1 DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIES
2 STATE OF WASHINGTON
6 ELECTRICAL BOARD MEETING
8 TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
10 Thursday, July 31, 2008
13 BE IT REMEMBERED, that a quarterly Electrical Board
meeting was held at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 31, 2008,
14 at the address of Labor and Industries, 7273 Linderson Way
S.W., Tumwater, Washington before CHAIRWOMAN GLORIA
15 ASHFORD and BOARD MEMBERS JIM SIMMONS (Vice Chair), TOM
PHILLIPS, ROD BELISLE, DAVID JACOBSEN, DON KOPCZYNSKI,
16 FRED TRICARICO, VIRGIL HAMILTON, DAVID A. BOWMAN, DAVID S.
BOWMAN, TRACY PREZEAU, GEOFF NEWMAN, DON GUILLOT, DAVE
17 GOUGH, and SECRETARY/CHIEF ELECTRICAL INSPECTOR RONALD
FULLER. Also present were ASSISTANT ATTORNEYS GENERAL PAM
18 REULAND representing the Board and SHELLEY MORTINSON
representing the Department.
WHEREUPON, the following proceedings were held, to
22 H. Milton Vance, CCR, CSR
EXCEL COURT REPORTING
24 16022-17th Avenue Court East
Tacoma, WA 98445-3310
25 (253) 536-5824
1 Thursday, July 31, 2008
5 Agenda Item Page
7 1 Approve Transcript of April 24, 2008, 4
Electrical Board Meeting
9 Motion Carried 4
10 2 Secretary's Report 5
11 3 Chelan PUD Variance Request 13
12 Motion 37
Motion Carried 38
14 Motion Carried 40
15 4 WAC Rules - Review and Recommend 40
16 Motion 107
Motion Carried 107
18 Motion Carried 110
19 5 Texas Reciprocity Update 214
20 Motion 251
Motion Failed 254
6 Certification Quarterly Report & 132
22 Examination Development
23 6 A ETI 133
24 Motion 145
Motion Carried 146
1 Thursday, July 31, 2008
3 I N D E X (Continued)
5 Agenda Item Page
7 7 Departmental/Legislative Update 213
8 8 Budget Discussion 174
9 9 A Jesse Westby Appeal 110
10 Motion 131
Motion Carried 132
9 B Thomco Construction 147
13 Motion Carried 173
14 9 C William Bair 202
15 Motion 207
Motion Carried 207
9 D Robert Foster 213
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Good morning, everyone. It is
4 January 31st. The hour is 9:05 a.m. The July 31st Board
5 meeting will now commence.
7 Item 1. Approve Transcripts of April 24, 2008
8 Electrical Board Meeting
10 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: The first order of business is
11 to approve the transcripts of the April 24th meeting.
15 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: So moved.
16 BOARD MEMBER: Second.
17 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We have a motion and a second.
18 All in favor?
19 THE BOARD: Aye.
20 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Opposed?
22 Motion Carried
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Patrick has been moved to 1:30.
25 Is that correct, Ron?
1 SECRETARY FULLER: Correct.
2 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Also Steve with that? Or --
3 SECRETARY FULLER: Patrick's going to do it all
4 today. Steve's on vacation this week.
5 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Oh, okay.
7 Item 2. Secretary's Report
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Then we'll go to item number 2,
10 Secretary's Report.
11 SECRETARY FULLER: All right. Good morning,
13 The Secretary's Report I'll be fairly brief today.
14 But the fund balance through May was $9,337,735. You're
15 going to hear more on the budget this afternoon when
16 Patrick comes in, so I'm not going to dwell on that very
17 much. But the fund balance is going down fairly
18 significantly each month because of the downturn in the
20 Customer Service. We just continue to improve our
21 e-commerce results. The percentages speak for themselves
22 there. Just a huge percentage of our permit activity is
23 done on-line compared to what we used to have.
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Can everyone hear Ron?
25 SECRETARY FULLER: Is that better? Okay.
1 We finished our training for the inspectors in May.
2 We had three trainings in March -- well, actually four
3 trainings in March, April and May. Two-day sessions each
4 time. Trained almost 500 people. So that was really a
5 good turnout. It was well received. I think we did a
6 good job doing our training. We're planning on doing more
7 training in November for the inspectors and the city
8 inspectors. We won't open this one up to the outside
9 folks because it's -- we've got a special guest coming
10 from the NFPA to do the code part of the training. And
11 part of that is that we get a free code book for each of
12 the inspectors that attend. So we're expecting about 180
13 to 200 people show up for that one. And we'll be doing a
14 WAC rule and RCW training the day before it. We're
15 looking forward to that one too.
16 Testing Lab Report. We've had no new approvals for
17 the quarter and no new engineer approvals.
18 Performance Measures. We finished the fiscal year
19 out due in part to two things. One's the economic
20 downturn which slowed the work down a little bit for us
21 and gave us more time to get our jobs done and do them
22 faster, and the addition of the new inspectors that we got
23 last summer. We almost met every expectation that we had.
24 Inspections are up to 89 percent at the year end
25 actually within 24 hours, which we haven't had in -- I
1 don't even remember -- it's like 2000 maybe that we've
2 been at that level of performance. So really good there.
3 Compliance activity is up dramatically. We're up to
4 -- this last year we were up to 2.8 citations and warnings
5 per inspector per month, which we've never been that high
6 before. So they're having time now to get their
7 compliance activities done and get their inspections done
8 in a really fast pace. So very good there.
9 We don't want the economy to stay down obviously, but
10 it's giving us a little bit of a breather to be able to do
11 the job that we're supposed to do.
12 Licensing processing turnaround time is our problem
13 child right now. We've had a lot of vacancies. Issues
14 with a lot of sick time, et cetera, in the licensing
15 department. So we're up to almost three weeks of
16 turnaround time right now. We're trying to get people
17 motivated to use the on-line processing for their
18 renewals. If they do that, they can have their license in
19 two or three days. But that's been slow to grab hold.
20 So one of the WAC rule changes this year is to create
21 a tiered system like I talked about before so the fees are
22 different for people that do it on-line. So hopefully we
23 can motivate people to use that.
24 We're back up to staff now. We brought two new
25 people on this last month. So we're fully staffed again
1 now. Still have a couple of people with medical issues,
2 so they're in and out depending on the day. But within
3 another month we should be back on track to be processing
4 quickly again. So I expect the first quarter for this
5 fiscal year to be down dramatically in processing time.
6 Because they should be getting caught up by the end of
7 next month for sure. So that should be good.
8 Plan review sheets, they're doing really well.
9 They've been through a process improvement, streamlining
10 their process and working with the engineers to get a
11 little bit better plans in. We're up to 6.4 sheets per
12 day per inspector, which is really good.
13 Plan review workload has not fallen with the rest of
14 the economy. Their workload has actually gone up still
15 this year, which is good because that's the schools, the
16 hospitals, the institutions, that kind of heavy duty work
17 that requires a lot of inspections, but it's also got
18 pretty big permits with it normally.
19 We could see a downturn in plan review next year
20 because of the economy because most of that work is tied
21 to bonds and measures that are past a year and a half, two
22 years ago. So I think that's one reason that their
23 workload went on and went up because that work is still
24 there and available for people to do. Hopefully it'll
25 stay up and be an indicator of the future for the rest of
1 the industry.
2 Class B Permits. Received 4,000 labels in April and
3 May. Again, only wrote three corrections. So this is one
4 that's just ongoing. At this point I actually like to
5 take this one off the Secretary's Report. I think we've
6 got two years worth of track history now that shows that
7 we're just not having issues with these things. And it
8 just takes time -- you know, it's two or three hours to
9 get this little piece together for you every time, so I
10 just as soon not do it and the Board can live without it.
11 That's my opinion on that one.
12 So that's about it on the Secretary's Report. We've
13 got a lot of other things to talk about today. But in
14 general, the program's running along pretty good right
15 now. Inspection workload is down a little bit. We
16 average 10.1 stops per inspector last year, which was
17 actually our goal when we added the eight on was to get to
18 that level. So that's where we're at, and that's why
19 we're able to respond as quickly as we are to inspections
21 Any questions?
22 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I have a couple actually.
23 So Ron, I think we talked about this, the fund
24 balance at the last quarter's meeting. And, you know,
25 obviously with the downturn you expect a drop and you've
1 had a decrease of just over $900,000 since the last
2 Secretary's Report. And certainly the reduced fees even
3 if you went back to their original level isn't going to
4 close this gap. Are we -- obviously that's under the WAC
5 rule proposal exchange. But are we going to talk about
6 the budget before we talk about accepting the WAC rules
7 today? Or --
8 SECRETARY FULLER: No. We won't actually. That's
9 what Patrick's going to talk about because there are
10 options there.
11 I mean, we are planning on removing the five percent
12 reduction. That's really all that we can do in WAC rule
13 at this time. But he's going to lay out all the other
14 options and things that we're doing right now.
15 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: So that's basically where I
16 was going was to find out what your position was on the
17 fee reduction.
18 SECRETARY FULLER: The WAC rule is removing the
20 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Okay.
21 SECRETARY FULLER: Yeah, it's in there.
22 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: The other thing -- and maybe
23 I'm getting ahead of myself. There's a couple of
24 carry-over pieces from last quarter's meeting. And that
25 is: Do you plan on giving an update on that Cepco
1 (phonetic), the on-line answer provider for the continuing
2 education classes? Do we --
3 SECRETARY FULLER: We don't really have an update to
4 do on it. Basically it was a dead-end investigation.
5 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I know I tried to Google them
6 yesterday and there was no -- there was nothing.
7 SECRETARY FULLER: Yeah. When we started looking a
8 little bit deeper, we really found out nothing more.
9 And I don't think he can provide what's he's saying
10 he can provide, especially for all the states.
11 And it's back to one of those things I suppose. It's
12 like exams. Our philosophy has always been if they can
13 memorize all 2,000 questions, well and good.
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Has Idaho changed their
16 SECRETARY FULLER: Idaho reversed their position. So
17 they've put them back on-line for remote continuing ed.
18 So they did change theirs too.
19 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: And then the only other
20 question I have was about -- again, we sort of touched
21 very briefly on the GPS systems that were in the vehicles
22 the last quarter and that we're no longer using that
23 system, and there was going to be sort of a final report.
24 Is there a time frame as to when that's going to happen?
25 Or has that been drafted? Where are we at there?
1 SECRETARY FULLER: The report's made. The GPS's have
2 been removed. And the recommendation was that we don't
3 move forward with the GPS.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Any further questions?
5 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Yeah. Excuse
6 us, Madam Chair.
7 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL REULAND: Sorry. I just
8 want to let you know that we did -- I did take that issue
9 back to my office and turned over to the Consumer
10 Protection division, and they promised to take a look at
11 the on-line company and whether they're violating any
12 consumer protection laws. He's going to put it on a fast
13 track and let us know I'm hoping in a couple of weeks or
14 so whether our office will be taking any action about
16 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you.
17 Pam, have you been introduced to the Board? You were
18 as a substitute in April.
19 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL REULAND: I was. But I'm
20 not a substitute anymore. I'm Pam Reuland from the AG's
21 office in Spokane. I was here in April because I was
22 going to cover this meeting for Steve Nash.
23 Steve has actually just switched positions within our
24 office. He's moving to a different location and he asked
25 if I would like to take over this assignment. And that
1 was approved by my office. So I'm happy to be here. And
2 be nice to me.
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you, Pam.
4 Any further questions regarding Ron's report?
5 Okay. We'll move on to item 3 in the revised agenda.
7 Item 3. Chelan PUD Variance Request
9 SECRETARY FULLER: Item 3 is the Chelan PUD variance
10 request. You've had a copy of that variance request for a
11 few weeks now I think, so hopefully everybody has had a
12 chance to look at it.
13 (Whereupon, Board Member
Belisle now joined the
15 SECRETARY FULLER: I wanted to bring this to the
16 Board before I made a decision on it because I'd like to
17 get your feedback on it.
18 If you remember the rules back up I'm wanting to say
19 now about 2003 or 2004 when we wrote the original rules on
20 this one, it said that a variance recommended by a joint
21 utility standards group will be approved by the Department
22 unless the recommendation's inconsistent with meeting
23 equivalent objectives for public safety.
24 I'm -- at this time I don't feel like I'm in support
25 of this variance. I denied it once. They went back and
1 brought -- Chelan went back and brought the group
2 together, and they did furnish a letter saying that they
3 supported the variance and laid out some guidelines and
4 gave us some drawings and things like that. I think
5 there's still some issues, though, that I'm just not
6 comfortable with. The listing issues about what that
7 meter base is used for; what an electrician or an
8 electrical contractor would see and think when they came
9 upon one of these boxes where the fiber is coming out of
10 the service conductor conduit, looping back out and going
11 to the transition box, how they'd deal with it with
12 service changes. There's just some safety issues and
13 problems that I see with that from I guess an installation
14 and repair viewpoint.
15 There's also some concerns that I have which I
16 suppose aren't valid with the way we've got the rules
17 written. But I think there's some serious competitive
18 issues here between the utilities if they're going to do
19 this kind of thing and a telecom utility, for instance,
20 that couldn't utilize that method of routing conduits and
22 There was a lot of controversy when these rules were
23 passed about whether we should even be writing them or
24 not. So I want some input from the Board before I make a
25 decision on this variance I suppose. And I don't know if
1 Chelan has anybody here today or not. They do. You may
2 want to have them speak too before we get into this
3 discussion very much.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Do we have a representative from
5 Chelan? Would you like to come forward? The hot seat is
6 right there.
7 MR. HUDSON: Good morning. Thank you for the
8 opportunity to speak.
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Please introduce yourselves and
10 spell your name.
11 MR. HUDSON: My name is Kirk Hudson, and I'm the
12 director of operations. It's K-I-R-K, H-U-D-S-O-N.
13 MR. PREISER: My name's Dieter Preiser. I'm the
14 networks engineering supervisor. D-I-E-T-E-R,
16 MR. HUDSON: I wanted to just briefly provide some
17 background of how we got where we're at and what we're
18 asking for.
19 First of all, I want to state that Chelan PUD is very
20 committed to safety and compliance. That's part of --
21 both of those are part of our core values and we take that
22 very seriously.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Could you speak --
24 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Kirk, could you use the mic,
25 yeah, please.
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thanks.
2 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: A lot of people in here today.
3 Thank you.
4 MR. HUDSON: I want to state Chelan PUD's commitment
5 to safety and compliance. It's in our core values, and we
6 take it very seriously.
7 We've been in the process of installing a open access
8 fiber network to the home since 2000. And to date we've
9 installed approximately 7,000 services with the
10 installation practice we're talking about today. And this
11 came to our attention in December 2007 that there might be
12 an issue here. We've met with the inspector's office in
13 the early part of this year. And when this was raised to
14 our attention that there was concerns, we did immediately
15 discontinue the practice of installing fiber through the
16 meter base. We haven't done it since.
17 We're requesting a variance today because we would
18 like to recontinue that practice.
19 We worked with the inspector's office on a remedial
20 plan. The option of proposing a variance was one of the
21 options. As Ron stated, that was denied in April with the
22 stipulation that we could reconvene a joint utility
23 standards group that would look at and evaluate this from
24 a safety standpoint. We did reconvene that joint utility
25 standards group. Had investor owned and public utilities
1 represented. They did not see any issues with the safety
2 standpoint of this practice. They also didn't see any
3 issues with the serviceability or functionality of the
4 meter base with fiber pulled through it.
5 We do recognize that there are some things that we
6 could do to make this installation more safe, and we're
7 willing to do those. The issue of the confusion with
8 electricians, we could see how that might be an issue.
9 We're willing to do some things with labeling so that
10 people can identify what it is in the meter base and
11 perhaps a phone number to call if something is done to
12 that fiber so that we would know. And in all actuality we
13 do know if something is done to that fiber with our
14 electronics and monitoring system.
15 So all new -- I might add all new services that are
16 new homes, new construction, we do not install fiber this
17 way. This is only for existing electrical services where
18 there's conduit available to the house. Those are the
19 ones that we're talking about pulling through the meter
20 base. New ones are through new conduit dedicated to
21 fiber. So we're just talking about those existing ones
22 that are already out there.
23 This installation has also been engineered. It's
24 been certified by a professional engineer. I might also
25 add that the classification of employees pulling the fiber
1 through the electrical conduit, they're journeyman
2 linemen, qualified journeyman linemen to perform this
4 So basically today what we're asking the Board to do
5 is support the findings of the joint utility standards
6 group and the professional engineers certification as this
7 being a clean, acceptable, safe installation practice.
8 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Is this installation being done
9 in any other state, the way that you're proposing?
10 MR. HUDSON: I'm not sure.
11 Dieter, do you know if that's --
12 MR. PREISER: I don't really know for certain.
13 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Dieter, do you have some
14 comments before I open it up to the Board members?
15 MR. PREISER: Basically Kirk covered everything. I'd
16 just like to point out, you know, we have the mockup back
17 there, and you can see the type of fiber cable that we
18 deploy is all dielectric. It's a very small diameter,
19 typically .307 inches. And so we have really minimal
20 intrusion through the meter base. And we want to keep
21 that to an absolute minimum.
22 And we've been essentially using these techniques
23 since 2001, and we've had no issues whatsoever. No issues
24 ever come up relating to any kind of -- whether it's
25 safety, whether it is an installation issue, the service
1 person being confused about what that cable is, in any way
2 interfering with the function of the meter base. So we've
3 got a good track record on that.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We have a lineman on our Board
5 and some electricians.
6 And I know you raised your hand, Don, but Virgil's
7 hand was up prior to that.
8 So if you still have a question, Virgil?
9 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: Yeah. I just got a question
10 for the Chief.
11 I was just wondering what you thought were the safety
13 SECRETARY FULLER: Well, I mean, in reality if you --
14 if the installer is really on top of his game and
15 understands fiber and telecom systems, I don't think
16 there's a big issue here because it's nonconductive; I
17 agree with that. I think this is one of those things
18 that's just -- it's abnormal enough that I've got concerns
19 as the chief electrical inspector about what's there. I
20 mean, the meter base is not listed for anything except for
21 the meter enclosure. And it's just -- this is one of
22 those things where it just smells wrong to me I suppose.
23 And it's just strange enough looking that it's -- I just
24 have concerns with it.
25 The variance request is not just for existing houses,
1 though. The variance request that we've got is for all
2 installations. So that's not what the gentleman just said
3 a minute ago. So if their intent is that it's for
4 existing only, then that's a different variance. But I'm
5 just concerned about what a person's going to see and what
6 they're going to think. It's just an installation issue
7 to me.
8 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Don and Geoff both have
9 questions. Don.
10 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: I -- the concern that I have
11 is currently in our industry this is a fiber-optic cable
12 for whatever they're using it for. But I know on our
13 horizon we're under an awful lot of changes in our
14 industry through remote meter reading devices. We have
15 them set up now where telecommunicated out. And in the
16 future, they will be using fiber optics to monitor those
17 meters. They can tell you exactly how much power they're
18 using, what the amperage is, what the load. They read
19 that back to our system.
20 So I'm concerned about not allowing -- you know,
21 having fiber optics run in there, especially if it's got a
22 certification on it that it's safe under the National
23 Electrical Safety Code. But I do know that that's
24 something that's coming up in the future, and they will be
25 using it and the utility next to the meter to monitor the
1 meters and also it's under the security of the utility.
2 So that's just one of my concerns that I have about
3 not allowing the continuation of this.
4 BOARD MEMBER NEWMAN: I have a couple of questions.
5 So is it -- the variance, what we're talking about, the
6 variance is for existing services. So these are existing
7 hot services, right, to a residence in most cases? Is it
8 industry practice to have conduit all the way from the
9 vault to the house in those situations? Because they
10 direct bury it now, right? Usually the piece of conduit
11 is nothing more than a stub that goes down and has a 90 on
13 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: It's very good. It depends.
14 It can go both ways.
15 BOARD MEMBER NEWMAN: So what is the industry
16 standard? Because if it's already an open ditch, why do
17 you need to go in there anyway?
18 So I'm asking you what is Chelan County's standard?
19 Is it conduit all the way or not?
20 MR. HUDSON: Chelan County PUD's standard is to take
21 conduit to the home.
22 And I'd like to clarify that what we're asking for is
23 to allow the existing installations to stay, and for new
24 ones that have conduit for electrical service to the home
25 to actually install fiber through those.
1 BOARD MEMBER NEWMAN: I mean, the other issue would
2 be is the linemen that would be doing this work, would
3 they be shutting stuff down at the street before they jam
4 a rodder in or whatever to get through there or how do
5 they -- how are they going to go through and get that
6 thing in there after the fact?
7 MR. HUDSON: We've had Labor and Industries actually
8 come out and review our practice of rodding fiber through
9 the electrical conduit, energized, and they have reviewed
10 that practice. We've tested our rodders. That was one of
11 the stipulations on that review was to make sure we had
12 tested all of our rodders dielectrically.
13 BOARD MEMBER NEWMAN: The other concern I would have
14 from a trade standpoint would be is how long is that going
15 to be like that before it gets pushed down to
16 subcontractors that, you know, are working for the utility
17 that are not licensed and is the training level the same
18 for them as a lineman working for the PUD?
19 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Ron, that's an interesting
20 point because actually if you remember, utility type work
21 can be done by the utility, a contractor or unlimited
22 tiers of subcontractors without an electrical contract
23 license. So when you're talking about rodding fiber
24 optics through an already hot service, you know, I have
25 some -- you know, certainly I respect your comments, and
1 I'm sure that L & I came out and reviewed your procedures
2 and you've passed with flying colors, but that doesn't
3 stop any utility from contracting or subcontracting that
4 work out to unlimited tiers of subcontractors who may or
5 may not uphold that same level of safety practice.
6 I certainly recognize that what you're asking for is
7 for retrofits, but my concern is at what point does this
8 mean -- you know, Ron mentioned a competitiveness issue.
9 If somebody decides that hey, if we've got this variance
10 -- you know, the idea of a slippery slope. We have this
11 variance for existing installations, so why don't we just
12 -- why are we doing -- setting a separate conduit for the
13 fiber when on existing, you know, retrofits we can put it
14 in with the primary, so let's just, you know, get rid of
15 that expense and do an installation method that mirrors
16 the retrofit application.
17 And I sort of agree with Ron. If the meter base
18 isn't listed for it, then why -- you know, we don't -- you
19 know, I have reservations about that as well.
20 I certainly understand that you have had no issues
21 with the installations that you have, and I'm glad to hear
22 that. And that's under your specific purview. And, you
23 know, and perhaps what you're looking at, a variance that
24 would -- you know, and I don't know how ridiculous this
25 sounds, but a variance that states only for retrofits and
1 it's only when the utility actually -- and certified
2 linemen are performing the work. You know, I don't know
3 if that would -- that would certainly make me feel better
4 and alleviate some of the concerns that I have that -- you
5 know, going forward, what's going to happen is it's going
6 to be outsourced, if you will, to a contractor or
7 subcontractor where the level of integrity of safety
8 practices and installation methods are not upkept.
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I have a question that Ron and
10 Kirk could probably answer.
11 You mentioned you've been doing these installations
12 since 2001 but you didn't ask for a variance until 2007.
13 What transpired in those years? And why were these
14 installations allowed to continue without a variance.
15 SECRETARY FULLER: Well, it didn't come to our
16 attention until this year -- in 2007. As soon as I knew
17 about it, within a week I think we had made contact with
18 each other, and they understood at that point that they
19 had violated the NEC and our installation practices. And
20 they've stopped doing it. We've got a lot of them out
21 there. And at this point they're in, so I'm thinking that
22 we -- we're not going to probably ask them to take them
23 out, but I think we may should be asking for all those to
24 be labeled as an alternative to leaving them in.
25 The variance is very unclear about existing or new.
1 It's clearly both. It's clearly anybody can do it. And
2 with the way the rules and the statutes are worded, Tracy
3 is exactly right, it can go down to any tier. Because
4 they're actually doing this fiber, not as an electrical
5 utility, they're doing it as a telecom utility. Telecom
6 utilities are exempt. So there's a lot of licensing and
7 worker issues here that are being muddied up because
8 they're mixing the telecom utility's work into an
9 electrical utility's work. And both -- you know, the
10 electrical utility distribution work is clearly exempt and
11 can be subcontracted down to any level. That's not what
12 we're doing here. We're doing telecom work, which is also
13 a total exemption. Anybody can do it by law. They're a
14 telephone utility basically with what they're doing with
15 fiber. They're not an electrical utility. So total
16 exemption. They can contract it to whoever they want, and
17 then whoever they want can do the work. And I've got
18 safety concerns over those kinds of issues, especially
19 with live energized services.
20 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Jim.
21 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: We've got a unique situation
22 here. And we just happen to have in the audience a couple
23 people that we may want to have just -- we've got a full
24 itinerary today, but we happen to have Warren from the UL
25 and Joe Andre from NEMA sitting in the audience. And I'm
1 wondering if they might have a short little opinion on
2 this installation that we see over here, if the Board
3 would be interested in hearing that.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I would.
5 SECRETARY FULLER: While they're coming up, one thing
6 that I'd like to add to this is that because of this WAC
7 rule, the potential is here that if this variance gets
8 approved, then it's instantly a statewide application too.
9 This isn't just Chelan County that we're talking about
10 here. I want the Board to be aware of that.
11 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: One other thing that I want to
12 bring up is I don't really see a quote/unquote variance
13 that's spelled out in request here. I mean, I see an
14 installation guide. But to me, I'm not sure what we would
15 be voting for. And maybe I'm just not reading this
17 SECRETARY FULLER: Well, I'm not asking you to vote
18 for the variance because that's not your job. My job is
19 to approve the variance. But I'm looking for input from
20 you. So at this point, if you vote, then it would be a
21 recommendation to me to do something or another.
22 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Okay. Thank you, Ron.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Gentlemen, would you please
24 introduce yourselves and spell your names.
25 MR. ANDRE: Thank you. My name is Joe Andre --
1 A-N-D-R-E. I'm the western field rep for NEMA. And I
2 wasn't planning on talking.
3 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: You're welcome, Joe.
4 MR. ANDRE: Thanks, Jim.
5 This hasn't come up through my organization, so I'm
6 not going to speak for what NEMA's position might be.
7 The only think I can see that we would have an issue
8 with is what Ron has already brought up is that the meter
9 base wasn't intended or designed to have other conductors
10 run through it to use as a raceway or anything like that.
11 So at this point that's about the only comment that I
12 would have from my organization.
13 MR. SHILL: My name is Warren Shill. I'm with UL's
14 regulatory services group.
15 And basically I wasn't aware of this issue until just
16 now. And I was going to go ahead and look up the guide
17 information for meter bases, but I would concur that it
18 has not been evaluated for the additional conductor for
19 the fiber optics.
20 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: And the hands are going up.
21 Okay, Fred.
22 BOARD MEMBER TRICARICO: I have agreed with all of
23 the safety concerns, primarily with what Ron has mentioned
24 and the two gentlemen that just spoke about the meter not
25 being listed for this purpose. But I have some comments
1 also I think that Ron kind of brought up is the
2 competitive issue.
3 My question to you gentlemen from the utility is:
4 How many homes and businesses have you served up-to-date
5 with this fiber-optic application? A round number.
6 MR. PREISER: We have approximately 27,000 homes have
7 fiber available to them. And, of course, a certain
8 percentage actually has service. We have -- currently we
9 have 7,500 homes that have service.
10 BOARD MEMBER TRICARICO: Of the 27,000 homes you
11 service with the fiber, how many of them are utilizing the
12 fiber to do meter operations, shutting power on and off,
13 doing studies or reading bills or any of that nature?
14 MR. PREISER: At this point in time we do not have
15 that. However, we have a major project underway that will
16 provide for automatic meter reading and certain levels of
17 automation. And the exact technology that will be
18 utilized for that has not yet been determined. We have an
19 RFP out currently.
20 BOARD MEMBER TRICARICO: So then there's no date yet
21 where you intend to -- or you have already decided to
22 deploy those other services here? Since you haven't
23 determined yet the technology, then I'm assuming that you
24 have not set a date yet to start reading meters and
25 shutting power on and off and doing studies?
1 MR. HUDSON: That's correct, we haven't set a date.
2 BOARD MEMBER TRICARICO: Okay. So then that leads me
3 to the competitive issue. If there was a
4 telecommunication provider out there as Ron mentioned,
5 although they would be exempted from providing this kind
6 of service, they would certainly have to provide a pipe or
7 dig a trench to every home or run an aerial cable in order
8 to get the services in. So for me, it just seems as if
9 your exception to provide this type of service is based on
10 the fact that you would use this service to do your
11 metering, do your bill reading, those kind of things. So
12 to me it seems that you have got a huge advantage over all
13 your competitors in the telecommunications world who do
14 not have this exemption that you're trying to get today,
15 this variance. So to me I think there's a very big
16 competitive issue. I think that -- I don't know that it's
17 necessarily within the purview of this Board to look at,
18 but I do believe that it enters into this conversation
19 that you have come out with a plan to use your exemption,
20 but yet you're not utilizing that exception for what it
21 was intended. What you're doing basically is you're going
22 around that. You're using that exemption to give
23 yourselves a competitive advantage over other
24 telecommunication providers. So although I have some
25 safety issues that I think are paramount, I also think
1 everybody should be aware of the fact that at this point
2 you're not using that exemption, the original exemption
3 for what it was intended. And I don't know if you care to
4 respond to those comments, but --
5 MR. HUDSON: I might just add that our
6 telecommunications, the fiber optics is a wholesale model.
7 It's open access. So anybody can use it.
8 About the conduit, there also are installations where
9 telecom providers have conduit to the homes, and they
10 could if they were wanting to get into this, they could
11 also use that conduit to pull their system through as
12 well. So I just might add that piece on there on the
13 competitive piece. We're open access. We're utilizing
14 just the existing infrastructure which telecom companies
15 could as well.
16 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Ron, is the variance written in
17 such a way that would address that?
18 SECRETARY FULLER: He said several things. So can
19 you be more specific with me, Gloria?
20 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Pardon?
21 SECRETARY FULLER: He said several things. Would you
22 be more specific?
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Well, you had mentioned earlier
24 that the variance that they're requesting on paper does
25 not match what they are requesting verbally at this point.
1 SECRETARY FULLER: Correct, on the existing issue,
2 whether it's an existing house or a new house, that
3 doesn't match. Because it's --
4 They haven't mentioned it in the variance request, so
5 by default it includes new.
6 There's two code violations here to me. One is NEC
7 110-3B, which says you have to use equipment per its
8 listing. That one in this case is probably a fairly minor
10 But there's also an electrical code issue with 300.8
11 that says you will not put anything that's not electrical
12 in an electrical conduit or raceway, whether it's air,
13 gas, water, whatever it is, you will not put it in there.
14 And we've had these same kinds of issues with -- the
15 last one I remember was a prison. They had air-operated
16 locks on the doors. And they wanted to run them through
17 the electrical conduits because that's what operated the
18 doors. And we absolutely would not go there with them.
19 They can mix and match sometimes in enclosures, but
20 the code's very clear that you not will put any other
21 system in an electrical conduit or raceway. So there's a
22 reason the code does those kinds of things. And this is
23 one where -- you've heard me before say the code's pretty
24 vague and unclear on things, but they're not unclear on
25 this one. And this has been a rule that's been in the NEC
1 since before I was an electrician in the '70s, so it's not
2 something new.
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We'll take a couple more quick
5 BOARD MEMBER KOPCZYNSKI: I just have a couple of
7 You know, I do clearly understand why this is
8 problematic to Ron and his group because it is different.
9 It will be one of the things that we're going to be
10 confronted with and that's that the industry is changing.
11 You know, as Don Guillot pointed out, the electric
12 industry generally once you get outside the house hasn't
13 changed much in the last 100 years. But it is clearly
14 going through a big transformation. Whether you read it
15 or not, but things like smart grid are happening.
16 And even the competitive issues that were brought up,
17 utilities already have a wire into the house that you can
18 transmit broadband over. And many utilities are already
19 doing that. So the competitiveness of this is immaterial.
20 And it's clearly not under this Board's interest anyway.
21 We're not here to protect any individual's right or
22 company's right to distribute things.
23 It really comes down to an electrical safety issue.
24 And I -- even though I understand Ron's concern, what
25 you're talking about is a wire and you're talking about
1 electrons that travel through it, much like -- it just
2 happens to be at a higher frequency than the wires that
3 we're used to.
4 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: It's not even a wire.
5 BOARD MEMBER KOPCZYNSKI: I know it's not a wire, but
6 it still transmits electrons. So it looks like a wire, it
7 smells like a wire, and quacks like a duck, so it probably
8 is a duck when you look at it.
9 I think you're -- we're going to deal as a Board with
10 this over and over again. Utilities are going to, whether
11 we like it or not, have to provide access into the home
12 for control, for meter reading. And the reasons these
13 gentlemen can't talk about how they're going to read the
14 meters and turn meters on and off with this technology is
15 because the devices have not been invented. And the
16 reason they haven't been invented is we're not quite there
17 yet. But that transformation's happening all the time.
18 So we're going to have this type of issue at this
19 Board repeatedly over the next ten years and quicker than
20 that probably. So regardless of what position we take
21 today, you can expect these kinds of things to come in
22 front of this Board many more times.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Tracy, a quick --
24 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Okay.
25 And I agree with Don, you know, that there's going to
1 be a lot of changes coming. But my concern is that right
2 now there are no safeguards -- and I certainly do not
3 doubt that these gentlemen in their installation methods
4 are safe and appropriate. The problem is that this
5 variance a) does not -- as Ron pointed out -- does not
6 limit it to existing homes where the service is already
7 energized, right? It does not limit it to residential
8 applications. It could be commercial applications. It
9 could be any application really from what I understand
10 reading this.
