September 11, 2012

CSLB Board Meeting Highlights 9/11/12

We hope that you enjoy the CSLB Board Meeting Highlights of the September 11, 2012, Board Meeting in Sacramento. For a downloadable copy in Adobe PDF please click here and save to your hard drive.

Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman


SEPTEMBER 11, 2012
By Kenneth S. Grossbart
Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman

The Contractors' State License Board held a Board Meeting at the headquarters in Sacramento on September 11, 2012.

Board Members Present:

Paul Schiffino, Chair; Joan Hancock, Vice Chair; Mark Thurman, Secretary; David Dias; Matthew Kelly; Robert Lamb; Ed Lang; James Miller; Lisa Miller-Strunk; John O'Rourke; Bruce Rust; Frank Schetter

Board Members Absent:

Pastor Herrera Jr.


There was a moment of silence for 9/11.

The CSLB met with a delegation from China to talk about construction issues, OSHA requirements and employee safety.


Karen Hushes, with husband Brian. Public comments on CSLB arbitration program.





Vacancy Update

There are currently 13 vacant positions in the Enforcement division even though the staff has been proactive about advertising and hiring for the vacant positions.

Peace Officer Appointments

New Peace Officers have been sworn in in the South, San Diego, West Covina and San Bernardino Investigative Centers. There are still five vacant peace officer positions.

Enforcement Management Update

There were two promotions within the Enforcement division, all current vacancies are being shopped around.

Reduction in Workforce

The Enforcement division lost 10 positions in July of this year due to the Department of Consumer Affairs plan to reduce personnel by 5% because of budget restrictions.


The Intake/Mediation Centers have collected $2,129,903.58 in consumer restitution from May through July 2012.

Workers' Compensation Suspension Program Results in New Policies

April 2011 saw the implementation of the IMC notifying Licensing staff about complaints against licensees who have employees but no workers' compensation policy. The CSLB has the authority to automatically suspend their license according the Business and Professions Code § 7125.2. The CSLB sends a notice to the licensee with 30 days to prove that there is a valid workers' compensation policy or the license will be suspended. So far, the IMC has mailed 547 "Intent to Suspend" letters out and have resulted in 179 previously uninsured contractors obtaining new workers' compensation insurance policies.

Illegal Advertising and the Telephone Disconnect Program

Unlicensed operators advertise for construction work even though they do not have a valid contractor's license. When possible, the CSLB has the telephone number of the unlicensed contractors who advertise disconnected. The IMC staff screens the illegal advertisements to obtain information through the Consolidated Lead Evaluation and Reporting (CLEAR) database so an administrative citation can be issued. The citation includes a correction order to disconnect any telephone number that is linked to the unlicensed contractor. The California Public Utilities Commission will disconnect a number once the citation becomes a final order. From January 2011, more than 1,000 unlicensed contractors were investigated, 100 advertising citations were issued, and 68 numbers were disconnected.


The Investigative Center received $848,815.52 in consumer restitution from May through July of 2012.

Fresno SWIFT Consolidates with Fresno Investigative Center

Enforcement Supervisor I position at the Fresno IC was eliminated with the Governor's Executive Order, which left the office without onsite supervision. In that there were only three employees left at that location with no supervisor it was a good decision to merge into the same location and have a supervisor for both units.


The Public Works Investigative Unit began in August of 2010 with two enforcement representatives with the anticipated focus being on contractors that (1) have been disbarred by the Labor Commissioner, (2) work without a license or are out of their classification, and (3) are illegally subcontract pursuant to the Public Contract Code. The types of complaints have turned out different than originally anticipated. They are unable to allege a Labor Code violation unless there is a final order of the Labor Commissioner for a Civil Wage and Penalty Assessment or debarment. However, so far there have been 142 public works complaints, 31 administrative citations, 19 accusations, 2 criminal filings, and 9 contractor license revocations


The current CSLB staff can handle 4,700 pending complaints at a management level. As of July 2012, the pending caseload was 3,184.

The following are Enforcement Objectives regarding complaint handling that the Board adopted in February 2006:

  • Maintain ER 1 Production of Closing 10 Complaints per Month
  • Increase the Percentage of Licensee Complaints settled to 30%
  • Accomplish IMC Licensee Complaint Disclosure of 70%
  • Reduce 270-Day-Old Complaints to 100 or Less

From May through July 2012, there have been over 500 citations issues, a savings of $294,199 to the public because of mandatory settlement conferences, a savings of $594,097 to the public from arbitration, and $48379.87 in recovery received from accusations and statement of issues.


