I've been a lurker here for quite sometime but this is my first post.
I am writing to warn other potential applicants to the California Contractors State License Board about their discriminating policies and non-compliance with the Broad rules and codes that govern them.
A little back ground: I applied for a C-10 (General Electrical) License in December 2001, almost immediately I was identified as a "Young Journeyman" (I was 22 at the Time) and they asked for information about how I gained my experienced and training. The information I provided was approved and I passed both of the required exams on the first attempt in May 2002. I was informed my application was under investigation and I could expect my license in two or three weeks.
Five weeks later I received a request from the Investigator essentially asking for the same information they had already received regarding my training and experience. I did submit four years of tax returns and over 100 itemized invoices as requested. Later the Investigator asked for permits for specific projects and stated that she would approve the application if I could get the permits. When the requested permits were received in October 2002 she preceded with and denial stating the permits were too vague.
I filed a request for an appeal in December 2002. I also created a spread sheet in January 2003 listing my experience since 1997 in four categories, consisting of Power, Fire Alarm, Stage Lighting, and Low Voltage. The CSLB had voiced concerns that too much of my experience was low voltage because I do business as Tech God Audio, the spreadsheet showed Low Voltage made up only 18% of my experience.
In May 2003 I was issued a General Electrician License by the CA Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DIR). It was only the 221st person in the state to receive this certificate under this new program. When I presented the certificate to the CSLB and asked why they were not accepting 7200 hours of more than 8100 hours the DIR had certified the CSLB stated they had not seen the certificate before and had no policy for accepting it, this despite the fact I had learned of the DIR certificate from the CSLB website more than six months before.
During this same time in May 2003 it was discovered that my application had been misfiled in January and no work had been done to move it towards an appeal in more than four months.
A second investigation was commenced by a second investigator at the direction of the chief of licensing and after more than twelve weeks the investigator concluded I had five weeks of experience.
I finally got my appeal hearing on October 9th. The state spent 8 hours presenting their case the first Investigator testified that my invoices were "too vague". When I showed her my QuickBooks generated invoices showing: dates, customers names & address, model numbers, descriptions including amp ratings. I asked her what was to vague she stared at the invoice and said, "I don't know". I then asked why she didn't give me any credit for my stage lighting experience on the same invoice. She said it could be low voltage stage lighting, I pointed to the 20 amp stage pin connector itemized on the invoices and asked her If she had ever seen a low voltage lighting fixture that consumed 20 amps, she said, "No". I had first established that she was promoted to Investigator after serving in the phone center for twenty years with no other electrical or construction experience.
The second investigator testified in much the same way. He stated he didn't give me any credit for my stage lighting experience because stage lighting systems are portable and thus not regulated by the CSLB. I showed the Investigator a picture he had taken of one of the 800 Amp Dimmer Rack in question. I asked him if he recalled if the rack was seven feet tall, he said, "Yes". I then asked him if copper was a heavy element, he reluctantly said, "Yes". So I asked him what made him think that the system was portable, he said, "I don't know".
The state's professional witness lacked a lot of details but supported my arguments.
I testified and presented my spreadsheet with over 200 pages of supporting evidence to justify my 8100 hours of experience.
My professional witness testified and supported my case and experience.
I am still waiting for the opinion.
The only reason my application was selected for the investigation is because I was under 24 when I applied. It seams the investigators rely heavily on payroll records (i.e. paycheck stubs and W-2's) they use your hourly wage to determine if you work at a journeyman level, not any certificates or personal references. I did not complete a formal apprentice program. The type of work I do is pro audio and stage lighting for live theater. This seamed too specialized for the CSLB, they wanted me to apply for a C-61 limited specialty license.
What it comes down to is my peg didn't fit in their hole so they didn't know what to do with my application.
I appreciate your comments and insight,
Tech God Audio
[This message has been edited by techgod (edited 12-15-2003).]