INVITATION TO JOIN KANSAS LICENSED PROFESSIONAL'S ALLIANCE, LLC
27 November, 2014, copyright, Lawrence Goldblatt
Why Are We Communicating?
Over a period of at least 9 months, architect Stuart Owsley, and a few other architects (notably E. Tom Pyle, Jr., the independent advocacy of Vernon Reed, FAIA, and myself) have identified licensing issues stemming from the actions or inactions of the Kansas Board for Technical Professions. The identified Board issues, mostly articulated in great detail based on thorough research and citation, have for the most part continued despite the sensible explanations they should cease.
The lack of communication, or acknowledgment of these issues, seem to come from several conditions. The Board representatives may tend to be architects and engineers whose practices are substantial enough that they can afford to volunteer their time or their firms pay them for the high profile service. The Board tends to be guided entirely by its own Attorney, who has evolved his biases over a long period of service to the Board, without much feedback or adjustment by his thinking to practice circumstances. The Attorney general seems to affirm the Board Attorney, despite Court rulings and settlement agreements.
Staff and Board members may have become isolated, not having the benefit of refresher perspective that their powers are limited as set forth in the law, exampled by cases, and defined by the Constitution. There has been a draft of Board discipline and direction toward actions which demonstrate it believes it is equal in legal terms, or exceeds, the designated duties of the legislature for law-making.
The Board, its own attorney, the State Attorney General, the Governor, and the Legislature have all declined to acknowledge the issues raised, the impacts on Licensees, municipal regulators, the insurance industry, and most importantly, Kansas property owners and the public.
The Board's policy prior to and after the passage of the 2014 update of Kansas Licensing Law for Architects and Engineers (K.S.A. 74-7040), has forced a risk and cost raising phenomena on Kansas properties, diminishing Kansas property values and income to taxing jurisdictions while leaving consumers without a single point of responsibility for the integration of building permit submittals.
A specific violation of due process, already clearly defined by civil court actions and private settlements, is that Licensee Architects whose certificates were issued prior to 2014 and are qualified by training to performing engineering services are now in regarded as acting in violation of the newly adopted law and prior settlements which allowed integrated practice where the Licensee was already licensed to practice both architecture and engineering.
The Board's position in implementing the new law is that when a complaint is filed against a Licensee for practicing engineering without a license, they will be appropriately disciplined as the Board's interpretation is Architects are restricted strictly to the practice of architecture unless they obtain a separate engineering license.
This specific action targets only a class of individuals whose age characteristics make this alleged violation by the Board a violation of those individuals' rights to freedom from discrimination based on age. It is possible, and likely, that for those Kansas Licensees who hold licensees in other states, interstate commence is restricted. The State is not permitted by federal law to regulate interstate commerce.
We are communicating because the unlawful acts against professional licensees have proven nearly impossible to adjust by individual actions. We are communicating because while infringement of due process rights harms many Licensees, fear of retribution and lack of time and money allow by default this Board and other Commissions to act unchecked, outside the law. Quasi-judicial Boards and Commissions can continually refer Licensees with questions to "file a complaint", "we will not answer unless there is a complaint", or "sue us" because their funds for legal costs come from the Licensees, or tax payers, without Licensees or the Public having a paid advocate to defend themselves.
What Is Being Done To Solve Professional Licensing Process in Kansas?
The National Architect Corporation has been formed for the purpose of assisting small design practices nationally with various aspects of their practices, so their sales increase and costs and risks are reduced (see NationalArchitectCorporation.com). Formation and management of Kansas Licensed Professional's Alliance, LLC, is a service of the National Architect Corporation, though the Kansas Alliance stands alone.
The Kansas Licensed professional's Alliance, LLC has aptly been described by Stuart Owsley, Registered Kansas Architect, as being "an instrument for action".
How Will The Kansas Licensed Profession's Alliance LLC Operate, Generally?
1. Qualified individuals or corporations will go to the National Architect Corporation website and sign up as a subscriber to the Kansas Licensed Professional's Alliance, LLC.
2. Individuals or corporate entities are asked to pay a minimum annual subscription fee. Initially, this is set at $25. Options exist for various levels of service (see below for Services and Fees).
3. Lawrence Goldblatt is the designated Managing Agent.
4. Any subscriber can request the Alliance's help with a Licensing issue to be presented to or before its Licensing Board.
5. The LLC Managing Agent reviews the application to see if a licensing Board appears to be acting outside its authority.
a. The Managing Agent will gather the subscriber's statement of the issues; the facts of the case; and the subscriber and volunteers or paid researchers will identify settlements, civil cases, appellate rulings, or Supreme Court orders applicable to the situation;
b. The Managing Agent will draft an action plan; participating active team members will reach consensus on the action plan. If consensus is not reached, the LLC may not take any action.
c. The subscriber with a complaint will be the project leader for implementing the Plan, which the Managing Agent for the Kansas Licensed Professional Alliance develops.
d. A project leader will pay a $25 per month fee for the duration of the project, and be required to fulfill its responsibilities under the Project Plan s for its project.
e. Once those comments are received and recirculated, an indication of consensus on an action (which might include decline to work with the applicant) would be given by the Managing Agent; (consensus means the objections will be accounted for in some way). Actions may range from a support letter to the subscriber to a lead role in acting as an advocate for the subscriber(s) whose Licensee is subject to action by their Board.
f. The Managing Agent would then implement the strategy.
g. Strategy may include identifying an attorney to monitor the situation and take the case should legal action be needed.