There have been 54 sting days in 2012, through July. SWIFT issued 846 legal actions.


Stop Orders

Enforcement Representatives have issued 257 Stop Orders to licensed and unlicensed contractors who have employees on site but no valid workers' compensation insurance since January 2012.

Labor Enforcement Task Force Update

The Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF) has successfully achieved close collaboration with the CSLB and other government agencies to improve enforcement efforts. The CSLB's core partners in LETF are the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health and the Employment Development Department.


Investigators met partnered with the Department of Insurance, the Employment Development Department and district attorney investigators to take action against contractors operating in California's underground economy on June 20-21, 2012. Sweeps at suspected illegal construction sites in 11 counties were conducted by more than 100 personnel. There were 133 contractors suspected of violating the state's labor, employment, tax and licensing laws. Operation Underground was a success in the on-going battle against the underground economy.


SWIFT was responsible for a multi-state blitz (California, Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon) that targeted illegal contractors that solicit through advertisements on Craigslist. California investigations resulted in the arrest of 100 suspects.

Because of the CSLB's prior relationship with Cragslist and the illegal advertising problem, Craigslist has links at the top of its "Skilled Trade Services" page where visitors can obtain license information and view the Department of Consumer Affairs website. Also on the website is a step where advertisers have to indicate whether they are licensed. However, unlicensed operators have found a way around that and the CSLB is attempting to get Craigslist to address these concerns.


Part of the CSLB's Strategic Plan has an ongoing commitment from the Enforcement division to create training curriculum for staff that include basic enforcement procedures, a mentoring program, and specialized training.




It is believed that confusion by license applicants, licensees and the public on the minimum requirements of the qualifying individual for a firm interfere with consumer protection as well as the licensee's ability to pursue civil action if the consumer argues that the licensee is not in substantial compliance, which may bar the licensee from compensation per Business and Professions Code section 7031.

The CSLB also believes that some licensees are serving as the RMO but actually have no direct involvement in the construction and business activities of the firm. This causes significant financial injuries for the consumer.


  1. Are the responsibilities of a Responsible Managing Employee (RME), RMO, or Qualifying Partner clearly defined, and if so, is the information available to the public?
  2. Are enforcement practices sufficient to ensure qualifies are complying with existing duties and responsibility mandates?
  3. Is public protection achieved by existing qualifier bond requirements?


  1. Distribute information clarifying the duties and responsibilities of the qualifying individual on the CSLB website and in the California Licensed Contractors newsletter.
  2. Pursue legislation to amend Business and Professions Code section 7068.1(d) to provide for disciplinary action when a licensee or qualifier fails to comply with the duties and responsibilities the qualifying individual certified he/she would perform.
  3. Establish a task force to:
    • Identify the scope of the problem;
    • Investigate suspect individuals who attempt to qualify multiple licenses to ensure compliance with the qualifier duties and responsibility requirements; and
    • Explore legislative and/or administrative remedies.


The recommendations were voted on and approved.



The Consumer Satisfaction Survey are surveys given to individuals that filed complaints with the CSLB against a contractor, licensed or unlicensed, to assess the public's satisfaction with the way their complaint was handled. This began in 1992 and still continues.

The questions of the survey as well as the percentage of agreement for the calendar year 2011 are as follows:

  1. The CSLB contacted me promptly after I field my complaint. 80%
  2. The procedures for investigating my complaint were clearly explained to me. 73%
  3. The CSLB kept me informed of my case's progress during the investigation. 65%
  4. I was treated courteously by the CSLB's representative(s). 82%
  5. My complaint was processed in a timely manner. 67%
  6. I understand the outcome of the investigation (whether or not I agree with the action taken). 65%
  7. The action taken in my case was appropriate. 50%
  8. I am satisfied with the service provided by the CSLB. 57%




The Public Affairs Office is responsible for media, industry, licensee, and consumer relations. They provide a wide range of services, including proactive public relations and paid advertising campaigns; response to media inquiries; community outreach; contractor education and outreach; social media outreach; and limited employee relations.

Staffing Update

They currently have four full-time positions. There are two Information Office I positions that are vacant.


Website Highlights

Website Assistance Project

Staff training has begun to teach them how to prepare all press releases, industry bulletins and other items for the website. The Public Affairs Office undertook this responsibility in September of 2011, however, the IT staff is still responsible for uploading the material to the website.