11 And the other thing is there's no safeguards to make
12 sure that whoever's doing this installation, which I know
13 that the fiber-optic cable itself is fairly inert, but the
14 fact that you're pulling it -- you're making an
15 installation in a conduit with energized conductors, which
16 are probably not going to be de-energized for the
17 installation, makes me nervous when there are no
18 requirements for those people doing that work to be -- if
19 they're not from the utility and certified linemen to be
20 certified electricians and performed by an electrical
21 contractor. That's my concern.
22 And I'm all for innovation. I just want to make sure
23 that the people that are installing that -- making that
24 installation are appropriately certified and understand
25 the harms and the dangers and are doing it with safety as
1 being tantamount.
2 So my personal philosophy is I am going to recommend
3 not to approve this variance, but if there's some way they
4 would come back with those safeguards in mind, I would
5 certainly be -- and some of those suggestions in mind -- I
6 would certainly be more willing to take a look at it.
7 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We have time for one more quick
8 question that addresses this particular --
9 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: I'm just trying to look at the
10 future. I think if it's under the control of the utility
11 and the utility is responding with either qualified
12 workers, then that should be allowed. Because we on a
13 day-to-day basis pull in new conductors within the
14 conduit. So we do not have to interrupt the power. We do
15 that on a day-to-day basis.
16 And the fiber optics is coming. We read meters now
17 by remote through the computer system. We transmit over
18 the transmission lines from state to state. It's just a
19 matter of time of technology being there. And we are
20 going to start installing this type of fiber. And all the
21 utilities are. That's just the thing.
22 So -- and I agree with Don. If it's the future,
23 we're going to have to deal with it here many, many times.
24 As far as the safety side of it, if the meter base
25 has been reviewed by an electric engineer and finds it to
1 be safe, I don't see the problem with using the meter base
2 because that's owned and controlled by the utility.
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: The last comment or question
4 will be David.
5 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: It's not a question;
6 it's a comment.
7 I want to point out some things that we've made
8 assumptions about here that may not be true. We're
9 talking about something that could happen statewide. We
10 need to recognize one, that different PUD's and different
11 private utilities that provide power have different
12 installation practices, have different what we call
13 service points -- and we're going to touch on that later
14 when we look at the WAC rules -- and we are talking about
15 in this particular installation something that is right on
16 the border between what's under the purview of the
17 utilities and what's under the purview of the NEC. We're
18 right at the interface.
19 I'm assuming -- and we should get this clarified --
20 the meter base is the service point. And most utilities
21 -- but I don't know the details for Chelan. The
22 contractor provides the meter base to standards that you
23 require, but he does that installation. You provide the
24 meter -- and I don't know in the case of Chelan PUD --
25 sometimes a contractor provides the conduit from the meter
1 base out to the transformer if we're talking an
2 out-and-out transformer, but you provide the conductors.
3 Sometimes the contractor provides the conductors and the
4 conduit from the meter base back to the transformer. And
5 standards between utilities are different across the
6 state. And we're right on the border between what's
7 utility and what's NEC.
8 And if we're going to do a variance like this or
9 Ron's going to look at it and approve a variance like
10 this, it needs to be very specific as to what is covered
11 by the NEC and what the variance is allowing to be variant
12 and what is not covered by the NEC because it's under the
13 purview of the PUD or the private power utility.
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you, David.
15 We'll let you have one last comment, briefly.
16 MR. HUDSON: Just wanted to thank you for your time
17 very much.
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Would the Board like to make a
19 recommendation to Ron?
23 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I would move that we recommend
24 to the Chief not to approve the variance as submitted.
25 BOARD MEMBER TRICARICO: Second.
1 BOARD MEMBER JACOBSEN: Second.
2 BOARD MEMBER KOPCZYNSKI: I would like to amend that
3 motion. Because one of the things I think they asked for
4 -- and that's to have to go back and retrofit the ones
5 they already have. And I see -- to me that's an
6 unreasonable request. Because once they're in, they're
7 in. Whatever things that might be a hazard installing are
8 already done. The meter base itself is in the control of
9 the utility. So it isn't likely that someone else is just
10 going to look around in there to see what's there. So I
11 would amend that to include not to ask them to retrofit
12 any existing installations.
13 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Does the maker of the motion --
14 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Well, I would prefer that we
15 -- if you want to do that, that be a separate motion. My
16 motion is to recommend to the Chief to reject the variance
17 request as submitted, and I'm going to let it stand.
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We have a motion and a second on
19 that. Any further discussion? All those in favor?
20 THE BOARD: Aye (the majority).
21 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Opposed?
22 BOARD MEMBER KOPCZYNSKI: No.
23 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Aye.
25 Motion Carried
3 BOARD MEMBER KOPCZYNSKI: And I would like to make
4 the motion that I suggested that we also suggest to Ron
5 that he allow them to leave all existing installations and
6 grandfather those.
7 SECRETARY FULLER: I wouldn't oppose that motion, but
8 with the stipulation that I still think that they need to
9 go back and put a label on what's in that meter base.
10 BOARD MEMBER KOPCZYNSKI: I view all these -- as you
11 clarified, they're recommendations to you, not --
12 SECRETARY FULLER: I know. I just want to be clear
13 about where I will probably head with this.
14 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: I have an amendment to Don's
15 motion. I'd like to propose in Don's motion that in the
16 case of Chelan that they do put the labels on, and that's
17 a consideration.
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Don?
19 BOARD MEMBER KOPCZYNSKI: It's okay.
20 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: He likes your motion.
21 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We have too many Dons and Daves
23 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: I'll go.
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Does everybody understand the
25 motion? All in favor?
1 THE BOARD: Aye.
2 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Opposed? So moved.
4 Motion Carried
6 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you, gentlemen.
7 SECRETARY FULLER: Could I -- I'd like to say one
8 more thing before everybody walks away on this one. But I
9 -- I still don't know exactly what I'm going to wind up
10 doing here, but I wanted to let the Board know that I do
11 intend to still have conversations with you folks so we
12 can hopefully get this resolved in the best way for
14 MR. HUDSON: Thank you.
16 Item 4. WAC Rules - Review and Recommend
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: The next item on the agenda are
19 the WAC rules. Ron's going to highlight the items that
20 were more controversial, et cetera. He's not going to go
21 through each individual change.
22 BOARD MEMBER: Thank you.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: How much time do you think you
24 need for this, Ron?
25 SECRETARY FULLER: I don't anticipate more than an
1 hour at the most. We might be done in 30 minutes. It
2 just depends on how much the Board needs to discuss some
3 of these I guess more controversial issues.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Okay. We'll --
5 SECRETARY FULLER: And I think we could start and
6 then stop and have a break.
7 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Because Milton is going to need
8 a break.
9 SECRETARY FULLER: It's not going to break my
10 presentation up.
11 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Tom.
12 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: I would hope that we would
13 have an opportunity to comment on any change that a Board
14 member might have a concern on. There's been a lot of
15 changes to the WAC's, and a lot of them, this is the first
16 time they're being reviewed. They weren't -- they didn't
17 go through the Technical Advisory Committee process, the
18 internal ones, which is a question I have -- I don't know
19 if it's appropriate to mention it now, but I'm just
20 wondering why all amendments don't go through that
21 process. So I think it's important that if any member has
22 a concern that we give them the opportunity today. And I
23 don't know if it's easier to go page by page through it or
24 how, but not necessarily every item certainly.
25 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Ron, are you ready?
1 SECRETARY FULLER: Ready.
2 There's three I feel significant pieces of the WAC
3 rules that need discussion. One is the arc fault
4 language. The second one would be some of the service
5 definitions that Dave talked about earlier. And then
6 there's been some proposed changes for utility and lineman
7 exemptions. So those are the three that I guess I'd like
8 to start with.
9 The lineman language, you're going to find some
10 changes in some of the definitions that are pretty minor.
11 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Can you give us a page number?
12 SECRETARY FULLER: I'm going to look here.
13 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Page 15.
14 SECRETARY FULLER: Page 15. Let's see. We'll talk
15 the lineman first.
16 BOARD MEMBER: Line 13. Is that what you're talking
18 SECRETARY FULLER: Ah, yes. So that's the definition
19 change. And for the purposes of -- we're adding the
20 language for the purposes of WAC 940, paragraph (6). And
21 that's just to clarify that it's only for that one
22 paragraph. Because there are some other lineman language
23 pieces that don't require the apprenticeship, graduation
24 or supervision. So we just got a little bit more specific
25 on the definition. This lineman utility issue, we've been
1 working pretty heavily for three years now at least. But
2 we've had a significant amount of meetings, especially
3 this spring. This language we didn't take to the TAC
4 committee because we hadn't finished it at that point. We
5 were still waiting for an AG opinion. We got an attorney
6 general opinion from Attorney General McKenna on the
7 contracting questions that we looked at before on
8 distribution and transmission. The opinion was that when
9 it came back that for distribution and transmission the
10 utilities do have the right to contract any level that
11 they want with their exemption. But what that opinion
12 also did was clarify RCW 19.28.091, paragraph (2), which
13 only says the utility. It didn't have the extra language
14 that said the utility or its contractors or other
15 entities. So by default that made paragraph (2) a utility
16 only issue and not -- it couldn't be subcontracted down
17 with the exception of to an electrical contractor. So
18 this just clarifies that split between distribution and
19 transmission and other kinds of utility work. So we did
20 that change.
21 Then in 9 -- on page 80 is the next significant
22 piece. Paragraph (17) -- so it's line 55, 56, right in
23 there -- we've got some language in that talks about
24 contracting again. It provides some more clarification as
25 to what distribution and transmission are and that its
1 exempt from inspection and basically all requirements from
2 our RCW and WAC rules.
3 Paragraph (b) on page 81 talks about street lighting
4 and customer-owned equipment exemptions. The street
5 lighting one was the tough piece of what we're talking
6 about here because there's different types of street
7 lights that utilities work on. There's the street lights
8 out on public streets and those kinds of places, ball
9 fields that are public, public beaches, those kinds of
10 things that are very public, very open to the public.
11 Where a utility -- and actually they do the work, but they
12 actually have a very high level of public safety that they
13 have to be involved in there. And the ultimate outcome of
14 the discussions with the utilities and linemen/
15 electricians was that we split the lighting work into two
16 pieces. And if it was in those public areas that we're
17 talking about on public streets where the utility is
18 really an owner, we have made a determination in the rule
19 that they are an owner and they've got owner's rights. So
20 they can do that work as an owner without being an
21 electrical contractor. They can use their employees to do
22 the work. The employees don't have to be certified in any
23 way. And that was the outcome of that piece.
24 The other type of lighting work that they do, though,
25 is on private property where the general public may have
1 access. For instance, a public parking lot at Fred Meyer.
2 It's a privately owned piece of property. The standard
3 there we believe is a little bit higher, especially for
4 the workers. The contractor issues don't change. The
5 utility can still do the work, and they can contract that
6 work out to an electrical contractor. But they can't sub
7 it down to any level that they want. They have to stop at
8 the electrical -- they can use multiple electrical
9 contractors, but they have to be electrical.
10 The tie to this is in RCW 19.28.261 for linemen.
11 There's a lineman exception that says if you're doing
12 utility type work, which isn't defined anywhere, then you
13 have to be a Washington approved lineman, apprenticeship
14 graduate, or registered in a program and supervised or you
15 have to be default be an electrician. And so we broke
16 that piece -- private property lighting basically -- into
17 a different section and have defined that the utility
18 still has the exemption as a utility to do the work as
19 long as it's unsolicited, but that they have to use an
20 apprenticeship graduate. And the only alternative to that
21 is an electrician or a state that we have apprenticeship
22 reciprocity with with linemen. And that's only -- correct
23 me if I'm wrong -- it's Oregon and Montana, right?
24 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Montana.
25 SECRETARY FULLER: Montana. So there's actually only
1 two states that the apprenticeship program reciprocates
2 with for linemen.
3 There's some stipulations there about the type of
4 work that they can still do. They still can't go into the
5 building. They still have to get the power source from
6 the utility grid. But back in section 940 where we talk
7 about the lineman exception, the lineman that's doing that
8 work in the Fred Meyer parking lot or a hospital or some
9 other private property like that would have to be the
10 Washington graduate of a lineman apprenticeship. So
11 there's some requirements there.
12 So some pretty fine lines that are being drawn here,
13 but I think it works for most people.
14 We've had meetings with all kinds of people. We had
15 a meeting two weeks ago where we invited all the parties
16 in together at the same time in the same room. Utilities
17 were represented, the linemen, the inside wiremen. NECA
18 was represented. Everybody was there. And the ultimate
19 statements at the end of the meeting were that they
20 supported the rule changes as they're written.
21 We actually only found one -- we did find one error.
22 And it is in the piece that -- for the private property
23 work, whether it's distribution, transmission or lighting,
24 we had a -- I did a copy and paste wrong. But on private
25 property, the permit needs to be bought by the property
1 owner, and they're responsible for that permit. So we're
2 going to have a slight change from what you see here in
3 that regard. But that's been agreed to also. That's been
4 the practice for a long time with the Department.
5 So I don't think we're really changing anything here
6 too much except for the public street like clearly saying
7 that they have an owner's exception. This has been
8 heavily stakeholdered for a long, long time. And what it
9 does is define what utility type means. And so we won't
10 hopefully have that issue raised again for a few years.
11 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I know Tom has a question or
12 comment because of the issue at Evergreen Hospital a
13 couple years ago.
14 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: Thank you.
15 Yeah, the cities I've talked to are very much opposed
16 to this the way it's written, not so much who is eligible
17 to do the work issue of it, but the work that's being done
18 doesn't comply with the National Electrical Code. And
19 this expands it now beyond street lighting to any parking
20 lot lighting. And the installations that we've seen done
21 by the utilities are what any electric would consider
22 highly dangerous and that they don't run separate ground
23 wires and they do all the grounding with the neutral wire.
24 And we were talking just a few minutes ago about fiber
25 optics and the hazards associated with that utility. This
1 in my opinion is far more dangerous. At the very least,
2 these should be what we would consider safe installations
3 with properly grounded. We're doing hospital parking
4 lots. We're doing school parking lots. We're doing any
5 business parking lot lighting that's accessible to
6 anybody. So that would be our biggest concern is that it
7 should at least comply with the NEC or the WAC's. And
8 there is no exemption from the WAC's in this, but the way
9 it's interpreted through the Department is that -- and
10 then it's even more clearly now that it says -- the new
11 language says this is utility work -- or this is not
12 utility work, but it says that these are utility work.
13 And I don't know what utility work is anymore. And maybe
14 we need a definition that says what is utility work when
15 it's referenced like that.
16 And I had just a kind of more of a technical
17 administrative point was that this is in a section that --
18 I forget what part it is, but it's not a part that may be
19 adopted by other cities. And so I'm wondering, well, how
20 applicable is this if a city doesn't adopt it in that
21 city's jurisdiction. Thanks.
22 SECRETARY FULLER: The reason that we have -- Don is
23 correct -- Tom is -- that the street lighting in a private
24 parking lot is not to NEC standards. And the reason that
25 that's there is because the statute clearly allows them to
1 do this work as a utility. And the stipulations in the
2 WAC rule have been for some time that the service has to
3 come from the utility distribution system. So it's never
4 under the purview of the building owner. It's always
5 under the purview and control of the utility. And that's
6 why we haven't in the rule, even seven, eight years ago
7 when this was put into place --
8 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: But it's being expanded now
9 to -- from public areas to private areas.
10 SECRETARY FULLER: No, this is not an expansion.
11 This is status quo from 2000. So this is not a new rule.
12 The only difference in the rule here is about the utility
13 and the lineman. It has nothing to do with installation
14 methods. Installation methods have been in place for at
15 least almost eight years now.
16 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: What are the installation
17 requirements then? I couldn't find any in here, any
18 exemptions from the NEC or WAC's. The only exemption is
19 permits or contractor's license, but there's no code
21 SECRETARY FULLER: Well, if you'd like to have that,
22 I can add that in. Because that's the intent, and that's
23 the way we've always done it since this topic has been
24 brought up back in 1992. As long as it's under the
25 control of the utility it's been exempt from permitting
1 and inspection.
2 BOARD MEMBER BELISLE: But not code compliance,
4 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: It's not written as code
5 compliance, but it's interpreted by the State as code
7 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: So what language would you like
8 to see in there?
9 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: Well, my preference would be
10 that it does not exempt from the WAC installation
11 requirements which adopts the NEC. But that would be
12 completely opposite I believe of Ron's view.
13 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Don.
14 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: If I may, in an effort to --
15 what Ron is saying, the 1981 National Electrical Code
16 spells out the utility exemption and the territory that
17 they do. The one silent area was the street light. And
18 that's what he's trying to address is the street lighting,
19 not the code or not the building code but who can work on
20 that, if I'm correct in what Ron's saying.
21 The standards, we're not talking about changing the
22 standards, but the code and the exemption practice.
23 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: Right. But the way it's been
24 written and interpreted by the Department that they are
25 exempt from the electrical code. And our concern is that
1 we're taking this and expanding it now. I mean, I could
2 go along with that on highways. I think that's what the
3 intention was. But now it's -- but the current language
4 says "and public areas" such as squares. And now it's
5 going to parking lots -- public and private parking lots.
6 And we're taking a potentially dangerous situation and
7 expanding it. The utilities -- at least the utility in
8 our area has set up a business just to install parking lot
9 lighting. So the potential is large. You're not going to
10 see electrical contractors doing this work per NEC.
11 You're going to see utilities with their subcontracting
12 company doing it and without grounding it -- without
13 properly grounding it, using the neutral wire to ground
14 the equipment.
15 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Ron.
16 SECRETARY FULLER: A little bit of history I suppose
17 is that the Dons are correct, that the original exemption
18 for utilities didn't address street lighting.
19 The legislature in 1992 did try to address street
20 lighting. The statute has been in place since 1992 to
21 allow them to do work on public areas and squares. That
22 was never really defined in WAC rule until I came along
23 and brought everybody back to the bargaining table on WAC
24 rules again. But in 2000 we started the meetings -- I
25 think it was the 2001 WAC rule it was implemented. This
1 again is not an expansion over what was negotiated then
2 and has been in place for eight years. This is not
3 something new. The requirement is that the utility does
4 the work. It comes from their system. And that it's
5 hands off from the Department. This is no more unsafe or
6 less safe than the way a utility grounds their
7 transformers or does their other work on a piece of
8 private property, does service laterals. They still use
9 the same methods for this work. And I just think as long
10 as we maintain a distinct separation between where that
11 power is derived and who has the control over it, that
12 we're in a position to say this is okay. They're taking
13 the ultimate burden with their installation methods. So I
14 just think this is the right thing to do. It's the same
15 thing we've been doing. The only clarifications that
16 these sections do, again, is for licensing and
17 certification of workers. It changes no installation
18 practices that are in place today.
19 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Tom.
20 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: Well, in the installation
21 that you described, a transformer at the origination of
22 the service, that's where it's appropriate, and NEC allows
23 that because there's no downstream equipment that could be
24 energized if a neutral were to come apart. But in a
25 string of street lights, if you take the neutral off of
1 one, you're going to put 110 or 280 or 480 volts onto that
2 street pole. So it's totally different than the standard
3 utility type of work. This is NEC work and the hazards
4 are there.
5 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Tom, were you on the TAC
7 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: No. We had someone from our
8 office was on it.
9 But this does not go through the TAC committee, which
10 is another concern I have is that this is the first and
11 only chance we get to comment on this. And the bigger
12 question is: Why don't all the changes go through the TAC
13 so we get these comments out ahead of time? Just the
14 comments that come from the public go through the TAC, and
15 then the proposed amendments from the Department come
16 straight here without TAC.
17 SECRETARY FULLER: I'm happy to comment on that.
18 We've had this discussion before at the Board. The
19 Department never stops working on rules until they're
20 finished. We always have the prerogative of adding,
21 deleting or changing rules. That's very clear in our
22 special edition Currents newsletter when we started this
23 WAC rule process. We have the same language in every
24 time. There's always issues that come up. We're still
25 working on changes that you don't see in this draft and
1 probably won't because it's opinions from the Attorney
2 General's office, it's our finding typing corrections from
3 the Code Reviser. We're going to continue to work this
4 until it's done. The Board's duty is to provide
5 recommendations to us on the WAC rules. The TAC is likely
6 never going to get to see everything. They did see all
7 the rules/proposals that were in place and moving forward,
8 whether they're from inside or outside when they met, but
9 we haven't been able to finish this piece of the process,
10 just like we didn't finish the service definitions. The
11 TAC actually formed another committee to work on service
12 definitions, and they didn't get their information to me
13 until about six weeks ago. So the TAC has not looked at
14 it, but their committee did. And the committee came back
15 with the unanimous recommendation. Our process of review
16 and revising is never done until it's done. And there's
17 always another phase to comment. Cities have ample
18 opportunity when we file our CR102 to provide written
19 comments or testify at public hearings, and that's when
20 they have that opportunity. The Board gets -- you get
21 your chance today I suppose. Because we do need a
22 recommendation from you today.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Would it be appropriate -- and
24 Tom, would you like to take this up with your
1 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: I would be happy to.
2 SECRETARY FULLER: We need a recommendation from the
3 Board today or we will not meet the December 31st deadline
4 to implement this rule. I think the appropriate response
5 is that a voice can be said here today or that they can
6 comment at the public comment period.
7 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Madam Chairman, I'd like to
8 make a motion that we adopt the suggestions from Ron
9 Fuller pertaining to this exemption.
10 Do we vote on these independently or the whole
11 package deal?
12 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Well, in the past we voted on
13 the package.
14 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Okay, that's fine. I withdraw
15 my motion.
16 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: If the Board's pleasure is to
17 vote on them individually, I don't think that's going to
19 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Okay. I'm sorry. I withdraw
20 my motion.
21 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: That's okay.
22 SECRETARY FULLER: So any other questions or comments
23 on this piece of it before we do move on?
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Rod has one.
25 BOARD MEMBER BELISLE: I have a question. You said
1 essentially the work is never done on these rules. The
2 feeling I'm getting here is maybe we're missing one
3 sentence that simply says "This exemption does not exempt
4 the work from meeting NEC standards." One sentence so
5 therefore it's clear that license or permit is not what
6 we're talking about.
7 SECRETARY FULLER: That -- and I hear what you're
8 saying. That's clearly what Tom would like to see. But
9 that's not what's been negotiated amongst all the players
10 that are involved in this. And that would open up a can
11 of worms and go against years of history and installation
12 methods. It would make a lot of installations illegal.
13 And I just -- I don't see that I can do that.
14 BOARD MEMBER BELISLE: Well, two comments. One is:
15 Current installations don't -- aren't required to become
16 updated. So anything that's existing wouldn't be
18 I think with the addition of parks, athletic fields,
19 beaches, a lot of those areas in my opinion would be that
20 maybe at date of installation it's a utility requirement.
21 It's utility owned, but eventually it becomes property of
22 a private industry, sold to a nonprofit what have you, and
23 now you have additional exempted areas that become a
24 baseball field. I think that's the concern.
25 SECRETARY FULLER: Well, again -- if the Board as a
1 whole is interested in doing that kind of thing, my
2 suggestion is that you do convene your review committee
3 and let them deal with it, but not in this rule process.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Don.
5 BOARD MEMBER KOPCZYNSKI: I just had one point of
7 You know, I'm sympathetic to Tom's concern. But one
8 of the things that as you've outlined and indicate that a
9 lot of utility practices in your opinion are unsafe. And
10 to me, that's just not the case. Utilities are governed
11 by a set of rules much like the NEC called the National
12 Electric Safety Code, which cover these types of
13 installations. Just because they're different doesn't
14 mean they're unsafe. And I think that's what Ron's point
15 is. You know, the way utilities have done this type of
16 work is safe, and it's been done for 100 years much like
17 the rules that we deal with with the National Electric
18 Code. So to indicate that because they're different
19 they're not safe is to me incorrect. And I think what Ron
20 has done is, you know, he has gone through a lot of
21 iterations to get to this point. This is something that
22 even for utilities may be difficult to accept, but I think
23 it does make sense. It is a compromised position that
24 takes in consideration of a lot of interested parties.
25 It's not the type of thing that I think is dealt with in
1 isolation. And even with your subcommittee would be
2 difficult because then you're trying to understand what
3 the differences are between, you know, codes that you're
4 not familiar with versus the National Electric Code. To
5 me what Ron's done here is just to clarify wording for an
6 exemption that has been in place for a number of years,
7 and I think it makes a lot of sense to accept it the way
8 it is.
9 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: The exemption is not there.
10 It's not in here. So if that's the way the Board wants it
11 and the Department wants it, let's do just the opposite
12 and say this is exempt from the code as well. And that
13 would clarify it. Because when I read it, I don't see a
14 code exemption. And it just muddies the water further.
15 So if the intent is to allow the nongrounded systems or
16 neutral to do the grounding or to be exempt from the code
17 -- and when I said safe, I said if you took -- an
18 electrician would consider it unsafe because they would
19 never wire anything that way except at the service, but
20 then let's clarify it that it is exempt. Because it is
21 confusing when you read it. It says you're exempt from
22 permits, from not from code. You go out and look at it.
23 They're not installing it per what we consider code, NEC.
24 So maybe that would clarify it.
25 BOARD MEMBER KOPCZYNSKI: I think the exemption
1 you're looking for is 17A2.
2 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Which one, Don?
3 SECRETARY FULLER: Based on what I've heard, what I
4 intend to do with the WAC rule proposals as they go
5 forward is on line 21 "Where the lighting is supplied from
6 a source of power derived from a customer owned ...
7 system" is add some language in there that clearly says
8 "It's exempt from the NEC but it must be installed to the
9 NEC or the NESC," either one the utility decides to use.
10 So I'd like -- I think I'm going to put some language
11 in that clearly exempts the installation methods to meet
12 one of the two codes. Because the utilities do meet one
13 of the two codes on their installations.
14 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Well, I'm not sure -- I don't
15 think that's the right place to put it unless I'm reading
16 this wrong. Because that is saying that the utility is
17 not allowed to install this lighting system where it's
18 supplied from the customer-owned source.
19 SECRETARY FULLER: Yeah, you're probably right.
20 Probably just a new sentence on the end of the intro
21 paragraph. But there will be a sentence there that
22 clearly clarifies they don't have to install it to the
23 NEC; they can use either code to do their methods.
24 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: And I agree with Tom and Rod's
25 concerns, but unfortunately, you know, I would prefer that
1 every installation in the state on any parking lot or
2 anywhere be installed to the NEC by electricians. But
3 unfortunately the utility exemption has been in place
4 forever, and I don't know how you can rein them in
5 legally. They've been able to do this work in public
6 forum forever. I'm not sure how to deal with that, Tom.
7 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: Well, because what their
8 exemption is and my understanding is a verbal agreement
9 between the Department and the utilities, and it's not in
10 the law or the code, is what's there is the street
11 lighting is there, but not the parking lot lighting.
12 What's there is streets and squares. And okay, we
13 understand that. It makes sense on a large highway to do
14 it this way. But now we're coming into parking lots,
15 private and public. And before it was a stretch
16 interpretation to get to parking lots, but they were
17 getting there. Now they're just really opening up all the
18 doors and saying go ahead and have at it at all parking
19 lots. And I would prefer that we stop it and keep it to
20 squares and streets and not expand it into parking lots.
21 SECRETARY FULLER: Again, not an expansion. Public
22 areas have been defined since 2000.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Pardon?
24 SECRETARY FULLER: Public areas have been defined
25 since 2000. And actually before that, before I was Chief
1 even. There was some Department interpretations, and I
2 think there were even some assistant attorney general
3 interpretations of what that meant. And it was basically
4 private property public accessible parking lots. And
5 that's what we clarified in 2000.
6 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: What would be the nature of your
7 sentence that you would want to add?
8 SECRETARY FULLER: I think that the -- on little
9 (ii), taking into account what Jim said, I think he's
10 correct, to add a sentence there that says "The
11 installation must be made to either the NESC or the NEC."
12 Short and simple. It makes them do it to one code or the
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Any comments on that -- brief
15 comments on that?
16 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: I don't believe the NEC
17 spells out that wiring method. I mean, the NESC. At
18 least when I -- I couldn't find it. Where I found it was
19 the utility's handbook, but I might be wrong.
20 SECRETARY FULLER: The NESC is a performance standard
21 primarily and it's not prescriptive like the NEC. That's
22 why the utilities use it, and that's why they have
23 engineers design their systems appropriately. They design
24 them to performance standards.
25 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Shall we move on.
1 SECRETARY FULLER: Okay, service definitions on page
2 -- I think that was page 15 also.
3 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Yeah, it is at the bottom.
4 SECRETARY FULLER: I worked on some language because
5 we -- over the last couple of years especially we've had
6 some dilemmas over what a service conductor is, what a
7 service lateral is. The code book kind of runs you around
8 in circles on this one. They've made some changes over
9 the years that have been subtle, but are kind of confused
10 what services really are. I worked on some language. I
11 got pretty close. But the language that you see before
12 you today on page 15 on line 55 -- it starts on 55, yeah
13 -- was the result of the TAC subcommittee. And I can't
14 remember who all was on that. Jim, you were on it. Dave
15 was on it from the Board -- both Daves. Who else was on
16 that committee that came in?
17 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: Dave Hanson was there
18 from Chelan PUD.
19 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Utility reps.
20 SECRETARY FULLER: Oh, Chris Porter was on it. And
21 Larry Vance, one of my technical specialists. And they
22 met, had a few -- a lot of e-mails back and forth on
23 different assorted drafts. But this is the language that
24 they came up with. And what it does basically is
25 eliminate the vagaries of the code. It gets the code back
1 into ahead of the service point definitions. They've been
2 very clear here about the service point is really where
3 definitions begin and end for us. So I think they've done
4 an outside job actually of clarifying where the service
5 point is, who sets it, and what happens beyond it. And
6 there's times when there may be no service lateral, and
7 that is obvious. But the code doesn't quite let you get
8 away with that. So I strongly support what the TAC came
9 up with on this one -- the TAC subcommittee on this one.
10 So this one, again, hasn't been through the whole TAC, but
11 it did go through the subcommittee. A pretty diverse
12 group. And I think they're all close lookers at the words
13 and the commas. And I think they came up with some good
14 language here. So it wouldn't surprise me a bit to see
15 this language moved into the NEC in a cycle or two. And
16 that's happened before with some of the stuff that we've
17 done. So I support this one.
18 This is just one -- it's a pretty major thing when
19 you start messing with the definitions that are in the
20 code book, and especially on services. But I think
21 they've done a good thing here.
22 So I guess just comments or discussion on it. I'd
23 like to hear something from the committee what your
24 thought processes were and why you came to where you were.
25 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: David A.
1 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: When we met this kind of
2 came to a head because of some things -- a couple of
3 installations that came to inspections out in the field
4 and they began looking at the code, and that's where Ron
5 said they got to the point where they ran in circle in the
6 code. And as we went through it, we began to -- it became
7 clear that the confusion circled around the definition of
8 "service point." And so our approach was to clearly
9 identify where the service point is. Because everything
10 downstream of the service point is covered by the NEC and
11 the portions of the installation upstream of the service
12 point are not covered by the NEC and covered by the
13 utility, and that's the NESC. So understanding that
14 different -- as I mentioned earlier -- different utilities
15 have different installation practices, and given the code
16 definitions what is acceptable for the NEC with one PUD or
17 private utility may not be acceptable under another
18 installation depending on the definition of a service
19 point. So that became the critical issue. So we were
20 very careful to define the service point. And then all
21 the other definitions flowed from that.
22 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I think we'll stop at this point
23 and take about a ten-minute finger break for Milton. So
24 we'll reconvene at 10:40.
25 (Recess taken.)
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Okay, we're reconvening.
2 Ron, would you like to continue with the WAC rules?
3 SECRETARY FULLER: Okay.
4 The next thing in particular I'd like to bring to the
5 Board's attention are two new sections. Section 445 and
6 690. They're about green power basically. 445 is a new
7 section on wind-driven generator equipment. 690 is on
8 solar photovoltaic.
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Page numbers?
10 SECRETARY FULLER: Page 31 and 40 actually. They
11 both say similar kinds of things.
12 These proposals did go through the TAC, and they were
13 unanimously approved and everything.
14 We've had interest recently in wind turbines in the
15 state. There's been -- I think we may be up to 30 this
16 year actually now that have been installed. Most of them
17 are really small. 1.8kw or so. About hair dryer size.
18 But there's been some issues with listing and
19 labeling on the wind turbines because there are some
20 standards available. There's an international standard
21 from IEC that's for wind turbines, but it's primarily
22 designed around the big turbines that the utilities use,
23 so not real good for these small one. There are some ANSI
24 and UL and assorted other standards that can be put
25 together and made appropriate for the small wind turbines,
1 but it's a different process. We've been allowing them to
2 get engineer reviews. And so far the -- we've had four
3 manufacturers so far that have asked for reviews. They've
4 all been passed actually. They've proved to the engineer
5 that they can meet all the multiple standards together.
6 So that process is moving on.
7 These two sections both just I guess start the WAC
8 rule process for alternate energy sources. Part of it is
9 just I think to make people aware that they're there. And
10 there's some special things -- there's special sections in
11 the NEC about both generating methods. One of the things
12 that you'll see in both of these is that we're requiring
13 some up-front information from the installers about what
14 the system design looks like. I think that will help us
15 and help the utilities too because these are normally
16 utility interactive. So that means that there's some
17 rules that they have to meet with the utilities too to be
18 -- if the utility grid goes down, these systems have to go
19 down. These aren't alternate power supplies like a
20 stand-by generator. They are typically on all the time
21 backfeeding into the utility system. So there's some big
22 safety concerns there about when they are connected and
23 disconnected and those kinds of things. So I think the
24 design information will help the inspectors a lot. We've
25 already actually got the right to do it in the NEC because
1 we can ask for meter diagrams and those kinds of things.
