CSLB Newsletter Summer 2014 Part 1

The CSLB Summer Newsletter 2014 was released today.

cslb newsletter foot in mouthI almost feel like I should thank the CSLB for publishing these newsletters because of the amount of blog posts they can generate. These newsletters give the CSLB the opportunity to continually stick their foot in their mouth in a widely publicized format, and me the opportunity to point it out.

A new Board Chair was elected, David Dias. Mr. Dias decided to make his first public written statement about his personal issues. Being a former HVAC guy, he’s decided to spend the Boards resources going after unlicensed HVAC contractors. Really? Shouldn’t he be focused on the construction industry as a whole? Or is he taking his position of power to tackle something that bothers him personally?

Here is his statement:

“After several extremely tough years for California’s construction industry, it appears that the worst is finally behind most of us, and the prospects for the remainder of this year look brighter for our colleagues. I am pleased to have been elected as CSLB’s Board Chair in this positive atmosphere, and look forward to more work – and jobs – for contractors as the state’s economy continues to recover.

I’m proud of the professionalism demonstrated by the vast majority of CSLB’s almost 300,000 licensees through good times and bad – those who maintained high standards and refrained from cheating, even under the strain of a crushing recession.

Unfortunately, there are always a few whose actions tarnish the reputation of our profession. In particular, I am troubled by the increasing number of complaints CSLB is receiving about predatory C-20 Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) contractors who are targeting vulnerable consumers after being called out for simple repairs or routine maintenance. This really hits home since I’ve spent much of my career working in the HVAC field, and I find it disappointing that my honest, hard-working colleagues suffer from association with the industry’s bad apples.

CSLB is taking steps to warn and weed out this element. We hosted a conference in San Jose in May that brought together industry officials, regulators, and C-20 contractors to discuss HVAC installation. The event also introduced CSLB’s new “Ambassador Program,” an education and enforcement campaign. A similar town hall meeting for HVAC contractors was held in early July in San Leandro.

CSLB plans to continue its campaign of educational HVAC workshops to remind contractors about California’s service and repair contract laws and requirements, including a customer’s three-day right to rescind a home improvement contract.

CSLB is partnering with local district attorneys, the Better Business Bureau, and industry leaders on these efforts. I also encourage HVAC business owners to join us in identifying those who are victimizing consumers and damaging the industry’s reputation.

CSLB’s Enforcement division will be reinforcing its HVAC scam zero-tolerance policy through targeted undercover sting operations. You can help in this effort by offering your residential or commercial properties to use for sting operations. An article in this newsletter explains how you can help.”

This is my favorite part of his statement:

“look forward to more work – and jobs – for contractors as the state’s economy continues to recover” He’s not new to the Board, but it seems he hasn’t been paying attention at the meetings. The CSLB licensing division still has its underground and illegal regulations in place that make it extremely difficult to obtain a license. I’m shocked that they haven’t put out some stats that show how many B contractors obtained a license in 2013 compared to any previous year. Ok, no I’m not really shocked, because I’d bet that a lot fewer B contractors were licensed in 2013. So… “more work and jobs for contractors”?? Reality is… they’re creating more underground contractors.

My second favorite part of his statement:

“CSLB is partnering with local district attorneys, the Better Business Bureau…” First, haven’t they always been working with DA’s? They were when I worked there from 2000 – 2005. Has something changed? Next… the BBB. The CSLB is “partnering” with the BBB? Apparently the CSLB is unaware that the BBB is a paid membership business whose business model is to turn a profit, not protect consumers. And does the CSLB think that the BBB is receiving complaints from consumers that they aren’t receiving? “Partnering” with the BBB is just their way of blowing smoke up … to make it sound like they are actually doing something.

Stay tuned for CSLB Newsletter Summer 2014 Part 2 in the coming days where I’ll discuss the CSLB getting tough on RMOs.

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CSLB Racially Profiling

Is the CSLB Racially Profiling Asian Applicants?

cslb racially profilingA source inside the CSLB told me that they (license application technicians) have been instructed to “racially profile” applications submitted by persons with Asian last names. They’ve been told to give additional scrutiny to these applications and to request additional verification of their work experience.

It seems they (CSLB management) believe that Asian applicants tend to “lie” more often than other nationalities when submitting contractor experience. That is what my source was told during a meeting recently. Let’s put this under the category of… “You’ve got to be kidding me!!”

This is in addition to changing their process earlier this year to request additional proof of experience of all B-General Building, A-General Engineering, C-10 Electrician, and C-36 Plumbing contractors.

Why, or how, is it possible for a California State agency to get away with such blatant disregard for the law? They (the CSLB, specifically managers in the Licensing Department) believe that they can act with immunity and do whatever they want, all under the veil of their interpretation of California Law. In some cases, they do have the law behind them, but in this case… “profiling”… there is no law they can cite that would justify this outrageous act.

What I do agree with

I do agree that they have the legal right to pull a minimum of 3% of all applications received for a secondary review. But they’ve decided to request additional proof from all A, B, C-10, C36 apps and others. I and others do not feel as though this type of targeting is within the law.

Now they’re profiling specific ethnic groups! They’ve gone off the deep end and someone needs to pull in on the reigns before it really gets ugly.

Whistleblower Hotline

I asked my source why someone doesn’t call the State’s whistleblower hotline. I was told they are afraid they’d lose their jobs. Even though it’s supposed to be anonymous, they don’t feel safe enough.

Maybe a call to the local TV station or newspaper? Maybe a call to this area’s State Assemblyman? There must be some way to stop the racial profiling!

whistleblower hotline

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