March, 2003

Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors


ASHI 2002 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; Robert Gwaltney, Board liaison; David Drewry; John Geiger; Robert Grafe; Danny Maynard; Charles Wiersum and Bob Kociolek, staff liaison.

In 2001, the committee recommended the Bylaws be amended to allow for electronic voting. It was presented to the Members and passed in 2002. Later in the year, Members voted electronically and by mail as they approved three additional Bylaw amendments. The first changed the minimum term for a person who serves on the COR from one to two years. The second allowed an Alternate Director who steps in to replace a Director for less than two years to remain eligible for nomination by the Council to the Board for the succeeding term. The third struck the following words from Article 2 – Membership, Sub-article 2.1, 2b, “nor recommend individuals or businesses for any repair work.”

In addition, Tom Lauhon, speaker of the COR, requested interpretations of two Bylaws. Articles 5.3, 5.3.2 and 5.3.3 were interpreted by the committee as meaning Chapters not eligible for a Council Representative according to Article 5.3 are allowed to band together and have representation through the COR by having 10 Members between the two (or more) Chapters and submit their petition to the Board for consideration. The committee interpreted Articles 5.5 and 5.5.1 as meaning that a Council rep eligible for nomination to the Board should be sitting on the COR when the new Board members are elected. Committee recommendations often follow requests from the Board or other committees for interpretation of the Bylaws in comparison to policies and procedures. When the committee recommends a change, it provides a rationale that first must convince the Directors, then the Members. In 2002, Members agreed with all the committee’s recommendations.

Complaints (CEPP/CCAC) Committees

Purpose:
To review and dispose of complaints filed against ASHI Membership and non-members.

Tom Corbett/Jim Vykopal, Committee for Ethical and Professional Practices (CEPP) chairs; Stephen Gladstone, Board liaison; Norm Sage; Tim Stull; and Yvonne Romanowski/Jim Vykopal, staff liaisons

Howard Pegelow/Jim Vykopal, Committee for Complaints Against Candidates (CCAC) chairs; Stephen Gladstone, Board
liaison; Gary Gentry; Jerome Baumgardt, Denis D. Finch and Yvonne Romanowski/Jim Vykopal, staff liaisons


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

Mid-year Jim Vykopal, ASHI’s new director of compliance, took over as chair and staff liaison for both committees. In October and December, the policies and procedures related to the complaint process were reviewed, revised and approved by the Board for approval.  

During his tenure, Vykopal received 160 complaints, grouped as follows:

Non-member logo violations - printed advertising, 21
Non-member logo violations - Internet Web sites, 12
Candidate logo violations, 19
Member logo violations, 6
Member ethics violations, 64
Member Standards complaints, 38
The current status of the 160 complaints is as follows:
In various stages of investigations, 66
Dismissed, 75
Members and Candidates discipline, 7
Non-member Internet logo violations corrected –  logo removed, 12

Chapter Relations Committee

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

Dennis Parra, chair; Jack Feldmann, Board liaison; Steven Baranello; Charles Bellefontaine; Joseph Kelly; Joanne Mackintosh; Jean-Paul Pilot; Ronald Rusch; David Sherwood; Mark Thomas; Timothy Tucker; Chuck Walton Jr., and Bob Kociolek, staff liaison

With objectives to increase the use of chapters for stakeholder awareness and to foster ASHI’s membership growth through its chapters, the committee focused on chapter viability, relationships between chapters, requests to form new chapters, including alternative types; and enhanced assistance to the local organizations. Acting on the committee’s motion, the Board recognized the Southern Colorado Chapter. With the assistance of the committee and staff, 18 chapters set up private chapter forums on the ASHI Web site. The committee also set up a conference to discuss its work. Chapter viability tests were e-mailed to chapter presidents, accompanied by a letter from ASHI President Mike Casey explaining the importance of participating. The test is one of several tools, along with the Annual Chapter Survey, the committee uses to help guide chapter development where needed and requested. The committee responded to three requests for assistance.  A well-attended Chapter Leadership Day provided an opportunity to showcase the programs, activities and support available to chapters. The committee also revisited the feasibility of ASHI regions; the pros and cons of automatic chapter membership, and strategies for chapters developing alliances at the local level.

Conference Planning Committee

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

Rich Matzen, co-chair; Stephen Gladstone, co-chair; Joseph Corsetto; Don Norman and Carlos Tabora/Tifanni Sterdivant, staff liaisons

This committee works with the Education Committee to plan and produce the Society’s annual conference, InspectionWorld.