2 But it just clarifies that for these systems we do want to
3 see it. It's especially important with solar systems
4 because of all the I guess options that they have when
5 they start interconnecting solar cells. You can be
6 anything from really low voltage systems up to some pretty
7 significant voltages, just depending on how they tie the
8 arrays together.
9 So it I think is a good start on WAC rules for those
10 two types of designs. I just wanted to bring them to your
11 attention basically.
12 Tied with that on page 51 is where it starts in the
13 industrial equipment evaluation. We have made a
14 determination because we do have issues with this right
15 now. A field evaluation for wind turbines is really not
16 an option because they can't be field evaluated I don't
17 believe. None of the labs have been willing to do field
18 evaluations. These things would have to be significantly
19 rewired, et cetera, under a field evaluation process. So
20 we've deemed them that they are industrial because they
21 use wind to make electricity. So they're a manufacturing
22 process. And some people tend to smile and grin when I
23 say that, but in reality they do make product. They make
24 electricity. So we're using the -- we're letting them use
25 the evaluation method that's approved for industrial
2 And on page 52 you're going to see quite a few
3 changes under the engineer piece. We've removed all of
4 the Department review parts of the WAC that have been
5 there in the past. They're gone now and have been since
6 last July. The key component of this is that this
7 requires the engineer to give us notice up-front that
8 they're actually going to go out and do a review, which is
9 a similar process that we have with field evaluations.
10 That was something that we hadn't had in there before.
11 They agreed that that's a good thing too because they'd
12 like to let us know.
13 But the big piece of this change is that the
14 Department will -- if you look on line 56 -- will be
15 creating a reviewed and approved utilization and equipment
16 list. What that means is that regardless of what the
17 equipment is, whether it's a drill press or a milling
18 machine or a wind turbine, that once the product and that
19 model has been approved by an engineer we'll be posting
20 that information on the web site as preapproved. That
21 doesn't mean that they don't have to go through part of
22 the engineer process, but it'll be very streamlined
23 because they can call up that same engineer and get them
24 out to do the review, and they've already been through the
25 paperwork process with the manufacturer. So really what
1 they're doing is this same person is eyeballing that piece
2 of equipment for the second time, making sure it's the
3 same model, same manufacture, that it's in good condition
4 and that it's what they looked at before. So typically
5 that's been cutting the evaluation cost in half at least.
6 Sometimes even less than that. So that's really a good
7 thing for the consumer and for the inspectors.
8 We've basically put the ultimatum out to the
9 inspectors that they are not to approve any kind of
10 equipment that doesn't have some kind of a mark on it,
11 whether it's a listing mark, a field evaluation, or an
12 engineer review. We've had some problems with that with
13 the wind turbines. We had a few approved. And we
14 actually hired one of the engineers ourselves to go out
15 and reevaluate that equipment after we had approved it
16 because the inspector hadn't required the listing or
17 evaluation mark.
18 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: So Ron, just to interrupt
19 then, that was going to be my comment was remember when
20 Doug made his report that there was some out there that
21 were already installed and approved. So at this point
22 we're clean? We've been back -- as far as we think we are
23 -- we've been back out, the ones that were approved have
24 been reviewed by the -- gone through a review process and
25 we're starting clean with a clean slate, so we feel that
1 confident that we're catching all of these going forward
2 and going backwards?
3 SECRETARY FULLER: Yes. Because the ten that we had
4 approved that didn't have a label on them, all those
5 models have been approved now. I haven't gotten final
6 notification yet from the engineer, but all four models
7 were approved. So if he goes out and verifies that the
8 remaining six are those four models, then we're good --
9 we're going to be good to go. He should be done any day
10 now. The end of the month was his estimate of when he
11 would be able to get back to me with the final report.
12 But the engineers have been quite busy with wind
13 turbines the last month. And he's been doing some of the
14 inspections for the other 20 or so that we know have been
15 installed because he's trying to geographically do his
16 inspections so that he can cut the cost down for
18 I know one comment back from a customer that wasn't
19 in the ten was that "The engineer was here at 6:30 on
20 Saturday morning. He was very professional, very
21 thorough. Gave us some good tips. And we got our
22 approval. Thank you very much. This process wasn't
23 burdensome. And we appreciate your efforts on it."
24 So we've gotten good feedback from the customers that
25 have gone through the process.
1 But yes, in answer to your question, I'm very
3 You know, a new model comes along, then maybe it will
4 be passed and maybe it won't. I don't know. It will
5 depend on the model.
6 This preapproved list will be significant, not just
7 for the turbine industry and the solar people though, but
8 for other manufacturers of products. Because if they buy
9 a -- if a winery buys a grape crusher from Italy, once its
10 been approved, then their process will be much simpler.
11 We won't have to deal with the manufacturer that second
12 time. It'll be done at the local level basically. So
13 it'll significantly speed up the time frame and reduce the
14 costs for anybody that uses industrial equipment.
15 Right now, the list is 100 percent things other than
16 wind turbines and solar panels because we haven't gotten
17 the approval back from the engineer yet. But once we do,
18 we'll have those four turbines on there.
19 We don't have the same kinds of problems now with the
20 solar photovoltaic folks that we do with wind turbines
21 because they've been through the process. We've done this
22 with them back in 2000/2001 when solar systems really
23 started taking hold in this state. And the manufacturers
24 there have stepped up to the plate and gotten all their
25 equipment listed. So we rarely ever even see a field
1 evaluation on a solar system today. Those manufacturers
2 did their work up-front. The wind turbine people have
3 been a little bit slower getting their listings done.
4 Mainly because there hasn't been a good standard for small
5 turbines. There's a group called the Small Wind
6 Certification Council that has been working on a standard,
7 but they haven't published their draft yet. It was
8 supposed to have been out a couple months ago, but they
9 haven't published it yet for comment. Their intent is to
10 publish a small turbine standard which would be
11 appropriate for these folks and become a certification
12 authority for that standard. So once they get through
13 that, I would look for them to be applying as a testing
14 laboratory basically. And then their label would be as
15 good as any other testing lab for a wind turbine.
16 And that's the appropriate solution. Because even
17 the engineer review is not -- it's not the best way for
18 the consumers. The consumers shouldn't have to be paying
19 for this evaluation. It should be the manufacturer
20 selling a correct product up-front. And so that's where
21 we want the focus to end at is with the manufacturer and
22 not the end-user.
23 So pretty controversial topics right now because
24 people don't like buying a $10- or $12,000 turbine and
25 finding out they have to have an engineer out for another
1 $5- or $600 to give them an approval. Because they've
2 been told that that turbine is safe and good to go. But,
3 in fact, that can't be documented in some cases.
4 Okay, arc fault is the next one that we want to talk
5 about. And that is page 17. Right at the bottom starts
6 the paragraph, but the text is all on the next page on
7 page 18.
8 The Department put forward a proposal to the TAC to
9 -- this proposal basically it says that arc fault -- the
10 arc-fault expansion that was put into the 2008 NEC would
11 not be implemented to rooms outside the bedrooms. Some of
12 the other states have not been adopting the arc-fault
13 expansion in the NEC.
14 The TAC was split. I think it was a 14 to 12 vote to
15 go with the NEC. The TAC marginally said let's adopt it
16 and put these things in. I think that shows that there's
17 still that issues out there. I think the information that
18 you see at the NFPA still shows there's some discussion
19 going on at the national level. Some of the other states
20 are still worried about this.
21 When we did our research -- and I don't have the
22 exact number, but I'm going to say that this meant $4- to
23 $500 in equipment cost per residential unit extra. So
24 that's a big deal. We've had several letters, which you
25 see in your packet, from NEMA and assorted people
1 supporting the expansion of the arc-fault use. There's a
2 letter in your packet from the BIAW that says don't do
3 this because it's too expensive and not a proven
4 technology yet.
5 The Department has left the proposal in to keep
6 status quo with the 2005 NEC. And that would be our
7 recommendation at this point.
8 Again, though, this one is highly controversial about
9 whether to adopt or not adopt because the manufacturers
10 clearly want to sell their product, and this is a good way
11 to do that if you write a code to do that. And yes, it
12 may save some lives, but yes, it's also very expensive for
13 what it does. So this is a tough one.
14 And I'm interested in the Board's comments on this
15 one. That's really all I have to say on this one.
16 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Do you know how many states have
17 adopted not to --
18 SECRETARY FULLER: The last time I heard -- I'm not
19 sure about Oregon, but I think Oregon was not going to it.
20 Idaho has told me that they were not going to. I won't
21 really know until Monday when I go to my reciprocal states
22 meeting with the group that's going to do this. This is
23 one of the topics that I'm going to be asking them about,
24 that and wind turbines, how they handle wind turbines. So
25 I can't answer exactly. But I know it's a hot topic.
1 I've seen some letters that says that Washington is
2 targeted by the manufacturers. And that makes me a little
3 suspicious about why I'm named as a target. Because I'm
4 not willing to adopt arc faults. But I think this is a
5 big issue still nationwide. This is why we're where we
6 are. I mean, with the downturn in the economy and cost of
7 houses right now and the difficulty of the financing and
8 everything else, I think the BIAW has a very valid
9 argument that maybe the cost of this change doesn't
10 support the safety that it attains. Everything the code
11 does is about safety, but there's still a balance about
12 what the cost is and what isn't, regardless of what they
13 say in Section 90.
14 Section 90 in the code says cost is no object.
15 Whatever it takes to make everybody. But in reality, this
16 is a minimum code, not a maximum code. If it was about
17 total safety, it would be a maximum code.
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: David A, you were on the TAC
20 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: I was.
21 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Would you like to add some
22 comments or opinions with regard to the arc --
23 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: I think Ron has summed
24 it up. You've got a balancing act there between safety
25 and cost. And there are a lot of things that can be put
1 on the market that add to safety, but are they worth the
2 cost? I mean, that's a decision that has to be made,
3 whether it's by the Board or Ron or other agencies. And
4 that goes beyond electrical. But that's the choice that
5 you are facing. What is an appropriate safety and what is
6 appropriate cost?
7 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: And I was on the TAC committee
8 also. And, you know, this was -- as Ron said from the
9 vote, this was discussed for quite a while. And we went
10 back and forth and back and forth on how to deal with this
11 in the best manner. Because safety is something we are
12 all very concerned about. But if we all wanted the safest
13 home to live in, if you think about it, it would only be
14 built out of concrete. All the wiring would be in
15 conduit. And there would be a sprinkler system in every
16 house. We haven't come to that point. Because that house
17 would not burn down, period. But you've got to draw a
18 line in the sand somewhere and say, "Look, we feel that
19 this is the safest approach at this point in time that we
20 feel that we're going to impose on the people in
21 Washington state. This is a standard we can uphold." And
22 because of the discussions nationwide with other states
23 and the concerns from the TAC committee, this was our
24 recommendation. And I stand by it.
25 Thank you.
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Ron, do you want to continue?
2 SECRETARY FULLER: UL and NEMA do want to voice their
3 opinion one more time on this one, so --
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Do you want to break in at this
5 particular time or --
6 SECRETARY FULLER: That wouldn't -- that's fine with
7 me. I think they're here. Let them say their peace, and
8 then we can move onto something else.
9 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Say your peace.
10 MR. ANDRE: Madam Chairman and members of the Board,
11 thank you for this opportunity.
12 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Please identify yourself again.
13 MR. ANDRE: We'll do that. Joe Andre. Last name is
14 A-N-D-R-E. I'm the western field rep for the National
15 Electrical Manufacturers Association.
16 Before I get to what I wanted to say -- and I will
17 try and be brief. In response to some of the questions,
18 what states are adopting and where they're going, we track
19 this nationally. And it's probably to be honest running
20 about 50/50 as far as the expansion.
21 Idaho because of some regulatory requirements had to
22 make a decision before the 2008 was even published. They
23 had to make a decision before the end of August last year.
24 So without seeing the final wording, without knowing what
25 was going to happen at the NFPA convention where this
1 could have been changed, they decided reluctantly -- and I
2 was very involved in that -- to stick with the bedrooms
3 only, stating that they may very well be open to reviewing
5 Oregon absolutely has gone back to the 2005 language.
6 Utah will be adopting as written without amendment.
7 So they'll be adopting the expansion.
8 So it's about half and half.
9 I would like to point out I think it's the July
10 Electrical Currents newsletter, page 2 right about in the
11 middle. And it says, "The electrical program's primary
12 mission is to keep Washington safe." Certainly there
13 could be secondary considerations here about cost. But if
14 the primary mission is to keep Washington safe, then I
15 think the argument really needs to boil down to: Do these
16 devices work and will they make Washington safer? I don't
17 think there's any doubt that the devices work. The CPFC
18 estimates that it could reduce electrical fires by half.
19 I don't know how you want to do the economic evaluation,
20 but if that's going to be equal to the safety, then I
21 guess it's a legitimate concern or a legitimate
23 The cost: These are running about $30 more than a
24 standard circuit breaker. I did an evaluation for a
25 proposal in Oregon. And if we want to talk about minimum
1 ability to buy a home, we're talking about entry-level
2 houses. An entry level 1,200 square foot house would cost
3 probably about an extra $60. You're going to have to have
4 two more AFCI circuit breakers if you go with code
5 minimums. A 2,500 square foot average house, probably
6 eight to ten more circuit breakers. The additional cost
7 is percentage points, decimal percentage points of the
8 cost of the house. So I would hope that the Board would
9 recognize the safety far outweighs whatever cost there is.
10 The second point -- and it hasn't come up yet, so
11 maybe I'm being premature. One of the proposals was also
12 to eliminate the requirement that AFCI protection be
13 provided for circuit supplying smoke alarms.
14 For the last -- and Ron, you can correct me if I'm
15 wrong. But I think since AFCI's have been in the code,
16 Washington's taken the position that the wiring to smoke
17 alarms if they go into the bedroom must be under AFCI
18 protected circuits. I don't understand if there's any
19 documentation why this would be reversed. Remember, we're
20 protecting the wiring, not the devices. And the wiring to
21 a smoke alarm is just as subject to damage and to causing
22 arcing conditions and fires as any other wiring. There's
23 really no documentation.
24 Everything that we're discussing here today has been
25 discussed at the national level. It wasn't unanimous at
1 the national level, but certainly the vast majority of
2 voting members of the code panel voted for the expansion,
3 and that includes the representatives from industry as far
4 as labor, NECA, IBEW, IEC, everybody else. They recognize
5 the safety concerns far outweigh the cost.
6 So I will conclude simply by asking the Board to
7 recognize the national effort that has been put in. The
8 fact that there's nothing new in Washington or nothing
9 special in Washington that would indicate that you should
10 do anything differently. And I think following the
11 program's primary mission "keeping Washington safe" would
12 say that you adopt the NEC as written for this particular
14 Thank you.
15 MR. SHILL: Hi. My name is Warren Shill --
16 S-H-I-L-L. I'm with UL's regulatory services group.
17 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Warren, you need to hold the
18 mic right up to you. Sorry.
19 MR. SHILL: Sorry about that.
20 The cost issue, I'll just address that real quickly.
21 The Ohio chapter of IAI did an in-depth cost analysis of
22 all the changes that are in the 2008 code and found that
23 for a 900 square foot house, the increased cost was 18
24 cents a square foot; for a 1,700 square foot house, it was
25 12 cents per square foot; and for a 2,100 square foot
1 home, it was 11 cents per square foot. That includes all
2 the provisions that have been added to the 2008: the
3 tamper resistant receptacle requirement, the AFCI
4 requirements, et cetera. So the cost is not very high.
5 The arguments that you hear against AFCI's are the
6 same arguments that we heard in 1970 against GFCI
7 protection. In 1970 we had almost 1,500 electrocution
8 deaths in the home. In 1997 we had slightly over 400. Do
9 GFCI's work? Absolutely. The technology for AFCI's was
10 developed based on a review of 14 different technologies
11 put forward by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.
12 That's the main driver for having these devices.
13 As Joe stated, if they could retrofit the entire
14 country, you'd have a potential for cutting half of the
15 residential electrical distribution fires.
16 So I would just hope that you take a look at that and
17 go ahead and adopt the language as written in the 2008
18 code. It was extensively reviewed by all of the different
19 interest groups, and the code panel did vote in favor.
20 And especially the provisions here for the smoke
21 alarms, we don't want to move backwards; we want to have
22 as much wiring protected as possible. You can't beat a
23 system that works to prevent a fire. You can have all
24 the different devices in the world to notify you or a
25 sprinkler system to try and clear it out. But that's
1 reactive. If you're proactive and prevent it from
2 happening in the first place, you're way ahead. But it's
3 hard to show numbers for a negative, for something that is
4 prevented from happening.
5 So I would just ask you to reconsider and take a look
6 at the value, lives saved for a very minimal cost.
7 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Any questions?
8 SECRETARY FULLER: Just a comment. The smoke-alarm
9 issue is a -- I'm glad you brought that up actually.
10 Because that was quite a debate I guess between these two
11 gentlemen and some of the other panelists on the TAC
12 committee too. But the ultimate outcome of that and the
13 reason that language is in there is that the TAC came to a
14 conclusion that it was better to keep that smoke alarm
15 operating at any cost rather than letting it -- the
16 circuit go dead because of an arc-fault issue in a fire,
17 that if there really is a fire, they want power to that
18 smoke detector. And that's the reason that is in there.
19 And there's logic on both sides about well, if the
20 arc-fault's there, maybe it'll extinguish -- maybe the
21 fire will self-extinguish. And maybe it won't, you know.
22 That argument's there too. But the TAC I think treated it
23 like a fire pump. A fire pump runs at any cost basically.
24 In reality if you've got a fire, that fire pump comes on.
25 It's going to run until the wire is gone. It will -- the
1 overcurrent protection and devices that are in the fire
2 pumps will probably never allow them to trip for any
3 reason. Their intent is to run until they die. If
4 they're overloaded, whatever the reason, they will run.
5 And I think the TAC made a good recommendation on the
6 smoke detectors.
7 It's opposite of what Joe said, of course. Both
8 sides have an argument. Save the wire and maybe you'll
9 save the house, or save the smoke detector and maybe
10 you'll get the people out. And I think the decision was
11 correct from the TAC that you get the people out. That's
12 what you're concerned about is the people, getting them
13 out. And you can't do that without an alarm.
14 The other thing that I guess to remind people of is
15 that -- and this -- I still have issues really with the
16 tamper-resistant receptacles and weather-resistant
17 receptacles too. What you're going to get out of that --
18 I mean, we're adopting it. It's in our proposal to take
19 it. But what you really get out of that -- I mean, if
20 those kinds of devices are really good for me as a
21 consumer, I think the manufacturers need to market their
22 product and sell it. And they're not prohibited from
23 using arc fault throughout the house. We're not saying
24 you can't do it. We're just saying you don't have to do
25 it. And that's some logic I think that comes into play
1 too. If it's really that great, then I think the people
2 that make these things and sell them can do the marketing,
3 and they can sell consumers to the fact that they want to
4 buy them, and then maybe that's as good a method as
5 putting it in the NEC and forcing it in.
6 That's all I have to say.
7 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Joe had a brief comment.
8 MR. ANDRE: As much as possible.
9 I wasn't at the TAC. I was appointed to it. And I
10 had to withdraw my name because I had a prior commitment.
11 That other commitment was that I had to be at the annual
12 NFPA annual meeting where the 2008 NEC was to be ratified.
13 Not a single motion was made from the floor to the
14 membership to modify anything in the arc fault. We know
15 it's been controversial. Nobody even brought it up.
16 Which means that the membership of NFPA, not NFPA itself,
17 but the members unanimously voted for it.
18 The argument on the smoke alarms, we've heard this
19 forever. If you're really concerned with the smoke alarm
20 never going down, don't forget, it's on a circuit breaker.
21 Arc fault, there's only one function. There's overload,
22 overcurrent, short circuit protection. If you're
23 concerned with that thing being like a fire pump, then
24 make an amendment to allow it to be supplied ahead of the
25 main. Because the vast likelihood is that if that circuit
1 goes down, it's probably not an arc. It's a circuit
2 that's been overloaded or there's a short circuit in it.
3 The arc fault -- remember this isn't an isolated device.
4 It's a circuit breaker, and this is just one more form of
6 And I guess I'll conclude on that one is this is just
7 a kneejerk reaction from industry that says, well, we
8 don't want it to go down. I would ask this Board to look
9 into has there ever been a case submitted/documented where
10 the smoke alarm didn't work because of an arc fault.
11 MR. SHILL: One quick comment to keep in mind. With
12 the smoke alarm issue, we're talking about new
13 construction. The residential code is specific that that
14 smoke alarm must have a battery backup. It must have a
15 second source of power. So the arc fault breaker tripping
16 is not going to stop the smoke alarm from sounding. It'll
17 just be on its battery. And it will be making the
18 appropriate noises to tell you that it's lost its power.
19 And another provision that you may want to consider
20 then is adoption of what was in the international --
21 excuse me -- the ICC electrical code which require that it
22 be on a circuit with other items so that you can tell of a
24 So there's a number of issues that surround that.
25 But this was -- actually it was debated nationally, and it
1 was found that it's better to have that circuit protected
2 and to rely on the batteries in the smoke detector -- or
3 excuse me -- the smoke alarms than it is to allow a fire
4 to be started because of an arcing fault.
5 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Do any Board members have a
6 question that they would like to ask of these gentlemen?
7 Thank you for your time.
8 MR. SHILL: Thank you.
9 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: I don't have a question,
10 but I would like to make a comment.
11 I was also at the TAC meeting. There was an awful
12 lot of debate. And I strongly support the way that this
13 is written. I think based on some of the comments I've
14 heard out in the field talking to electricians, talking to
15 some distributors, it wouldn't be a bad idea to adopt it,
16 but not immediately. Let's take a wait-and-see attitude
17 for the next three years and see how this all plays out
18 and how the reliability of them are. Because I've heard a
19 lot of complaints about combination arc-fault breakers
20 tripping just on a receptacle. The wire isn't quite
21 right. And, you know, it's enough of a spark to trip the
22 breaker. So due to the discussion that's gone into this
23 and the research and the whatnot, let's just keep the WAC
24 the way it is, adopt this part of it. And then certainly
25 can come back in three years and discuss how it's going to
1 work then.
2 I mean, the cost, I agree about the cost not being
3 really an important issue on this. I mean, it's -- I read
4 that same report from the Ohio inspectors, and it really
5 doesn't add that much money to it. There's been an awful
6 lot of scare tactics about that. I talked to the chief
7 electrical inspector in Colorado, and he said he had a guy
8 come, a contractor, that said it was going to be $1,500
9 addition to the house. Well, when we got looking into it,
10 the guy had also doubled the price on a range receptacle,
11 you know. And that hasn't changed. So there's a lot of
12 scare tactics going on. And certainly people don't like
13 to make changes. But it is a fairly new technology.
14 I'd like to just -- a three-year wait on this.
15 SECRETARY FULLER: I think -- and what the Board,
16 everybody I think, nobody who you are, an electrician,
17 always has to realize that this is a rule. And we don't
18 necessarily even have to wait three years. If all of a
19 sudden they make some advance that says that the plasma TV
20 absolutely will not trip these things anymore or what --
21 or some of the other arguments that you hear against it,
22 the WAC rule can be changed. And we've done that before.
23 But I'm just not comfortable right now adopting this
24 arc-fault protection.
25 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Just as another comment, we have
1 the TAC committee for a specific purpose, to discuss these
2 items and then bring their recommendations to the Board.
3 SECRETARY FULLER: And this was the only proposal
4 that the TAC saw that wasn't I'm going to say unanimously
5 either rejected or approved. This was the only one that
6 was a split decision. And it was right down the middle,
7 again, just like Joe said with the states. The states --
8 and I understand that the NFPA is all on board with this,
9 but I also see that the states aren't. And there's a
10 reason for that I think. So I think we just need to be a
11 little cautious on this one. I don't think this is the
12 GFI story retold again.
13 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Continue on.
14 SECRETARY FULLER: I am open to questions or
16 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: So you've brought up the --
17 SECRETARY FULLER: I think these are the bigger ones
18 that were the most controversial. And there are some
19 other ones that are significant. You know, I've talked to
20 the Board before about some of the proposals in here that
21 require feeder -- line diagrams for large installations,
22 those kinds of things. I think the other ones the Board
23 knows about. You've had a chance to read the document.
24 So I'm ready for a comments or a recommendation at this
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Okay. I'm sure there's probably
2 several questions/comments.
3 So let's start down with Dave, and we'll go around
4 the room. So Dave, do you have any questions about the
5 proposed WAC rule changes?
6 BOARD MEMBER GOUGH: No, I do not.
7 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Don.
8 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Neither do I.
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Mr. Newman.
10 BOARD MEMBER NEWMAN: I'm okay.
11 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Tracy.
12 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Yes, I do. I only have two.
13 And I'll I start with the easy one first, which I'm not
14 going to be able to pin down exactly where it should be
16 But I notice that in a number of places -- I think
17 it's a wonderful idea -- the Department has inserted like
18 -- I'll use an example, and that is 296-46B-925.
19 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Can you give us a page?
20 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I'm on page 79 of 120 in the
21 book, which I think matches -- in our handbook. I think
22 that match to this one.
23 And under line 19, it says "The department may deny
24 application or renewal of an electrical/telecommunications
25 contractor's license if a firm, an owner, partner, member,
1 or corporate officer owes money as a result of an
2 outstanding final judgment(s) to the department."
3 And the thing is is you added "application," and I
4 think that's wonderful. And you see that's it's also
5 added in administrator application, and it's also added in
6 journeyman license application, but I think it's missing
7 in master application and specialty license application.
8 And the reason why I specifically bring up master is let's
9 say like in the case of the last Board meeting, we revoke
10 an individual's contractor license and "admin" license,
11 there's nothing because of egregious behavior and
12 judgments assessed to them, but there's -- that individual
13 could go back and get a master -- unless I missed it in
14 here -- go back and get a master, and then they're back in
15 business again, right?
16 SECRETARY FULLER: That's true. And our intent is
17 that it covers all of them. So based on that, I'll go
18 back and triple-check that.
19 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Because I couldn't -- yeah, I
20 didn't find it in the master renewal application or in the
21 specialty, so I wanted to bring that up.
22 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you, Tracy.
23 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: The other thing is under
24 296-46B-700 -- and this is on page 41 -- and I also
25 participated with the Technical Advisory Committee -- and
1 this is -- okay, so 296-46B-700, this is subsection (4) --
2 and I actually voted for this under the Technical Advisory
3 Committee, and I'll read this. It says: "All boxes and
4 enclosures, for Article 700 NEC systems, larger than six
5 inches by six inches, including transfer switches,
6 generators, and power panels for emergency systems and
7 circuits must be permanently identified with an
8 identification plate that is substantially orange in
9 color, except in existing health care facilities the
10 existing nameplate identification color scheme can be
11 retained for transfer switches, generators, and power
12 panels for emergency systems." And after I looked at
13 this, my question is: If there is no existing color
14 scheme, does this WAC rule allow for them not to have an
15 existing color scheme even though the spirit and intent of
16 the WAC is to identify those enclosures and those pieces
17 of equipment?
18 SECRETARY FULLER: I don't believe it would because
19 there would be no existing color scheme. But the dilemma
20 -- and people that were at the TAC remember that I didn't
21 comment very much at all that day on anything. I was
22 leaving it up to the TAC to have the discussions.
23 But I actually have concerns over this one because an
24 existing facility could have multiple color schemes today.
25 And this rule would perpetuate that rather than starting
1 them down a road of consistency I suppose. The rule in
2 its base part clearly says that it will be orange in color
3 and that all installations will be.
4 To me this kind of gets back to our discussions
5 during the last rule process when we were talking about
6 selective coordination is that we said that old stuff
7 hands off, we didn't want to deal with selective
8 coordination, but anything new had to meet the new rules.
9 And this is one where the TAC was unanimous on. But as an
10 electrician, I don't like this proposal. So I would be
11 very receptive to the Board saying this is not a good
12 proposal. Because I believe that once you start something
13 new that you should meet the current codes and meet the
14 current guidelines, and that would be orange. And that
15 then if you've got an existing system, you label that
16 internally for your folks to know, but new stuff will be
17 the same as everybody else's new stuff so that an
18 electrician going from one hospital to another knows that
19 orange is orange, and that's what it is and this is what
20 that system is.
21 So I don't like this one. I'm glad Tracy brought it
22 up actually.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Jim.
24 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: In reading it, I agree. What
25 would be wrong with simply saying "When altered in
1 existing systems, that they have to bring it up to meet
2 the standard"? In other words, we wouldn't go back and
3 make them change it to the new standard. But when they're
4 working on it or altering it, why not then insist that it
5 be brought to that standard?
6 SECRETARY FULLER: I think you could do that by
7 adding one word after "power panels for" and put the word
8 "existing" in there. Because then I think that would
9 clarify that sentence to say that okay, you can use your
10 old scheme for power panels for existing emergency
11 systems. And I think that's all you need to do, to do
12 what we normally do with existing systems, which is let
13 them be installed to their old guidelines without update.
14 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: Ron, wouldn't it be
15 confusing, though -- potentially confusing for a
16 maintenance guy in a hospital that if you add a generator
17 or add a panel, and you've got some of the signs or labels
18 in orange and others existing in black, that they may not
19 pay attention to the black ones?
20 SECRETARY FULLER: That's always the downside when
21 you leave existing alone. And I believe that there's
22 facilities out there today with multiple color schemes for
23 these systems, and that's even worse. But our practice
24 has not been to enforce upgrades on old systems.
1 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: But wouldn't something
2 like this, though -- I mean, if you're going to enforce
3 orange label on one piece of equipment, wouldn't it make
4 sense to maybe write something in and say where the
5 existing systems must all match the same color?
6 SECRETARY FULLER: And that's that balancing act
7 again. And our historical practice has been to leave the
8 existing along, but make the new stuff comply. That's
9 where I would lean toward I guess, even though it is
11 BOARD MEMBER BELISLE: Isn't current practice in
12 other parts of the code that if you alter a part of a
13 system, that that system has to be brought up? If you
14 alter a kitchen circuit, then you therefore have to alter
15 that circuit back to the source? If you alter a branch
16 panel, then you have to modify that branch panel to meet
17 current code?
18 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Not necessarily.
19 BOARD MEMBER BELISLE: Not necessarily?
20 SECRETARY FULLER: The key for us has always been if
21 you're unchanging the existing system, it's okay if it was
22 installed to the code at the time. But if you modify it
23 in any way or replace it, then you bring everything up.
24 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: I have a quick comment on
25 that just on that issue. We don't talk about what is
1 allowed or grandfathered. And it's not clear what happens
2 when you adopt a new code for existing installations. And
3 I had a proposal in that would explain -- allow existing
4 installations to remain under the code that they were
5 wired under, but the TAC turned it down. So it still is
6 confusing to me: What do you do with existing
7 installations? And my concern is that it's going to vary
8 from jurisdiction to jurisdiction as far as what's allowed
9 to remain.
10 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Any comments on Ron's proposal
11 to add the word "existing"?
12 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: I think it makes sense.
13 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: It makes sense to me.
14 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: I mean, if you're altering the
15 system, I think you should have to bring it up to the
16 standard. And structures, buildings, hospitals, whoever,
17 that have these systems always have the opportunity to
18 send the guy around with a spray can and "Hey, let's just
19 make them all the same." But I think insisting and
20 mandating that they do that from the code is not the right
21 place. I do think that insisting that they bring it to
22 today's standard if they alter it, I think that's a fair
23 place to start.
24 SECRETARY FULLER: So what I would propose is to
25 change the sentence to say -- I'm going to start at "power
1 panels" -- "... power panels for existing emergency
2 systems that are not being replaced or modified ...."
3 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Will you repeat that one more
5 SECRETARY FULLER: "... power panels for existing
6 emergency systems that are not being replaced or modified
8 I think that covers the comments that I've heard.
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Okay. Forward.
10 Tracy, those were your two?
11 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Those are mine.
12 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: David S.
13 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: Good to go.
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: David A.
15 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: No comments.
16 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Virgil.
17 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: Good to go.
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Fred.
19 BOARD MEMBER TRICARICO: I'm good.
20 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Don.
21 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Hey. I was on the TAC, and I
22 actually find out -- I'm there, okay. This time I'm good.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: So Jim has no comments or
25 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: No. I'm good.
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Don.
2 BOARD MEMBER KOPCZYNSKI: I'm good.
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: David.
4 BOARD MEMBER JACOBSEN: I'm good.
5 BOARD MEMBER BELISLE: I'm fine.
6 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: Just a couple.
7 The first one is on page 50 of the new colored
8 handout. And it's 902, equipment standards approval, city
9 ordinances. I don't recall the city ordinances being part
10 of it. It just seems like kind of meshing two unrelated
11 subjects together into one section. But the sentence that
12 concerns me and the cities is -- it says: "Any city that
13 does electrical or telecommunications inspections must
14 declare their intent to do inspections by ordinance. See
15 RCW 19.28 ... for ... inspection and inspector
16 requirements." And, of course, you go back to 19.28, and
17 it says that "This chapter shall" -- "Nothing in this
18 chapter shall be construed" -- excuse me -- "This chapter
19 shall not limit the authority or power of any city to
20 enact/enforce the electrical code." And this appears to
21 have put a restriction on cities that okay, if you're
22 going to do it, you have to do this kind of special
23 ordinance. And I don't think it belongs in the WAC's.
24 It's already clear in the RCW's that there shall be no
25 restrictions. And it just doesn't seem -- it seems like
1 an awkward place for it anyway. But the cities would have
2 a series concern on the attempt to try to restrict their
4 SECRETARY FULLER: It's not restricting their
5 authority. All it does is they declare their intent to do
6 inspections. That's all they have to say.
7 We've had cities try to do inspections without
8 declaring their intent, and that's what the purpose of
9 this is. It doesn't restrict the city's rights to write
10 any kind of ordinance that they want to, to require
11 additional inspections or higher levels of inspections.
