Contractors State License Board Reports 2008 Accomplishments and Activities
Board highlights annual achievements
SACRAMENTO - The Contractors State License Board's (CSLB) 2008 Accomplishments & Activities report is now available on CSLB's Web site: www.cslb.ca.gov. "This annual report recaps the outstanding programs and initiatives that help meet the Board's Strategic Plan goals, and the exceptional staff who respond to the immediate needs of California consumers," said Board Chair James Miller.
The report includes numerous accounts of CSLB staff performing at their professional best when they were tasked as first responders during California's string of 2008 natural disasters. CSLB's Enforcement division stepped up efforts following wild fires, and wind and flood-ravaged disaster regions that spanned more than one-third of the state. Enforcement staff in northern and southern California assisted victims while maintaining a vigilant presence in the affected areas to crack down on illegal and unlicensed construction activity.
CSLB's report summarizes 2008 Board and program activity that carried out the agency's mission of consumer protection and regulation of the construction industry in each of its main divisions: Enforcement, Licensing, Legislation, Communication & Education, and Organizational Development.
In 2008, the Enforcement Division began use of its online complaint form. This new form enables consumers to submit complaints electronically, or print and mail the forms to CSLB. Enforcement staff opened 23,205 complaints in 2008, up 1,322 from the number of complaints initiated in 2007. The number of complaints aged more than one year hit an all-time low in 2008, down 55% from 2007, in spite of the increase in complaints.
The Board's Licensing Division noted a shift in the type of applications that were sought in 2008. While there were fewer original license applicants, the number of licensees changing or adding classifications increased. More people also took out Home Improvement Salesperson licenses than in 2008. Chairman Miller calls these shifts "a sign of our state's changing economy and the categories of construction that are sustaining the industry." Application processing times also decreased during 2008, aided by the Testing Unit's continued expansion of capacity at the Board's seven statewide testing centers.
Two CSLB-sponsored bills were chaptered in 2008, and became effective the first of this year. AB 2335 consolidated provisions of laws pertaining to building permits for property owners, most notably expanding the acknowledgments property owners are required to make regarding the risks associated with hiring unlicensed contractors. SB 1432 will assist consumers in extending the time they may file a claim against the bond of a licensee whose license has been cancelled, revoked or inactivate. Provisions of SB 1432 increase the amount of money consumers may recoup from a contractor's license bond in small claims court from $4,000 to $6,500.
In May 2008, CSLB's Public Affairs Office received a "Gold Award" from the State Information Officers Council for best Brand Identity Package. This award recognized CSLB's new graphics style and how these elements are spread throughout the Board's brochures, banners, promotional items and its redesigned Web site. PAO also launched "CSLB's Most Wanted" on its Web site, featuring a list of the state's most egregious unlicensed contractors with outstanding arrest warrants. Public Affairs staff continued to achieve widespread media coverage for sting operations and consumer alerts, and to coordinate board participation in more than 50 community outreach events including Senior Scam Stoppers and trade shows.
In 2008, CSLB's Administration Division added seven new positions to establish and staff a Central Valley Region Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) Center. The Information Technology Division, coordinating with the Department of Consumer Affairs, also began the initial contract phase for establishing an iLicensing system that will enable people to file original applications, renewal applications, address changes and fee payment to the CSLB via the Internet.
Further CSLB division results and statistics are detailed in the report.
Chairman Miller noted that despite unforeseen challenges in the state's economy and the construction industry, contractors and the state's consumers can count on CSLB to continue to provide exemplary service.
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