12. For those subscribers who merely wish to read the Plans, there is no additional charge but the annual fee.
13. For those which wish to contribute to the Planning, there is a $10 a month fee for the duration of the project, or until the participant wishes to decline to participate.
14. The Managing Agent will prepare a budget for developing a plan of support for the Subscriber's issues in collaboration with the Project Leader. The decision of the Managing Agent is final, but can be appealed to the other subscribers to the Project.
15. If the other subscribers make suggestions to the budget, the Managing Agent can make those changes; or, deny them. The Project Leader and subscribers may decline to go further with the project, or accept the budget.
16. The Managing Agent will implement any necessary fundraising effort as part of the Project Plan.
17. As part of the project budget, subscribers will be enlisted to help with the fundraising effort my sending emails, making calls following up with potential funders as assigned by the Project Manager, or contributing written support (such as biographies of their firms).
18. The Project Manager will a maintain a FAQ file on the project website with information on the fundraising progress.
19. The Subscriber/Project Leader is not bound to implement the Plan, but support of the LLC will cease if the subscriber declines to agree to implement the Plan.
20. Subscribers may take public actions on behalf of themselves or others, but ideally, not in contradiction with the strategy implemented by the LLC unless such actions are a key element of the strategy.
The LLC will not normally be taking a position regarding guilt or innocence of a Licensee, but will attend to the process by which the Licensee is being reviewed.
Management of the LLC would focus on strategies that would cause a licensing Board to rethink disciplinary action in a particular case, or to clarify its policies, pre-litigation or pre-arbitration because the Board exceeded its legislative authority. Because the managing agent of the LLC is NOT an attorney, the message would be "we want to settle this WITHOUT attorneys".
Generally, actions taken by the LLC will be stated, written or espoused in such a way as to be non-partisan in nature, and not assigning blame, but pointing out irregularities and solutions to each.
The founders (myself included) agree that membership may include any approved professional licensed in the State of Kansas, so we could have a broad number of people interested in investing.
While not a primary objective, the LLC may elect if it operates with a profit in any one year to reinvest the proceeds so there are more funds available in the future, or, it may pay a small dividend earned from its financial successes.One difference between the LLC's approach and generally attorney's approaches is we assume the statement of the law is the minimum acceptable point of conclusion. Attorneys immediately compromise client issues in the direction of the Court, avoiding any controversy with the Court about how it conducts the process. This compromise immediately conflicts with the due processing guaranteed under the law to all patrons.
If opposition politicians, committee members, or attorneys do not have compromise as an option, they start to move toward cooperation because they do not have the time or money or will to fight. We have to argue for no compromise, as it is our licenses which are at stake.
We do not agree with partial admissions of possible guilt when the evidence proves full exoneration.
Each interested architect (or engineer!), or professional licensee will be given the opportunity to invest their funds and/or time in the LLC.
This LLC will have the responsibility for raising and maintaining funds to support when necessary, any mediation, arbitration, and/or legal actions to define the legal rights of Kansas Licensees, or to enjoin other issues affecting the rights of business owners operating in Kansas. There is no guarantee or warranty that funds can be raised sufficient to implement the adopted strategy.The National Architect Corporation pledges to provide management support to this new LLC to the extent the Corporation has funds available to allow the Managing Agent the time or funds to work on the creation and management of this LLC. The LLC will hold the Managing Agent and the National Architect Corporation harmless from any legal action.
The members of the LLC names' would not become public knowledge, so it may be a lot easier for more architects to respond positively if they knew an entity acting on their behalf was empowered to intervene, without their identity being known to the authorities, their clients, or their investors.Quarterly reports would be issued with full financial disclosure and records of the LLC activities.One reason this tool is needed is that in class actions, and in individual matters, the lead attorneys decide all strategy and disbursement of settlement proceeds, and just tell you what the outcome is. This LLC method puts the affected member parties in the role of client, with the Managing Agent being the "architect" (representative) for the client. Members of the LLC know the program design, and construction of action from the start to finish.Let me know what you think. If you feel comfortable with this idea, you may circulate this invitation after we get your initial response. Depending on your response, I may ask that you distribute this confidential memo only to others you believe may be legitimately interested in our effort.Thanks,Lawrence Goldblatt
Kansas Licensed Professionals Alliance, LLC Application
copyright, Lawrence Goldblatt/National Architect Corp. 27 November, 2014
The National Architect Corporation is a Kansas registered corporation, protected by US Patent Office Service Mark 3,695,386 and federal copyright. The Corporation does not practice architecture, but assists those who do.
Contact us at: LawrenceGoldblatt@nationalarchitectcorporation.com.