March, 2002

Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors


ASHI 2001 Committee Reports

EDITED BY ASHI STAFF

Bylaws Committee

Purpose:
Conduct annual review of Bylaws in comparison with Policies and Procedures of the Society

Jim Rooney, chair; Dave Drewry, Board liaison; John Geiger; Bob Gwaltney; David Lee; and Bob Kociolek, staff liaison.

Jim Rooney reported, “The Bylaws Committee in 2001 held teleconferences to discuss the merits of amending the Bylaws to allow for electronic voting. This would be a Bylaws change that would have to be effected under the existing rules of paper balloting of the membership with the required response level. This was sent to the Board of Directors, and the proposed change will be offered to the Membership for its consideration in 2002.”  

Rationale for change to bylaws: Electronic voting is recognized and used by a significant and growing number of associations as an important membership service that increases member participation in voting by making it easier for members to vote. Technological advances make it a secure and timesaving method to count ballots. Members would still receive ballots by mail and have the option of returning them either by mail or electronically.  

CEPP/CCAC Committees

Purpose:
To review and dispose of complaints filed against Candidates and Members

Bylaws: 8.2.3 The Complaints Committee shall review any complaints received against Members, Affiliates and Friends, regarding alleged violations of the Code of Ethics, these Bylaws, policies, the Standards of Practice, and other rules, as applicable.

Bryck Guibor, Committee for Ethical and Professional Practices (CEPP) chair; Richard Matzen, Board liaison; Norm Sage; Tim Stull; and Yvonne Romanowski, staff liaison

Karl A. Goellner, Committee for Complaints Against Candidates (CAC) chair; Richard Matzen, Board liaison; Jim Farmer; Matt Bradfeldt; Keith Oberg; Gary Gentry; and Yvonne Romanowski, staff liaison

Committee objective:
Review Policies and Procedures for both groups. Identify areas of weakness or in need of modification.  Propose deletions/additions as appropriate.

Committee for Complaints Against Candidates

The CCAC Committee received and dealt with a total of 19 complaints against Candidates for the calendar year. This was a drop of about 40 percent from a total of 33 complaints received last year. The majority of the complaints were in regards to logo misuse and/or false claims of Membership in ASHI. All of the complaints have been resolved leading to recommendations of four dismissals, three letters of reprimand, seven suspensions and five expulsions.

The complaints process has been streamlined and organized and functions as well at this time between National and the CCAC Committee. Continual tweaking will always be necessary.

Chapter Relations Committee

Purpose: To foster a beneficial relationship between ASHI National and ASHI Chapters

Steven Baranello, chair; Jack Feldmann, Board liaison; Sean Umlauf; Dennis Parra, Sr.; William Conner; Kenneth Salvo; Timothy Tucker; Daniel DeStefano; and Bob Kociolek, staff liaison

One committee objective was to encourage ASHI’s membership growth through the Chapters. To this end, it investigated the feasibility of ASHI regions, and considered the pros and cons of automatic chapter membership. An equally important objective was to enhance ASHI’s assistance to its chapters. Chapter Leadership Day in October showcased the programs, activity, and support available to chapters and provided for the sharing of ideas and knowledge between local leaders from across the country.

In addition, chapter viability tests were completed. The 2001 ASHI Chapter Survey and Chapter Leadership Day Evaluation provided useful feedback for determining the value to chapters of specific activities. The Chapter Operations Manual is now online, available for downloading by all chapters.  Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance was secured for the chapters that provided the required financial revenues information.

Conference Planning Committee

Purpose:
To plan and produce the Society’s annual conference

Michael Casey, co-chair; Richard Matzen, co-chair; Stephen Gladstone; Don Norman, Education committee member; and Carlos Tabora, staff liaison

This committee works with the Education, Technical, Public Relations, Membership and Chapter Relations committees to plan and produce the Society’s annual conference, InspectionWorld.

Specifically the committee oversees selecting and securing of future conference sites; choosing the keynote speaker and topic, and the entertainment; as well as general planning and scheduling of events. Watch for highlights from InspectionWorld New Orleans in the April ASHI Reporter.

Executive Director Evaluation Committee

Purpose: To assist the Board in monitoring and evaluating the Society’s Executive Director

Patrick L. Casey, chair; Mark Cramer, Board liaison; John Palczuk; John Ghent; and Rob Paterkiewicz, staff liaison

The committee conducted a performance review of the Executive Director in accordance with the current contract.

Education Committee

Purpose:
To design, develop and disseminate education materials for the home inspection profession.

William Richardson, chair; Stephen Gladstone, Board liaison; Kenneth Salvo; Louis Parrillo; Michael Gebben; Vimal Kapoor; Scott Patterson; Ross Gibson; William Jacques; Carl Pucci; and Jim Jones, staff liaison.

Bill Richardson identified the committee’s most important work for the year as assembling the educational portion of InspectionWorld 2002. This was the first time the Education Committee had taken on this task, and it did so at the direction of the ASHI Board.

