October 31, 2008

Dear Friends,

Combating unlicensed activity has always been a priority for the Division of Regulation and the Department. But after hearing from so many of you while "On the Road to Better Business" about the problems you are facing with unlicensed individuals, I knew we had to do more.

I gathered a team of department employees, and we started brainstorming about ways we could increase our presence and send a message to unlicensed individual that what they are doing is against the law. I immediately thought of one of our other Divisions, Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, and the tactics they employ to decrease underage drinking. ABT often conducts statewide stings. All the agents across the state go out on the same day and do alcohol vendor compliance checks to ensure compliance with underage drinking laws. These stings are very successful and often get great media coverage, which helps us get the word out. The team and I discussed using the same "statewide" tactic to enforce licensing laws.

As a result of that meeting, this week we conducted our first statewide unlicensed activity sweep in: Tallahassee, Ft. Walton Beach, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Myers, West Palm Beach, Margate and Miami. The sweeps included checking pool, electrical, and construction licenses and permits. Investigators issued 18 notices of non-compliance, 17 citations, and 27 notices to cease and desist. I would like to give you an example of what our investigator look for during these sweeps.

In partnership with law enforcement agencies, our investigators pull into a dusty parking lot and encounter several workers putting a new roof on a large building. The team gets out of the car and starts questioning the workers. The most important question is "who is your boss or who hired you." The workers point to a tall man in the background. Investigators quickly turn to him and immediately ask to see his state license, which is required for roofing work. When he can't provide the required licensure, investigators issue a citation. In some cases, our law enforcement partners also take action at this time. This citation is just one example of many of the enforcement actions that occurred during this week's statewide sweep.

Unlicensed individuals face fines up to $5,000 per incident and a first degree misdemeanor for the first offense. In addition, any person who acts as an unlicensed contractor during a Governor-declared state of emergency faces a third degree felony. I am very pleased with the outcome and congratulate our investigators for successfully coordinating and executing their first statewide sweep.

I would like to thank all of the licensees who came to talk with us about unlicensed activity during "On Road to Better Business." You encouraged and motivated us to come up with new and innovative ways to combat unlicensed activity. I look forward to sharing more of our new efforts with you in the coming months.

This week I'd like to invite you to join me in Ft. Lauderdale on Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for "On the Road to Better Business." The meetings will be held at the DBPR Ft. Lauderdale office located at the North Broward Regional Service Center, 1400 W. Commercial Blvd. Suite 185. You may reserve available time slots by e-mailing Communications@dbpr.state.fl.us. I look forward to hearing from you!


Chuck Drago's Signature

Charles W. Drago

Department of Business and
Professional Regulation
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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ABT Arrests 35 for Underage Drinking at College and Professional Football Games around the State

DBPR Holds Condominium Educational Seminar

DBPR Secretary Charles W. Drago Invites Licensees to Meet him "On the Road to Better Business"

Construction ULA Sweep

This week DBPR conducted the first statewide unlicensed activity sweep. The sweeps included checking pool, electrical, and construction licenses and permits. Investigators issued 18 notices of non-compliance, 17 citations, and 27 notices to cease and desist.

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