Social Media

The CSLB's Twitter and Facebook pages continue to grow in followers. As of August 16, 2012, 1039 "like" the CSLB's Facebook page and 961 "follow" the CSLB on Twitter.

The CSLB also has a YouTube page for videos of Board meetings, sting operations and education materials.

Email Alert Feature

May 2010 launched the email alert feature where people can sign up to receive email alerts from the CSLB for the California Licensed Contractor newsletter, Press Release/Consumer Alerts, Industry Bulletins, and Public Meeting Notices/Agendas. As of August 16, 2012, there are over 17,000 subscribers. The subscription list has brown by over 2,300 since January of this year.

Media Relations Highlights

Media Calls

There were 32 different media inquiries between May 14, and August 16, 2012.

News Conference

There was a news conference on June 20, 2012, at the State Capitol to issue a Consumer Alert about rampant illegal and deceptive ads placed on websites like Craigslist. The state contracting board of Arizona Nevada and Oregon, as well as the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA), joined the CSLB at this news conference. NASCLA issued a nationwide alert.

News Releases

News releases are aggressively distributed to the media, especially to publicize enforcement actions and undercover sting operations.

Industry/Licensee Outreach Highlights

California Licensed Contractor Newsletter

July saw the posting of the summer 2012 edition of the licensee newsletter. It was mailed to all CSLB licensees in early August.

Industry Bulletins

Important and interesting news is distributed by Industry Bulletins by email on an as-needed basis to over 4,600 email addresses.

Application Instructional Video

The first tutorial video for the CSLB license application has been completed. This video explains the various application sections with tips on how to complete the application correctly. It is available on the CSLB website and on the CSLB's YouTube page.

Publication Highlights

CSLB Publications

Publications Completed

  • 10 Tips Cards (English/Cines reprint)
  • What You Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor (Spanish reprint)
  • California Licensed Contractor Newsletter (Summer 2012 edition)

Publications in Progress

  • Terms of Agreement (English)
  • Asbestos (English)
  • 2012-13 CSLB Strategic Plan
  • Master Consumer Publication (new)
  • Master Contractor Publication (new)
  • Sting Brochure (new)
  • California Licensed Contractor Newsletter (Fall 2012 edition)

Community Outreach Highlights

Senior Scam Stopper Seminars

A promotional/informational brochure and letter was sent to each legislator in September about the Senior Scam Stopper Seminars. Because of this, there has been increased interest in holding more of these seminars. Even though there are still travel restrictions in place for all non-enforcement activities (including Senior Scam Stopper Seminars), the CSLB has put in for travel exemptions in order to deliver these seminars. To date, all requests have been approved.

Speakers Bureau

CSLB speakers are in demand, especially on enforcement-related topics. More than two dozen presentations/appearances have been made or scheduled in 2012.

Employee Wellness Highlights

Due to the latest Government furlough orders, the Public Affairs Office has been forced to suspend the Employee Wellness program at both the main headquarters office in Sacramento and the southern headquarters in Norwalk.



AB 1588 (Atkins) Professions and vocations: reservist licensees: fees and continuing education

The CSLB has a watch position on this piece of legislation. They believe that this bill should not have a significant impact on the CSLB if it were to pass.

Current law authorizes any licensee within the Department of Consumer Affairs whose license expired while they were on active duty as a member of the California National Guard or the United States Armed Forces to reinstate their license without examination or penalty if specific requirements are met.

This bill, if passed into law, would also require that the renewal fees and continuing education requirements for a licensee or registrant of the National Guard or Armed Forces if specific requirements are met.

AB 1655 (Dickenson) Public Employees: Rights

The CSLB has a watch position on this piece of legislation. This bill, if passed into law, will enact the Public Employees' Bill of Rights Action which would inform public employees of their rights and terms of employment in order to promote harmonious personnel relations between public employees and their employers, among other issues.

AB 1750 (Solorio) Rainwater Capture Act of 2012.

The CSLB has a watch position on this piece of legislation. They believe that this bill would not result in a significant change.

This bill if passed into law would authorize C-27 landscape contractors to enter into a direct contract for rainwater capture systems that are exclusively used for landscape irrigation as well as authorize the C-27 licensee to design and install all exterior components of a rainwater capture system that are not a part of or attached to a structure, among other things.

AB 1794 (Williams) Unemployment insurance: use of employer reports: reporting and payroll: enforcement.

