CSLB will focus on targets presented by its industry associates and various building departments.

Enforcement Chair Lang mentioned the hearing held by legislators on August 17, 2009 regarding timeframes for DCA boards to handle complaints, and asked Registrar Sands to review the topic in more detail. Registrar Sands brought up issues highlighted in a Los Angeles Times article last November on the Nursing Board’s handling of investigations. Mr. Sands pointed out that the Legislature and the Governor’s Office are looking at different enforcement models for health-related boards in an attempt to improve processes within DCA to speed up investigations and prosecutions. Concurrently, staff has provided detailed information in this month’s Board packet to reflect enforcement program statistics in these areas to keep Board members informed.

Enforcement Chair Lang introduced Organizational Development Chief Peter Sugar to discuss CSLB’s succession plan. The staffing of Central Valley SWIFT was reviewed. The Individual Office Program continues with Southern California SWIFT visiting CSLB Headquarters, the sixth of our sixteen offices to participate over the three year planned project. In order to stay abreast of generational, educational and technological changes in society, four employees with exceptional scoring on a test encompassing these areas in CSLB Enforcement were selected as a committee to provide feedback to CSLB Enforcement and IT staff. Deputy Attorney General Marc Greenbaum and his staff will provide a training session for CSLB Enforcement Supervisors detailing the efforts made during the Service and Repair Task Force. Projects for training and funding were reviewed.


Board member Joan Hancock introduced Licensing Chief Karen Ollinger to present the Licensing Committee report. Ms. Ollinger first introduced recently hired Classification Deputy, Casey Coleman. Mr. Coleman comes to CSLB from the CA Conservation Corps, holds an "A" General Engineering license, and is proving to be an asset to the Licensing Division. Ms. Ollinger then provided an update on the activities of the Licensing Division, and reviewed the statistics included in the licensing program update. Ms. Ollinger reported that the furlough Fridays were having a negative effect on CSLB’s Call Center.

Testing Chief Bob Porter summarized the Testing Division update. Mr. Porter highlighted the effects of furlough Fridays; nothing has been recognized for the actual tests, but the Subject Matter Expert program has been adversely affected as Fridays are preferred by industry experts for participation.


Committee Chair Bob Brown commended Public Affairs Office (PAO) staff members Melanie Bedwell, Venus Stromberg, Rose Avila, and Mike Morris for their outstanding efforts in representing CSLB’s 80th anniversary through detailed, graphic timeline posters decorating the meeting room.

Committee Chair Brown introduced Chief Rick Lopes to present an overview of the Committee’s program update. A high profile media case involving traveling paving scam artist George Stanley and his cousins, George and Kevin Snow, was discussed. Mr. Lopes indicated the case received media coverage in Washington and Idaho. Chief Lopes added that CSLB’s press release on the traveling paving scam artists helped police in Pennsylvania identify Stanley and his cousins, who have pending criminal charges in that state as well.

The building official guides and related publications are being mailed during the next few weeks, and will be accessible to the public in county building permit offices throughout the state. Continued interest in the pilot TV show by the producer has Public Affairs considering a proposed contract by the production company. Board Members are being profiled in "CLSB Matters," the employee newsletter, to provide staff an opportunity to learn more about them. Furlough Fridays have affected the Senior Scam Stoppers program, limiting the scheduling.

Board Member Kirkbride suggested we test the accessibility of the materials posted on CSLB’s Web site for new contractors through a forum such as Kinko’s to ensure the ease of production and final appearance of the forms.


Mr. Sands reviewed the status of upcoming committee meetings to be scheduled in October. Board Chair Barnes said he would review the committee assignments with consideration of the reduction in the number of Board members. The next Board Meeting will be held at The Claremont Hotel in Berkeley on November 12, 2009. CSLB has coordinated with NASCLA to hold a joint Board Meeting with the Nevada State Licensing Board (NSLB), during NASCLA’s annual conference scheduled in Indian Wells, California, on March 9-12, 2010. DCA has proposed a PACT Summit in July 2010. If necessary, CSLB may hold a short Board Meeting in January 2010.

Registrar Sands mentioned CSLB would be soliciting industry representatives for assistance after the legislature is out of session to assist with the process of filling Board member vacancies. Currently, there are two Specialty Contractor, one General B, one Building Official, and one Governor’s labor representative vacancies, sectors not represented due to the Governor delaying appointments.


Board Chair Barnes adjourned the Board Meeting at 1:15 p.m


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