12 It's only about the intent to inspect.
13 And the RCW's very clear that you need to do both
14 telecom and electrical. If you're going to do
15 electrical, you have to do telecom also. And originally
16 back in 2000 there was actually some opposition from some
17 cities on doing telecom inspections. So this just
18 clarifies the RCW on that point of view I guess.
19 All we're looking for is the cities to let us know
20 when they're ready to do it. If they want to do
21 inspections, then do it -- you know, say "I'm going to do
22 electrical inspections," which they technically have to
23 do, but we've had some not do that. And we've also had
24 some issues with some of the cities wanting to hire
25 nonjourneyman wiremen with four years of experience to do
1 electrical inspections, and we've actually had to threaten
2 arbitration and take them to the board to get them to not
3 hire specialty electricians to do electrical inspections.
4 So I think this, again, puts the statute right out in
5 front of everybody so that it's clear that if you're a
6 city, you can do your inspections, but you have to declare
7 your intent, and you have to use appropriate electricians.
8 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: Well, yeah, that's a totally
9 separate issue I would think. And I agree, yeah, sure,
10 the law is clear, you need to use the proper inspectors.
11 And then on page 30, there's a requirement that EMT
12 when it's out -- in outdoors now have an equipment
13 grounding conductor installed in the raceway. And the
14 original code proposal that went to the TAC on that was
15 for EMT installed on rooftops that they must have a ground
16 wire installed for them. I think just because of -- I
17 talked to the original proposer -- is because they get
18 loose. They get kicked around. And I think we've all
19 seen EMT that's come apart on roofs. So it kind of made
20 some sense. I don't see how that logic carries over to
21 wet locations why a ground wire would be required in all
22 EMT if it's outside. In my experience, it's been -- I
23 haven't seen them come apart -- become loose because
24 they're outside or because in their wet location.
25 SECRETARY FULLER: This was another one that the TAC
1 made the recommendation to expand it to wet locations
2 entirely. And they're logic was not in wet locations that
3 it came apart, but that when it was exposed to wet
4 locations that it deteriorated to a point in their opinion
5 that the grounding mechanism itself of the conduit failed
6 at times, or it was not as good a ground as it should have
7 been. So it wasn't about the mechanical; it was about the
8 grounding panel itself. And they determined that by
9 saying "wet locations," it even applied to indoors in a
10 wash-down type facility, for instance. It's almost like
11 the redundant ground in a hospital. So that was their
12 logic. It wasn't about mechanical. And that was a
13 unanimous proposal to move forward by the TAC.
14 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: That's the main ones that I
15 have. I have a few other comments on formatting I'll just
16 e-mail to Ron my couple suggestions.
17 Again, I appreciate what the Department has done as
18 far as restructuring the code. I think it's a lot easier
19 to read now. It's a lot easier to find specific issues in
20 the way it's formatted. And there's a hint of how maybe
21 the formatting is changing a little bit, starting to --
22 some of the newer proposals now are actually modifying NEC
23 language instead of just creating new language, which I
24 think makes it to the reader easier to understand the
1 SECRETARY FULLER: And to comment on that too,
2 there's still some work to do. Because some of these
3 issues are very difficult to put exactly where they need
4 to be because they cover multiple facets. It's like the
5 permitting -- the discussion we had about the utilities
6 and street lights. Do you put the permitting exemption
7 over with permits or do you put it with this exemption?
8 And our thought in this case was that more people that
9 need to see it are going to see it there than if we split
10 those two things apart. So there's still some tough
11 issues and decisions that have to be made on formatting
12 like that to make it really perfect. And we'll probably
13 never get to perfect, but I think we've done a good job on
15 And just so the TAC knows too, we -- or the Board I
16 mean -- we had the TAC meeting. I think we had 39 or 40
17 people that actually attended out of the 49. So that was
18 good attendance. Very good discussions that day. Got a
19 lot done. Made some good proposals I think. We also met
20 with the -- called the city jurisdictions in and had a
21 meeting with them. I don't think they actually had any
22 recommendations to change at that point in time. They
23 liked the formatting and everything. So we made that
24 extra leap this year that we haven't done before. And we
25 had the ongoing discussions, of course, on the lineman
1 issues. And that -- again, I think it involved at least
2 most of the people that were impacted by what the WAC
3 rules are talking about here.
4 So, again, that's one of those areas where the code
5 is just -- or the RCW has a lot of problems still. But I
6 think it was a good compromise solution that everybody
7 agreed to at the end that was involved in the process.
8 Highly controversial technical discussion that went on for
9 that lineman utility piece. I think we reached as good a
10 compromise as we're going to get at this point in time.
11 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: I did find one that I have a
12 question on, Ron. It's page 17, line 37. And I thought
13 that that discussion on exempting for a fire alarm system
14 also included an unfinished basement. This says only
15 garage. And the reasoning or thought behind that was, you
16 know, that there are situations where you don't want to
17 have possibly a nuisance trip or something happening. But
18 I thought that exemption was also to include unfinished
20 SECRETARY FULLER: I don't remember that. But -- I
21 mean, I took this off of our notes from that day. And
22 neither the techs or I had that down. We went back to
23 verified, but --
24 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: But I guess as a general
25 point, doesn't --
1 SECRETARY FULLER: I can see your point there I
3 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: I mean, if we're going to
4 exempt it and allow, you know, something to not be GFCI
5 protected for the reason that we discussed in the TAC, to
6 me it just makes sense to also exempt it in unfinished
8 SECRETARY FULLER: Maybe this shows my shift in
9 chiefly duties, but GFI's not required in an unfinished
10 basement, is it?
11 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Yeah.
12 SECRETARY FULLER: I guess it is. It would be a
13 valid point.
14 BOARD MEMBER BELISLE: That's a good point.
15 SECRETARY FULLER: I wouldn't have concern over that.
16 I think it's the intent of what that discussion was.
17 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: I think it is too.
18 SECRETARY FULLER: Okay. So I'm going to add the
19 language "garage or unfinished basement."
20 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Okay, we've gone around the
21 room. We've made some minor changes to the WAC.
22 SECRETARY FULLER: Would you like me to go over the
23 changes what I've got down?
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I think that would be a good
1 SECRETARY FULLER: Okay. So 210, the one that we
2 were just talking about, add the language in "a garage or
3 unfinished basement," no GFI required for a fire alarm.
4 The other one that I've got here is the emergency
5 system language that we just discussed, I read that to the
7 The next one is to verify Tracy's comment that the
8 application applies to all types of licenses and
9 certificates. So verify that.
10 And then in section 925 on page 81, I'm going to add
11 the sentence that says "The installation of a lighting
12 system on private property and parking lot basically has
13 to either meet the NESC or the NEC." And then, as I said,
14 in paragraph (c), I need to add the language on permitting
15 that the permit is by the owner because that got deleted
16 when we cut and pasted.
17 And those are the only changes that I recorded today.
18 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I have one other comment. And
19 I'm certainly not saying this to draw things out.
20 But Ron, I was not sure -- it didn't make your list
21 of mentionables, but I was curious if you wanted to
22 comment about the new section about trainees without
23 supervision. Since it was sort of a --
24 SECRETARY FULLER: Oh.
25 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: -- new concept, it would
1 probably be good to have discussion.
2 SECRETARY FULLER: Yes. It's good to let the Board
3 know because you'll be facing it sooner or later.
4 Probably sooner.
5 There's a section -- you're looking at it --
6 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Page 98, which is 965,
7 subsection (13).
8 SECRETARY FULLER: We had a proposal from the outside
9 that said basically that if a trainee was unsupervised on
10 a job site that they had to get a hall pass from their
11 journeyman when that journeyman left so that we could
12 document that the journeyman left at a certain time, was
13 going to return. It was a hall pass basically.
14 There was some opposition from some of the
15 contractors on that because it would have been burdensome
16 because it would have been every job site all the time.
17 So we had some discussions later with a few folks, and the
18 language that you see in there now I think is a compromise
19 to that. It's a hall pass, but it's only -- it could be
20 used when the inspector finds that trainee unsupervised.
21 So if I come up into this room and I find that Fred
22 is a trainee here all alone, I can say, "Fred, here's a
23 postcard. You need to fill this out and mail it back to
24 me within 24 hours or deliver it to an office within 24
1 And so it's only a burden in a compliance activity
2 rather than an ongoing daily routine. But it requires the
3 journeyman and the trainee to sign on that the journeyman
4 was gone during a certain period of time and some facts
5 and figures there in that thing. But we will be providing
6 them the postcard so there's no burden on the contractor
7 there. The intent is, again, I think for the journeyman
8 to document that he really was only gone for a short
9 period of time.
10 Some of the discussion has been, well, they'll just
11 sign the card and send it in. I think that's fine. But I
12 don't think -- if I'm the journeyman, I might do that
13 once. But I don't think I would put my license at risk by
14 doing that deed multiple times.
15 So I think this will really be a big aid for the
16 Board and for the inspectors out there about documenting
17 supervision and when they're actually there or not there.
18 Because it asks for, as you can see, for things like when
19 did the day start, when did it end. Some very finite
20 details that the Board needs to make a decision when you
21 hear an appeal on supervision.
22 So we're going to -- you know, the intent of it is
23 that we'll be developing the postcard and handing it over
24 to them to send back in for us.
25 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Ron, do you have a definition
1 for the job site? Would that be the address for the
2 permit? I mean, because if Fred's in this building or
3 this room and his journeyman's in the next room --
4 SECRETARY FULLER: I think that's actually in the
5 permitting section already. That's always been our intent
6 is the job site address.
7 We will use the Boeing example. Multiple buildings.
8 It could be 50 acres. It would be on the same job site.
9 It's the permit address.
10 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Okay. Any other comments or
11 questions? Do we have a motion from the Board to adopt
12 the WAC as amended?
16 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: I make a motion.
17 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: Second.
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We have a motion and a second to
19 adopt the WAC as amended. Any further discussion? All
20 those in favor?
21 THE BOARD: Aye.
22 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Opposed?
24 Motion Carried
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Ron, you mentioned earlier too
2 that rule changes were almost an ongoing issue.
3 SECRETARY FULLER: Yes.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I know Tom still has an issue
5 with the parking lot lighting issue. Do we have a motion
6 from the Board to send this to our subcommittee for
11 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: I think we should.
12 SECRETARY FULLER: Could I offer a suggestion? We're
13 in the rule process now. I think we should move along
14 with the rules as they're written. Because we've the
15 public comment period and the hearings will be happening
16 in September, I would not be opposed to that motion, but
17 I'd like to see it happen in October, to be honest with
18 you. Because then we will have gotten our written
19 comments, and we will have responded to them by the time
20 we have the Board meeting, and this rule will go forward.
21 This is one that's going to take -- I guarantee you
22 it's not going to be easy because I've already done this
23 for the last nine months, and it's going to be very
24 difficult. But if the Board wants to take it on at the
25 committee level, then I think you -- you know, you go into
1 it with the thought that anything that you come out with
2 is not going to be in this rule because the timing isn't
3 there. But to get those two things running in a parallel
4 path at the same time I think would be detrimental to
5 everything. And go into it with the expectation that
6 you're working on it, but it would be anything you do
7 would be for the next rule change, whenever that happens.
8 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I don't -- Tom, it doesn't
9 seem --
10 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: That's fine with me.
11 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I know. But Tom did bring up an
12 issue of potential safety hazards.
13 Do we have a motion?
14 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Gloria, what I'd like to say
15 to that is we deal with potential safety hazards all the
16 time. And working under the codes that we do, you know, I
17 think we have a outstanding record. And I appreciate
18 Tom's concern about the public areas.
19 I would suggest, or at least make a motion that we
20 accept the document that Mr. Fuller has gone over and --
21 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We've done that.
22 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: -- move Tom's issue to a later
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We're moving that to the
25 subcommittee for further investigation. David S. has made
1 a motion.
2 BOARD MEMBER BELISLE: Second.
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: All those in favor?
4 THE BOARD: Aye.
5 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Opposed?
7 Motion Carried
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Tom will contact the committee
10 members and set up.
12 Item 9.A. Jesse Westby Appeal
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We are changing the schedule
15 slightly in the Jesse Westby case. A call has to be made
16 to the East Coast, so we have a three-hour time
17 difference. So we will take that appeal at this time.
18 SECRETARY FULLER: And before we do break for lunch,
19 I would like to be sure that we get the certification,
20 number 6, done because there are some people here that
21 have traveled, and I'd like to see them get on the road
22 too before we go to lunch.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Okay. So we'll do that after --
24 SECRETARY FULLER: That one should just take five
25 minutes I think, ten minutes.
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Okay.
2 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: It's still
3 morning, so I'll say good morning, Madam Chair and members
4 of the Board.
5 I'm going to make a phone call first to Mr. Toutges,
6 the homeowner involved in the Jesse Westby case, because
7 he has kindly made special arrangements to be available.
8 So I'll call him now, and he'll be our first witness for
9 the Department.
10 And what I don't know is Mr. Westby here.
11 SECRETARY FULLER: Gloria, I don't think you asked if
12 anybody's here to represent Westby. As part of the
13 record, I think you need to say that.
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Is Mr. Westby in the audience or
15 anyone representing Mr. Westby?
16 (No response.)
17 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: (Via
18 telephone) Thank you, Sergeant Toutges. This is Shelley
19 Mortinson. I'm going to put you on speakerphone so you
20 may testify before the Electrical Board.
21 Sergeant Toutges, can you hear me?
22 SERGEANT TOUTGES: Yes, I can hear you fine.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Shelley, can you move that to a
24 mic? Thank you.
25 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: All right.
1 I'm turning up the speaker volume as well on the phone.
2 SERGEANT TOUTGES: Copy.
3 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Brief
4 introductory comments. This is the Jesse Westby appeal
5 that's in your Board packet.
6 SECRETARY FULLER: Get close to the mic, Shelley,
7 because he'll need to hear you better too.
8 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: This is the
9 Jesse Westby -- thank you -- this is the Jesse Westby
10 appeal in your Board packets that was rescheduled from
12 And so we don't keep him, I'm going to call as the
13 first witness for the Department Mr. James Toutges. And
14 I'm going to call him -- he is in the military, so for
15 respect, I'm going to refer to him as Sergeant Toutges.
16 And I think we're ready to have him sworn in.
20 Whereupon, JAMES TOUTGES, having been first duly
21 sworn by the court reporter/Notary, testified as follows:
24 BY MS. MORTINSON:
25 Q And Mr. Toutges -- Sergeant Toutges, for the record,
1 please spell your last -- state your first name and
2 spell your last name.
3 A James Toutges -- T-O-U-T-G-E-S.
4 Q Thank you. And we're here in the matter of Jesse
5 Westby. So I'm going to start by asking you first:
6 How did you become aware or learn about Jesse Westby?
7 A A friend of mine had work done by him at his place
8 and gave me his name as a reference.
9 Q All right. So what happened after you got his name
10 as a reference?
11 A Once I got his name, I called Jesse Westby, and we
12 set something up where he came out to the house and
13 looked at the job.
14 It was a 30 by 40 foot building. He said he
15 could do the work, gave me a quote. And I asked him
16 if he was a certified electrician for the state. He
17 confirmed the fact that he was due to the fact that I
18 had talked about the permits and so on.
19 He told me not to worry about the permits
20 originally and after some time came out. He told me
21 that I had to go down to L & I downtown to pick up
22 the permits from them directly.
23 Q All right. And what work exactly did he perform for
25 A You came in broken at the end. Can you repeat the
2 Q What work did Mr. Westby perform for you?
3 A He put in electric work. He ran wire --
4 approximately 180 feet of wire from the house box
5 there to the pole building and wired it for lights,
6 outlets and such.
7 Q Thank you. Then what happened -- oh, did you then go
8 to the Department about the permit when he told you
9 that's what needed to be done?
10 A Right, I did. I went down there and filled out the
11 form. And as I was filling out the form, there was
12 another block on there to state that I had a
13 electrician do the work for me. And I asked them the
15 And they responded with saying, "Well, you have
16 to either be certified yourself to take
17 responsibility for it or the electrician himself has
18 to come down here and do it."
19 Once I explained my problem that I didn't do any
20 of the work, that I had an electrician, then they
21 said the electrician had to come down.
22 They were confused at the desk at L & I there.
23 And once they pulled up Jesse Westby's name, they
24 found out that he had had other problems I guess with
25 the same type of situation.
1 Q And do you recall what information they did tell you
2 about Mr. Westby as far as certification?
3 A They told me that he was not certified, had not taken
4 his -- I can't remember what they called the test,
5 but he did not take his test to become certified as a
6 electrician to work on his own. They said that he
7 had to have somebody with him when he was doing work
8 at a residence.
9 Q So what happened after you had that conversation at
10 the Department?
11 A I went back and told Jesse Westby that thing.
12 And he was I wouldn't say irate, but he was very
13 upset about the fact that I went down there because
14 he told me that wasn't what he wanted me to do. He
15 wanted me to go down there, but he wanted me to tell
16 them that I had done the work.
17 And I told him I wasn't comfortable with that
18 and I wasn't going to do it.
19 And he called back again and asked again. But I
20 said I'm just simply not going to do that.
21 And I guess L & I had gotten ahold of him.
22 And he called me back once again.
23 And then his father had called me a short time
24 after that and my wife at our residence and said
25 that, you know, we're really screwing Jesse over
1 here. He could get in a lot of trouble if we don't
2 do it this way. Would you reconsider?
3 And I didn't reconsider simply because of the
4 fact I would be doing something against the law, and
5 I'd also be taking responsibility if something were
6 to happen with the electric work that went into the
8 Q All right. And did you then speak with anyone else
9 from the Department? Or did anyone else -- did you
10 speak with anyone else from the Department?
11 A Yes. I went down and spoke to the folks and told
12 them my situation.
13 And my wife was involved in the conversation at
14 that time as well. And she had called back and
15 simply told them that "Here's what's happening.
16 We're in a bind. We are getting told that we may be
17 in the wrong for this. And we simply hired an
18 electrician that said he was certified by the state.
19 And now what do we do to rectify this situation?"
20 Because we couldn't get anybody out there to
21 inspect and certify the work that was done.
22 So L & I -- and I can't remember the names of
23 the inspectors. I'd remember if somebody said the
24 names to me. But they discussed it with us and told
25 us that we could have an outside electrician.
1 And I did have an electrician that's out in
2 Davenport -- his name is John Cruz -- came out and
3 certified the building after L & I said -- talked
4 with that electrician, told him what to do once he
5 came out and did it. He charged me a fee.
6 And then L & I certified the work when the
7 permit was done.
8 Q Thank you. And I think -- that's pretty thorough.
9 One last question. I don't remember if I asked
10 you this: Approximately how much did the work
11 performed by Jesse Westby cost you?
12 A It was approximately $1,700.
13 Q Thank you.
15 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: At this time,
16 Madam Chair, I have no other questions of Sergeant
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Do any Board members have any
20 Thank you very much for your testimony.
21 SERGEANT TOUTGES: Thank you.
22 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Thank you for
23 being available, Sergeant Toutges.
24 SERGEANT TOUTGES: You're welcome, Ma'am.
25 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Good-bye.
1 SERGEANT TOUTGES: Good-bye.
2 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Thank you.
3 Next I'm going to call Inspector Phil Jordon.
7 Whereupon, PHIL JORDON, having been first duly sworn
8 by the court reporter/Notary, testified as follows:
11 BY MS. MORTINSON:
12 Q All right. Mr. Jordan, because this record may go
13 beyond this Board, I'm going to be formal and ask you
14 to state your name and spell your last name for the
16 A Philip Jordan -- J-O-R-D-A-N.
17 Q And by whom are you employed?
18 A Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
19 THE REPORTER: There's two mics there. Maybe
20 you could -- there we go.
21 Q All right. And I think I just asked you what your
22 position was, but I'll ask again so we've got it
24 A I'm a lead electrical inspector for the E-CORE team
25 representing Eastern Washington regions 5 and 6.
1 Q How long have you held that position?
2 A Since the position has been created. December 15th,
3 I believe, 2005.
4 Q And what was your position for the Department before
5 you took your current position?
6 A Electrical inspector.
7 Q And how long were you an electrical inspector?
8 A I started with the State in April of 2000.
9 Q All right. And what work experience did you have
10 before you were an inspector that helps you with your
11 duties as an electrical inspector?
12 A I am, of course, a journeyman electrician in the
13 state of Washington. I've carried this certificate
14 for -- that required an amount of time. Also
15 certified in Idaho, Montana and Oregon as well.
16 Q All right. Now, I'd like to turn to the case at
17 hand, the Jesse Westby case, and ask you: How did
18 you become familiar with this case?
19 A This was a referral from the front counter staff in
20 the Spokane Labor and Industries office.
21 Q And what did they ask you to look in to?
22 A Actually the referral came to me and just said there
23 was a possibility of an unlicensed electrical
24 contractor. The lady that made the referral gave me
25 the name of the possible unlicensed contractor and
1 basically just said, "You may want to look into
3 Q So when you got that referral, what did you do next?
4 A I went through the State's computer system and
5 verified the fact that the gentleman was not a
6 licensed electrical contractor, verified the fact
7 that he was only certified and only carried an
8 electrical trainee certificate.
9 Q And for the record, what gentleman are we speaking
10 of, Mr. Jordan?
11 A Jesse Westby.
12 Q Okay. Please continue.
13 A I knew Jesse Westby. I've been on a lot of job sites
14 with him in the past as an inspector. I know the
15 employer that he's with right now. I knew Jesse had
16 a connection -- a family connection with the
17 Department of Labor and Industries' electrical
18 inspection team. And I knew it was just a matter of
19 time before I would hear from his connection. His
20 father inspected for the State out of the Spokane
21 office also. At that point I kind of put it on the
22 back burner until I heard from Greg -- Greg Westby,
23 his father -- which happened the next morning.
24 Q And if I'm understanding you correctly, you heard
25 from Greg Westby before you spoke to Jesse?
1 A That is correct, yes.
2 Q All right. And what did -- what was the purpose of
3 Greg Westby's call to you?
4 A Really I think Greg was just kind of trying to test
5 out the water and see how much I knew, how much I had
6 been informed of or what kind of investigation I had
7 started and really felt that he was trying to decide
8 whether I was going to push the issue or not.
9 Q All right. So then what did you do next? Did you
10 then speak to Jesse?
11 A I did. I spoke with Jesse and the homeowner, James
12 Toutges, who just testified. And it was a real
13 simple investigation. Everybody came clean.
14 Everyone was right up-front. There was no lying or
15 trying to get around anything. Jesse was very good
16 about saying, "Yes, I was the installer. This is the
17 approximate time I performed the work. Made about
18 $1,700." Did tell me that he was upset with the
19 homeowner like James mentioned because James didn't
20 try to purchase the permit the way that Jesse felt it
21 should have been purchased.
22 Q All right. And did Mr. Westby offer you any reason
23 why he performed this installation?
24 A No, he did not.
25 Q But he did admit that he performed it?
1 A He did, yes.
2 Q Did you do any further investigation concerning the
3 installation for Mr. Toutges?
4 A All I did was verify through Mr. Toutges that the
5 work had been done. I did ask Mr. Toutges for a
6 statement, which was provided to me by e-mail.
7 Q And I believe we have that statement. I'm going to
8 have you verify that the statement -- I have it on
9 page 16 of the Board's record. Is that the statement
10 he provided you by e-mail?
11 A That is the statement, yes.
12 Q All right. So after you found all this information,
13 what did you do next?
14 A Kind of concluded with, you know, any way I would
15 have with any other investigation. I went ahead and
16 issued the citations to Jesse Westby for contracting
17 without a license.
18 Q Thank you. I think that's all the questions I have
19 of Inspector Jordan.
21 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Do the Board members have any
22 questions of Ms. Mortinson or Mr. Jordan?
23 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: I have a question.
24 In contacting Jesse's father -- which I understand is
25 also an inspector?
1 INSPECTOR JORDAN: Yes, at that time he was, yes.
2 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: He's not --
3 INSPECTOR JORDAN: He's no longer with the State.
4 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Did you sense or did you feel
5 threatened in any way because you were going after his
7 INSPECTOR JORDAN: No, not at all. No.
8 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Okay. That's all I have.
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Any further questions?
10 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: I guess, Madam
11 Chair, I forgot to ask what the Department would like
12 after this. If there's no further discussion, I'll move
13 onto that.
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Please do.
15 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Okay. Hold on
16 a minute. Actually as a result of this incident, the
17 Department's requesting that the Department revoke Jesse
18 Westby's training certificate and I think for obvious
19 reasons. This is a trainee who did an electrical
20 installation and who certainly should have been aware that
21 this was in violation of RCW 19.28 WAC 296-46B. So the
22 Department's request is that his training certificate be
24 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: For how long of a
1 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Revocation
2 really doesn't have a period. It's revoked. It's
3 cancelled. It's gone.
4 Now, I don't know if Mr. Fuller wants to step in from
5 his Department and give us any indication.
6 But a suspension is often for a period of time. The
7 revocation, I believe the law says you can revoke also for
8 a period of time. I'm not aware that we've requested a
9 period of time for this revocation.
10 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Ron, can you enlighten us?
11 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Unless I
12 missed something.
13 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: And Pam, I don't know if you can
14 answer this, but as the Board, can we recommend a time
15 period before he could reapply for a training certificate?
16 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL REULAND: I'm going to
17 look that up.
18 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: And while
19 that's being researched, Inspector Jordan has pointed out
20 a couple of items for the Board to consider, that
21 Mr. Westby has been a trainee for nine years, and I
22 believe it's in the record, but that there were
23 corrections needed to installation.
24 INSPECTOR JORDAN: (Nodding affirmatively.)
25 SECRETARY FULLER: Actually the statute's quite clear
1 on this one. It says the Department -- it's in 19.28.241,
2 paragraph (2). The Department may deny an application for
3 a certificate of competency for up to two years if the
4 applicant's previous certificate of competency has been
5 revoked. And a training certificate is a certificate. So
6 the maximum time is two years. And my intent would be not
7 to grant that until at least two years.
8 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Thank you.
9 BOARD MEMBER GOUGH: I have a question. It looks
10 like Jesse was fined a $1,050. Do you know if the fines
11 were ever paid?
12 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: I don't know.
13 And I don't know if it's part -- whether they've been paid
14 in full. The citations are final. But whether the
15 penalties have been collected or -- whether they've been
16 collected or are in collections, I don't know. I do know
17 that the citations are final.
18 SECRETARY FULLER: If you can give us about ten
19 minutes, we can find that out.
20 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: And again,
21 than you to my inspector, page 52 of the Board packet does
22 lay out a payment plan. But that was a payment agreement,
23 and I'm not sure that he ever signed that payment
24 agreement. But he was offered a payment plan. It's page
25 52 in the Board record.
1 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: In the Board record, it
2 actually has copies of cancelled checks he actually did
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I thought that was for the
5 appeal bond.
6 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: I'm sure that was for the
8 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: No. For the amount of $150,
9 which is part of the payment plan. I think he paid two
10 payments -- at least as current as this Board packet is --
11 made two payments towards the citation/fines, and then
12 made no further payments, or at least as evidenced in the
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Shelley, would you like to
16 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: No. I'm
17 just --
18 SECRETARY FULLER: The Board could table this until
19 we get back with an answer and then take an action.
20 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: I would have
21 no objection to tabling it for further information.
22 And again, thank you, Tracy. Sorry to say those
23 escaped my notice. So thank you for bringing that to my
25 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Well, I'm not sure that what
1 we're here to do is to -- I don't think there's any
2 contention about the fines being final. All we're here to
3 discuss in my opinion is whether we're going to revoke his
4 license, his certificate; isn't that correct?
5 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I agree.
6 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: So I don't see -- to be honest
7 with you, I don't see the purpose in waiting for that.
8 BOARD MEMBER NEWMAN: The only reason would be, you
9 know, did he show responsibility in paying off his debt.
10 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: But is that going to make a
11 difference in how you vote?
12 BOARD MEMBER NEWMAN: If it's a two-year revocation
13 and he paid $1,000? I don't know.
14 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Okay.
15 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL REULAND: Could I, Madam
16 Chair, I wanted to just clarify exactly what the statute
17 says. The statute provides that the Department may revoke
18 the license. But the portion that Mr. Fuller just
19 referred to says that the Department may deny an
20 application for certificate of competency for up to two
21 years after that revocation has been granted. I think
22 what that says is that the Department has an automatic
23 denial period of two years, but I don't think there's any
24 provision in this statute that limits the revocation to
25 that time period. I think then the Department would look
1 at the denial -- basis for denial after two years and they
2 would have to have additional grounds perhaps not just
3 revocation. So in my opinion, at least just based on that
4 statute, and I haven't done any further research, I don't
5 think it's really the Board's authority to say two years
6 or three years. It's either to revoke or not to revoke.
7 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you.
9 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: So we're talking about
10 revoking his trainee certificate. He's got nine years
11 with a trainee certificate. Will he be able to apply to
12 take the residential journeyman exam with a revoked
13 trainee certificate? I mean, how does that work?
14 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: I would like
15 an opportunity to answer that. I did look at that
16 question before, if that's already with everyone.
17 I believe that he can't because the -- I think I
18 found it in 161. It says shall issue a certificate to
19 someone who has complied with 161 through 271. He hasn't
20 complied with 161 through 271. And I believe -- let me
21 find it again so I can quote for the record the section of
22 the RCW that I found that.
23 (Pause) Okay, I have found it. RCW 19.28.211,
24 Certificate of Competency. And again, I believe as
25 Mr. Fuller indicated earlier that a trainee certificate is
1 a certificate of competency. It says the Department --
2 this is sub (1) of that part of the law. "The department
3 shall issue a certificate of competency to all applicants
4 who have passed the examination provided in 19.28.201 and
5 who have complied with RCW 19.28.161 through 271 and the
6 rules adopted under this chapter."
7 I think it's pretty clear that Mr. Westby has not
8 complied with RCW 161 one through 271. I think should the
9 Department choose that that is a valid ground and support
10 for them for not giving him residential certificate even
11 if he's passed the exam because he didn't comply with the
12 laws and the rules. It is an "and" not an "or." You have
13 to go pass the exam and comply with the rules.
14 And so I believe the Department would be on legal --
15 sound legal ground if they did deny him a residential
16 certificate should he apply.
17 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Fred.
18 BOARD MEMBER TRICARICO: A question for Ron. Ron, is
19 there some way then that the records are flagged so this
20 individual doesn't just inadvertently slip in and get
21 another certificate?
22 SECRETARY FULLER: Yes. Because new applications are
23 one thing that are always processed manually. So when we
24 have this kind of thing where there's a settlement
25 agreement, collections or whatever, we flag the file. And
1 in his case, his file is already flagged because he didn't
2 pay and he's in collections at this point.
3 BOARD MEMBER TRICARICO: Thank you.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Is the Board ready to make a
6 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Well, the only thing that I --
7 in addition to what -- I know that Board members had a
8 comment or a question about restitution.
9 I think it's interesting Mr. Jordan testified that
10 initially when approached he admitted to the installation
11 and admitted to accepting monies for it, admitted to
12 performing the work. But the letter that he subsequently
13 submits July 21, 2008, on page 3 in our Board packet, he's
14 very clear that he doesn't -- he no longer accepts that
15 responsibility. And I think that -- and all I can do is
16 speculate, Is that in response to the license revocation?
17 But, you know, I think when it -- you know, his intent as
18 merited by this letter is that he is doing a 180 on his
19 original statement and is not prepared to accept
20 responsibility for it, and I think that goes to
22 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: I think it
23 may, however. I feel that I must point out, I believe
24 that is at the other site he did work at.
25 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: No. The address is Sergeant
2 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Is it Sergeant
4 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Yes. Because it's 2610 North
5 Chris Lane. And that is Sergeant Toutges' address as
6 indicated on page 12 in the packet, the property owner
7 electrical work permit application.
8 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Thank you.
9 For some reason I thought it was the other home.
10 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Yeah, I double-checked that
12 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Mr. Westby also had the
13 opportunity to show up today and present his own
15 So is the Board ready for a motion?
19 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: I would like to uphold the
20 Department's original intent to revoke Mr. Westby's
21 trainee certificate.
22 BOARD MEMBER BELISLE: Second.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: All those in favor?
24 THE BOARD: Aye.
25 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Opposed? So moved.
1 Motion Carried
3 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Thank you.
5 Item 6. Certification Quarterly Report &
6 Examination Development
8 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Ron, you have the certification
9 quarterly report; it'll take about ten minutes?
10 SECRETARY FULLER: Yes.
11 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Okay. The clock is ticking.
12 SECRETARY FULLER: Basically we have nothing to offer
13 on the certification. The exams are going along as they
14 normally have. We're getting ready to start working on
15 updating them to the 2008 code. We really don't have
16 anything on that at this point.
17 We are going to our reciprocity meeting this next
18 week. So we're looking at hopefully getting the process
19 started there to get some bylaws in place like we did with
20 our Board a couple of years ago and change our processes a
21 little bit so that we can be a little bit more proactive
22 than reactive on how we approve other states and how we
23 review their credentialing and those sorts of things. So
24 it's going to be a very interesting meeting I think. This
25 one I think will be really a worthwhile meeting. So just
1 an update on that.
3 Item 6.a. eti
5 SECRETARY FULLER: The main issue under this agenda
6 item, though, is with eti. And Mr. Vahlstrom's in the
7 audience, so I'd like to ask him to step up.
8 We've brought this to the Board once before. But in
9 a nutshell, eti was purchased by Emerson. And you've got
10 a letter in your packet from eti on this also. They were
11 purchased by Emerson who's an electrical manufacturing
12 firm. And many, many, many I think thousands of
13 subsidiaries that we've discovered. We were made aware of
14 the purchase several years after the fact which was not
15 good. That was concerning to us. But we worked out an
16 agreement with eti to accept monthly lists of Emerson
17 manufacturers which we were using to hand verify against
18 all field evaluations that they were requesting to do.