The CSLB supports this piece of legislation because it will ensure that more current information on construction employees is available, which will assist with the enforcement of the existing worker's compensation insurance requirement.

This bill, if passed into law, will have the EDD provide new employee information filed by employers to the Joint Enforcement Strike Force for the purpose of auditing, investigating, and prosecuting violations of tax and cash-pay reporting laws. It would also require that the EDD, CSLB and SCIF execute a memorandum of understanding to share information and coordinate enforcement actions against contractors that fail to report new employees to EDD and accurate payroll to SCIF.

AB 1904 (Block) Professions and vocations: military spouses: expedited licensure
The CSLB has a watch position on this piece of legislation. As the bill stands as of this writing, there would be virtually no impact on the CSLB workload.
If this bill is passed into law, which it has already been sent to the Governor, it will require any board within the Department of Consumer Affairs to expedite licensure processes for the spouse of any active duty member of the US Armed Forces stationed in California under specific conditions.

AB 1920 (Berryhill) Contractors: Compensation

The CSLB has a watch position on this piece of legislation. This bill, if passed into law, will authorize a person acting in the capacity of a contractor without a license to bring or maintain an action for recovery of compensation for any act or contract if the person had previously been licensed as a contractor in the state. It would limit the liability of a contractor performing work outside the scope of his or her license to the value of the unlicensed work under certain conditions. It would also provide factors for a court to consider relative to the loss of a license. Of course, it relates to the Contractors' State License Law.

AB 2219 (Knight) Contractors' workers' compensation insurance coverage.

The CSLB has a watch position on this piece of legislation. There would be minor absorbable fiscal impact for the CSLB.

If this bill is passed into law, which it has already been sent to the Governor, it will remove the sunset date on the requirement for C-30 (roofing) licensees to carry workers' compensation insurance, extending this requirement indefinitely.

AB 2237 (Monning) Contractors: definition.

The CSLB not only supports this piece of legislation but sponsors it as well. There would be absorbable cost to enforcement to address unlicensed violators and the CSLB would also enjoy an increase in applications for licensure if this passed.

If this bill is passed into law, which it has already been sent to the Governor, it would add to the definition of "consultant" for purposes of the definition of "contractor" to include a person, other than a public agency or owner of a privately owned real property to be improved, who meets either the following criteria for work performed pursuant to a home improvement contract.

  1. Provides or oversees a bid for a construction project.
  2. Arranges for an sets up work schedules for contractors and subcontractors and maintains oversight of a construction project.

AB 2482 (Ma) Registered Interior Designers

This bill, if passed into law, would create the California Registered Interior Designers Board within the Department of Consumer Affairs. It would require the board to issue a license to a person who meets specific requirements. It would also authorize licensees, architects, landscape architects, and engineers to join or form business organizations or association with persons outside their field of practice if certain requirements are met.

AB 2554 (Berryhill) Contractors

The CSLB not only supported, but sponsored this piece of legislation which is now law. This new law will provide all enforcement representatives, not just those within SWIFT, the authority to issue a Notice to Appear. It will further provide that revocation of a license by operation of law does not restrict the CSLB's authority to proceed with an investigation or to take disciplinary action against a licensee.

AB 2570 (Hill) Licensees: settlement agreements

The CSLB has a watch position on this piece of legislation. It's fiscal impact would entail adding a new violation code to the system and be minor and absorbable pending staff availability. The enforcement workload would also be minor and absorbable.

If this bill is passed into law, which it has already been sent to the Governor, it would prohibit the includes of gag clauses in settlement agreements.

SB 691 (Lieu) Unemployment Insurance: Compensation

This bill, if passed into law, would amend the Unemployment Insurance Code. It would expand the definition of authorized governmental agency to include the Contractors' State License Board.

SB 975 (Wright) Professions and Vocations: Regulatory Authority

This bill, if passed into law, would provide that the State Architects Board and the Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists to have the sole and exclusive authority to license and regulate professions and vocations regulated by those boards pursuant to provisions of the Business and Professions Code and that no licensed requirements shall be imposed upon a person licensed to practice one of those professions or vocations other than under that code or by regulation promulgated by the board.

SB 1185 (Price) Centralized Intelligence Partnership Act: Pilot Program

The Board of Equalization sponsors this bill. If this bill is passed into law, it would establish a pilot program to create a multiagency partnership consisting of the Employment Development Department, the Franchise Tax Board, and the State Board of Equalization to collaborate in combating illegal underground operations and also created a related advisory committee to provide guidance.





