Having trouble with the CSLB?

Are you having trouble with the CSLB? Join the fight by contacting your State Assembly Member’s office or your State Senator’s office.

Having trouble with the CSLBI have been suggesting to applicants that they get their State Representative involved for some time now and within the last few weeks I have heard from several people who have done just that. Who is your State Representative?

The benefit of this is: 1) The CSLB will respond to a political inquiry much faster than they will respond to you. Sad, but true. 2) Once you get the CSLB reply via the law maker, reply to the CSLB back through the law maker. Keep them involved. 3) The more pressure they get from law makers the more they might think about fixing the current mess in the licensing department. 4) The more the politicians hear about this, the more they may be inclined to look into what the CSLB is doing.

So don’t take no for answer!

My bet is the CSLB knows that what they are doing is illegal. They know that they created far too many underground regulations to go unnoticed. At some point, they’ll be called to the carpet and their jobs will be at stake. In the meantime, I think they’ll give the squeaky wheels the grease just to make you go away and to keep anyone from really looking into what they’re doing.

Remember, get everything from the CSLB in writing. If you are able to talk to a CSLB staff member on the phone and they ask you to provide something, tell them to send you the request in writing.

Make them provide the specific law or regulation that gives them the authority to do what they’re doing, or to ask for what they’re asking for. Just “because they say so” only works between a parent and child. They are a State agency that has to follow the rule of law. They don’t have the luxury of making up the rules as they go along, or changing the rules on a whim.

So if you’re having trouble with the CSLB, take a stand and fight back. We live in a democracy and you have every right as a citizen of this Country, and of this State, to contact your elected representatives if you feel the government is over-stepping its boundaries!

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The Declaration of Independence

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CSLB Application Denials and the Appeals Process

Let’s take a minute to discuss CSLB Application Denials and the Appeals Process.

application denialIt’s a boring subject I know, but it’s good information to have if you find yourself stuck in the AIU vortex.

If your application is denied by the Application Investigation Unit, Section 485 kicks in.

§ 485. Procedure upon denial

Upon denial of an application for a license under this chapter or Section 496, the board shall do either of the following:

  • (a) File and serve a statement of issues in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
  • (b) Notify the applicant that the application is denied, stating (1) the reason for the denial, and (2) that the applicant has the right to a hearing under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code if written request for hearing is made within 60 days after service of the notice of denial. Unless written request for hearing is made within the 60-day period, the applicant’s right to a hearing is deemed waived. Service of the notice of denial may be made in the manner authorized for service of summons in civil actions, or by registered mail addressed to the applicant at the latest address filed by the applicant in writing with the board in his or her application or otherwise. Service by mail is complete on the date of mailing.

Added Stats 1972 ch 903 § 1. Amended Stats 1997 ch 758 §

The key here is that 60 day deadline to file your appeal request. I would suggest filing your appeal as soon as possible to get the appeal process started.

From here Section 487 applies and it outlines the Hearing process.

§ 487. Hearing; Time

If a hearing is requested by the applicant, the board shall conduct such hearing within 90 days from the date the hearing is requested unless the applicant shall request or agree in writing to a postponement or continuance of the hearing. Notwithstanding the above, the Office of Administrative Hearings may order, or on a showing of good cause, grant a request for, up to 45 additional days within which to conduct a hearing, except in cases involving alleged examination or licensing fraud, in which cases the period may be up to 180 days. In no case shall more than two such orders be made or requests be granted.

Added Stats 1972 ch 903 § 1. Amended Stats 1974 ch 1321 § 10; Stats 1986 ch 220 § 1, effective June 30, 1986.

The important part in this section is that the hearing shall be conducted within 90 days of the hearing being requested. Unless you, the applicant, request or agree to a continuance. I wouldn’t agree to a continuance because I wouldn’t want to give the board the ability to delay the process any further. If the OAH grants a request for extension, you’re stuck with it. The CSLB likes to say that the process can take 4-6 months, but I think this is a scare tactic. Section 487 suggests that a hearing could take place in as little as 3 months.

After a hearing request is submitted, Section 488 comes in to play.

§ 488. Hearing request

Except as otherwise provided by law, following a hearing requested by an applicant pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 485, the board may take any of the following actions:

  • (a) Grant the license effective upon completion of all licensing requirements by the applicant.
  • (b) Grant the license effective upon completion of all licensing requirements by the applicant, immediately revoke the license, stay the revocation, and impose probationary conditions on the license, which may include suspension.
  • (c) Deny the license.
  • (d) Take other action in relation to denying or granting the license as the board in its discretion may deem proper.

Added Stats 2000 ch 568 § 2 (AB 2888).

This one is interesting because of item (c). This suggests that the CSLB could deny the license… again. What’s curious is that it was a denial that led you down the appeal/hearing path in the first place.

So there you have it, some interesting facts about CSLB application denials and the appeals process.

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Is the CSLB creating a new Underground Economy?

With the recent changes to the Contractors State License Board’s (CSLB) application processes, they may be inadvertently creating a new underground economy.

underground economy

Earlier this year they began asking nearly all applicants, if not all, for the A-General Engineering, B-General Building, C-10 Electrician, and C-36 Plumber classifications for additional proof of their experience. They have been requesting w-2’s, pay stubs, copies of contracts and permits, and/or tax returns.

The dilemma is when a “self-employed” applicant is required to submit these documents, they can’t. That’s because the law does not require them to have contracts if the jobs they are doing are under the $500 labor and materials limit. Nor do these jobs require permits.

 

underground economy

The CSLB has said they will not penalize an applicant if they have been doing work over the $500 limit. But what if the applicant has only done a few, several or handful of jobs over the $500 limit but still doesn’t have enough experience to qualify for the exams? His app is denied.

What is the applicant supposed to do then? He can’t stop working. So he continues work, but now he’s documenting every job with a contract. And since he was told by the CSLB that they won’t penalize him (during the application process) for submitting experience over the $500 limit, he now starts doing projects that legally require a license.

Isn’t that counter-intuitive to what the CSLB is trying to accomplish in the first place? Stop people from illegally contracting without a license?

Wouldn’t it make more sense for the exams to the “litmus” test? If the applicant doesn’t have the field experience (according to the CSLB), but can pass their exams, why wouldn’t the applicant be qualified to be licensed?

 

underground economyIt almost suggests that the CSLB feels the exams are useless or unnecessary when it comes to validating an applicant’s experience. Creating false documents is always a possibility. What assurance does the CSLB have that the documents being submitted are valid? But… what are the chances that the applicant will pass the State exams if he’s falsified his experience and doesn’t have the necessary field experience? I would think slim to none. Unless, that is, if the exams have been so dumbed down, like the DMV driving test, that anybody could pass. We’ll file that under the category of “Things that make you go… Hmmmm.”

The CSLB does have the legal right to request additional experience proof from a minimum of 3% of all applications received, but perhaps if they narrowed down the scope of who they ask the documents from, they won’t be forcing so many more people into an underground economy, or inadvertently creating more “unlicensed contractors.”

My next post will be about creating a “Handyman License” and what benefits it would have to the construction industry as a whole.

 

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