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MARYLAND HOME IMPROVEMENT COMMISSION

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					                      Maryland Home Improvement Commission
                          Public Business Meeting Minutes

Date:                          April 7, 2011

Time:                          10:05 a.m.

Place:                         500 N. Calvert Street
                               Baltimore, Maryland 21202

MEMBERS PRESENT:               John Borz, Chairman
                               Marilyn Jumalon
                               Andrew Snyder
                               Joseph Tunney
                               I. Jean White

MEMBERS ABSENT:                Rossana Marsh

OTHERS PRESENT:                Joel Jacobson, Assistant Attorney General
                               Helen Johnson, Assistant Executive Director
                               James Kidd, Budget Analyst
                               Kimberly Rosenthal, Administrative Officer
                               Steven Smitson, Executive Director


                                      Call to Order

         The meeting was called to order at 10:05 a.m.

                                            Minutes

         The Minutes of the March 3, 2011 meeting were approved.
                  Resignation of James Chiracol, Consumer Member

        Steven Smitson informed the Commissioners of the Resignation of James
Chiracol, Consumer Member. Mr. Chiracol regrets that he is no longer able to serve as a
Commissioner and sends his best wishes to everyone. The Commission thanked Mr.
Chiracol for his service and for the dedication he showed to the Commission. There is
now a consumer member vacancy on the Commission. Any Commissioner who knows
someone who may be interested in being considered for a position on the Commission
may contact Summar Goodman, in the Office of the Secretary, who sends the information
to the Office of the Governor.

                                  Examination Results


 Below is the examination statistics summary for the month of March 2011.

                                           Candidates
 Home Improvement                            Tested     Passed Failed    Pass %
 Contractor                                         191     112       79      59%
 Subcontractor                                       14      10        4      71%
 Salesperson                                         79      54       25      68%
 TOTAL                                               284       176         108        62%

                                     Guaranty Fund

         The Guaranty Fund balance for February 28, 2011, was $529,910.45. Mr. Kidd
presented the activity report of the Fund, indicating that in March the Fund disbursed a
total of $107,937, representing 19 awards. There are currently 154 Guaranty Fund claims
pending at the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) and another 132 claims waiting
to be sent to OAH for the scheduling of a Guaranty Fund hearing.

                           Legislative Update-SB236/HB 362

         The Commission reviewed the Sunset Extension and Program Recommendations
bills that passed the House of Delegates and the Senate. If signed into law, the bills will
extend the Commission until July 1, 2022 and will postpone the Mold Remediation Act
will until July 1, 2013.
   In addition, the bills will:

 require the Commission to submit a report detailing actions being taken to restore
  the balance of the Fund to a sustainable level within 30 days of projecting that the
  Fund balance will be less than $250,000. Also, by October 1, 2012, the
  Commission shall submit a report on the following: implementation of multiple
  licensing levels; efforts to reduce the investigation and processing times for
  claims referred to OAH; advisability of a requirement for the posting of a
  performance bond for all licensees and, if advisable, in what amounts, and
  triggered by what price contracts; a plan for facilitating better communication
  between licensees and consumers relating to contract performance dates; data
  regarding the number of Fund claims settled through mediation; and changes in
  the number of Fund claims filed and whether or not the average time to resolve
  Fund claims decreased after implementing certain measures;

 establish a fee for processing an application of $20 and will raise the fee of each
  license by $25;

 require the Commission to post on its website consumer education materials that
  specify the protections available to consumers through the Commission, including
  the availability of compensation from the Guaranty Fund and to develop a
  searchable web site that includes a listing of licensed contractors and information
  relating to any final disciplinary action taken by the Commission;

 increase the amount of information that must be contained in home improvement
  contracts by requiring that contractors print their telephone number and provide
  the Commission’s website address, in addition to information already required.
  Also, each home improvement contract shall contain a notice set by the
  Commission by regulation that specifies the protections available to consumers
  through the Commission; and advises the consumer of the right to require that the
  contractor purchase a performance bond;

 increases imprisonment maximum from 30 days to 6 months upon first conviction
  (in addition to maximum fine of $1000); and

 grant the Commission authority to issue civil citations based upon regulations the
  Commission shall establish. Fifty percent of the money collected from citations
  goes to the General Fund and fifty percent goes to a Fund established by the State
  Treasurer for the payment of necessary expenses for expert witnesses used to
  resolve claims against the Fund.
                           Legislative Ideas for 2012 Session

       Ideas for legislative proposals are due to be voted on at the June 2011
Commission meeting for submission to the Secretary in time to be considered for the
2012 legislative session. The Commission discussed the following:

       a. Renewal License Late Fees

           Commissioner Borz proposed establishing a late fee for any licensee who fails
           to renew the MHIC license in a timely manner, such as 60 or 90 days. The
           Commission also discussed requiring licensees to retest if they fail to renew
           their license on time, which would require amending the Commission’s
           Regulations. The Commission agreed to discuss this further at the next
           Commission meeting.

       b. Mediation/Pre-hearing Conference

           The University of Maryland School of Law’s Mediation Clinic proposed two
           ideas that the Commission considered. The Commission discussed including
           the mediation process in the Home Improvement Law. Because the mediation
           is voluntary, this change would help formalize the program and allow the
           Commission to promulgate regulations to detail the process.

           The Commission also discussed requiring both parties to attend a pre-hearing
           conference prior to the case being referred to the Office of Administrative
           Hearings. Homeowner and contractor would both have to participate in
           before their case went to the Office of Administrative Hearings. The purpose
           of the conference would be to give the parties an opportunity to settle the
           dispute. If the parties did not settle the case, then the conference would help
           them prepare for the hearing. The Commission discussed requiring each party
           to pay a fee for the conference to pay for the individual who administered the
           conference. Retired judges and attorneys may be recruited to administrate the
           conferences.
                               NARI Correspondence

       The Commission received a letter from Mark Pelletier, President, NARI Mid-
Maryland, expressing the organization’s willingness to be active with the Commission in
any future discussions pertaining to law changes, proposed new laws and any changes to
Home Improvement regulations. Mr. Smitson stated that he had responded to the letter
and looks forward to working with this group. NARI is the National Association of the
Remodeling Industry.

                                    Adjournment

       The meeting was adjourned at 11:34 a.m.


_________________                                  _____________________________
John Borz, Chairman                                Steven Smitson, Executive Director

				
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