License Application Workload

There is still a decline in the number of applications received due to the economy. Original applications are down 8% from the overall average.

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

CSLB has implemented the new LLC program. Since there is no case law for LLC's yet, an additional $100,000 bond is reqired for the benefit of workers relative to payment of wages and fringe benefits. This is to ensure workers are protected despite the absence of case law dealing with LLC's. This bond is in addition to the $12,500 contractor bond. LLC's are also required to have $1,0000,000 in liability insurance when five or fewer persons are listed as personnel, with an additional $100,000 required for each additional personnel, not to exceed $5,000,000.

Fee Increases and Application Revisions

Eight applications have been revised to reflect new fees due to the fee increases. Some of the fee increases include the Application for Original Contractor License (20% increase), Application to Add a Supplemental Classification or to Replace RMO or RME on an Existing License (50% increase), Initial License Fee (20%), and Home Improvement Salesperson Registration Fee (50% increase) to name a few.

License Transaction Processing Times

CSLB's application and renewal processing schedule routinely has around two days of backlog because of cashiering and image-scanning tasks. Since the 2008-09 fiscal year, the Licensing division has only used a minimal amount of overtime compared to previous years, even with a reduction in staff hours due to furloughs. They have kept acceptable processing times which can be attributed to the decrease in applications.

Fingerprinting/Criminal Background Unit

Since fingerprinting and criminal background checks were implemented, CORI files received through July 31, 2012, the Criminal Background Unit denied 1,094 applications and issued 1,231 probationary licenses. 548 of the denied licenses appealed their denials. There has also been a decline in fingerprint submissions since there has been a decline in applications.

Licensing Information Center (LIC)

Call Center Workload

Call wait times increased in the first quarter of 2012 due to an increase in the volume of calls. This was seasonal due to a backlog of workers' compensation certificates which created additional calls. There are also longer wait times during the lunch hours when lack of agents play a roll, even with staggered lunch times. CSLB has added two additional full-time call center agents and retained two retired annuitants who work during the peak lunch time hours.

Staffing Update

The Licensing division hired two full-time staff as well as adding two part-time retired annuitants who work during peak call hours. Licensing also had four student assistants who provided support. The student assistants were eliminated August 30, 2012. With the extra help, call wait times were lowered.

Increased Training

One of the Licensing division's goals is to provide timely, efficient, and professional services to its customers. They have established a trainer position as an expert resource to other licensing staff. Training has proven to be an effective way to give the new employees an in-depth look at CSLB as a whole and the roles of the various units within it.

Quick Tip Program

The Licensing division has a daily "Quick Tip" that is emailed to all staff with information on CSLB laws, regulations and policies. This has been an effective way to distribute critical information and changing policies and procedures.

Call Center Processing

A call center processing e-mail address has been set up as a full-service resolution program for licensees who need their licenses updated to satisfy a suspension or to avoid suspension. In addition, the call center will soon cross-train with other units to increase their knowledge of policies and procedures.


Judgment Unit

The judgment Unit processes all outstanding liabilities, judgments, and payment of claims reported to the CSLB by licensees, consumers, attorneys, credit recovery firms, bonding companies, CSLB's Enforcement Division, and other governmental agencies as well as processing all documentation and correspondence related to resolving these issues.




The Testing Division has two vacant positions.

Examination Wait Time

The current wait time for examinations throughout the state is three weeks. However, applicants have a very good chance of obtaining a seat in any CSLB testing center on a walk-in basis.


Testing Center Status

The CSLB has eight testing centers: Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose, Fresno, Oxnard, Norwalk, San Bernardino and San Diego. The Oakland testing center will be relocating to a Berkley office.

Utilization of Testing Centers for Other Projects

Since there is a reduced number of licensing examinations being held, the use of the testing centers is being expanded for other purposes. In September, Norwalk and San Bernardino will be used by the Department of Consumer Affairs to train other boards on the new BreeEZe software.


Change to Examination Administration Procedures

The existing policy gives 2.5 hours for each examination and if more time is needed, an additional hour can be requested. The new policy will give all applicants the 3.5 hour window for each application.


Examination Development

The Examination Development Unit ensures 45 examinations are maintained and updated in accordance with testing standards, guidelines and regulations. There are two phases in the development process: occupational analysis and new examination development. These must be done every five to seven years for each examination.

