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Contractors State License Board Releases Enforcement Statistics

SACRAMENTO - Recent media attention has focused on enforcement programs within several Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) regulatory boards. An internal review conducted by DCA and the State and Consumer Services Agency (SCSA) found that many of the healing arts boards face significant complaint investigation backlogs.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger responded to the review, calling the backlogs "absolutely unacceptable" and saying that "it is clear the current system is broken and the entire enforcement process across all of the boards must be reformed."

Today the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is releasing its complaint investigation statistics, including the length of time needed to investigate and close complaints.

"Due to the hard work of our staff and the innovative investigation programs that have been put in place, CSLB is not experiencing significant enforcement backlogs at this time," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "As a matter of fact, the overwhelming majority of our complaints are closed in well under one year."

The following statistics are for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008-09 (July 1, 2008-June 30, 2009):

  • Total complaints closed: 22,523
  • 98.7% of complaints closed were done so in less than one year
    • The average time to close a complaint in CSLB's Intake/Mediation Center: 40 days
    • The average time to close a complaint in CSLB's Investigation Center: 125 days
  • Only 1.3% of closed complaints (287) were open for between 1-2 years.
  • Only 2 closed complaints (.009%) were open for between 2-3 years.
  • No closed complaints were open longer than three years.

CSLB has demonstrated a significant amount of progress in its ability to close cases more quickly over the past several years. Since FY 2001-02, CSLB has:

  • Raised the percentage of complaints closed in less than one year from 93.6% to 98.7%
  • Lowered the percentage of cases closed in 1-2 years from 6.3% to 1.3% (1,739 to 287)
  • Lowered the number of cases taking 2-3 years to close from 38 to 2

"As well as we've been doing, we still have considerable challenges ahead," added Sands. "Our staff is now being furloughed three days every month and we're facing spending cuts, including some of the tools we use to investigate complaints. We encourage members of the construction industry to step forward and help us find solutions." The enforcement staff time lost every month because of the furlough is equal to 34 fulltime positions.

The next opportunity for the industry to have input on the budget situation in a public forum will be at CSLB's quarterly board meeting, Thursday, September 10, 2009. The meeting will start at 10 a.m. at CSLB Headquarters in Sacramento. An agenda will be posted 10 days before the meeting at

In 2009, CSLB marks its 80th anniversary of protecting consumers by regulating California's construction industry. Today CSLB licenses more than 316,000 contractors. In any given year, complaints are filed against only 3% of licensed contractors. In fiscal year 2007-08, the CSLB helped consumers recover $35.2 million in ordered restitution.


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