Richardson said, “The committee worked hard on this, sending out requests for speakers, and then reviewing each speaker. We assembled the list of topics, schedule of sessions, etc. Jim Jones and CarlosTabora of ASHI staff were most helpful, and we couldn’t have done it without their help.

“I attended the Conference and heard lots of positive comments on the quality of sessions. This will be an ongoing task for the Education Committee, and it will only get better each year. What will help the committee is for all who attended sessions to send in their comment sheets. These are important to the process of selecting speakers and educational topics. The members of the committee worked hard, and it would be appreciated if they were acknowledged for their work. The attendees at the conference never see what staff and the volunteers do to make it an event to remember. Next year’s sessions should be great.

We have a new chair who is dedicated, and he has a committee that is just as dedicated. They need the Members’ input to help them.

“Thanks for a great year, and thanks to all who made it happen,” he concluded.
In addition to the conference, the committee worked on the following issues during the year.

• Establish alliances with related parties to develop and strengthen educational programs and improve use of technology.

• Provide oversight of ASHI’s transition from MRCs to CEUs.

• Address home inspection training issues, as identified, and modify the home inspector training curriculum as necessary.

• Encourage home inspection training organizations to follow the ASHI Home Inspector Training Curriculum.

• Develop opportunities for Internet education of inspectors.

• Investigate the creation of a Master Inspector program.

Facilities Committee

Purpose:
To monitor the condition and maintenance of ASHI’s headquarters building

James C. Dunsing, chair; John Ghent, Board liaison; and Cindy Wittrock, staff liaison

Bids were received and reviewed in the process of choosing contractors to replace the roof and the heating/air conditioning system at HQ during the past year. Regular maintenance was performed as scheduled.

Finance Committee

Purpose:
To guide financial planning and policies for the Society

Stephen Gladstone, chair; John Ghent; Mark Cramer; Michael Casey; Richard Matzen; Don Norman;  and Rob Paterkiewicz and Cindy Wittrock, staff liaisons
Bylaws: 8.2.5 The finance committee shall be responsible for the financial planning and policies of the Society, including the annual budget. The Treasurer shall serve as chairperson.

See the Reporter, February 2002 for the Annual Treasurer’s Report.

Leadership Committee

Purpose:
To assist the ASHI Board in monitoring committee activities in relation to accomplishing ASHI’s work plan

John Ghent, chair; Mark Cramer; Michael Casey; Stephen Gladstone; Richard Matzen; Don Norman; COR Speaker; and Rob Paterkiewicz, staff liaison

Objectives and strategies for this committee included the following.

• Obtain a “seat at the table” with other preeminent groups represented in property transactions.

• Transition ASHI from a political-based to a business-based culture.

• Implement the four parameters of knowledge-based decision-making on all governance bodies of ASHI.

• Foster trust and effectiveness by examining, communicating and understanding the distinctive roles of governance bodies, chapters, etc.

Legislative Committee

Purpose:
To ensure that all legislative efforts benefit ASHI and the home inspection profession

Joseph F. Corsetto, co-chair – federal issues; Brion Grant, co-chair – state issues; Michael Casey, Board liaison; Max Curtis; Jim Hemsell; Russell Abram; William Sheets; Stephen Sliwka; Steve Taylor; and Bob Kociolek, staff liaison – state issues; Rob Paterkiewicz, staff liaison–federal issues

Joe Corsetto reported, “The Board of Directors passed a new policy that outlines the procedure for a Society Member who seeks a seat on a home inspector regulatory body to obtain a written ASHI National endorsement. This policy provides a fair process, and empowers the local Chapter(s) and members-at-large to coordinate the petition request.

“Our Washington, DC based lobbyist, leadership and ASHI staff are making slow but sure headway to assure ASHI’s interests are being heard by lawmakers. The recently announced General Accounting Office (GAO) study, charged with quantifying the cost and benefits of requiring mandatory home inspections on federally-insured homebuyer loans, is a significant accomplishment. Even if a federally required home inspection program never materializes, this issue should continue to pique lawmakers’ interest and reinforce the connection between home inspections, building defect disclosure and consumer protection. This becomes a win-win situation for the Society and the profession.”

He concluded, “As I step down from the Legislative Committee and assume the role of Secretary, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who I’ve had the pleasure of working with and knowing. I look forward to meeting the many new challenges we will face in order to maintain ASHI as the preeminent voice of the profession.”

State issues continued to demand attention as the committee and the staff liaison offered support and assistance to Chapters and Membership seeking to influence local regulation and legislation. The Legislative Guidebook was created to help support these efforts and the committee reports important revisions are pending to ensure it continues to be useful. Committee activities are aimed at obtaining ASHI a “seat at the table” with other preeminent groups represented in property transactions at both federal and state levels.

Membership Committee

Purpose:
To recruit and retain the Society’s membership.

JD Grewell, chair; Donald Norman, Board liaison; Ray Begin; Melvin Esh; James Baillie; Denis D. Finch; Ronald Rusch; Donald Lovering; John Flanagan; and Jim Jones, staff liaison

JD Grewell reported, “This past year, the committee responded to Board of Director requests regarding Certification and the ASHI Brand Goal. 