Occupational analysis has recently been completed for:

  • Hazardous Certification

New examinations have been completed for:

  • C-4 Boiler, Hot-Water Heating and Steam Fitting
  • C-7 Low Voltage

Current occupations analyses in progress:

  • C-34 Pipeline
  • C-45 Signs
  • C-50 Reinforcing Steel
  • C-55 Water Conditioning
  • C-57 Well Drilling

New Examinations in Progress

  • C-16 Fire Protection
  • C-21 Building Moving and Demolition
  • C-42 Sanitation Systems
  • C-46 Solar
  • C-47 Manufactured Housing
  • Hazardous Certification

Ongoing Consumer Satisfaction Survey

The Testing division conducts this survey of consumers whose complaint cases have been closed. This is designed to assess the overall satisfaction with the Enforcement division's handling of complaints in various content categories.


Examination Development Staff Work on DCA Projects

The Examination Development Unit is assisting the Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Professional Examination Services with two occupational analyses and one examination development project because they have experienced a staffing shortage.



Translator Testing


Current Translator Testing Method

Currently, for an exam to be translated, an applicant must bring their own translator as long as that translator does not work in the legal, accounting or construction-related industry and the approved translator may not translate more than once a year. This translation is strictly a "sight" translation and given to the applicant verbally and the translation is recorded.

Number Of Translated Examinations

From 2008 through 2011, there were over 3,700 examinations administered with translators.

Language By Trade Patterns

The largest number of translated examinations are in Spanish. The next top languages are Chinese, Korean, Armenian and Vietnamese.

Analysis Of Alternative Translation Methods

Although the CSLB is not required by law to translate examinations, they are trying to determine the fairest way for these exams to be administered that is feasible and effective. The current manner's disadvantage is the quality of the translator that is provided by the applicant.

The following are the alternative translation methods that are being reviewed:

1. Disallow any translations

a. CSLB communicates to applicants that all examinations are to be taken in English only.

b. It would be advantageous because all examinations would be given in English only.

c. The disadvantages are that the CSLB would be perceived as not accommodating the needs of ESL applicants and the ESL applicants could file a lawsuit against the CSLB

d. The approximate cost to the CSLB would include a reduction in staff time.

2. Allow sight translation by applicant-provided translator (current method)

a. Applicants requesting a translated examination provide their own translator (a certified interpreter, family member or friend) and the translation is recorded and reviewed in case of suspected misconduct.

b. It would be advantageous because the translated examinations contain the same questions as the non-translated examinations and the CSLB is not liable for the translation.

c. The disadvantages are the possible use of non-qualified translators leading to inconsistency in translations.

d. The approximate cost to the CSLB would include one staff person that is dedicated to the translator program.

3. Allow sight translation by certified translators only

a. Applicants requesting a translated examination provide the certified interpreter and the translation record is recorded and reviewed in case of suspected misconduct.

b. It would be advantageous because the translated examinations contain the same questions as non-translated examinations.

c. The disadvantages are the higher cost for applicants, the applicant's need for a specific dialect may not be met, potential protests by applicants over quality of translation, if CSLB limits their options, the CSLB could not control that the interpreter does not have construction law or knowledge, and the CSLB could not control how often the interpreters translate a given examination.

d. The approximate cost to the CSLB would include a reduction in staff time.

4. Translate the whole item bank for main languages/classifications

a. Test development staff coordinates written translations by subject matter experts of seven item banks (approximately 5,000 items) into different languages requiring new validation and pass point.

b. It would be advantageous because of the consistent translation for the main languages/trades and the possible misconduct between the translator and applicant is eliminated.

c. The disadvantages are that no translation services would be provided to less popular target languages and classifications, unequal treatment for ESL applicants needing translations for the non-target languages and classifications leading to lawsuits, potential protests by applicants over quality of translation, CSLB would have to hire more test development staff to take over management of translated banks and subject matter expert recruitment.

d. The approximate cost to the CSLB would be very high.

5. Translate one version for main languages/classifications

a. Test development staff coordinates written translations by subject matter experts of seven examination versions (approximately 730 items) into different languages, requiring new validation and pass point.

b. It would be advantageous because of the consistent translation for main languages/trades and the possible misconduct between translator and applicant eliminated.

c. The disadvantages are that preferential treatment to those with translated examinations who, upon retest, are always exposed to the same questions, whereas others take different versions, no translation service provided to less popular target languages and classifications, unequal treatment for ESL applicants needs translations for the non-target languages and classifications leading to lawsuits, potential protests by applicants over quality of translation, the CSLB would have to hire more test development staff to take over management of translated versions and subject matter expert recruitment.

d. The approximate cost to the CSLB would be high.