19 That's quite burdensome to say the least on the
21 In the mean time since then, OSHA had been reviewing
22 their NRTL status and ultimately a couple of months ago
23 now revoked the status -- one month ago revoked their NRTL
24 status for the same reasons that we had had concerns over
25 the third-party separation between Emerson and eti.
1 So we've had some discussions with eti in the last
2 couple months over this problem, and they've given you a
3 letter to read.
4 I think at this point what I would like to say about
5 eti is that they've always been a very good laboratory for
6 us. They started out decades ago with doing ground-fault
7 testing and grounding testing on wires and ground system
8 testing and all those kind of things and expanded it
9 beyond I'll call it a technical testing company to a lab.
10 And we've -- we have had good results from the company
11 over the years. So I'm not keen on losing them as an
12 entity to do field evaluations.
13 What we came up with at our last meeting, and they
14 sent me a sample of what they could do, is that if we
15 agreed to keep them on as a testing laboratory, that they
16 would certify when they do their application for a field
17 evaluation that they would do the look up on the
18 subsidiary company and certify that they didn't have a
19 relationship with that company through Emerson or any
20 other way other than their contract to do the eval. And
21 they wouldn't be doing any component testing from any --
22 on any components made by an Emerson company either.
23 I personally think that's a doable thing. But again,
24 this one is kind of out of the norm. So that's why we
25 wanted to bring -- both parties wanted to bring it to the
1 Board and get your chance for input on it. Because
2 typically that stigma -- when that kind of a stigma is put
3 over of a company like OSHA has, then it raises some
4 questions and concerns for people. So my preference here
5 would be that we do what eti and I have looked that, and
6 that's they take the burden on of documenting their
7 separation from their clients -- from Emerson with their
8 client, and we keep them on as a testing laboratory. So
9 that's my preference here, but I wanted to give them a
10 chance to talk too.
11 MR. VAHLSTROM: What I have to say will be short, but
12 I do have a little bit of an outline of what I plan to
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Would you please introduce
15 yourself and spell your name for Milton.
16 MR. VAHLSTROM: My name is Wally Vahlstrom --
17 V-A-H-L-S-T-R-O-M. I'm director of technical services for
18 Electrical Reliability Services, eti Conformity Services.
19 You know us as eti.
20 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you.
21 MR. VAHLSTROM: Thanks for taking the time to hear
23 First, the purpose. I think as Ron said, last month
24 OSHA denied our application for renewal as a NRTL. And so
25 we're here today to talk about that decision and our
1 independence, independence from Emerson.
2 There's an awful lot of information in the info
3 packet that we sent out. And I'm not going to read from
4 it or try to go over it in any kind of detail. Of course,
5 I'll be happy to take questions about it. But I would
6 like to spend a minute or two talking about the difference
7 between listing and field evaluation and something about
8 NRTL status. So I'll summarize where we are right now and
9 then open it up for questions.
10 That being said, if you want to interrupt me at any
11 time, of course, do that.
12 Listing and field evaluation. Listing -- and I might
13 be preaching to the choir here. You might all know all
14 about this, and so forgive me if I am repeating what you
15 know. Listing normally involves laboratory --
16 in-laboratory testing of samples, usually to destruction
17 or often to destruction. And the testing there is done
18 for what could become a broad range of applications of
19 that product.
20 The customer in a listing is always the manufacturer.
21 After passing the test, the model number and other
22 information is posted or listed somewhere; hence, the term
23 "listing." So on our web site, for instance, we had a
24 list that was products and manufacturers whose equipment
25 we had listed. UL and the other NRTL's do the same thing.
1 But as long as the manufacturer makes identical or
2 cookie-cutter units, then they are given the ability to
3 label all of their products that are just like the ones
4 that were tested. Then except for a periodic check by the
5 NRTL, there's really no additional laboratory testing of
6 the products. OSHA is the one who certifies NRTL's to
7 perform this what I'm describing as a listing service.
8 Field evaluation on the other hand usually involves
9 testing of nonlisted equipment that's already on site or
10 about to be on site, about ready to be turned on. The
11 customer is usually the facility owner or a contractor,
12 not the manufacturer. Each unit in question gets examined
13 and tested. And, of course, not to destruction or else
14 it's been for nothing.
15 After passing the test, the laboratory applies the
16 label, not the manufacturer. And that label indicates
17 compliance with safety requirements.
18 OSHA doesn't certify -- OSHA certification doesn't
19 cover or apply to field evaluation activities.
20 In the outline I've included a quick time line just
21 to give a sense about who we are and where we are in this
22 process. UL really was the granddaddy in terms of
23 beginning the listing process way before OSHA was formed
24 or before OSHA initiated the NRTL process. We started our
25 first field evaluations about 30 years ago.
1 The State of Washington accredited us to perform
2 field evals in '82. In '88 OSHA came out with the NRTL
3 program. We applied for NRTL status in '92 and three
4 years later we were certified as an NRTL. In '95, as Ron
5 said, Emerson acquired eti. And then because OSHA
6 requires application for renewal as an NRTL every five
7 years, and actually before the five years is up, of
8 course, in '99 we applied for renewal. They started the
9 process of reviewing our application for renewal. In 2004
10 we changed our name from eti to Electrical Reliability
11 Services, but the conformity work, this field evaluation
12 work, was still done under the name of eti, eti Conformity
13 Services. And after nine years of consideration, last
14 month OSHA denied our application for renewal.
15 There's a typo on item number 4 on your handout
16 there. OSHA's decision on eti's independence, that second
17 OSHA's decision should be eliminated.
18 But anyway, on June 23rd OSHA published in the
19 federal register their decision to deny our application
20 from 1999. And as stated in the notice, their denial was
21 due to OSHA's of interpretation of administrative rules
22 about Emerson's ownership of eti. OSHA didn't make any
23 claim about our lack of independent on any project. There
24 were no complaints that we're aware of from anyone. We've
25 heard of no complaints for lack of independence in the way
1 that we perform projects. And neither did OSHA complain
2 about our technical ability to perform listings. So it
3 all was around this issue that Emerson owns eti.
4 Eti has procedures and policy in place that assure
5 independent, not just in the area of field evaluations,
6 but in all the work that we do. We are an independent
7 testing company.
8 There's a lot more information in that packet about
9 our independence, financial independence, managerial
10 independence, and the policies and procedures that we
11 follow to make sure that we don't perform work for any
12 other Emerson or Emerson-owned company.
13 Ron mentioned procedures that we have here uniquely
14 that came out of our 2006 meeting when -- I don't know how
15 it happened, but after it was discovered that we had not
16 informed you of the Emerson acquisition, we had a meeting
17 and talked about that. So we developed -- from that
18 meeting we developed procedures where on a quarterly basis
19 we'll provide a list of all the Emerson companies.
20 That list is really for the purpose of auditing us
21 and making sure that indeed we don't do work for another
22 Emerson company. But I can see how that would be
23 difficult for the State to administer. And so what we
24 have agreed to if we can continue doing this work is when
25 we apply to perform a field evaluation project -- did you
1 get a copy of an instance of this where we submit an
2 application? -- we will also copy out of our list of
3 Emerson companies and circle where that name would be on
4 the list. And then the person who did that research will
5 verify indeed that the customer is not an Emerson company.
6 Of course, if it was an Emerson company that came to
7 us and we found it on the list, we would turn down the
8 project. But we're only talking about cases where we have
9 verified that that's not an Emerson company that we're
10 about to do a field eval for.
11 So we submit that information along with our
12 application to perform the field eval.
13 SECRETARY FULLER: That sample's in your little
14 packets. It looks like a field evaluation request. And
15 the attachment's on the back that they're proposing to do.
16 MR. VAHLSTROM: Once we learned that this, you know,
17 it's a difficult thing to monitor -- for the State to
18 monitor, we offered to do this. And we've been doing it
19 for the last couple of weeks now. So it's a new process.
20 But it's not very difficult for us. And I hope it
21 streamlines your process.
22 Okay, I've said what I wanted to say. And I'll be
23 happy to try and answer any questions.
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Is there an appeal process to
1 MR. VAHLSTROM: There is. You know, it's taken nine
2 years. So the other day when they called and said that
3 they were going to deny our application wasn't the first
4 time we heard from them or that this is an issue for them.
5 And we have -- I don't want to bore you with all the
6 details, but there is in their language an "unless"
7 clause. You can't be owned by a manufacturer unless. And
8 the "unless" in effect requires that we prove to them that
9 we operate in an independent manner. And they suggested
10 some things we could do. If we go back far enough in
11 history, they suggested some things we could do. It
12 involves changing our -- the people who are on our board
13 of directors. It involved implementing some new policies.
14 And everything that they suggested, we did. And we
15 thought we were moving down the path for them to say
16 everything is cool.
17 But months would go by. Periods of six months where
18 we heard nothing. And eventually they quit talking to us
19 about things we might do that would meet some "unless"
20 clause and convince them that we operated in an
21 independent manner. And eventually I think there was no
22 more discussion, there were no more meetings. And we
23 asked for meetings. They wouldn't agree to a meeting.
24 There was just no more discussion about whether or not we
25 could meet their requirements to demonstrate our
1 independence. And they gave us this final notice that our
2 application is denied.
3 Now, there are some legal things we can do, and
4 they're being considered, not by me. I would very much
5 like to go after them because after nine years of trying
6 to find ways to make this work, it's like they quit
7 talking to us and just -- but that's not my decision. And
8 I'll abide by whatever happens.
9 So to answer your question, yes, there were some
10 informal appeal mechanisms along the way, but no real what
11 I would call a real formal appeals process where someone
12 else hears the case.
13 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Ron.
14 SECRETARY FULLER: Just to add to that because that's
15 a very good question and point there is that the way our
16 rules are written, NRTL is not mandatory. We have other
17 labs that aren't NRTL. So that doesn't necessarily
18 disqualify them. We can accept people that aren't NRTL if
19 we're comfortable making the decision that they have
20 separation from their parent companies, that they have
21 separation from the people they're evaluating, and they
22 have the right record keeping and all of those kinds of
24 So again -- this is the first time that anything like
25 that has come along. So it's -- I'm interested in input
1 again. And motion or no, I can go either way.
2 My preference, again, is that we actually make a good
3 decision and keep these people on board because they've
4 got a track history of success and doing good work. So I
5 would like to see them keep working in Washington state.
6 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Any other comments?
7 BOARD MEMBER BELISLE: I just have a question. You
8 say you have a process in which you can verify that you
9 keep separation both in leadership and in the process that
10 you would never test one of your own affiliated companies.
11 Have you provided the State with a document -- a company
12 document that outlines that process? Or is it -- I know
13 you just told us the process, but we don't have a copy of
14 that process.
15 MR. VAHLSTROM: Well, you have -- in that package you
16 have excerpts from two of our documents. One is our
17 quality assurance manual, and the other one is our field
18 evaluation procedures manual. And both of them have
19 requirements for independents. The field evaluation
20 manual specifically has steps in it where we go through
21 this process we've been describing where we have to verify
22 that indeed the customer that wants us to perform a field
23 eval is not an Emerson company.
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: This is submitted prior -- this
25 is submitted to the Department, then the Department
1 investigates and gives you the approval to test or not to
3 MR. VAHLSTROM: Yes. We already, of course, had to
4 fill out that application in advance of performing a
5 project. We had to say what standards we were going to
6 use to evaluate this piece of equipment. And what we've
7 added to that is verification that the customer is not an
8 Emerson company.
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: And is this list of Emerson-
10 owned companies updated --
11 MR. VAHLSTROM: Quarterly. I get that list from the
12 Emerson legal department. And that's what we use as our
13 basis for whether it's an Emerson company.
14 SECRETARY FULLER: Where we're at on this is that
15 today they're a legitimate lab with us. So the question
16 for me would be: Do we take that status away from them?
17 And my vote today is that we don't. But I want to make
18 the Board aware of where we're at.
19 When they renew, one of their responsibilities in the
20 rules is that they update us on any type of management
21 changes or process changes. That's part of what every lab
22 goes through when they renew. And when they do their
23 renewal, that's when they would be coming forward with any
24 new procedures that document what they're doing. And if
25 I'm eti, at this next renewal when that time comes up I'm
1 going to be talking about attaching this piece of paper to
2 the request and those kinds of small things that they've
3 done to show that independence. Because I think that's
4 the weak link in their process right now. Be really
5 strong in how they document their independence.
6 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: Is this conflict of
7 interest a WAC rule? I mean, I've read it somewhere, and
8 I can't remember if I read it in WAC or RCW. Conflict of
9 interest between being owned by --
10 SECRETARY FULLER: Well, it's in the WAC. All it
11 says is independence. It doesn't say it can't be owned
12 actually. There could be mechanical ways of legally
13 separating yourself. But this one is -- the only reason
14 we're here is because OSHA went through this nine-year
15 grind to decertify them and ultimately made maybe an easy
16 decision. I mean, the easy decision is to say no, you're
17 owned by Emerson and you're done. But I don't think
18 that's maybe the right decision here.
19 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We're on a bit of a time
20 schedule here. So unless you have a pertinent question to
21 ask of Ron or Mr. Vahlstrom, do we have a motion on the
1 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: I would make a motion to
2 continue them as a certified lab for Washington state. I
3 don't see a problem with it. It looks to me like they
4 certainly do enough testing to make sure they're not
5 evaluating their own stuff. And I don't have a problem
6 with it. I think they should be continued.
7 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Second.
8 BOARD MEMBER: Second.
9 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: Second.
10 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: All those in favor?
11 THE BOARD: Aye.
12 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Opposed?
14 Motion Carried
16 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you for coming today.
17 MR. VAHLSTROM: Thank you very much.
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We will take a lunch break and
19 reconvene promptly at 1:30. We still have a full
22 (Lunch recess.)
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: It is now 1:31, and we are
25 reconvening our meeting.
1 Item 9.b. Thomco Construction
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We're changing the agenda again
4 and we're going to take the appeal of Thomco Construction.
5 And you're representing Thomco Construction?
6 MR. BIGGS: Yes, that's right. Andrew Biggs.
7 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL CULLEN: Good afternoon.
8 I'm Regina Cullen. I'm an assistant attorney general.
9 And I'm representing the Department on its appeal from the
10 decision of Judge Cufley. You have this in your packets.
11 A fairly large amount of information.
12 But just briefly to summarize, this was an electrical
13 inspection by Ralph Hardesty back in 2007. And he was
14 requested by Allstate Electric to perform an underground
15 conduit inspection for parking lot lighting at a
16 commercial address. And when he arrived, the conduits
17 were covered up. And so he talked to the electrician
18 running the job for Allstate, and he told him that the
19 general contractor had covered the conduits up because
20 they were in a hurry to asphalt the parking lot. He then
21 asked the con -- he talked to the general contractor's
22 foreman and explained that the conduits needed to be
23 exposed for him to inspect. And so he came back the next
24 day, and they had been exposed, and he was greeted by an
25 employee of Thomco, James Miller. And Mr. Miller said --
1 told him that he had installed the parking lot conduits.
2 And he asked if Mr. Miller was a certified electrician,
3 and he was not. And Thomco is not an electrical company.
4 And so he issued four citations. The first one was
5 number -- I'm just going to abbreviate -- 37 to Thomco
6 Construction for contracting without a valid electrical
7 contractor's license. We're talking about installation of
8 the conduit that was carrying the electrical wires to the
9 parking lot. And then number 38 for not purchasing a
10 valid permit to install the conduit. Number 39 to Thomco
11 Construction for covering the conduit prior to inspection.
12 And then number 40 for hiring or using an unlicensed
13 person to do an electrical installation. And these were
14 violations of the RCW 19.28 in general.
15 This was taken to hearing before Judge Cufley. The
16 fourth -- or there was a fifth citation to Mr. Miller. He
17 paid his fine, and we went on with that one. But those
18 four citations were taken to a hearing before Judge
19 Cufley. And her decision is also in your packet. The
20 proposed order was issued on April 8th.
21 And Judge Cufley dismissed all four citations. And
22 so we've appealed. And the basis for our appeal is we
23 think the judge was wrong. And we think that the judge
24 was wrong because in the decision that the judge issued --
25 let's go first to appeal number 37 to Thomco for
1 contracting without a valid electrical contractor's
2 license. The judge seemed to feel that because the
3 appellant did not operate an electrical company and did
4 not employ Mr. Miller to perform electrical work that
5 somehow they didn't need an electrical contractor's
6 license. And that's not true. I mean, they were
7 performing electrical work. They were installing the
8 conduit. Mr. Miller who is an employee of Thomco was
9 installing the conduit. And as such, it should have been
10 performed by a licensed electrical contractor in the
11 employ of an electrical company. And this did not happen.
12 I think the problem with the judge's ruling, at least
13 for the Department, comes in her discussion of citation
14 number 38. She talks about how the company had no
15 intention of performing electrical work. She seems to
16 imbue the statute with an intent requirement. You have to
17 intend to be doing electrical work in order to be cited
18 under it. And I would point out that RCW 19.28.010 pretty
19 much is a strict liability statute. It says that all
20 wires and equipment and installations, meaning the conduit
21 installation, that convey electric current shall be in
22 strict conformity with this chapter.
23 So it's our position that the judge was not paying
24 close enough attention to the statute in the way that it
25 should be interpreted.
1 With regard to citation number 39 for covering prior
2 to inspection, again, you know, the judge said the
3 Department seeks to penalize the appellant for acts of an
4 essentially well-intentioned but misguided employee.
5 Well, we're not given the ability to exempt people when
6 they're misguided or well-intentioned. I mean, if we did
7 that -- I have concerns about how many people are going to
8 say, "Well, I didn't mean to connect the positive to the
10 The statute is to be strictly construed. And Thomco
11 must be held liable for doing electrical contractor work
12 and employing someone who's not licensed to do so to do
13 that as well.
14 And the final citation was to Thomco for hiring an
15 unlicensed individual, meaning Mr. Miller. And this is
16 essentially, they were hiring him to install this conduit,
17 which is, in fact, electrical work.
18 Now, interestingly enough in your discussion about
19 the exemptions for the PUD, Mr. Miller testified at the
20 hearing that he'd done installations for Snohomish County
21 PUD and he didn't have to be licensed as an electrical
22 contractor, that he didn't think he was doing anything
23 different. Well, as you well know, there's an exemption
24 in the statute for the work performed by a PUD. But at
25 this juncture of doing the work for Thomco, he was not
1 working for a PUD; he was doing a commercial electrical
2 installation, and as such, to do that, he had to be
3 certified as an electrical contractor, and he was not.
4 And so it's our position that the judge gave way too
5 much discretion, way too much latitude to an intent
6 provision that doesn't exist in the statute, and as such,
7 her decision on all four citations is wrong and should be
9 Thank you.
10 MR. BIGGS: Yes. Good afternoon. My name is Andrew
11 Biggs of Northcraft, Bigby & Biggs. And I'm here
12 representing Thomco Construction.
13 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: For the record, could you spell
14 your name please.
15 MR. BIGGS: Yes. B-I-G-G-S.
16 And I appreciate a chance to talk to the Board about
17 the situation.
18 I think the Board -- you've had a chance to look at
19 the administrative law judge's decision, and I hope you
20 will agree that it's fairly thorough and well done. And
21 the testimony that was given that day is complete. It's
22 covered everything pretty much from front to back. So we
23 have a good complete record here to work with.
24 The decision itself I hope you'll agree was well
25 reasoned, and it was correct. And let's kind of step
1 through a few of those things.
2 First of all, Thomco is a subcontractor on this job.
3 They do pipe and trenching work. That's the area that
4 they're in. They have no prior history of citations for
5 electrical problems of any sort.
6 On this day, one of their fellows went out there and
7 did some work, without their authority, without their
8 permission, thought he was doing the right thing,
9 obviously he was not doing the right thing, and he got
10 cited for that.
11 And now the question is: Does Thomco, simply because
12 they're the employer, have the liability for four separate
13 citations arising out of the exact same work?
14 And as Ms. Cullen told us, we've got a citation for
15 installing electrical systems, for not having a permit to
16 do electrical systems, for covering the installation
17 before inspection, and for employing a non-electrician to
18 do electrical work.
19 Now, as we walk through these, I think you will agree
20 that a lot of those become a little bit circular and a
21 little bit silly. Because again, we think about a person,
22 if you might think of them as a road worker or someone who
23 goes out and does his thing on his own. And the question
24 is: Can he hook in the employer for all these kinds of
1 Let's start first with the basic facts. And that is
2 that Thomco was the subcontractor for DKS. DKS is not
3 involved in this process. But we know that DKS did direct
4 the work that we're talking about here. That's undisputed
5 in the record.
6 James Miller did the trenching work out there where
7 the conduit would be laid, and he did that at the
8 direction of the general contractor and the electrical
9 contractor. And as I'm sure you all know, that's pretty
10 much standard. The guy with the backhoe digs where he's
11 told to dig. How deep, where it should be and so forth.
12 That's what he did.
13 And up to point, the State -- the Department has no
14 problem with the work that was done.
15 Now, this was directed by the electrical contractor
16 as well, Allstate, who was on site. They also aren't
17 party to this. Whatever their role here was apparently
18 was also overlooked.
19 Allstate was on site the day that this work was done
20 that became the subject of this problem. And Allstate
21 never said, "Don't backfill that trench" or "Don't put
22 conduit in the trench" for that matter.
23 So the question is: Who is directing the work and
24 who has the ultimate culpability here and what is the
25 intent and the goal of these statutes and these WAC's in
1 terms of controlling the work and doing inspections?
2 Now, one of the things that we need to remember I
3 think is it's the normal work of a contractor like Thomco
4 to backfill over conduit. That's typical work. They do
5 that on all kinds of jobs. And they do that when they're
6 told to do that. They don't decide when it's time. When
7 the electric contractor or the general says it's time to
8 backfill, they backfill, they compact it, they get it all
9 set. There's nothing unique about this except that when
10 they were told to do it, the inspection had not yet taken
11 place. And Thomco, of course, they don't know anything
12 about these rules. They don't know anything about when
13 inspections are supposed to be sequenced. They simply did
14 the work they were told to do.
15 Let me ask you this as a way of maybe putting this in
16 perspective. If Miller -- Mr. Miller had backfilled over
17 the conduit and Allstate came out and said, "Whoa, whoa,
18 whoa, we don't have this inspected yet. You have to
19 uncover this" -- and they did -- would we be sitting here
20 today? Well, I think the obvious answer to that is no, we
21 would not be sitting here today.
22 At that point in time Allstate had stepped in with
23 the otherwise exact same circumstances. The trench would
24 have been uncovered, the inspection would take place, it
25 would have passed inspection, and everybody goes about
1 their business. It's the sequence of when the dirt was
2 put over and when it was uncovered that makes us all deal
3 with this.
4 Let's talk about the first -- that first citation,
5 which is the one that is electrical work without a
6 license. I think the administrative law judge did a
7 pretty nice job of telling us what the problem is with
8 this citation. You've got Thomco Construction, who I
9 guess according to the Department could be a painting
10 contractor, it could be a framing contractor, it could be
11 anybody. Anybody whose fellow puts a piece of conduit
12 down in the trench makes his employer liable for a
13 violation of not having an electric license. I mean, that
14 really makes no sense at all.
15 What these statutes are obviously designed to do is
16 to attack companies that are doing work without licensing.
17 So the question is: Was Thomco -- not was Miller --
18 was Thomco doing electrical work without a license? And
19 the obvious answer to that is no.
20 They had a guy who made a mistake. He went out there
21 and did some work that he shouldn't have done. But Thomco
22 had no knowledge of this at all.
23 These statutes are not strict liability statutes.
24 They do not say that the employer is per se liable just
25 because an employee did something wrong. The employee was
1 liable and he was held accountable for what he did, but
2 not the employer.
3 If this was a habit, this was a pattern, if he saw
4 Thomco out there doing this job after job after job, yeah,
5 obviously then you could say they are out there doing
6 electrical work without the proper licensing. But that is
7 not the case here. Here we have one single episode that
8 happened on one single -- presumably one single afternoon,
9 and that's it. That's what we're talking about. Thomco
10 had no way to control that and no way to rectify it.
11 I guess the next one, the electrical permit issue, is
12 even more illustrative of the problems we have here. How
13 can a company like Thomco get a permit for a job when they
14 have no intention of doing electrical work whatsoever.
15 They're not going to be out there doing this. They had an
16 employee who does something which is deemed electrical
17 work, and then the Department says, "Well, you should have
18 had a license for that and you should have had a permit."
19 It kind of begs the question, doesn't it. You can't even
20 get a permit. They couldn't have gotten a permit for this
21 work if they wanted one. So it's really -- again, it
22 becomes very circular. And it's really -- it's a matter
23 of the Department piling on and saying, okay, well, you're
24 not this, you're not that, you're not this, you're not
25 that. The question is in all these cases: Is Thomco
1 responsible? And could Thomco have done something
2 differently that day that would have made the Department
3 more happy?
4 So the issue of whether or not they had a permit
5 really is kind of a silly one.
6 And I think the administrative law judge, she hit the
7 nail on the head on this. She said, "The real question
8 here is: If you get a permit, if somebody pulls a permit,
9 then that's going to require an inspection be done." And
10 Allstate did exactly that in this case. Allstate had a
11 permit, which they should have had, and they called for an
12 inspection. So it gave the Department the chance to do
13 the inspection. And that's the whole goal of having --
14 that's one of the goals of having a permit. So they did
16 And the fact that Thomco was somehow involved in that
17 loop doesn't change the fact that the goal was met, which
18 is having the inspection performed.
19 The next item is the issue of covering the conduit --
20 and I talked about this a little bit already -- covering
21 the conduit before the inspection. The guy that does the
22 backhoe just covers the conduit when he's told to. He's
23 not doing electrical work by covering the conduit. He's
24 not availing himself of the benefits or the penalties of
25 the statutes. He's -- it would be like if a guy puts up
1 sheetrock and the general says, "Go put the sheetrock up"
2 and there's conduit in the wall, and he doesn't know
3 whether or not that conduit's been inspected, he just puts
4 up the sheetrock. That's all he does.
5 And in this case, that's all Mr. Miller did. And
6 Mr. Miller probably could have gotten out of that citation
7 I'm guessing, but he didn't challenge it. He didn't know.
8 But the question is: Thomco, the employer, does the
9 employer have responsibility for this because the backhoe
10 work was done at a different time than the electrical
11 contractor would have had it done?
12 And again, if they had unearthed it, if the
13 electrical contractor instead of just calling for the
14 inspection, if they had said, "Please dig this up and then
15 we'll have an inspection," everything would have been
17 Fourth one. Here's the question: Did Thomco employ
18 somebody for the purpose of doing electric work when that
19 person isn't licensed? Well, you know what? I guess that
20 means -- I'm an attorney, and if I give some work, which
21 was deemed electrical work, does that mean my law firm has
22 hired me to do electrical work without a license? Of
23 course not.
24 What we're looking at here is: Are there companies
25 out there that have people on their staff doing electrical
1 work -- that's what their job is -- and they're
2 unlicensed? You have guys out there that are cheating.
3 They're cutting corners that aren't using licensed people
4 when they should. Clearly, clearly that's not what we're
5 dealing with here. Thomco did not do that. Thomco's a
6 trench digger/pipe installer. They did not hire somebody
7 to keep them on their staff to do that. They're not
8 liable for that citation.
9 So the big picture here, and I guess the real
10 question that we need to deal with today is: Is a single
11 act by a single employee enough to make the employer
12 liable for all these things the Department alleges?
13 The company involved, Thomco, did not and would not
14 have approved of this work. If this employee had asked
15 them -- and it's clearly in the record, and the record is
16 without debate on this topic -- Thomco would not have
17 approved of this work being done. The employee was cited.
18 He did something wrong, and he got cited. And that
19 accomplishes the goal that the State has to ensure
20 compliance with the various statutes. There's not any
21 additional goal here to take the employer down on a case
22 of this type. Particularly when neither the general
23 contractor nor the electrical contractor made any comment
24 at all that would have prevented this problem from
1 It's unfair and inappropriate to attempt to hold
2 Thomco liable for a single act of Mr. Miller that it had
3 no way to control. It really doesn't further the
4 Department's goals to make these citations -- to have them
5 basically reversed since we won at federal court.
6 Thomco Construction respectfully requests that this
7 Board adopt the ALJ decision as it's written and therefore
8 affirms the dismissal of the four citations.
9 Thank you very much.
10 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I want to remind the Board that
11 we have a very full agenda today. We want to be fair to
12 everybody that comes before us. So if you have any
13 questions, I would like them to be very direct and to the
15 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: I have a question.
16 Mr. Miller, you said that he did something without
17 work direction. Was Mr. Miller employed by Thomco?
18 MR. BIGGS: Yes, he was.
19 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: And was Mr. Miller, was he
20 subcontracted or was he an employee?
21 MR. BIGGS: Mr. Miller was an employee of Thomco.
22 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: And did he take work direction
23 from an employee?
24 MR. BIGGS: He took direction from the general and
25 from the electrical contractor on this particular topic.
1 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Did he install the conduit?
2 Or do you know that? Or did he just dig the hole?
3 MR. BIGGS: He put the conduit in the trench.
4 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Okay. Thank you.
5 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I know you want to be brief,
6 but I have some fundamental disagreements with some of the
7 arguments that you put forward in front of us today.
8 One is sort of the comparison to the gentleman or a
9 gentleman that would put up sheetrock in a room. You
10 know, the difference is that the person that puts up
11 sheetrock didn't actually make an electrical installation,
12 which Mr. Miller actually admits to doing.
13 Additionally, you know, I understand that we are
14 probable going to disagree in that Thomco Construction is
15 responsible for actions taken by one of their employees.
16 And an example of this is as a foreman, as a decision-
17 maker for Thomco, he probably has the ability to call in
18 time for the employees that are underneath him. And if
19 Mr. Miller doesn't accurately represent the hours worked
20 by those employees and there is a wage-and-hour violation
21 filed with the Department of Labor and Industries, it
22 would be Thomco Construction that is liable for those
23 wage-and-hour violations; it will not be
24 Mr. Miller. So his actions I believe directly are
25 reflected upon their employer -- his employer,
1 Mr. Miller's employer.
2 I also think that you need to look at -- for us --
3 for me, in particular, when you talk about setting a
4 precedent, you want to be very careful about what types of
5 precedents that you're setting. There was a lot of
6 discussion in the ALJ hearing and also in your closing
7 arguments about really whether or not the subbing out of
8 conduit was really, you know, an electrical -- merited an
9 electrical installation and the fact that -- and I am
10 quoting from your closing argument -- that the ends of the
11 pipe are left open and they're not attached to anything
12 and there's no wiring in them, so therefore it's not an
13 electrical installation.
14 Well, if you apply that same logic to what we have a
15 8,000 amp piece of switchgear over here with multiple
16 parallel runs of four-inch conduit that are going to go to
17 a distribution panel, and we just run those three parallel
18 runs of four-inch conduit, but we don't -- you know, we
19 leave a three-foot stub left, you know, a vacancy where
20 pipe doesn't exist on the switch gear end and on the
21 distribution gear end, then we didn't really make an
22 electrical installation. Now, that's an extreme
23 comparison to a three-quarter inch or one inch piece of
24 PVC pipe laid in a ditch. But as you can see, once you
25 look at the precedent that you're potentially setting, I
1 think you can potentially understand how damaging it could
2 be for somebody to make an installation and then argue,
3 well, I didn't actually connect it to anything, or I
4 pulled the wire, but I didn't actually connect the wire on
5 either end; I left that for the electrician to do.
6 Now, I certainly don't think Mr. Miller put the
7 conduit in the -- dug the ditch, put the conduit in the
8 ditch, backfilled the ditch with any malfeasance,
9 malintent. I don't think Thomco Construction committed
10 any malfeasance, malintent. But I personally think that
11 intent is not a part of the statute.
12 And it would be -- it's a dangerous precedent to set
13 by saying, well, I didn't know, or I thought I was doing
14 the right thing, when, in fact, they're not. And that's
15 my personal opinion on this case.
16 MR. BIGGS: May I comment on that for a moment?
17 I think, first of all, some of your analogies are not
18 quite on point with what we're talking about today, and
19 that is the issue of L & I reporting, and that's got its
20 own set of laws and statutes and WAC's. What we're
21 talking about here is: We will accept for the purposes of
22 this whole argument that putting the conduit in the
23 ground, even without backfilling, putting the conduit in
24 the ground would be an installation.
25 It would not be an installation and it -- for
1 example, if it was garden pipe. It would be the exact
2 same piece of pipe. And that's the point of some of those
3 questions. There are some exemptions in the code for
4 certain kinds of installations.
5 So the question is whether the employer -- really the
6 question today is whether the employer knows what's going
7 on, and whether the employer knows that he did this.
8 Because employers are not per se liable for everything
9 that employees do. They're liable for some things their
10 employees do, but not everything.
11 And that's kind of why we're here today is sort of
12 the where is the threshold of reasonableness of where the
13 employer liability is triggered compared to where the
14 employee liability is triggered.
15 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Just one quick statement maybe
16 for your education. There is a difference in the pipe.
17 There is -- electrical raceway has its own color and its
18 own certification. There's the water pipe and a gas pipe,
19 they all have their own -- it's not just a pipe; it's a
20 electrical raceway.
21 MR. BIGGS: Oh, sure, I understand. But whether
22 another guy on the site would know that, I think that's
23 the point we're trying to establish.
24 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Can I make one more comment?
25 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: A comment or a question?
1 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: No, it's a comment.
2 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Well, let's take questions.
3 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Okay. All right.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Just -- do you have a question?
5 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: Who was paying Thomco?
6 MR. BIGGS: The general contractor paid Thomco. DKS.
7 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: Okay. Thanks.
8 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Do we have any questions? A
10 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: What exactly was Thomco hired
11 to do? What was the full scope of their contract?
12 MR. BIGGS: I can't tell you what the full scope was,
13 but as it pertains to this particular parking lot area,
14 they dug the trenches, backfilled them. And, you know,
15 that's kind of their typical work. I think they did some
16 plumbing work as well in the area, general pipe work. And
17 they may have done -- I'm not sure; they may have subbed
18 out some asphalt work; I'm not sure.