“As the year closed, the Membership Committee held a teleconference to discuss concerns of the Membership about the policy governing MRCs. As a result, the committee drafted the following motion.

“Allow no more than 10 Membership Renewal Credits (MRCs) to be credited to the following year on an annual basis. This policy will become effective with the next dues notification and should be communicated via “First Thing” and the Reporter in advance of the dues mailing.”

Rational for change: Previously, the Membership was required to earn 60 MRCs every three years. This allowed those who had earned 40 MRCs the first year to earn the additional 20 over the following two years. This allowed them some degree of flexibility in scheduling attendance at seminars, chapter meetings, and conferences.

Current policy states that 20 MRCs must be earned every year with no allowance to carry a credit into the following year. This change had a surprisingly negative impact on a larger percentage of the Membership than anticipated. There are roughly 700 Members who are short MRCs for this year (2001).  Some will have no problem garnering the needed credits, but many would appreciate the option of being allowed to credit any excess to the future. Some chapters that were sponsoring seminars were also negatively impacted when members claimed they did not need to attend, especially since they were in a surplus situation and are no longer allowed to count MRCs as a credit into the future. A few chapters ended up canceling their seminars due to a lack of attendance.

The rational convinced the Board, and the motion passed.

In addition to considering certification, ASHI brand, and the MRC policy, the committee’s workplan reflected a desire to expand voluntary membership designations to empower qualified members to demonstrate higher levels of expertise, and basic requirements such as foster ASHI membership growth through the ASHI chapters and define all the stakeholders and their needs.

Public Relations Committee

Purpose:
To promote ASHI and the home inspection profession to the general public related industry organizations and home inspectors

Stephen J. Preins, chair; Skip Kelley, Board liaison; Danny Maynard; David Surette; Larry Cerro; Mary Fisher; Douglas Burgess; Jesse Perry; Thomas Kraeutler; and Sandy Bourseau, staff liaison

Steve Preins reported, “ASHI’s Public Relations program was in high gear in 2001, as we scored several major coups in the national print and broadcast media. Thanks to the efforts of our hard working volunteers on the PR committee, we were able to continue to direct the efforts of ASHI’s public relations firm, Publicis Dialog. Plus we were able to respond quickly to two major projects assigned to our committee by the Board of Directors. One of the projects, the idea of formalizing the ASHI Brand Inspection, is moving forward this year. We anticipate another extremely busy year for the Public Relations Committee in 2002.”

In addition to the activities described by Preins, the 2001 workplan included objectives supporting the work of other committees, such as the following examples:  

• Increase ASHI’s visibility in order that all jurisdictions will come to it first before taking any action on inspector-related regulations (ASHI must be more visible)–Legislative, and

• Enhance ASHI’s position as the pre-eminent independent organization representing the profession–Membership.

Standards Committee

Purpose:
To develop and maintain recommended home inspection standards
Dan Friedman, chair; Richard Matzen, Board liaison; Michael Sterling; JD Grewell; Roger Robinson; Christopher Ueland; William Coull; and Sandy Bourseau, staff liaison.

Dan Firedman reported, “Mike Sterling is retiring from the committee at the end of 2001. The committee flourished under his leadership and his continuing participation. He will be missed and the committee regrets his loss as we express our sincere appreciation for his efforts.”

During 2001, primary objectives of the committee included the following:

• Ensure that the ASHI Standards of Practice (SoP) remain at least as stringent as the average state regulatory standards

• Increase acceptance of the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics by relevant organizations and regulatory bodies

Committee activities included the mandated two-year review of the ASHI Standards of Practice and the presentation of the changes to the Members. The changes were not accepted due to insufficient participation. The committee anticipates that requests for interpretation of the SoP may provide input suggesting additional changes. The committee will also respond to the lack of participation by working to inform Membership regarding the stringency of the current SoP and of the critical importance of definitions in the Glossary section in defining the breadth of scope of standards.

The committee responded to Requests for Interpretation (RIFs) of the SoP and the Code of Ethics (CoE) attempting to maintain a 30-day response time. Approximately 32 requests were processed during 2001, mostly involving ethics questions.

The Board approved the committee’s request to make RIFs public to the Membership, and in appropriate cases to general public. Committee size is being increased to attempt to permit ultimate division of workload. Additional people will be needed as the committee proceeds with a review of the ASHI Code of Ethics. RFI’s processed in 2001 indicated areas of needed.

Technical Committee

Purpose:
To serve as ASHI’s watchdog for accuracy and relevance in all technical matters

Bob Schwalbenberg, chair; Dave Goldstein, Board liaison; Robert Kraus, Sr.; Paul Bugge; Matt Bradfeldt; Kenny Hart; Jamison Brown; Daniel Banks; Larry Cerro; Norman Clark, James Hanratty; and Bob Kociolek, staff liaison

Committee members reviewed, debated and provided guidance on technical content for ASHI publications, often on short notice. In addition, they recommended sources for articles and reliable information, and provided comments to be published. Kenny Hart, wrote a two-part article.