Due to these factors and comparisons, the CSLB has determine that Option 2 (the current method) remains as its translator policy.


Retroactive Fingerprinting for Licensed Contractors

Summary Of Recommended Position

Existing California licensed contractors should not be fingerprinted retroactively. The Committee voted and will present this recommendation to the full Board.

Current Law

All Boards are required to get a full set of fingerprints in order to conduct a criminal history record check.

Implementation Of Existing Requirement

The CSLB has fingerprinted about 40 percent of its licensees since 2005. Any new application or a modification of an existing license requires fingerprinting. Approximately 44,000 Criminal Offender Record Information reports have been produced, 1,079 applications denied and 1,208 probationary licenses issued in that time. Keep in mind that the CSLB does not just license individuals but partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies, and joint ventures. This means that the fingerprinting for one license will include all of their personnel, with an average of three to five per license.

Retroactive Fingerprinting Of All Licensees

There have been various pieces of legislation that have required all licenses be fingerprinted in order to obtain a criminal history background check as well as notices of any subsequent conviction. At this point, none of the legislation has come to pass but it appears as if it is soon on the horizon and the CSLB is attempting to plan accordingly.

Policy Concerns With Implementation Of Retroactive Fingerprinting

Industry Impact

If retroactive fingerprinting occurs it would most likely happen upon license renewal which would probably result in a significant delay for many of those licenses. This could cause many temporarily unlicensed contractors, who would then be operating illegally if they continued to work during the time their license is inactive and also make them unable to collect for work during that same time.

Public Protection

Retroactive fingerprinting would not guarantee public protection. For instance, those that are fingerprinted are not necessarily the ones that enter the consumers home.

Impacted Resources

Retroactive fingerprinting is not something that the CSLB supports because it is already having issues meeting the existing requirements and responsibilities of the Board.

Significant Costs

The workload would be greatly increased if retroactive fingerprinting went into effect and the CSLB would need additional resources to handle that workload.


The CSLB is working on a plan to implement retroactive fingerprinting over three renewal cycles so that it would occur over a six year period. However, they also believe that this plan should not be instituted until all of the current investigations into the licensees who have already been fingerprinted are completed.

Retroactive fingerprinted was voted down by the full Board.

Continuing Education

Summary Of Recommended Position

The CSLB opposes requiring licensees to complete a continuing education requirement as a condition of license renewal. The Committee voted and will present this recommendation to the full Board.


Many professions require continuing education or continuing competency to be completed as a requirement of license renewal. Continuing education is a way to require a licensee to stay current with standards and practices. Continuing competency is a way to measure or verify whether a licensee is still able to competently perform their functions.

Issues To Consider Before Implementing Continuing Education

Specific questions to consider before implementation are:

  1. Is there a clear problem adversely affecting consumers?
  2. If so, is continuing education the best way to address that problem, versus information dissemination of trends/standards, enforcement, or licensing?
  3. If so, is there a clear connection between the problem and the solution as proposed by continuing education?
  4. If so, does the board have the necessary staff and budget to make the continuing education effective, or will it need additional resources?
  5. If so, is there are clear measurement tool to demonstrate that continuing education solves the problem?
  6. If so, is the solution worth the costs to licensees, consumers, the board and the public?

Existing Law On Continuing Education Programs

Although continuing education rules have never been adopted, the statutes provide that they must meet the following standards:

1. Course validity

2. Occupational relevancy

3. Effective presentation

4. Material assimilation

5. Potential for application

Fiscal And Economic Impact

Such a program would impose a significant financial burden on licensees as well as the CSLB. The licensees would have to pay to attend the required courses, distance education, or other format, and would need to take time away from work to complete the requirement. The CSLB would need additional resources.


Without an identified problem with the construction industry that the continuing education would address and due to the significant cost impact as a continuing education requirement on licensees and the Board, the CSLB cannot support a continuing education requirement.

The full Board voted not to require continuing education.

License Renewal Delinquency Fees


Summary Of Recommended Position

Contractors who file a renewal application timely with the applicable renewal fee should not be subject to the delinquency fee if the renewal application is subsequently rejected, provided corrections are received within 90 days. The Committee voted and will present this recommendation to the full Board.