19 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We have with us all of the
20 testimony that has taken place, so we'll just take
21 questions only at this time. So if there are no further
23 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: I have one question.
24 This is actually more for the legal people.
25 Is it not the intent of the statutes to hold
1 employers accountable? I mean, are these statutes up for
2 interpretation? Because for the eight years I've been on
3 this Board, it's always been my understanding that
4 statutes are pretty much cut and dried as to how they can
5 be interpreted. Is that wrong? I mean, it's -- because
6 it's always been to hold employees accountable for their
8 MR. BIGGS: Employers? Are you saying employers
10 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: Yeah, for their
12 MR. BIGGS: Well, I have to say with all respect
13 that's not the case. And part of what makes an attorney's
14 job what it is is we interpret statutes as do the courts
15 all the time. And I will remind you that the
16 administrative law judge who does this for a living also
17 interpreted those in a way that was in favor of Thomco
19 So my arguments are not without precedent in this
21 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Ms. Cullen.
22 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL CULLEN: It's the position
23 of the Attorney General's office insofar as we represent
24 the Department of Labor and Industries that this is a --
25 like the contractor statute which specifically states in
1 its first section that it shall be strictly construed,
2 this one does too. And that leaves very little discretion
3 to impute intent or negligence.
4 If you do the work, you're held liable. And if your
5 employees do the work, you as a company are held liable.
6 Unless the employee can be shown to be acting so far
7 outside of their normal duties as to be outside the
8 corporate umbrella. And that was not shown.
9 MR. BIGGS: But you see, that's exactly the point.
10 If an employee drives over and got in his car, he's
11 outside of his job duties. The employer's not liable for
12 that. If this guy Miller was moonlighting doing this
13 work, again, there's no responsibility. So the question
14 is: Where does that -- where do you cross that line where
15 employee goes off on his own against his employer's
16 wishes, where does it get to the point where the employer
17 should be able to do something about that and stop that
18 and if they don't they're liable for it?
19 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Questions? Is the Board ready
20 to make a decision?
21 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: Are you giving us any
22 time to debate what the preference of the Board is?
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We could give our own personal
24 opinions and we could ask for opinions until midnight.
25 But we have all of the information within the packet.
1 We've read it. And that is what we have to make our
2 decision on is what is in this packet.
6 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Well, in the spirit of
7 expediting, I would say that I am willing to make a
8 motion. And one of the reasons I am going to make this
9 motion is, again, in the spirit of precedent setting. And
10 I would much rather look at a interpretation of statute I
11 would much rather be as black and white as possible and
12 not have to enter into a subjective world. Now, I think
13 it would be very easy -- I'm not saying that that is the
14 case here -- but I'm saying it would be very easy for to
15 have an electrical installation made and then the
16 contractor say, "I never directed the employee to make
17 that. And therefore I should not be held liable to the
18 statute." And I disagree with that. So in light of that,
19 not wanting to set that precedent or create the loophole
20 that may allow -- specifically in a case where the
21 employee actually admits to performing the work.
22 It sort of reminds me of the case with the two
23 gentlemen that partnered on a property up in Mossy Rock or
24 whatever it was, and you felt bad that you -- because
25 they, you know, had a genuine agreement. But, you know,
1 my job as I interpret it is to enforce the statute -- or
2 to interpret the statute as written and to uphold the law
3 19.28 and the associated rules. So as such, I'm going to
4 make the motion to overturn the decision of the ALJ and to
5 enforce the citations originally drafted by the
7 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: Second.
8 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We have a motion and a second.
9 And I'm not going to try and repeat that motion. Any
10 further discussion?
11 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: Yeah, I do. I can agree
12 in part with that but not in whole. So I would not
13 support the motion as it's currently put forth. I have
14 strong disagreements with the way the decisions are
15 worded. But I think there is some validity to both what
16 Tracy has said but to some of the logic that is in here.
17 No question that the installation was made. And in
18 my mind, no question that Thomco bears some culpability
19 for that because Mr. Miller was their employee. But I'm
20 not sure that it is appropriate to find Thomco for not
21 obtaining a permit and I forget what all for the more.
22 But I believe there is culpability on their part because
23 he was their employee, but it clearly was never their
24 intent and has never been their intent at least in my
25 opinion to perform electrical work as a company. And that
1 is not something that we should be citing and fining them
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Tracy, do you want to amend your
5 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: So if I'm hearing you
6 correctly, what you are suggesting is that you would be
7 supportive of something that would uphold citation ending
8 in 340, which is that they employed an individual for the
9 purposes of performing electrical work, but you would not
10 uphold or you would be in agreement with the ALJ's
11 decision to strike citation 338, which was that they
12 didn't obtain a permit; 339, that they concealed that
13 installation; 337, which is that they offered to perform,
14 you know, electrical work? Is that your position?
15 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: Or something similar to
16 that. 339 I could go either way on.
17 But -- and I would agree with you on 338 and 340,
18 which you just stated.
19 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Well, I understand everybody's
20 difficulty with this one because I don't think either that
21 Thomco intended for their employee to do the work. I have
22 a challenge with that.
23 But I also understand that we can't set a precedent
24 and not hold an employer accountable when his employee
25 does something that's against the law. It sets a very
1 dangerous precedent. And I think Tracy's correct in that
3 But I also agree with David. You know, holding the
4 company responsible, for example, for getting a permit for
5 work that they're not even legally able to get a permit
6 for may be in my opinion over the line.
7 But holding them accountable for the employee's work
8 is also something I think we've got to do.
9 So I'm not sure exactly if Tracy wants to amend her
10 motion or whatever. But I do understand the issue that
11 Dave brought up and agree that -- and I'm not sure that
12 it's right for us to hold somebody accountable for buying
13 a permit when they can't buy a permit.
14 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Well -- and I certainly will
15 take that -- appreciate those comments and have a tendency
16 to agree. And especially on the case of the permit
17 because how are they supposed to -- you know, I agree. I
18 don't think Thomco Construction intended to have their
19 employee do this -- perform this work.
20 Well, then I'll tell you what. I would be willing to
21 -- I would be willing to amend the motion. And hopefully
22 I'm going to do this correctly. And the spirit will be to
23 uphold the Department's citation EHRAL00340 and to --
24 which is that they employed an individual who didn't
25 possess a valid certificate of competency; to uphold
1 citation EHRAL00339, which is that they covered the
2 installation prior to inspection; to affirm the ALJ's
3 position on citation number EHRAL00338, which is that they
4 failed to obtain and post an electrical work permit; and
5 to also affirm the ALJ's decision on citation number
6 EHRAL00337, which was that Thomco Construction never
7 actually offered -- submitted a bid to perform the actual
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: You were the second to that
11 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: I did not second.
12 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Virgil.
13 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: If I could say something.
14 Tracy, the statute says offer to perform, submit or bid
15 for, advertise, install or maintain electrical cables,
16 conductors. They installed.
17 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: That's true.
18 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: So if you want, since we're
19 still in the drafting of the motion stage, I would --
20 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Suggest we do it one more
22 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: -- suggest that you overturn
23 the ALJ's decision on 337, affirm their decision on 338,
24 and overturn the decision on 339 and 340.
25 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I agree.
1 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: No. It's your motion.
2 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: This is your motion.
3 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: So moved.
4 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: Second.
5 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Does everybody fully understand
6 what the motion is on the table?
7 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Yes.
8 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I'm not repeating it.
9 BOARD MEMBER (D.A.) BOWMAN: I fully understand. I
10 would probably prefer not to affirm -- or to overturn 340,
11 but I'm not going to make that motion.
12 But in addition to just the disposition of the
13 citations, I have difficulty with the wording, but I don't
14 know that we want to go there today or not.
15 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: And just a statement,
16 Mr. Biggs, before we vote on this. You know, I fully
17 understand Thomco's position, but ignorance is not an
19 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: All those in favor?
20 THE BOARD: Aye (the majority).
21 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Opposed?
22 BOARD MEMBER JACOBSEN: No.
24 Motion Carried
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you.
2 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL CULLEN: Thank you for
3 taking us out of order. We very much appreciate it.
4 MR. BIGGS: Thank you very much.
6 Item 8. Budget Discussion
8 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Patrick, sorry for the delay.
9 MR. WOODS: Madam Chair, members of the Electrical
10 Board, thank you for being willing to let me give this
11 presentation before you.
12 We've got a PowerPoint so hope we won't be in the
14 This issue deals with the fund balance. When you're
15 dealing with fiscal issues, I know that it takes a lot of
16 time and energy to look into these. But this is something
17 that's of importance to us. When I became the Assistant
18 Director back in '98, this was the first issue that was
19 brought to my attention by Joe Devish and the Chair, Earl,
20 at that time.
21 Our balance in 1998 I believe was approximately $3
22 million in the fund. They gave me some sound advice and
23 said that they would like to have the fund balance at
24 approximately 50 percent of the annual operating
1 Since that time we have done that. The fund has gone
2 up at times. So we've been very careful. There was one
3 period where we had several million dollars removed from
4 the fund by legislative action due to a shortfall in the
5 general fund.
6 And I think it was the intention for the Electrical
7 Board and for us to make sure that that fund balance was
8 kept at the right level and that it did not become an
9 opportunity for additional reserves to be taken from it.
10 As we're looking here, the first slide deals with the
11 challenge that we've recently seen with a negative
12 variance on our monthly activity. That is ranged from
13 over $300,000 to approximately $157- and $177- this month.
14 So this is of concern, and we want to make sure we're
15 doing all the right things to be consistent with our
16 policies and with your direction.
17 The long-term planning for this is to maintain a
18 healthy fund balance. And as I mentioned, the traditional
19 level was 50 percent of the annual operating revenue,
20 which today's levels is approximately $9 million should be
21 kept in the fund.
22 Our next chart looks at revenues and expenditures
23 down through the years from 1998. You'll see that in
24 almost all of those years except for this 2008, our
25 revenue and expenditures have been keeping pace with
1 revenue slightly in excess.
2 We looked at that two years ago, Ron and myself, and
3 saw that the fund balance may need to be adjusted, and we
4 reduced the fees across the board by five percent from our
5 permits to our licenses.
6 The next chart we've got deals with the expenditures
7 and the fund balance. As you can see, things were going
8 nicely along and would make sense to provide that fee
9 reduction which was a key item for us several years ago.
10 But as we entered into 2008 we have that decline there.
11 And that is something -- if you look at the fund balance,
12 it looks a little bit less, the visual on this -- we have
13 to double-check it -- but our fund balance is now at
14 $9.157 million.
15 We go on to the change in revenue through the years.
16 This gives you a little look at what happens. Generally
17 we have been doing well with the increases in revenue.
18 The only time that was stole is back in 2001 when we had
19 that downturn. But it came back up. So we want to be
20 careful not to overreact. That's something that can cause
21 consequences and unintended issues that we just don't want
22 to keep too tight a rein on activities that should
24 If you look at the work of our inspectors, and I
25 think that's the normal thing we look at, you've got
1 revenues that are not coming in. Or how about our
2 expenditures. Most of our expenditures are with our
3 inspections. But you can see our inspectors have been
4 very busy. They've gone up to almost 12 inspections per
5 day. They're down to 10.1 a day. That's still a lot of
7 Now, the key that I look at for the long term, we've
8 invested a tremendous amount of money in our inspectors.
9 We've trained them to provide them with the resources to
10 make those inspections correct, both on the code and also
11 in dealing with our contractors. Getting to 90 percent of
12 our inspection sites within 24 hours is not an easy thing
13 to do.
14 This was something back in '98 we were having
15 trouble. We were losing jurisdictions. People were
16 saying we weren't giving the service they wanted. So we
17 put a tremendous amount of time and energy to train our
18 inspectors, provide them with the education, also to make
19 sure that they wanted to stay with L & I because they had
20 many options depending on the economy. And we've been
21 fortunate that they've stayed with us.
22 The next slide shows that as the downturn in
23 inspections have occurred, there has been an upbeat in the
24 number of citations. This also was a key issue. And no
25 one likes to give a -- well, very few like to give a
1 citation. I know our E-CORE team, they may have been able
2 to cross that threshold and really get behind and give
3 citations. But our inspectors traditionally have had a
4 tough time. They have a relationship with the
5 contractors. They know them. And they know what they're
6 trying to do. But we've had to encourage them and saying
7 this is important, and they have risen to the challenge
8 and are doing a phenomenal job. As you'll see, 6,000
9 citations and warnings in fiscal year '08 just from our
11 I believe this is just our inspectors, Ron? Or is
12 this a combination?
13 SECRETARY FULLER: Both.
14 MR. WOODS: Both. This is a combination. But it's a
15 dramatic increase.
16 What we're doing -- I want to let you know that we're
17 not just watching this. We are gripping the reins a
18 little tighter, and we're looking at how we can save
20 We have a -- in our own operations activities both in
21 central office and in the field, we've tried to keep an
22 eye on the fund balance -- our operating fund balance.
23 And we expect to have a projected savings for money that
24 we intended to spend of $127,000 by the end of the fiscal
1 Also what we're looking at to help generate more
2 revenue, and not just save it, is provide fee training to
3 our counter staff. This is an important issue that we
4 feel that our counter staff identify the right level of
5 fee for the job and go the extra mile. We believe this
6 will help with approximately a five percent increase in
7 revenue. Ron provided this training about four years ago,
8 and there was a higher rate of return.
9 SECRETARY FULLER: We gave fee training back in 2000
10 when I first started, and our revenues went up rather
11 significantly. Because what we were finding is that the
12 inspectors would walk by the fees that were due. We're
13 going to do training again starting in August, and it's
14 not just counter staff; I mean it's the inspectors also.
15 Because we feel like we're in the same position that we
16 were then in reality is that when times have been really
17 good, there's been a lot of business, our revenues have
18 been skyrocketing for no reason other than the economy,
19 and it's really easy for people to short-change a fee here
20 or there or ten square feet on a house, and those $10
21 bills add up rapidly. So we're projecting that if we do
22 fee training again that we will collect the fees that are
23 actually due out there and not charge any that aren't, of
24 course. But we think we can have a rather dramatic
25 turn-around quickly on that by just providing that fee
2 I sent out an e-mail in morning actually to the
3 regions, and we're going to be starting that the middle of
4 August, and I'm going to make sure that we get it out to
5 all the offices by mid-September. So hopefully by October
6 we're going to start seeing a little boost from that
8 MR. WOODS: I think that's a good point. Not only
9 for our counter staff, but the inspector who goes there to
10 identify, does this reflect the right permit for this job.
11 And our estimate is somewhat conservative. In the
12 past it's been a bigger increase. But we're just trying
13 to keep it at a level we think is doable.
14 The next is the elimination of the five percent fee.
15 That timing will kick in January 1st I believe, Ron, is
16 when that will occur according to the rules process
17 because we have to go through that. And then looking at
18 adding a fee increase, which would be the normal growth
19 factor increase, that will also bring in an estimated
20 $52,000 per month.
21 We're also looking, as I mentioned, strict management
22 of our program budget. We're holding three new positions
23 vacant. We were given four new positions by the
24 legislature. Two in plan review, two inspectors. Our
25 plan review is behind as a result of delays in plan
1 review, meaning the jobs can't move forward. We're trying
2 to make sure that that proceeds not only with that one
3 FTE, but also process improvements and, as mentioned,
4 increase in permit purchasing compliance.
5 The fund balance forecast: What we're looking at if
6 all these things kick in, if we are successful in managing
7 the increase in revenue and the decreasing our
8 expenditures, we're looking at the fund balance in June of
9 '09 of approximately $8 million. That we feel will give
10 us a chance to look at this again -- we have projected it
11 out further -- if the economy doesn't improve -- and
12 that's taking in the stance that we don't see an uptake in
13 the economy and that our expenditures will -- or a further
14 downturn. So that's important.
15 Come next spring we're going to have a better idea of
16 where we are and if we need to take additional action.
17 The key meetings for us, we'll be giving you an
18 update in October, but the January 1st, the January
19 meeting will be an important one to get a true
20 understanding of where our expenditures are, where the
21 revenue is, and what the economy is -- what is happening
22 with the economy.
23 Options in the future that we don't like to see
24 because I like to make sure that when we have vacancies we
25 fill them quick because that's where we need to train our
1 inspectors and get them in and get that process working.
2 We're going to have to optimize the temporary inspectors.
3 And we've had a number of temporaries put on the last few
4 years, anticipating that this might happen. But again,
5 all of the regions have high workload both from the
6 compliance side and for the inspections.
7 One area that is downturn has not hit is the
8 commercial. And that continues to be demanding for our
9 inspection staff.
10 The next step is monthly reviews and updates to you
11 in October and January. Really what I'm looking for today
12 is to get your gauge on how low would you be willing to go
13 for that 50 percent. One of the things that folks have
14 said to me is "We wanted to keep the optimum level of the
15 cushion at 50 percent, which is $9 million." But that's
16 what we have a cushion for is to see how the economy
17 moves. And if it does get worse, we can begin to tighten
18 our grip on the reins. Would you like or would you be
19 willing to have the fund balance go down to $8 million? $7
20 million? $6.5 million? I'm kind of looking for that --
21 the wisdom of Solomon here. And it will take all of us
22 working together. But we intend to be ready should things
23 deteriorate to take action as appropriate.
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Patrick, going back a couple of
25 slides, there's spending is now tightly controlled. And
1 you anticipate a savings of $127,000 and change.
2 MR. WOODS: Right.
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: What steps are being taken to
4 reduce spending or tighten control of spending?
5 MR. WOODS: I've got an idea, but Ron has been
6 working this very tightly. He watches every item for
7 purchasing, for equipment, for services, travel. He's on
8 top of every aspect.
9 But Ron, could you kind of elaborate on that?
10 SECRETARY FULLER: I think that's the gist of it is
11 that we just watch what we're spending money for.
12 For instance, last year we did step up and strongly
13 support the SEDS project, the computer project that's
14 happened. And when you look at these charts you see that
15 big dip in October where we spent $1.7 million for the
16 computer project. They billed us up-front, which in
17 hindsight I like rather than spacing it out because then
18 we knew where we were at.
19 But it's -- you know, we're being more careful about
20 where we invest our money.
21 I would be very against supporting a project like
22 that right now because the fund balance is potentially at
23 risk right now. And we don't have the revenue.
24 Last year it was a good decision because when we made
25 that decision January of 2007 we were in good shape. The
1 revenue was rolling in, and the economy was looking great.
2 It shifted overnight pretty much, last summer. And
3 different decisions today.
4 So I think that's the main thing. Just watch what
5 we're doing. If we do things like what Patrick was
6 saying, if we hold these three positions. I mean, we have
7 the allotment. Theoretically we could fill those
8 positions. But that would cost us another $25,000 a
9 month. And that wouldn't be a wise decision.
10 Bringing on the plan reviewer is a good decision
11 because the plan review workload, as I said this morning,
12 is one piece of our activity that's not controlled by us;
13 it's inspection related. And it has grown this year.
14 Even with the economy going down, plan review workload has
15 grown significantly. So we want to bring that person on
16 and deal with that. Because if we don't, then it's going
17 to affect business and construction industry. You can't
18 hold work up because we don't want to spend the money in
19 plan review.
20 So we're going to bite the bullet on that one. That
21 one position is going to cost us about $7,000 a month that
22 we haven't been paying up till now. So I think those
23 little small decisions add up.
24 When you look at the "What we're doing now" slide
25 that's in there, it's five percent for fee training, and
1 it's five percent for fee reduction being gone. So those
2 small percentage points that add up to fairly significant
3 dollars pretty quickly.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Another question. Are all fees
5 controlled by the legislature? And the one fee I have in
6 question is the appeal of a citation. The appeal process
7 is very important, but it's a $200 deposit. And the work
8 that goes into putting that material together, getting it
9 out to everybody, and then not have the appellant show up,
10 well, it's frustrating because we read the materials. You
11 know, that is a tremendous expense. And in the years that
12 I've sat here, I don't know how much money has gone into
13 the recycle bin.
14 SECRETARY FULLER: The appeal fees are set in
15 statute, so we have no control over that. In reality, we
16 don't really lose money on appeals because very few of
17 them get to your level. I understand reading these
18 packets, though, believe me, because they -- we have four
19 or five inches there today.
20 I've got people looking into this right now, but I'm
21 going to say out of about 500 appeals in the last 12
22 months we've only lost about three. So we get the $200
23 plus the penalties every time.
24 This hearing appeal that you just heard, that one
25 citation is actually the first citation that we've lost at
1 the Board in 15 months now. We went 12 months of being
2 affirmed at the Board on every appeal that came here.
3 So when we appeal -- when they appeal, it may not be
4 valid. But when we appeal, it's usually validated. Very
5 rarely we're overturned.
6 So the only thing that we're not -- that we haven't
7 dealt with, appropriate or not, was some of the logic that
8 I heard at the last appeal there. Maybe we should raise
9 the penalties for contracting without a license. Because
10 one of the reasons that penalty is as low as it is is
11 because we've historically cited people for all four
12 items. Because that's part of the decision-making
13 process. And if I was told not to write no permit
14 anymore, I would strongly propose raising the contractor
15 violation significantly. Because that's part of the
16 business decision, and the penalties are based on changing
17 business decisions.
18 But I think we've got -- what Patrick's laid out and
19 what we've been working on internally is about all we can
20 do right now other than to watch and wait on the economy.
21 You read all the newspapers and articles and the news,
22 they're all I guess in their optimistic eyes saying next
23 spring things will turn around. And if it does, then
24 we're going to be in good shape.
25 What we're getting hit by is the residential market.
1 Residential permit fees are down about 30 percent over
2 what they were a year ago, which falls pretty much in line
3 with what I've heard on the news about the entire
4 residential market. 39 percent down the last time I heard
5 that number on the news. If they can straighten out the
6 lending issues, get those people back to loaning money
7 again, houses will start going back up in price, people
8 will start building them. But we really don't have much
9 control over that.
10 Just collecting the fees I think is going to make a
11 huge difference. I actually think it's going to be a much
12 higher percentage. But we were very conservative I think
13 on this five percent that Patrick said. I think we can do
14 better than that. I think there's more fees out there
15 that we're not collecting right now.
16 It's somewhat like citations. Inspectors don't like
17 to walk up to someone and say, "You owe me $5." But if
18 it's $5 per inspector per day, that's $750 a day. And you
19 do that over a month, two months, three months, it's
20 significant dollars.
21 And what we found back in 2000 was it was not $5 that
22 was missing; it was $50, $100, $200 sometimes. And the
23 revenue really adds up when you get them motivated to do
24 their job. I mean, I'm not saying that they're not doing
25 their job. But it's easy to walk by those when you don't
1 need it. If you were homeless and had no job, you would
2 not walk by a penny in the parking lot. But if you had a
3 good job, you may not bend over. That's where we're at.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Virgil had a question.
5 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: I was just going to make a
6 suggestion that instead of putting a threshold at a
7 certain dollar figure, that we put a threshold at months
8 of reserves for operating capital. You know, as
9 previously discussed we were kind of aiming for six months
10 operating budget. As the projected expenditures and
11 income is adjusted, then, you know, your calculation for
12 your reserves change the minute that you change that
13 calculation. So I would just go for that. And I would
14 suggest no less than four months reserves before we start
15 making adjustments.
16 MR. WOODS: Well, that would give us more
17 flexibility. And that's something --
18 SECRETARY FULLER: The discussion that we've never
19 had at the Board since I've been in central office for ten
20 years is we've always had the discussion about where the
21 normal day is, the 50 percent in the fund compared to
22 expenditures. That's where we're at today. But our
23 question really is -- that we've never asked because we
24 haven't needed to -- is how low do we let the rainy day
25 fund get to? And in my mind, I think you're probably very
1 accurate. Is it three or four months -- three months
2 minimum probably. That would really be stretching it in
3 my mind. Because this economy has shown that we can lose
4 $300,000 a month real quick like.
5 9/11 did the same thing. When that happened, the
6 fund went down I think $3 million in six months. But we
7 rapidly recovered from that. That was a different -- as
8 soon as they loosened up transportation, things slowly
9 turned around again. But this is a little bit tougher to
10 recover from than 9/11 was actually.
11 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: David had a question.
12 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: Just one quick question.
13 If we do set this minimum threshold and we hit it or even
14 dip below it, then what happens?
15 MR. WOODS: Then we'll come back to you with a series
16 of options that we're going to need your investment and
17 time and energy to decide what is the right thing to do.
18 If you look at the back page here, hold vacancies,
19 now, that's something -- when a region gets those
20 vacancies, that's inspections per day. So we'd have to
21 look at that. We may have -- you know, retirements may
22 occur. There may be folks going on to different jobs.
23 That's something we'd look at. But we'll need to also
24 work with our union to make sure that we're doing things
25 for the inspectors that makes sense so that it is a
1 transition that works.
2 Optimize the use of temporary inspectors. We do that
3 to some degree already. But this would -- perhaps when we
4 have positions, look at making them temporary so that we
5 can put folks on in a busy time and not have them during
6 the slow months.
7 The other thing is the additional fees. I mean, if
8 you look at our fees -- and that's why I'm very protective
9 of our inspectors is we've invested so much time and
10 energy to make them what I think are the best across any
11 of the states -- our fees are still quite a bit below
12 local municipalities.
13 And that's one of the things that we do. I mean,
14 we've worked with a number of cities to say that we will
15 help them with inspections so that we won't lose that
16 services that we deliver that make it easier for the
17 contractor going from one area to the next, working with
18 us closely, providing training. So we could look at fee
20 I hate to bring up inspector fee increases to that
21 level because then it gets everybody worked up. But it's
22 something that we could come back to you and say, What is
23 the best decision? What's the best balance? Keep some
24 vacancies in place and increase by three percent? five
25 percent? What's that right level that you would feel
1 makes sense? Because I think our services that we're
2 delivering when we're doing our surveys -- and Ron's done
3 these for the last couple of years -- the contractor
4 community, they like the services we're giving them. And
5 I want to make sure that is maintained because that's a
6 key kind of litmus test for the program.
7 SECRETARY FULLER: And I think once we have an
8 indicator of where you want the bottom to be, we're not
9 going to be even waiting that long. Because -- I know
10 Patrick and I are both nervous enough about things like
11 this that we're going to be back in here and having
12 internal discussions and trying to plan ahead before --
13 we're not going to wait till we get to two, three or four
14 months or whatever the magic number is before we do
15 something. By then it's too late. You don't want to --
16 you want to be at the bottom of your dip at that point,
17 not fixing it.
18 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: That was a concern that I had.
19 We would need a heads-up from you guys as to what we need
20 to do and how much legislation action do we have to do
21 because that takes time as you all know all too well.
22 Another concern I have, being a union person, I'm
23 opposed to laying off employees. I'm concerned about
24 holding open positions, but I also understand the peak and
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Don, you're going to have to
2 speak up please.
3 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Oh, okay.
4 I also understand the peak and low side of it. And
5 looking back at what we've done, even if we went back to
6 2001, that would be a $7,800,000 threshold. If that would
7 help you guys out, I'm all for going that far back.
8 SECRETARY FULLER: Well, what you have to remember,
9 though, is that we have added staff since then. So our
10 expenditures have gone -- I want to say when I first
11 started we were at $14 million a biennium in 2000. Now
12 we're up to $22- or so because of extra staffing. We've
13 been quite successful selling our product and getting
14 support for what we've been wanting to do, whether it's
15 compliance or getting inspections done quicker. So
16 expenditures are up significantly.
17 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: The fees should be addressed I
19 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Tracy.
20 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I just want to weigh in here.
21 I for one sort of echo Virgil's comments. You know,
22 knowing Joe Devish, I don't really want to be, you know,
23 somebody that -- how much time he was here, I would always
24 defer to his wisdom and expertise and having a six-month
25 operating budget.
1 But I also think potentially since we're having this
2 sort of a comprehensive discussion about, you know, this
3 being maybe the first time since 2000 that the Board is
4 really delving into these issues, I think it would be
5 helpful perhaps -- I know that we get the budget report,
6 but I think it might be helpful if we're going to have
7 this very thorough discussion of finances and a thorough
8 discussion of where we want the plan fund to remain at and
9 what all the other factors are, I think it would be
10 helpful for us as Board members to see a fourth-quarter,
11 you know, budget comparison, a year-end budget comparison.
12 And also I don't know exactly how the budget is drafted.
13 I mean, I have some experience with much smaller budgets.
14 But maybe I would certainly for one as a Board member
15 appreciate some education on how that budget is developed
16 and how it's, you know, some historical perspective on
17 that so that we can see where we've grown over time and
18 where cutbacks have had to happen in the past and get a
19 better -- you know, so people feel we have a more
20 comprehensive discussion about that.
21 MR. WOODS: Absolutely.
22 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: So I for one would love to
23 see, you know, a 2008 fourth quarter budget report, a
24 year-end budget report for the fiscal year. Is that what
25 we're talking -- fiscal year runs --
1 SECRETARY FULLER: Fiscal year ended June 30th. So
2 you're actually seeing a year-end report here. It's two
3 months old.
4 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Okay. And then -- so that
5 budgetary information so we can sort of understand what's
7 And then, Patrick, for you, I'm wondering what your
8 department's going to do to address this downturn. What
9 is your department going to offer?
10 MR. WOODS: Well, I think that's -- we are part of
11 that cutback. We constantly look at ways to reduce the
12 costs. Really it's across the board.
13 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: No, and I appreciate that.
14 MR. WOODS: Every program is looking at, you know,
15 what are the key factors that we can have savings on. So
16 every area is open to scrutiny and savings.
17 And actually we'd be delighted to have Tracy get a
18 little more involved with us. If you'd like to get
19 involved in the budget, I'd love to have that.
20 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Sure, absolutely.
21 MR. WOODS: The more involvement, the better.
22 Because it's a tough arena.
23 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Be careful what you ask for,
25 MR. WOODS: But that's the beauty of transparency.
1 You could come in and look at it, and when you see the
2 amount of work that gets done and the importance of each
3 of the programs and --
4 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Oh, no, it's a great program.
5 I'm not being -- make no mistake. I'm a huge proponent of
6 what we're doing. And I'm glad that right now we're
7 looking at holding vacancies rather than layoffs or
8 cutting staff. I strongly believe in what we're doing
9 here. I'm not alleging that there's any --
10 SECRETARY FULLER: Let me clarify that, though.
11 We're not looking at holding vacancies right now in the
12 current staff. We're only looking at holding back those
13 three that were added July 1st.
14 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Absolutely. No, that was the
15 intent of my statement.
16 SECRETARY FULLER: So we're not -- we're going to
17 keep continue filling our vacancies as they occur in the
18 field. If we don't do that, our response time in
19 compliance will go down.
20 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I agree 100 percent.
21 SECRETARY FULLER: If work keeps slowing down, one of
22 the advantages that we always have in our pocket is that
23 compliance will go up because the inspectors will have
24 more time. And when compliance goes up, people buy
25 permits that they haven't been buying. So it just works
1 hand and hand usually to create revenue, create permits
2 because we're able to find those violators.
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Virgil, did you have another
5 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: Yeah, I would agree with that
6 100 percent. And I would just like to say, you know, if
7 you look back 20 years at the level of customer service to
8 what we have for customer service today, I think that
9 customers, which is all of us, would absolutely say we'd
10 rather pay a little more fees than we would like to see a
11 whole bunch of resources spent on figuring out how to cut
12 little bits and pieces out of it and not have the customer
13 service level that we have now. We can always reduce the
14 fees later on when the economy comes back and we have more
15 money. But I don't think anybody would argue that a
16 little more fees would be more appropriate than dropping
17 the level of customer service.
18 MR. WOODS: I agree with you, Virgil. But my
19 experience with the electrical program, when the services
20 begin to falter -- and that's one of the reasons it has a
21 two-day in the statute. Very few programs have that.
22 Because when the services begin to falter, people get
23 dissatisfied, you've got a job, people calling saying,
24 "Look, I've got 20 people here and you're slowing down a
25 whole operation," that gets folks very energized. And I
1 want to make sure that -- you know, people can deal with a
2 five percent fee increase to some degree. And there's a
3 stage where they go, "No, I can't take that." But what
4 they can't deal with, and I -- folks coming to me and say,
5 "Look, I can deal with fees" -- we had a elevator fee,
6 went up by 40 percent. Industry came in and requested it
7 because they said, "Look, I can deal with the fee. You're
8 way below everybody else. But what I can't deal with is
9 when you can't get somebody there. And I've got a
10 30-story building that I can't open because I can't put
11 the elevator into service. That's what I can't handle."
12 And that's the type of thing we want to make sure
13 we're doing everything we can to keep you running
14 smoothly. And I think it's an awfully good deal. But
15 it's those types of things. If you begin to chip away at
16 some of the infrastructure, the e-permitting doesn't
17 happen. All those things that we've invested a lot of
18 time and energy never really get done. And now we have
19 60, 70 percent of our permits that are done over the
20 computer. That's something a lot of state agencies don't
21 have and a lot of local governments don't have. I want to
22 see us at the forefront of those things and make it more
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Part of the discussion today is
25 what to set the fund at. Six months? Four months? Three
1 months? Seven months? I come from the Joe Devish school.
2 I still think that we should hold it at that six months.
3 We see the downturn, but our downturn is relatively
4 slow at this point. You know, we haven't had a major drop
5 as we did back in 2001 because of one single disaster.
6 But it's not easy to recover at times. And if that
7 downturn continues and escalates, it would be very
8 difficult. You don't turn things tomorrow. Then it would
9 take one more issue like a 9/11 disaster. And if we're
10 down to three months, you can't recover.
11 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: And I want to say -- I
12 appreciate all your work on this, by the way. It's very
13 easy to understand in plain language so that we know where
14 we stand. I appreciate it.
15 On looking at the fund balance forecast, I want
16 everybody to note a couple things on there.
