California Contractors License Board Meeting

It was planes, trains and automobiles carrying me south for the latest California State Contractors License Board meeting. With only a dozen or so audience members in attendance, James Miller, Chairman of the CSLB gaveled their quarterly meeting to order in San Diego. A wide variety of topics were discussed during their 3-½ hour gathering on February 11th. All but two Board members attended.

One interesting item reported on was the number of applications submitted to the Board. While still averaging over 2500 applications a month for the final quarter of 2008, this number represents a 16% decrease from a year ago. Most of this fall-off can be attributed to original exam applications, which dropped back to 2000/01 levels. Due to this drop-off and other factors, the CSLB has eliminated most of their processing backlogs. It was reported that some Board processing units are able to review applications in a few weeks from the submission date. However, if the mandated twice-a-month furloughs continue, this situation could change quickly.

Another aspect of the changing economy buried in the 2-inch thick agenda was the number of applications that went void. In fiscal year 2006/07, over 16,000 applications were voided. Last fiscal year another 12,000 applications were never completed. This means that in a 2-year period, over 28,000 contractors submitted applications, had them rejected for any number of reasons; failed their exam or had other issues that ultimately resulted in the application being eliminated from further consideration.

The Enforcement Committee report highlighted the Board’s Senior Scam Stopper Seminars. These consumer education outreach events are held throughout California and include a variety of State and local government agencies. The goal is to educate consumers and give them the tools needed to fight scams and fraud including those perpetrated by unlicensed contractors. Also reported on were a number of highly successful SWIFT investigations. The Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) was very active throughout 2008, most recently mobilizing to provide proactive assistance to Southern CA wildfire victims in November and December. The Board’s head of Enforcement, David Fogt, hoped to conduct an enforcement sweep or sting operation in most of California’s 58 counties during 2009.

All CSLB meeting are open to the public. Information of the dates and locations of these meetings can be found on the Board’s website.

Q: Can a California Contractor’s license be transferred from one business partner to the other partner? Here is the situation: a company was started in 1996 with 2 business Partners. It is not a corporation. This qualifying Partner wants to retire. Can the License be transferred to the General Partner, without having to take the contractors board test?

A: Unfortunately a partnership license cannot be transferred to the remaining partner. Once a partner leaves a license it is cancelled by the CSLB. The remaining general partner will need to take the law and trade exams to qualify his or her own license.

Q: How many states can an individual hold a license in at one time?

A: There is not any limit. I’ve had a number of clients over the years that have been licensed in a dozen or more states. While an individual state like CA may limit the number of licenses one qualifier can be listed on at a given time, this does not impact an individual from becoming licensed in multiple states.