Currently, if a licensee sends in a timely renewal application and the renewal fee but the application is later rejected for some reason (usually the lack of a signature), the licensee is required to pay a $180 delinquency fee if they are not able to return the application prior to the license expiration date.


To amend the statutes so that the licensee that sends in a timely renewal application and the renewal fee but the application is later rejected for some reason is no longer required to pay the delinquency fee if they are not able to return the application prior to the license expiration date but within 90 days of the original expiration date.

The full Board voted to waive the delinquency fee if application is resubmitted within 90 days.





Administrative Program Update

Personnel Update


Staff Positions

As of August 22, 2012, there were 24 vacant positions at the CSLB.

Business Services Update



San Bernardino staff are in the process of scheduling a pre-construction meeting with the Department of General Services for preparation of bullet proof glass at the public counter.

A new site for the Bakersfield office has been selected, plans drawn and approved. Pre-construction meetings with the Department of General Services are in the works.

Fresno staff relocated from a state-owned building.

The Oakland office and staff will be relocating to the Berkeley office within 6 months.

The Modesto office will be closed and staff will relocate to a nearby Employment Development office with space for their use.


The CSLB has contracts with and for the following:

  • Sharp Copiers - Five copiers with maintenance
  • Pitney Bowes - Maintenance for inserter machine
  • In-a-Bind - Laminating machine with maintenance
  • Pitney Bowes - Rental and maintenance for field postage machines
  • Pitney Bowes - Rental and maintenance for HQ postage machine and folder
  • Workers' Comp - Data access for Enforcement staff
  • Total Shred - Shredding services for field staff
  • FedEx & GSO - S mall parcel delivery
  • Inter-Con Security - Security guard services
  • Miramar College - Peace Officer Training Academy

Fleet Management

The CSLB is in the process of replacing 10 Enforcement division vehicles through the purchase of new vehicles.

Records Management

Cancelled and expired license files are continuing to be purged from the Headquarters file room.




BreEZe will include e-payment/online licensure; licensing, enforcement and imaging functions; and workflow features once it is implemented. The "go-live" date has already been pushed back and fingers are crossed that it will occur in November.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

AB 397 indicates that at the time of a license renewal, an active contractors licensee with an exemption from workers' compensation insurance must have on file with the board to prove that exemption. This was originally set to become effective July 1, 2012, but was pushed to January 1, 2013.




CSLB resources have diminished over the past decade but its responsibilities have increased.

Permanent Staff

Ten years ago the CSLB had a permanent staff of 471 and now have only 399.

Retired Annuitants (RAs)

Five retired annuitants that were identified as non-mission critical were eliminated on June 30, 2012.

Student Assistants (SAs)

The CSLB Licensing division has utilized 13 student assistants to handle new application processes, license maintenance, and license information. Because of the budget, the student assistant positions have been cut as of August 30, 2012, causing the workload to fall back on the staff. The CSLB is in the process of hiring seasonal employees with hopes that some of the experienced student assistants will qualify for those positions.

Personal Service Contracts

Because of Executive Order B-3-11 from February 15, 2011, all state agencies and departments have been prohibited from initiating or increasing personal services contracts to compensate for the effects of hiring restrictions.

The inability to execute personal services contracts on top of the latest combination of staff cutbacks could be very detrimental for major Information Technology projects throughout state government, even leading to a breakdown or crash of a major IT system.

This could put the multi-million dollar BreEZe project in jeopardy as well as many other items.


The CSLB spent $53.5 million, 92% of its Fiscal Year 2011-2012 final budget at.


Fiscal Year 2011-12 CSLB Budget and Expenditures


The total revenue for Fiscal Year 2011-2012 was $54.9 million.

Fiscal Year 2012-13 CSLB Preliminary Budget

Fund Condition

The Contractor's License Fund currently has about five months in reserves. However, the projected figures show only two months in reserve come the 2014-15 Fiscal Year.

Construction Management Education Account (CMEA) Final Fiscal Year 2011-12 Expenditures

CMEA Fund Condition

The CMEA currently shows over 23 months of services but projects less than a 4 month reserve come the 2014-15 Fiscal Year.



December 11, 2023 in Norwalk

February 26, 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area

April 23-24, 2013 in Riverside

June 11, 2013 in Orange County

Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman

provide this information as a service to its friends & clients and it does not establish an attorney-client relationship with the reader. This document is of a general nature and is not a substitute for legal advice. Since laws change frequently, contact an attorney before using this information.

Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman

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