17 Number one, as they said, it's really almost a
18 worst-case scenario. This analysis assumes that, you
19 know, construction is not going to pick up next year.
20 This is not projecting that. It's really worst case.
21 Also that bottom line is not zero. It's half a million.
22 So, you know, yes, I think we need to be careful. We
23 need to be cautious. We're responsible for this fund.
24 I agree with Gloria. I would like us to maintain it
25 at six months. And that needs to be our consistent target
1 all the time. But there's only so much we have control
2 over too, and we have to understand that we have a little
3 bit of variability here because these things happen.
4 That's why the fund balance was kept where it is. So I
5 would like to -- I think that I don't want to see us go
6 below four months as, you know, the bottom, bottom,
7 bottom. But that's my opinion.
8 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: How about a target at six?
9 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Absolutely. The target needs
10 to stay at six.
11 SECRETARY FULLER: I mean, we're really talking about
12 what do you want your savings account maximum to be and
13 what do you want the minimum to be?
14 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Yeah.
15 SECRETARY FULLER: A minimum daily balance. That's
16 what we're curious about because we haven't had that
18 In our eyes when we've talked, it's been between
19 three and four months. So three and we both -- I think we
20 can both say we're in a dire situation if we're at three.
21 MR. WOODS: The direction I'm hearing from you is
22 four. So --
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: That is the basement. But we
24 should target at six.
25 MR. WOODS: Absolutely.
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: That's where we should keep our
3 Let me interrupt you for a moment. Is this Krista?
4 MR. WOODS: This is Trista Zugal (phonetic) who is
5 the brains trust of our operation.
6 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Sorry that we didn't introduce
7 you to the Board earlier.
8 MR. WOODS: Trista's the information manager for --
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: She makes Patrick and Ron look
10 good as far as numbers are concerned.
11 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: She did a great job putting
12 this together.
13 SECRETARY FULLER: She does a good job of digging out
14 when I bury her with things.
15 MR. WOODS: The other thing, Madam Chair, I just
16 wanted to emphasize getting the message out that, you
17 know, we are looking at revenue, that we're trying to make
18 sure that fund is at the right balance and not build this
19 colossal fund. Because that comes to me time and time and
20 time again. People think that we're just taking all this
21 money and putting it into the general fund. And I'm
22 trying to reassure them that's why we did the five percent
23 reduction, that's why we're making sure that it doesn't
24 get too high. So keeping that message going forward.
25 We're just trying to make sure it's a balance and not
1 build a large fund larger than we need.
2 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Background to that is: The
3 legislature how many years ago, how much money did they
5 SECRETARY FULLER: It was three years, $4 million.
6 Only because they didn't know we had an extra couple
7 million in before they got through their session. So it
8 could have been $7- really easily.
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: So there's a balance to make
10 sure we have operating revenue and --
11 MR. WOODS: And we don't look too good.
12 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: All right. Anybody else have
13 any questions?
14 And I understand Tracy volunteered to work on the
15 budget today.
16 MR. WOODS: I look forward to that.
17 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Absolutely.
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: That's in the minutes now.
19 MR. WOODS: Thank you, Madam Chair.
20 Any other questions or issues?
21 THE REPORTER: Shall we go off the record while I
22 change paper again?
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Yes. You want to just take a
24 ten-minute break or just take a short break?
25 THE REPORTER: A break would be great. The longer I
1 go, the more breaks I need. So this would be a great
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Okay, ten minutes. 3:00.
5 (Recess taken.)
7 Item 9.c. William Bair
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Okay, the next agenda item that
10 we're going to take is the appeal of suspension of
11 Mr. Bair. Is Mr. Bair in the audience? a representative?
12 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Are you representing Mr. Bair?
13 MR. CAWLEY: Not I.
14 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: I had
15 Mr. Cawley come up first and sit next to me because he has
16 very patiently waited much of the day, and I'm very
17 grateful to him for appearing in person.
18 So with that, I will say, again, Madam Chair, member
19 of the Board, this is the appeal of the suspension of
20 William Bair's, his general master electrician
21 certificate. Because the Board members always read them,
22 I know you've read the packets.
23 The issue here is that it was discovered when an
24 inspection was called for for a permit taken under the
25 name of Willco -- W-I-L-L-C-O -- Electric, Willco Electric
1 knew nothing about the work.
2 So I am going to start by calling Mr. Willis Cawley,
3 Junior, who is the owner of Willco Electric as the first
8 Whereupon, WILLIS A. CAWLEY, JUNIOR, having been
9 first duly sworn by the court reporter/Notary, testified
10 as follows:
13 BY MS. MORTINSON:
14 Q All right, Mr. Cawley, there's the microphone.
15 I would like you to just state your name and
16 spell your last name for the record please.
17 A Willis A. Cawley, Junior. C-A-W-L-E-Y.
18 Q And you are the owner of the business?
19 A Yes.
20 Q All right. What business do you own?
21 A Willco Electric.
22 Q And you are an electrical contractor?
23 A Yes.
24 Q All right. Now, how did you find out that there was
25 a problem with a permit taken out in the name of your
2 A I first discovered it on the Internet when we first
3 changed over to Internet permits as a --
5 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Excuse me, Mr. Cawley. You may
6 have to speak up.
7 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Thank you.
9 A I first discovered there was a permit taken out on
10 the Internet through the Internet permit program. It
11 was a correction notice for a permit -- for a
12 business called Sihn Dau I knew nothing about. And
13 checking into it I found out it was -- I didn't buy a
15 Q Okay. And where is your business located?
16 A In Yakima, Washington.
17 Q And do you recall where the work was done for Sihn
19 A It was --
20 Q Just generally. I don't expect you to know --
21 A In Seattle.
22 Q All right. And do you do any work over in Western
23 Washington? Does Willco Electric do any work here?
24 A Up to that time, I had done none. I've done one job
25 since then.
1 Q All right. Okay. And then what did you do after you
2 discovered this discrepancy on the Internet about
3 this permit and corrections?
4 A I called the local L & I office and asked about it
5 and was referred to other people at L & I.
6 Q Now, I would like to show you what's been marked in
7 the Board's packet at page 12, and this I will
8 identify for the record is an electrical work permit
9 application taken out handwritten for Willco
10 Electric. And really the only other question I have
11 for you, Mr. Cawley, is: Is that your signature at
12 the bottom?
13 A No, that is not.
14 Q And those aren't your phone numbers either, are
16 A No. I've never seen the phone numbers before this
18 Q All right. And then just finally, what happened
19 after you spoke with the folks at the Department of
20 Labor and Industries?
21 A They took a statement, an affidavit. I had to fill
22 out paperwork stating that I did not purchase this
23 permit. And things have proceeded from there.
24 Q Thank you.
1 SECRETARY FULLER: Excuse me, can you speak up a
2 little bit? Because some of the Board is struggling to
3 hear you.
4 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: It's hard to hear you.
5 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Thank you.
6 That's all the questions I have of Mr. Cawley.
7 Oh, no, I'm sorry. One other.
9 BY MS. MORTINSON: (Continuing)
10 Q Mr. Cawley, just for the record, let me identify your
11 signature. Let's turn to what's been marked page 14
12 in the Board's electrical appeal packet. Do you
13 recognize that signature?
14 A Yes.
15 Q Is that yours?
16 A That's my signature.
18 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Thank you.
19 Now I have no further questions of Mr. Cawley.
20 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you.
21 Do the Board members have any questions? Are the
22 Board members ready to make a motion?
23 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: I was going to
24 present a little testimony of Inspector Jordan, however --
25 SECRETARY FULLER: May not be necessary.
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Am I trying to push this along?
2 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: You know, I'm
3 hearing the same thing. I am prepared to present the
4 testimony of Inspector Jordan, but I hear a couple members
5 say "I don't know if it's necessary." If you've read the
6 packet, if you want anything from Inspector Jordan. If
7 not, believe me, the Department's happy to say -- to ask
8 that you suspend William Bair's general master electrician
9 license for a period of two years, as was noted in
10 Mr. Fuller's letter of April 25, 2008. And I'm happy to
11 leave it at that.
15 BOARD MEMBER (D.S.) BOWMAN: So moved.
16 BOARD MEMBER BELISLE: Second.
17 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: All those in favor?
18 THE BOARD: Aye.
19 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Opposed? So moved.
21 Motion Carried
23 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Thank you.
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Mr. Cawley, thank you. And I
25 hope you found your day somewhat interesting.
1 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I only have one concern. I
2 certainly -- not in the action that we just taken, but the
3 concern that I do have is Mr. Bair was also a contractor.
4 And, you know, my concern is what -- what I think has
5 transpired through action is completely egregious to sign
6 the signature of somebody else just to seek a work permit.
7 It's absolutely beyond the realm of anything. You know, I
8 would hope that this never happens again, right? But I'm
9 wondering if there's more that we should do besides in
10 addition to suspending the master certificate because of
11 the egregious nature of the act in my opinion.
12 You know, I'm sort of looking for comments from the
13 Board if there's something else. I know that's not what
14 the Department's asking for. But I read this, and I was
16 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Well -- and Mr. Cawley, this is
17 a question to you. Are you taking any legal action
18 against Mr. Bair?
19 MR. CAWLEY: I had planned to, yes, after the minutes
20 -- I get the record of this meeting and -- I'd like to. I
21 don't know how far it's going to go.
22 SECRETARY FULLER: This actually isn't the first of
23 these. This is just the first one you've heard. It's not
24 common, but it's not uncommon either. We have one or two
25 of these at least a year that we find.
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: What parameters does the
2 Department have to work in with a case like this? I mean,
3 as you say, his master's is now revoked for a period of
4 two years. But he can hire --
5 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Can he go get his
6 administrator's now?
7 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Can he hire an administrator --
8 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I think he can go get an
9 administrator unless there's a judgement against him that
10 he doesn't -- unless the suspension is a judgement against
11 him, he can go and sit for the administrator's test?
12 SECRETARY FULLER: That's true.
13 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: See, that's my -- that's the
14 concern that I have.
15 SECRETARY FULLER: But he wouldn't be able to work.
16 He can't get an electrician's certificate, but he could
17 get an administrator's. That's one of the loopholes in
18 the law.
19 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Get an administrator's license
20 for himself or hire an administrator.
21 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Yeah.
22 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: I believe the
23 Board if it wished -- and perhaps Pam could listen and
24 correct me if I'm wrong -- I know the Department asked for
25 suspension. I'm not certain there's any reason the Board
1 couldn't just plain revoke his master electrician's
2 certificate. I don't know if Pam wants to take a look at
3 that for a minute and see if the Board has the authority.
4 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: That came up earlier, wasn't it,
5 for a period of --
6 SECRETARY FULLER: It's still a two-year period. I
7 mean, in reality, for us suspensions and revocations
8 aren't all that different. The suspensions in some ways
9 have more effect than a revocation.
10 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL REULAND: Shelley, is your
11 question whether the Board had the authority to modify the
12 recommended sanctions of the Department?
13 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Yes, I believe
14 that is my question, Pam.
15 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL REULAND: Is that what
16 you're asking also? I don't know the answer to that
18 My question was: Why did the Department decide to
19 suspend versus revoke? I don't know that.
20 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Well, and what
21 Mr. Fuller has said I think Pam addressed earlier is that
22 a revocation is a revocation. It's not -- you can reapply
23 for two years, but it doesn't mean that you're going to be
24 given the license back.
25 BOARD MEMBER PHILLIPS: But you can go beyond what
1 the penalty in the WAC is, though. We can't make up our
2 own penalty schedule. We can go less than that, but I
3 don't think you can exceed it.
4 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Maybe wishful
5 thinking on my part. So perhaps it's best to stick with
6 the suspension.
7 It's just that I might add, Tracy, that I believe
8 also this is one of the more egregious offenses that I've
9 argued on behalf of the Department.
10 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I just would hate to see the
11 loophole exercised and something of this magnitude occur
12 again. And if so, we will be here to address the
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Well, that brings up a question.
15 If we wanted to plug this loophole, so to speak, can that
16 be done by WAC rule or does that have to be done through
17 the legislature?
18 SECRETARY FULLER: Legislature.
19 And I'm going to I guess disagree with Shelley here.
20 I don't think that the Board probably has authority to.
21 You're here to hear the appeal of what I -- my decision,
22 and that's that. In this case I don't think you can
23 change that because this isn't an appeal of a monetary
24 penalty like you normally hear.
25 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Yeah, I
1 suspect Mr. Fuller is right, and I suspect that was
2 wishful thinking on my part quite honestly because --
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Many of these things that you
4 would like to --
5 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Yeah, I
6 believe Mr. Fuller is absolutely right. I believe it's
7 wishful thinking. Because, again, as I said, this is one
8 of the more egregious actions that I've argued on behalf
9 of the Department as an AAG.
10 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Don.
11 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Well, I'd just like to say
12 this: We had a case earlier where the employer was held
13 responsible, and we -- basically the employer was held
14 responsible. I'm seeing that this man here, you know,
15 in a far reach could have been held responsible, and
16 that's ludicrous. So what I'm saying is that if it does
17 get to the legislator level, I'm more than willing to
19 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Don, I thought maybe you were
20 going to bring up the fact that you were willing to go
21 break his kneecaps.
22 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: That's off the record.
23 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: Off the record, no, we don't
24 do that anymore. But we know where the kids go to school.
1 Item 9.d. Robert Foster
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you. And I understand
4 that the appeal of Robert Foster was resolved. Just out
5 of curiosity, what was the decision or --
6 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Yes. We
7 settled with Robert Foster and J.R. Electric, we settled
8 the appeal. Were you asking for the terms?
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Uh-huh, please.
10 ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL MORTINSON: Three years
11 probation. Any code violation, the suspensions are
12 immediately reinstated.
13 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Thank you.
14 Virgil, you have a question or a comment?
15 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: I just wanted to know which
16 packets I need to hold on to for future use. Is this one
17 still --
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: He's October.
20 Item 7. Departmental/Legislative Update
22 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: The final agenda item, with the
23 exception of legislative update, which Patrick did not
24 give us that information, but the legislature is not in
25 session at this time.
1 SECRETARY FULLER: There really is no update for
2 "leg" because we have no packages going forward.
3 The only thing that's on the horizon is there is a
4 legislative task force on the underground economy that's
5 in place, and they're studying how to deal with the
6 underground matter.
7 And the HVAC -- I think we've talked about this one
8 already -- is there's a study group on that also. They're
9 supposed to be finished with whatever work they're doing
10 by session. But I'm not really involved in that. Tracy
11 is, though. She's monitoring.
12 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I sit on that task force, and
13 the next meeting is scheduled for October 2nd.
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: So we can have a report at the
15 October 30 meeting.
16 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Correct.
18 Item 5. Texas Reciprocity Update
20 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Texas Reciprocity.
21 SECRETARY FULLER: Well, you have a report before
22 you. I worked diligently to do a whole lot of pages for
23 you -- 75 pages.
24 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: The Paper Reduction Act.
25 SECRETARY FULLER: Paper Reduction Act.
1 I did receive a letter from Cindy Austin and Dave
2 Howson and then had a subsequent e-mail from Mr. Luce.
3 And what he sent me basically was a copy of part of the
4 web site from Texas' web site on violators and how they
5 were being dealt with, which didn't make a whole lot of
6 sense to me because it showed that they were actually
7 taking pretty harsh actions with people that violate.
8 When you went in and looked, they actually had sent some
9 people to jail for violations that we fine people $250 or
10 $500 for. In that regard, I think they're acting like
11 most of the states that we're reciprocal with in that they
12 take a very harsh action once things come to their
13 attention, where we're more proactive up-front with
14 compliance and inspections and job site visits and those
15 things. They had pages and pages of violators that they
16 had punished significantly. As I remember, their
17 contractor licensing law, for instance, the first offense
18 was $1,000. And we're at $500. So their penalties were
19 substantially higher than ours for similar violations.
20 The letter from Ms. Howson and -- or Mr. Austin --
21 Ms. Austin and Mr. Howson are in here. I put in the
22 things that the Board asked for and that they asked to be
23 included in the report: the Texas laws and rules. And
24 went through how reciprocity is granted in Washington.
25 The Department does have that ability I guess and
1 responsibility. Talked about the reciprocal states
3 And when I went back and actually dug out all of our
4 minutes and notes from previous meetings, what I did find,
5 and I said it in here, is that all the states except for
6 Minnesota actually have already approved Texas for
7 reciprocity, without question. And only Minnesota
8 rejected them. And they only rejected them not because of
9 their standards, but because they allow people to test in
10 advance. Similar to what we do with administrators.
11 Anyone can take an -- go take the administrator test and
12 then come in and we'll certify them. And they talked
13 about that during their presentations over the two or
14 three years that they've been coming to the reciprocal
15 meeting. And their reason for it was quite simple, and
16 actually it was pretty business efficient, in my eyes at
17 least, because it -- what it did was it let the person
18 once they did gain the OJT be able to qualify and get
19 their license right away. And Texas didn't have to do a
20 lot of the oversight, for instance, that we do. And I'm
21 not even going to call it oversight. It's not really
22 oversight; it's paper pushing to qualify someone for the
23 exam. Once they hit that certain threshold, you can go
24 take the test. And it's the same test that many of the
25 other reciprocal states use. It's presented by ICC, which
1 is a very common test administrator -- developer and
2 administrator. They monitor their results. They do have
3 a difference in supervision because their supervision laws
4 are that people will be supervised. They don't have a
5 ratio like we do. But some of the other states that we're
6 reciprocal with don't have the same exact laws either.
7 So I tried to say in here I think what reciprocity
8 really means to everyone that does reciprocals is that you
9 have similar characteristics but not identical. You're
10 never going to get two legislatures -- two different
11 states to match word for word.
12 That's why we don't have reciprocity with any
13 specialties. Because the specialty scopes of work are so
14 out of line with journeymen that it's impossible to do
15 reciprocals. Journeymen in every state are basically at
16 8,000 hours or apprenticeship, and a journeyman is able
17 and allowed to do any kind of work. So that's a pretty
18 general specialty. And that's why we can do reciprocities
19 on the general journeyman level but not on the specialty
21 So I stand by our decision to do reciprocity with
22 them. Granted, they're different. They don't have as
23 many inspections as we do, but neither does any other
24 state except Minnesota.
25 Montana has 12 inspectors. Wyoming has about 10 or
1 12. Alaska I think has two. But they all -- all the
2 states that do their methods that way are very harsh when
3 they have a violator. And they all hold their master
4 electricians to much higher standards. And they hold
5 their contractors to much higher standards than we do. In
6 most states, the master electrician has to be the owner.
7 It can't be a hired supervisor like we do. And when they
8 find violations after the fact, they're not hesitant to
9 pull licenses and put them out of business as an
10 electrician and a contractor at the same time. So it's
11 somewhat like field evaluations versus listing. It's
12 either up-front or after the fact. And I think we all
13 accomplish the same kinds of things; we just do it in
14 different ways.
15 You know, field evaluation looks very untrustworthy
16 to some people over listings. But in my eyes, field
17 evaluations are much stronger for a piece of equipment
18 because they look at every piece one on one and go through
19 it. Where listings, like the UL representative said this
20 morning, they look at the first one off the line and then
21 they spot check from then on. And that's what most states
22 do. We do more like a field evaluation. We look at
23 everything all the way along the line. So it's a
24 different process, but they accomplish the same kind of
1 I guess I'm just standing by our decision. I think
2 we made a good decision. We reciprocate out to Texas
3 about as many people as reciprocate in. It's not that
4 much different. And I think the reciprocity is
5 appropriate. And I think the other states that we're
6 reciprocal with agree with us because they all agreed to
7 bring Texas into the group. And they could very well
8 become members of the group this year.
9 And then if we decided to pull reciprocity right now
10 our individual with Texas, we would almost be forced to go
11 back and say, "No, you can't join the group." And then
12 we're at jeopardy with the group. So we could
13 theoretically wind up with no reciprocity. And I don't
14 think that's what anybody wants. I think reciprocity,
15 again, it means similar characteristics that accomplish
16 the same end. So that's where we're at.
17 There's a lot of paper in here. And a lot of it's
18 not too useful I think. But some of the things that you
19 asked for -- Texas has a letter in here from Jeff Hill
20 responding to -- I sent him a copy of the letter that
21 Austin and Howson sent. And he wrote a three-page
22 response back. And I think he lays out what they do
23 pretty well. I think they do take it quite seriously.
24 They just have a little bit different methods than we
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: On the sign-in sheet,
2 Mr. Chapman and Galusha had signed in, if you're still
4 And by now, you know we will ask you to state your
5 name and spell it.
6 MR. GALUSHA: That's right.
7 My name's Greg Galusha. And it's -- the last name is
8 G-A-L-U-S-H-A. And I want to thank the Board for hearing
9 our arguments.
10 I'm here today to speak against the Department's
11 current policy of allowing licensing reciprocity with
13 I was asked to review the report that the Chief
14 Electrical Inspector put together, and I looked at it, and
15 there's some concerns that I have and that we have as the
17 I work as the business development director for IBEW
18 Local 46. And as a representative of one of the largest
19 groups of stakeholders in the state of Washington, I'm
20 concerned with respect to the Department's current policy.
21 According to the Chief Electrical Inspector's report
22 on page 4, before granting reciprocity, the other states
23 requirements are evaluated as being equal. Further,
24 according to the Chief's report, equal does not mean the
1 The Department is looking to evaluate the other
2 states licensing statute with respect to the following
3 three categories: Number one is their equivalent
4 training. Number two is their equivalent supervision.
5 And number three is their equivalent enforcement.
6 If the other state is deemed by the Department as
7 being equal in these three categories, then the Department
8 may grant reciprocity. And I think it's the Department's
9 policy to bring it before the Electrical Board for
10 approval. And this requirement of being equal is spelled
11 out by the legislature in RCW 19.28.23.
12 I completely agree with the standards set forth in
13 the Chief's report for evaluating a candidate state for
14 reciprocity. However, I am baffled by how the state of
15 Texas was ever granted reciprocity under the Chief's/
16 inspector's stated guidelines.
17 The state of Texas licensing law does not rise to the
18 level of being equal in any of the three categories
19 outlined in the Chief's report. And so I'm going to go
20 through those three areas.
21 With respect to the first test, is the training
22 requirements in Texas equal to those in the state of
24 First of all, Washington state requires trainees to
25 receive eight hours of vocational training per year. The
1 state of Texas requires no vocational training for
2 apprentices or trainees.
3 Washington requires journeyman electricians to take
4 24 hours of continuing education every three years or
5 eight hours per year to maintain their state license.
6 Texas requires only four hours per year, half that of the
7 state of Washington.
8 And Washington -- this is probably the most important
9 point. Washington requires trainees to learn the trade
10 under the direct supervision of another qualified state
11 licensed journeyman electrician for at least 75 percent of
12 their on-the-job training. Texas has no such requirement.
13 In fact, in Texas, it would be legal for a trainee to work
14 his entire career learning from other trainees and never
15 actually even meet a licensed journeyman.
16 Washington requires a trainee to have at least 4,000
17 hours of commercial electrical experience on top of any
18 specialty training before he or she can take our state's
19 exam to become a journeyman electrician. The state of
20 Texas has no requirements. So in Texas, a person could
21 work his entire career performing residential work without
22 any journeyman supervision or vocational classes. And as
23 long as he can study and pass the state of Texas exam, he
24 can currently get a license to do commercial electrical
25 work installations in the state of Washington.
1 So with respect to the second test, does the state of
2 Texas require its trainees and apprentices to receive
3 equivalent supervision to that required by the state of
4 Washington? Well, as I've already stated, there is no
5 requirement for supervision in the state of Texas. There
6 is no journeyman/trainee ratio. So there effectively is
7 no requirement for supervision.
8 On page 59 of the Chief Electrical Inspector's report
9 under the category titled "Journeyman Supervision of
10 Apprentice Requirement," the state of Washington column is
11 filled in with 75 percent, and the state of Texas column
12 is filled in with the word "yes," implying that there's
13 some sort of requirement of trainee supervision.
14 However, that's misleading. The fact is there is no
15 such requirement. There does not -- there does appear to
16 be some vague reference to supervision by a master
17 electrician when an applicant applies to get his or her
18 Texas licensing; however, one master can apparently
19 supervise an unlimited number of trainees.
20 The fact is is that without a journeyman-to-trainee
21 ratio requirement, there is no possible way for the state
22 of Texas to claim that their trainees are being supervised
23 by anybody with an iota of qualification as an
25 Texas may hope that their supervision of trainees is
1 happening out in the field, but they have no way to assure
2 that it is.
3 Finally, with respect to the third test, does the
4 state of Texas have equivalent enforcement of their
5 standards as that of Washington?
6 There's just not that much to enforce in the state of
7 Texas when it comes to qualifying an applicant to take the
8 journeyman licensing exam. Essentially all that is
9 required is that the applicant show with whatever
10 documents that he or she can come up with that he or she
11 has worked for an electrical contractor for 8,000 hours
12 and that they can pass the exam. The 8,000 hours is
13 supposed to be under the supervision of a master
14 electrician; however, since there's no ratio requirement,
15 one master electrician can be employed by a company with
16 30 trainees, and all 30 would be able to legally claim
17 that they were working under the supervision of a master
19 If you were working for a company that had no master
20 electrician, you need not worry because you can still get
21 a journeyman license. You would then need to show with
22 whatever documentation you can round up that you have
23 worked for a period of 12,000 hours instead of the 8,000
24 hours and write a letter describing the credentials of
25 whoever it was that supervised you. If you cannot get any
1 of the above information, you can provide letters from
2 customers, copies of service orders or invoices or
3 anything else that you can come up with to document your
5 Texas' proof of our requirements fall far short of
6 the notarized affidavits of experience by a licensed
7 Washington state contractor that we use here in the state
8 of Washington.
9 All of the issues stated above regarding licenses
10 come from the Chief's report on page between 65 and 75.
11 As I mentioned earlier, I agree with the Chief
12 Electrical Inspector's statement contained in his report
13 that equal does not necessarily mean the same. However,
14 when evaluating two sets of standards as being equal where
15 one set may fall short in one area, it stands to reason
16 that it would have to exceed the standard in some other
17 area to be considered equal. It defies logic that one set
18 of standards can fall short in every area and still be
19 considered equal. And this is exactly the case when
20 comparing Washington state's standards to those of Texas.
21 Texas' electrical licensing law falls short in every
22 area that the Chief Electrical Inspector claims he uses to
23 evaluate whether or not the two standards are equal.
24 There is no area that Texas requirements exceed those of
25 our state. Therefore, granting reciprocity with the state
1 of Texas violates RCW 19.28.23.
2 And as a final thing, I have to admit that I'm
3 somewhat bothered by the implication in the letter from
4 Jeffrey R. Hill, the assistant general counsel for the
5 Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation contained in
6 the Chief Electrical Inspector's report.
7 If you read the letter, the implication is that the
8 IBEW has some nefarious motive for wanting to discontinue
9 our state's reciprocity with Texas. The fact is that
10 members of the IBEW in this state realize that the
11 electrical construction industry is one of the most
12 dangerous industries to work in that there is. Washington
13 state IBEW electricians consider training to be one of the
14 most important aspects of our job. We believe that
15 training our apprentices is crucial not only for the
16 safety of the public but also for the safety of fellow
17 electricians that will work side by side with these future
19 As I am sure the Board members know, one-on-one
20 journeyman-to-apprentice training is the cornerstone of
21 assuring a properly trained apprentice eventually becomes
22 a competent safe journeyman electrician. In fact, the
23 IBEW believes in the concept of the journeyman-to-
24 apprentice supervised training so much so that we have an
25 even stricter ratio than the journeyman to apprentice --
1 we have a stricter ratio on our journeyman than what the
2 state of Washington requires.
3 So to allow a resident of another state to obtain a
4 Washington state journeyman electrician's license without
5 having to meet the same standards as the residents of our
6 own state is a travesty. Not only is it dangerous for
7 those -- dangerous to those less qualified electricians or
8 for those of us who have to work around these less
9 qualified electricians, but it's also patently unfair to
10 the citizens of our state. It undermines and denigrates
11 the laws set forth by our state's legislature which were
12 designed to protect the citizens of this state, their
13 property and the electrical industry's workforce.
14 Yes, it is the IBEW that has raised the issue, but I
15 can assure you that the non-IBEW workforce wants to feel
16 secure and safe in their jobs as well.
17 And until recently, one thing that every electrician
18 working in the state of Washington could count on was that
19 the journeyman working next to him or her was trained by
20 another journeyman. That cannot be said for an
21 electrician reci -- recip -- reciprocity from the state of
23 Frankly, I believe this agreement with Texas is
24 illegal based on 19 -- or RCW 19.28.23. And I'm asking
25 the Electrical Board to go on record and vote to recommend
1 to the Chief Electrical Inspector that we discontinue our
2 reciprocity agreement with Texas effective immediately.
3 And I actually wrote all this out, so I can hand out
4 copies if you want.
5 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: You have quite a list there. Do
6 you have a copy that you can leave with Mr. Fuller at this
8 MR. GALUSHA: Yeah, I've got -- I can pass them --
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: A question. When you reviewed
10 the Texas versus the state of Washington, did you also
11 review some of the other states?
12 MR. GALUSHA: I did. And to be honest, I'm
13 uncomfortable with some of the other states that
14 reciprocate with Washington. Not every area. I mean, a
15 lot of the other states, you know, they're stronger in one
16 area and weaker in another. But the law says, the way I
17 understand it, that if the state that we wish to
18 reciprocate with has equal standards to ours or better,
19 then the Department's allowed to enter into a reciprocal
21 I can't find a single area in this Texas licensing
22 law that exceeds the standards set forth by our own
23 licensing law. Now, if we want to reduce the standards in
24 the state of Washington, then let's do it. But let's
25 don't allow the state of Texas to -- you know, citizens of
1 the state of Texas to obtain a Washington state license
2 under less standards than our own citizens. It makes no
3 sense to me that we allow that to happen.
4 And one of the reasons this come up is because
5 there's been a lot of non-union electricians coming from
6 the state of Texas who came down and joined our union.
7 And we have an open-door policy that if they have a
8 Washington state license, we let them in. And there's
9 been some -- they've struggled out on the job site. I
10 mean, because some of them have done residential their
11 whole career and have never bent a piece of conduit, and
12 we're putting them out to do these jobs. They're all good
13 people, by the way.
14 And I also want to point out that some -- I'm sure
15 there's some very qualified electricians from the state of
16 Texas. There are plenty of them. But there's no way to
17 evaluate which one is and which one isn't because their
18 state law doesn't look into it.
19 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Ron, can you respond to some of
20 these points?
21 SECRETARY FULLER: Well, I think I've said in my
22 piece pretty much already is that over the last three,
23 maybe four years, we've had the same conversation and more
24 questions and more questions from the reciprocal group,
25 and I think we've all evaluated them the same. And at
1 this point in time I think you've got all but one state
2 agreeing that they should be reciprocal.
3 And we didn't make this decision in a closed-door
4 setting. We didn't make it without bringing it to the
5 Board before. When we wrote this agreement, we brought it
6 to the Board for their feedback. And we didn't get the
7 pushback that we're getting now. We made the agreement.
8 And I think it's a valid agreement.
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Tracy.
10 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: If you'll allow, I've got --
11 I've got quite a substantial informational statement that
12 I'd like to make. So I don't know if you want me to start
13 now or if you want me to -- and the reason why I do is, as
14 you guys probably remember, at the last Board meeting when
15 Ms. Austin and Mr. Howson and Mr. Luce came, I got fairly
16 animated about the allegations of what was happening in
17 Texas. And consequently -- and I got very animated
18 because I carry a Washington state journeyman's license.
19 And we talked about that before. And I certainly believe
20 in the system that we have here and that you should be
21 supervised, you know, by a journeyman on a one-to-one
22 ratio in a commercial atmosphere. We certainly know that
23 the ratios are different in the specialty atmosphere.
24 So I personally invested a substantial amount of my
25 time not only pouring over the information that Ron
1 provided to us, but also -- I've been on this Board now
2 for three years, and so I actually went back through all
3 the transcripts and looked for discussions of Texas
5 And the first instance when this Board discussed
6 Texas -- reciprocal agreement with Texas was April 27th
7 of '06. And I actually have copies of the transcripts,
8 the portions. And it was a brief conversation. And Ron
9 talks about how, you know, there's a potential to become
10 reciprocal with Texas. I can read this verbatim if you
11 want to, or I will --
12 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Summarize it please.
13 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: -- paraphrase. And that
14 they're very interested in joining the group. They've got
15 about 100,000 electricians in their system already. And
16 that they would qualify on paper right now, but the group
17 was very cautious because they weren't sure if it was
18 really, you know, a good ol' boy handshake and a nod and
19 you get your license. That's from his comments. Or it
20 was a real certification system.
21 And bear in mind, their statute -- their law was
22 passed September 1st I believe 2003 with an effective date
23 of September 1, 2004. So this is less than two years
24 later, you know, we're talking about how the system is
25 potentially ineffectual.
1 The next time this Board talked about it was October
2 26, 2006. And the comments at that point in time was that
3 their neighbor states were concerned about their
4 certification and the process, and that there was more
5 than one state -- the implication in the comments that
6 there was more than one state that had a problem with
7 their certification. And again, I have these that I can
8 read if you guys want me to.
9 Then it was announced in the December 2006 Electrical
10 Currents newsletter that we had now entered into a
11 reciprocal relationship with Texas.
12 So there was never an official recommendation by this
13 Board nor was there in-depth discussion about licensing
14 requirements. It was never mentioned in here in our
15 discussions the tenure of certification, how long it had
16 been in place, and -- nor was there a recommendation from
17 this Board that I could find in the research that I did
18 that this Board actually weighed in on that.
19 And so then it was announced subsequently at the
20 January 25, 2007, Electrical Board meeting that the
21 reciprocity agreement had been signed and that we actually
22 had reciprocity with Texas. And that was how it was
23 announced to the Board.
24 And it was mentioned -- so in April of 2006 we have
25 significant concerns. The Chief has significant concerns
1 that it's a good ol' boys network. In October there's
2 still more than one state that has concerns. And then we
3 sign a reciprocity agreement in December and announce it
4 in October.
5 And again, I think it's interesting -- you know, for
6 me, I'm troubled by the lack of time frame to vet their
7 certification program.
8 If you're going to go from -- I know they have
9 municipal -- municipality certifications and you're going
10 to have 100,000 electricians in that group. Now you're
11 going to have one license statewide with grandfathering,
12 and we enter into a reciprocal relationship two years
13 later after that certification is put in place, you know,
14 I would personally have questions as to whether or not
15 they were up and running in a substantial and significant
17 Now, those concerns seem to be a little bit more --
18 seem to be bolstered by the fact that the gentleman from
19 Texas -- Mr. Hill, is that his name? -- who wrote the --
20 Mr. Hill states that when the license -- when the
21 certification was put in place, they had 30 overseers.
22 Okay? So 30 people within the department that were
23 administrating the statute and the associated rules. They
24 had 100,000 electricians in the system. Now they have, by
25 his own letter, they have 74 staff with the hopes of going
1 to 78. And the 100,000 electricians was from 2004. Okay?
2 So but still, let's say they have 100,000 electricians,
3 and they have 74 staff members. Contrast that, in the
4 state of Washington have 41,000 electricians and
5 contractors under the purview of the electrical
6 department. And we have somewhere between 190 and 200
7 staff members overseeing that.
8 So you have -- you know, in Washington you have less
9 than half of the number of people that you've got to
10 proctor, and you have almost three times the number of
11 folks to enforce the statute and the rules. Which I'm not
12 saying is burdensome. I'm saying I think we do a pretty
13 good job in this state.
14 And the other piece is there are components of this
15 statute that aren't even -- that of June 1st became in
16 effect. So this statute is still evolving.
17 If you read through it -- it's not very expansive,
18 but if you read through it, there are still -- you know,
19 recently we reached I think the last benchmark, June 1st,
20 which is where one of the certifications just came on
21 line, which troubles me. And I know we're not reciprocal
22 with specialties. But, you know, we struggled in this
23 state to implement the HVAC licenses 06A and 06B. And we
24 already had a significantly vetted program in place, you
25 know, let alone coming up out of the ground.
1 And, you know, Mr. Galusha made some of the same
2 concerns that I have.
3 But additionally in some of the other comments from
4 the transcripts, there's no inspection outside of the
5 municipalities, basically in the counties. Now, a vast
6 majority of the work is performed within the cities. But
7 there's -- basically nothing's happening in the counties.
8 Now, I certainly recognize and appreciate, you know,
9 the Chief's comments about, you know, if an infraction
10 does occur that the punishment is severe. Well, there's
11 no -- there's no schedule of punishment in here. There's
12 no -- you know, they talk about license revocation and
13 suspension, but there's no -- and apparently Ron made a
14 comment there must be another section in their statute
15 that talks about contractor financial penalties, but it's
16 not in here. I mean, there's no requirement for
17 inspection in here.
18 As Mr. Galusha said, there's no set ratio. Even by
19 Mr. Hill's letter, the ratio is set by the supervisors in
20 the field, the contractors. And certainly, you know,
21 there's going to be good contractors that recognize that
22 they're going to need, you know, a one-to-one ratio or,
23 you know, going to make sure that their apprentices and
24 their trainees are getting supervision. But as we all
25 well know there's going to be many of them out there that
1 don't. And if it's up to them to self-police, you know, I
2 just -- I think you're going to have a scenario like this
3 -- like Mr. Galusha said where you may or may not have any
4 supervision at all.
5 And there's two levels of supervision, as I
6 understand it in here. There's general supervision, which
7 is the responsibility of the master electrician, very much
8 like our administrator. And then there's on-site
9 supervision, which the only definition of which is it just
10 doesn't have to be constant. Nothing about, you know,
11 minimums. It just doesn't have to be constant.
12 And so when you don't have a -- and then furthermore,
13 when you don't have a ratio, how are you supposed to even
14 do any compliance? You know, in this state, if affidavits
15 of experiment -- experience are submitted to the
16 Department, and the number of hours on the affidavit are
17 excessive, then the Department will double-check with
18 Employment Security to make sure that those same number of
19 hours were reported to Employment Security so to make sure
20 that that individual's not reporting, you know,
21 exaggerating their hours.
22 Additionally, they will double-check to make sure
23 that the permits pulled by that contractor will back up
24 the scope of the work and the number of those hours. So
25 if you've Contractor XYZ who's pulled nothing but
1 residential permits and is signing off on affidavits for
2 commercial hours for, you know, for a trainee, you know,
3 that raises red flags for the Department. Well, how is
4 that supposed to happen here when you have no ratio and
5 you have no supervision and you have no requirement for
6 the 8,000 hours of on-the-job training to be -- half of
7 them to be commercial hours? There's no -- and it
8 actually says in -- I don't remember if it was the rules
9 or the statute where apprentices are -- you know, it's
10 suitable for them to be supervised by a residential
11 journeyman. And that follows suit because there is no
12 requirement for those hours to be a mix of commercial,
13 industrial and residential. And --
14 BOARD MEMBER NEWMAN: We can tell you're a union rep.
15 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: Well, right now I'm an
16 electrician defending my electrical license. But -- you
17 know, and that is sort of compounded by the fact that the
18 CEU requirements, the training that you're supposed to
19 continue once you've got your card, are half of what --
20 you know, I'm not going to really go nuts over the fact
21 that our trainees have to have eight hours of continuing
22 education because I don't think that was in place when we
23 signed this reciprocal agreement. I don't think you can
24 have it both ways.
25 But -- you know, and I echo Minnesota's concerns.
1 You can sit for this exam before you have your on-the-job
2 training. And if you -- actually I was glad that Ron put
3 the web site in there because I actually went to the web
4 site and I was looking at the exam procedures. The only
5 qualification to sit for this journeyman's exam is to have
6 the ability to read and write. You don't -- anybody can
7 take this exam. Which I suppose most people aren't going
8 to pay the money and take the exam. But, you know, all
9 you have to do is be able to read and write.
10 Then the actual proof of passage is given to me as
11 the applicant, and I control that. It's not a
12 communication between the exam agency and the department.
13 I control that document and I submit that. Which is,
14 again, another place I think that you have the potential
15 for fraud.
16 Now I know that, you know, there's examples in here.
17 There's 27 examples in here of folks that had their
18 licenses revoked or suspended for fraudulent behavior, and
19 I applaud that. But when you have 100,000 electricians in
20 the state of Texas, you know, I mean, I'm sure that
21 there's more than just 27 examples. But I just don't
22 understand how 74 people are going to able to monitor
23 those 100,000 folks and do so effectively in such a short
24 period of time after the reciprocal agreement was put in
1 And, you know, another thing -- it actually states in
2 there -- is that an owner can self-certify. That's
3 technically true in this state too. But usually those in
4 that case, you're the contractor, you're the
5 administrator, you're the trainee license holder, but you
6 better be employing a journeymen or else you're not going
7 to be able to -- you can't sign off on your own hours and
8 be unsupervised. But you can in Texas.
9 You know, and I -- I echo a lot of what is in Greg's
10 comments because I too am not -- I think that when you're
11 looking at reciprocal agreements, I agree that they're not
12 going to be -- they're not going to line up 100 percent in
13 every case, and I don't expect them to be. But I think
14 when you're looking at the sum of the parts, they should
15 be at least equal or better. And when I look at the
16 individual parts and the sum of the parts, I don't see
17 them to be equal personally.
18 There was comments about the ability to submit
19 alternative documentation. Have you read through that?
20 If you're not supervised by a licensed electrician or a
21 certified electrician -- I can't remember what they say --
22 one of the ways that you can document the fact that you
23 should be able to certify those hours is by submitting a
24 Yellow Page ad, i.e., your business actually exists.
25 Yeah, this section on alternative documentation just blows
1 my mind.
2 And, again, you know, I don't expect reciprocal
3 agreements to line up 100 percent by any means. I don't
4 think the other ones line up 100 percent either. But I
5 don't -- I personally don't think that this in any -- in
6 any of the three tiers that Ron has pointed out where, you
7 know, utmost importance for evaluation and comparison, I
8 don't think it lines up. I don't think it lines up
9 anywhere personally.
10 And once I started digging in and reviewing the fact
11 that, you know, the comments that were within the
12 transcripts and going back, sort of alarmed that the
13 transgression happened so quickly.
14 I certainly don't think that this agreement was
15 entered into, you know, by any -- through some ulterior
16 motive by any means. But I do think that it is severely
18 Like I said, there are no inspection requirements in
19 here. There's no -- today we had a long discussion about
20 amending and changing our rules, our associated rules. If
21 you go on their web site and look at their proposed rule
22 changes, they have a slight adjustment in the definition
23 of electrical work and they have a change in their fee
24 schedule, which their fee schedule is only for
25 applications and renewals. That's it.
1 I personally don't think that -- I mean, I think that
2 it's great what they're doing, that they're trying to get
3 a program started. But I don't think that it comes
4 anywhere close to what our standards are in Washington
5 state and what we uphold here and what we strive to be
7 And I think that when you look at the Board as being
8 -- you know, there's only a couple of things that we have
9 tremendous ownership of, and that's continuing education
10 and exams. And when somebody's coming -- when you're
11 talking about reciprocity, that's certification in lieu of
12 exam. And I think this Board needs to take a more active
13 role in review of the reciprocal agreements because we own
14 the examine, and you're giving certification in lieu of
16 And, you know, I appreciate you guys letting me go --
17 give these lengthy comments. But like I said, I spent a
18 tremendous amount of time looking at this because it is a
19 topic that I am very passionate about and remain very
20 passionate about it, and I am going to recommend that we
21 suspend the agreement.
22 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: To be perfectly honest, the
23 reciprocal agreements, I do not have a tremendous amount
24 of knowledge about how that process has worked in the
1 I know you (to Mr. Fuller) sit on the reciprocal
3 Has it been past practice prior to Texas for states
4 that we enter into agreement with come before the Board
5 for a vote?
6 SECRETARY FULLER: We only have individual
7 reciprocity with Massachusetts and Texas. Everybody else
8 is a part of the group.
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: So to be part of the group we
10 have to accept every state that is within that group?
11 SECRETARY FULLER: If we're in that group, yes.
12 The group -- the meeting Monday is going to be
13 attended by chief electrical inspectors, by licensing
14 directors. It depends on the state.
15 Montana, licensing and inspection are totally
16 separate entities. They don't -- hardly communicate with
17 each other at all. The licensing in Montana is run very
18 similarly to what it is in Texas actually. There's only
19 one staff member in Montana last I heard. But he might
20 have a secretary now.
21 But most of the states that we're reciprocal with
22 have an apprenticeship requirement. What I guess makes me
23 very nervous here is that they could just very easily look
24 at us and say, "You don't have apprenticeship. Go away."
25 Because that's a huge difference between our trainee
2 I think when Texas first started coming, they had a
3 lot of unanswered questions. That's why I made the
4 comments I've made before the Board before. We were very
5 weary. I mean, I've told the Board before. I grew up in
6 Texas, so I know what they do there. I know what they
7 used to do there, which was no inspections pretty much
8 anywhere. Everything that you wanted to do pretty much
9 flew. And the only reason they had city licenses was for
10 revenue. That was the only reason. It took about 18 or
11 20 licenses if you worked in the Houston area in your
12 pocket at one time. So that's why they've gone to what
13 they've gone to, which is -- statewide licensing is just
14 much better than city licensing.
15 But what the Board needs to remember I think is that
16 the reciprocal states group -- I'm going to remind you one
17 more time -- except for Minnesota on the exam
18 administration issue has all approved Texas for
19 reciprocal. They've all got similar requirements to us,
20 plus or minus.
21 They -- I'm going to say that Washington is the only
22 state that doesn't require Board approval for reciprocity.
23 That's why it's taken Texas so long I think because they
24 have to go back to the boards and they have those same
25 discussions that we're having here. And the boards in
1 those other states have all said yes. And they've said
2 yes for a reason I think. I think they've done the
3 research and they've decided that the pluses and minuses
4 average out, and this is close enough that it can be
5 acceptable on a reciprocal basis.
6 I think you also have to remember what we do with
7 states that don't have licensing. And we've had this
8 discussion in here before too is that it's easier to come
9 from out of state than it is to be -- come trained and
10 approved in Washington. Because the law says that we will
11 take hours from out of state. And if the only thing that
12 we're using to qualify or disqualify people is the exam,
13 then we're in a pretty sad state. Because that exam is
14 not the qualifier. It is what they know on the job site
15 in reality. The exam's the spot check.
16 I hear all the arguments, and I can hear validity in
17 them. But I just think that unless we want to do away
18 with reciprocity, I don't think that you're going to
19 always make everybody happy. I think that's the boat
20 we're in here today is that everybody isn't happy.
21 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Several things. One thing
22 that I don't think shows up in this is that a lot of --
23 most cities in Texas have had licensing requirements and
24 journeyman cards for years and years and years and years.
25 I don't think we're getting a huge amount of people that
1 are getting licenses in Texas that don't have experience
2 that just walk in the door and have somebody certify their
3 hours. Which by the way can pretty much be done here too.
4 I mean, yes, you can go back to hours and certify those
5 Tracy threw. But that normally doesn't happen.
6 I also want to say a couple things. I just came back
7 from a discussion -- I went to a meeting in Oregon on the
8 reciprocity issue with us. And I did attend that meeting.
9 And after coming away from that meeting, some of the
10 things that you're bringing up as issues with Texas were
11 brought up as issues with Washington. The same kind of
12 things. And I'm sitting there as a licensed master
13 electrician in Washington state saying -- and I actually
14 made statements to this effect -- "Okay, wait a minute.
15 Now, let me get something straight. I understand the
16 licensing law's basic requirement is there to provide
17 safety and security for the people of our state. We don't
18 want buildings burning down, and we don't want people
19 getting hurt. It's real simple." And I said, "Now, the
20 concerns you bring up, is that pointing to a lot of
21 buildings and a lot of people getting hurt in Washington
22 state? Is that why you have issues with us? Is it a
23 safety issue?"
24 "Well, no, no, no. That's not why."
25 "Well, then what is it?"
1 "Well, it's a labor issue. Because we think our
2 people are better trained than your people. Simply put,
3 that's what it is. Our people have to go through more
4 training, so our people are better. We don't want your
5 people to be on equal playing field with ours because we
6 think our people are better."
7 Now, I say that because do we hear of a lot of people
8 getting killed and hurt and buildings burning down right
9 and left in Texas?
10 I bring up this -- it might sound funny, but I don't
11 really think that it's our job as the Board to go back and
12 nitpick everything that we have given Mr. Fuller the right
13 to do in this state. And he's the one that's ultimately
14 responsible for this agreement.
15 And I looked through it, as you did, Tracy, I read
16 the whole packet too. And yeah, I think their
17 requirements are a little light in some areas; no
18 question. Is it exactly equal with us? No. Are there
19 unqualified people coming into Washington doing work?
20 Possibly. Are we sending unqualified people to Texas to
21 do work? Possibly. Are we ever going to be equal? I
22 don't see that.
23 And I just think that we have a responsibility -- I
24 agree we have a responsibility to make sure that it's
25 equitable. But we also have given that responsibility to
1 Ron. He's spent a lot of time in these meetings. We
2 haven't. And I just think that he is a responsible
3 person, and that he's not going to have a reciprocal
4 agreement that is going to endanger the citizens of
5 Washington state.
6 SECRETARY FULLER: One of the things that I do want
7 to comment on because it's been tossed around a little bit
8 pretty vaguely, but we don't reciprocal to anyone that
9 hasn't taken the Texas test. So when they grandfathered
10 their -- I don't know what the actual number is, 100,000
11 or whatever it is -- only a fraction of those actually
12 took the test. And we only reciprocate with the people
13 that took their test and passed it. They didn't just get
14 to come across straight. So they've demonstrated their
15 8,000 hours. They've demonstrated that they can pass a
16 test. And the ICC test, I've looked at it. And we've
17 looked at it at the reciprocal states meeting. They made
18 a presentation the same day I did on our exam when we were
19 trying to get some of the states to come in and help us do
20 ours and use our exam questions. And it's very level.
21 And it's very likely that when our LaserGrade
22 contract comes up in December that when we're getting
23 ready to start through the contracting phase again to
24 either renew or not renew, it's very likely that ICC is
25 going to be one of the prime candidates for being a test
1 administrator for Washington state. And whether they use
2 our questions or theirs, that's a different story. But
3 they're a nationwide giver of examinations, and I think
4 they have a proven track record of doing a pretty good job
5 at it. So no reciprocity of test.
6 So the test is the only difference between somebody
7 coming here from Arizona, which has no regulation at all,
8 or California or some of the other states: Nevada, New
9 York, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Florida. I mean, I can
10 go on and on and on where there's no requirements
11 whatsoever for anything. Most of those states don't even
12 get electrical inspections. But we by law are required to
13 take their OJT. And yes, they take our three- or
14 four-hour test, but that's all they have to do to become
15 qualified here. And I'm much more suspect of those people
16 than I am somebody that's gone through a licensing process
17 no matter what level it's at.
18 And the states that are around Texas are reciprocal
19 with them now too. We're not the only state that's
20 reciprocal with them.
21 We're going to be meeting again next week, and I
22 believe they're going to be there again trying to make
23 their case one more time. And I'm going to be talking
24 about what we're talking about here that some people have
25 reservations. So we'll see how it goes.
1 But, you know, we're weak in a lot of areas, and
2 other states are weak in areas. We're extremely weak in
3 affidavits of experience. Supervision, we're extremely
4 weak in that in my opinion.
5 We have -- I mean, that's why I talked earlier --
6 Tracy brought it up -- why we're giving the hall pass out
7 for trainees. Because right now we cannot verify that
8 people are being supervised all day long or even 75
9 percent of the day. That is one of the toughest jobs that
10 we have out there. So we are weak too in some areas.
11 And even though we have 140 inspectors, there's a lot
12 of people that get by. And the reason we know that is
13 because like Texas, we catch a lot of people that are
14 violating. And when we do, we deal with it just like they
16 You see a list of violations in there. Those were
17 only the ones that Mr. Luce highlighted. There's page
18 after page after page of violations on their web site.
19 So they do appear to be taking it seriously and dealing
20 with people with serious repercussions when they find
22 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: I just like do to go on
23 record, the IBEW has taken the position that they have not
24 because we're against reciprocity for any state. You
25 know, we -- it works good for us. We have a lot of IBEW
1 members in the state of Texas and every other state across
2 the nation.
3 Right now we have a manpower shortage in the Puget
4 Sound area. It's good for us to be able to call our
5 people that are out of work in other states like Texas and
6 say, "Hey, come up here. Go to work."
7 So for us to take this position, we're actually going
8 to harm some IBEW members who are going to try to come up
9 here and reciprocate their license and go to work.
10 But what we're seeing in the Puget Sound area is a
11 lot of people that are coming from Texas, reciprocating
12 their license, and they've never held a hand bender in
13 their hand before. And they're -- you know, it might be
14 farm electricians or whatever. I don't know what it is.
15 But they don't have the skills. And I would think that we
16 would want to bring ourselves up to the Oregon standard,
17 not down to the Texas standard. And every state is going
18 to be different in each category somewhat. We're never
19 going to have something that's equal all across the board
20 for all 50 states. It just will never happen.
21 But the discrepancies between Texas and Washington
22 are just too many at this point.
23 The IBEW and myself and I believe Tracy and Greg,
24 we're not against reciprocity with the state of Texas
25 somewhere in the future. We're just saying that right now
1 we don't believe that they are where they need to be for
2 us to be reciprocal.
6 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: That being said, I'm going to
7 make a motion to recommend to the Chief that we terminate
8 our reciprocity with Texas until some of these issues are
9 improved in the state of Texas.
10 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I'll second.
11 BOARD MEMBER GOUGH: I have a question, a point here.
12 Virgil, as the business agent for the local, is that
13 creating any kind of conflict of interest in being a Board
14 member and being a business agent and putting forth a
15 motion that would maybe be seen as a conflict of interest?
16 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: I'm not giving any purview to
17 the IBEW. I'm saying, you know, this is actually going to
18 harm some IBEW members. But I'm saying that the IBEW in
19 general has an attitude that we need to bring our
20 standards up, not take them down. So I don't see how
21 there's any conflict of interest.
22 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: One quick point on -- and he's
23 made a motion. But I think a little discussion is due
25 On page 30 of your packet, if you look at that table,
1 what was approved from January 1st of 2007 through the
2 31st -- through 3/31 of 2008 was 23 electricians. Out of
3 171 that were approved to come into Washington, 23 came
4 from Texas. I'm not sure that we're seeing a major
5 landslide of people from Texas coming to our state
6 creating an issue. I just -- I have trouble seeing that
7 as a major conflict. We had 30 from Minnesota, 29 from
8 Alaska, 31 from Colorado, and 23 from Texas.
9 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: If I could just make a couple
10 of comments.
11 I appreciate that, Jim. But I think that's a little
12 bit of a red herring. Because once the reciprocal door is
13 opened, then it doesn't close. And so it doesn't -- you
14 know, in my opinion the decision -- my decision is not
15 based on anything else but what's in here and what I read
16 back in the transcripts. It doesn't bother me the number
17 of people that have or have not reciprocated. What
18 bothers me is I think the standards are significantly less
19 in every arena. I personally think that the standards are
20 significantly less in every arena and don't agree with the
21 Chief's decision.
22 Now, do I think that he was irresponsible? No. Do I
23 think that it's our job to nitpick every decision he
24 makes? No. But I do think it's our job to over -- you
25 know, I appreciate your comments. But I do think it's our
1 job to oversee the general operation, right? and voice our
2 concerns where we have them. And I personally have a
3 serious concern over a reciprocal agreement with a state
4 that I feel is not up to our standards.
5 Now, I recognize that there are weaknesses
6 potentially in Washington state. There's weaknesses in
7 other states that we are reciprocal with. I don't have as
8 much information about those states as I do about Texas
9 because that was the topic and that's what I spent my time
10 researching. And irregardless of whether or not the
11 majority of the Board is in agreement, it's still only a
12 recommendation. Ron has the -- you know, the Department
13 has the purview to enter into those reciprocal agreements
14 without, you know, our recommendation. And so I'm
15 respectful of that. I just -- for me personally I needed
16 to make these comments and I needed to show support of
17 this motion because I don't believe in the reciprocal
18 agreement, and it's that's simple.
19 BOARD MEMBER JACOBSEN: Call for the question.
20 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We don't have a second on that.
21 BOARD MEMBER JACOBSEN: Yes, we do.
22 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: I seconded. I'm sorry.
23 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: I didn't hear you say second.
24 THE REPORTER: I did. That's all that matters. Off
25 the record.
1 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: We have a motion and a second.
2 I am going to do this via hands. So all those in favor,
3 signify by raising your right hand.
4 (Board Members Prezeau, Guillot, Hamilton, and
5 Belisle so signified.)
6 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Opposed?
7 (Board Members Jacobsen, Simmons, D.A. Bowman, D.S.
8 Bowman, Newman, and Gough so signified.)
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: The motion did not carry.
11 Motion Failed
13 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Questions, though. This brings
14 up a lot of questions in the fact that the Board does not
15 have -- we do not vote on bringing in another state under
16 our reciprocity agreements. Is that in our statutes or --
17 SECRETARY FULLER: Statute, right.
18 I mean, after the fact I suppose, but there are some
19 of the states that are on our list that are in the group
20 that we've been members of for a long time and they've
21 been members for a long time. But there are some there
22 that have more people coming in than Texas does that
23 probably have no better -- they may have stronger laws,
24 but they have no better oversight.
25 I think everyone just has to keep all the factors in
1 mind. Like I think we're real weak in supervision. Even
2 though we have a really tough law, I think it's still very
3 difficult -- it would take 10,000 inspectors out there to
4 verify 75 percent supervision on each job site each day.
5 It's just a task that's overwhelming sometimes. But, you
6 know, you look at the states that are in the group, and
7 this is almost half the licensing states in the nation.
8 Alaska only has a couple of people to do the same
9 thing that we're doing. Their laws are tough. Colorado,
10 the same thing. They have a separate licensing group
11 that's quite small. Some of the -- most of the other
12 states have -- they have tough looking laws, but they have
13 tougher jobs as enforcers because of staffing and budget.
14 So I think you need to have -- it's all a big
15 balancing act.
16 And, you know, I listened to Texas for three or --
17 they came in before actually they passed their first law
18 and started talking to the group. They came in before
19 they passed their law. They said, "Here we come. Here's
20 what we have." And everybody threw their hands up and
21 gave them the big "X" sign and said, "Go away until you're
22 grown up."
23 California, we're probably going to do the same thing
24 with when they -- if they ever actually implement
25 anything. They've actually dragged their feet longer than
1 anybody I think that I've seen getting licensing in place.
2 And they're going to have the same issues. There's lots
3 of electricians that look and feel like journeymen in
4 California, but there is no oversight there. There's not
5 even inspection oversight in reality. Because odds are
6 you're going to get a plumber for your electrical
8 And it's the same with wind turbines when we started
9 having wind turbine controversy, they said, "Well, use the
10 California standard. It's very good." Well, we called,
11 and the state said, "Well, you've got to call our
12 contractor." And they have a contractor overseeing it
13 that's in the wind turbine industry. And they have a
14 performance standard. They don't have a safety standard.
15 So there's lots of issues like that.
16 I hear what everybody said, though. We've had the
17 same concerns. And we watch what's going on.
18 We found 17 -- the 16 people that we denied were all
19 denied because they tried to reciprocate in as a
20 grandfather without taking that test. So we're very
21 adamant on that.
22 Texas has been very, very responsive in giving us
23 information and talking to us.
24 And I think -- you know, we've seen loopholes today
25 in our laws still that need to be plugged. So everybody's
1 got them. It's just a matter of you keep -- you see it
2 open it, and you try to get it closed. And that's one of
3 the reasons that we do so many rule changes is because
4 when somebody steps through that hole, we try to plug it
5 so nobody else goes through with them. I think it's just
6 -- it's a never-ending process doing those things. It's
7 like keeping one step ahead of the criminal basically.
8 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: One other quick question. And I
9 want to understand this. You mentioned earlier. Somebody
10 that comes to Washington from an unlicensed state, they
11 have to document their hours and they can sit for our
13 SECRETARY FULLER: That's a fact.
14 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: What kind of investigation or --
15 SECRETARY FULLER: We look for -- it depends on the
16 state. If you look at the WAC rules really close, it's
17 broken up.
18 But if you come from a state like Arizona that has no
19 licensing, basically the only documentation that anybody
20 can ever give us is from their employer. So we're looking
21 for a notarized letter from a bunch of contractors. Or if
22 they are a member of the IBEW, we'll take a letter from
23 that trade organization. Or a NECA chapter. Those kinds
24 of things. But in reality, you're kind of taking all that
25 on face value because we do have so many that do come in
1 from out of state that it's -- we don't have the manpower
2 to police every one of them down to the minute detail
3 either. If we just tried to call all of those people that
4 gave us letters, we would be looking at a six-week backlog
5 instead of three. Even we don't have the manpower to
6 really deal with it effectively. And we do good spot
7 checks. And if the caution flag comes up, then we get
8 more involved. And we do do that. We do investigate some
9 people really closely. But it's a tough deal because most
10 -- over half the states in the United States don't have
11 any licensing. And the ones that don't have licensing
12 don't have inspections either on a statewide basis. They
13 may have some city inspections. And New York's a prime
14 example. There's no state license in New York or Florida.
15 There's no county inspections in either state in general.
16 It's only city inspections. So they're set up just like
17 Texas is basically. But it's just a tough struggle.
18 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Milton's fingers are probably
19 just about ready to fall off his hands, so any other
20 comments or --
21 SECRETARY FULLER: I do want to make a commitment to
22 report back to the Board in October about the discussion
23 at the reciprocity meeting, though. Because I'm going to
24 take my report and share that with them. And we're going
25 to be looking at Texas again and asking more questions.
1 I'm sure some of the other states are going to be quizzing
2 them too. So I will put that on the agenda.
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Are you taking Mr. Galusha's
4 concerns with you?
5 SECRETARY FULLER: Sure.
6 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: We did have a witness here
7 today that wasn't called. Was that intentional or --
8 MR. CHAPMAN: I just would have given it a whole
9 different perspective because -- besides Ron and one other
10 person in this room, I'm the only one that's ever held a
11 license in the city of Dallas for over 20 years. And
12 worked with the -- and gone out in the field and talked to
13 these Texas electricians that are coming up here.
14 And talked to eight of them that were in the union.
15 They think it's a total disaster. And they said, "We're
16 glad we got through. And we're working up here. And we
17 got the reciprocal. You guys are crazy to reciprocate
18 with us."
19 I talked to the business manager of Dallas/Fort Worth
20 IBEW Local 20 this morning, A.C. McAfee, and that's an
21 area worse than Seattle and Fort Worth together -- I mean,
22 Seattle and Tacoma. And he told me, he says, "Oh, Lord,
23 Darrell," he said, "I can't believe you did this that
24 you're reciprocal with us."
25 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: And as long as you're giving --
1 because this is on the record, would you please state your
3 MR. CHAPMAN: My name's Darrell Chapman. I am with
4 IBEW Local 191 in Everett, Washington. My business
5 manager is Dave Howson who was one of the people that
6 testified before. And I am a licensed electrician in the
7 state of Washington.
8 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: And for the record too because
9 you could spell Darrell many different ways --
10 MR. CHAPMAN: Darrell -- D-A-R-R-E-L-L.
11 Yeah, I got the opportunity to go out and talk to
12 some of these that -- the union guys coming in. And like
13 I said, I talked to A.C., and A.C. said, "My God,
14 Darrell," he said, "They grandfathered nearly everybody."
15 And he said, "It's terrible." And he says, "You know, as
16 much as I know it will hurt our guys going up there to
17 Washington to go to work," he says, "you guys need to stop
18 that thing."
19 The people in Houston said the same thing.
20 And just one other thing before I shut up here. I
21 had -- I also because of the uniqueness of my job, I
22 actually deal with non-union electricians a lot. I talk
23 to them a lot. In fact, I have a young man who's coming
24 into our local who is a lead man for a very large
25 electrical company here, S & E Electric. And I was
1 talking to him this morning about it. And he said, "Good
2 God." He said, "Tradesmen International sent us those
3 guys." He said, "I fired five of them." He says, "I
4 don't know how they got the license because they had no
5 understanding of the code whatsoever. They could not
6 install -- they had no ability to install any electrical
7 work at all." He said, "The guys were questioning him.
8 All the guys on the job were questioning him and saying
9 'How did you get a license?'"
10 Anyway, that's about all I would had to said. It's
11 irrelevant at this time. Except that they're falling --
12 Ron, they're falling through the holes. Some way they're
13 getting our license. And they don't know an extension
14 cord from a pair of ....
15 SECRETARY FULLER: That's what the HVAC folks said
16 about our journeyman.
17 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Well, I'll just make one
18 comment. Possibly if our passing percentage was 80
19 percent ....
20 BOARD MEMBER GUILLOT: I was waiting, Gloria.
21 SECRETARY FULLER: Actually, Gloria, on the record,
22 is that part of the -- I drafted the proposed bylaws for
23 the group and sent it out about a month ago for the
24 reciprocal group. But the score is one of the issues.
25 And I could very likely be coming back and saying we want
1 the 75 to be the score, even though I've kind of opposed
2 that before because most of the states do require 75.
3 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: That would be poetic justice for
5 SECRETARY FULLER: I know.
6 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: But even if it was 75 or 80
7 percent, I could just have somebody go to Texas and take
8 the test for me and then reciprocate back.
9 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: But if you look at the
10 reciprocal test percentages, they were all 70 percent. So
11 too low.
12 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: And as a little final comment,
13 then we can get out of here, but I just left the meeting,
14 again, down in Oregon about a week and a half ago, and one
15 of the issues that came up was, well, you only require 70
16 percent. And if you think about it, that test score can
17 be manipulated and changed to anything you want it to be.
18 It's not important if you really understand what's at
19 stake. All that has to be done is you either put fewer
20 questions on the test, easier questions on the test, more
21 questions on the test. You can change that score to be
22 whatsoever you want the average score, the passing score.
23 It's really not an issue.
24 SECRETARY FULLER: I actually offered Oregon 85
25 percent to reciprocal straight across, and they wouldn't
1 take it. They wouldn't take it.
2 BOARD MEMBER HAMILTON: The next time you talk with
3 Oregon, they're going to say, "Well, you're reciprocal
4 with Texas."
5 BOARD MEMBER SIMMONS: Well, that's why Oregon can't
6 be reciprocal with anybody.
7 CHAIRWOMAN ASHFORD: Being no more further business,
8 do we have a motion to adjourn?
12 BOARD MEMBER PREZEAU: So moved.
13 BOARD MEMBER JACOBSEN: Second.
15 Motion Carried
17 (Whereupon, proceedings
18 adjourned at 4:30 p.m.)
3 STATE OF WASHINGTON )
4 County of Pierce )
6 I, the undersigned, a Certified Court Reporter in and
for the State of Washington, do hereby certify:
That the foregoing transcript of proceedings was
8 taken stenographically before me and transcribed under my
direction; that the transcript is an accurate transcript
9 of the proceedings insofar as proceedings were audible,
clear and intelligible; that the proceedings and resultant
10 foregoing transcript were done and completed to the best
of my abilities for the conditions present at the time of
11 the proceedings;
12 That I am not a relative, employee, attorney or
counsel of any party in this matter, and that I am not
13 financially interested in said matter or the outcome
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand on
15 this 16th day of September , 2008, at Tacoma,
18 H. Milton Vance, CCR, CSR
Excel Court Reporting
(CCR License #2219)