Specifically the committee oversees selecting and securing of future conference sites; managing the exhibits, choosing the keynote speaker and topic, and the entertainment; as well as the Exhibit Showcase, general planning and scheduling of events. Albuquerque, New Mexico and Austin, Texas have been chosen as the sites for 2004 and 2005 respectively.

Watch for highlights from record-breaking InspectionWorld in Orlando in the April ASHI Reporter. Coming soon, sneak previews of Albuquerque in ‘04.

Director Nominating/COR policy & procedures Committee

Purpose:
To establish the proposed slate of the most qualified Director candidates

William Jacques, chair; Melvin Jacobs, Steve Verssen, Don Nelson, John Swain, and Bob Kociolek, staff liaison.

According to Jacques, “It was an interesting year for the committee, with 10 highly qualified candidates sending in matrices for five seats and one alternate seat on the Board of Directors. Having so many qualified candidates made it difficult for the committee to choose. However it was rewarding to know we had more people from the Council of Representatives interested than seats available. Seven positions were actually filled, because Keith Ruehl became ASHI Secretary, and therefore vacated his Director seat. The Alternate moved up to the Board making way for another Alternate to be selected. The Members of the COR Directors Nominating Committee are to be commended for their dedication and hard work.

“The goal of the COR Policy and Procedures committee was to establish a written policy to facilitate the process of selecting the Slate of Candidates to the Board. There is now a written policy to follow for the election of Directors. Chuck Bellefontaine, Charles Gifford, Bill Conner, Melvin Jacobs and Fred Heppner served on this committee.

“I would like to thank the members of the committees and Past COR Speaker Tom Lauhon. A special thanks to Bob Kociolek for his dedication and hard work that helped make this a successful year. Now is the time to start thinking about the candidates for the six Director seats that will be available. Get your resume in order.”

Education Committee

Purpose:
To provide and review educationmaterials and programs for the home inspection profession.

Kenneth Salvo, chair; Keith Ruehl, Board liaison; George (Don) Boone; John Gerardi; William Jacques; Richard Kraenbring; Scott Patterson; John Wenger and Jim Jones, staff liaison.

The educational sessions offered at InspectionWorld in Orlando speak to the committee’s commitment to excellence in managing the educational portion of ASHI’s annual conference. The committee added this task to its responsibilities last year at the request of the Board. With the support of ASHI staff, it was once again able to compile a list of presenters and sessions that allowed it to schedule a wide-variety of outstanding educational opportunities for attendees.
In addition the committee worked on procedures for selecting home inspection education providers, including for Internet education of inspectors, and tried to determine an effective method of gathering input from chapters on developing a speaker database for chapter use.

Elections Committee

Purpose:
To oversee and supervise elections and campaigns and take appropriate action to insure they are run in a fair and impartial manner.

John Heyn, chair; Alan Carson, Werner Carlson; Patrick Porzio, alternate member, and Rob Paterkiewicz, staff liaison

While prepared to act if needed, there were no incidences this year that required this committee’s involvement.

Executive Director Evaluation Committee

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

Mark Cramer, chair; John Ghent, Board liaison; John Palczuk, and Rob Paterkiewicz, staff liaison


According to Cramer, the committee conducted an annual performance review of the Executive Director in accordance with the current contract, and discussed human resource issues.

Facilities Committee

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

Charles Bellefontaine, chair; Donald Norman, Board liaison; and Russell Daniels, staff liaison

Bids were received and reviewed in the process of building out the second floor suite, furnishing it and connecting it to the first floor. Regular maintenance was performed as scheduled. A rental suite on the second floor was made ready for a new tenant.  

Finance Committee

Purpose:
To guide financial planning and policies for the Society

Donald Norman, chair; Michael Casey; Joseph Corsetto; John Ghent, Stephen Gladstone, Rich Matzen, and Cindy Paterkiewicz, staff liaison

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 2003 for the Annual Treasurer’s Report.

Leadership Committee

Purpose:
To assist the ASHI Board in monitoring committee activities and to help ASHI improve its leadership development and training.

Michael Casey, chair; Joseph Corsetto; Richard Matzen; Stephen Gladstone; John Ghent; Don Norman; and Rob Paterkiewicz, staff liaison

The committee made significant strides in pursuing the following objectives:

• 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.

• Provide ongoing leadership training.

• 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

Rich Matzen, co-chair – federal issues; Brion Grant, co-chair – state issues; Rich Matzen, Board liaison; Marvin Goldstein; Jim Hemsell; Bill Richardson; Douglas Wingerath and Rob Paterkiewicz –federal issues; Bob Kociolek, – state issues, staff liaisons

The Legislative Action Center debuted on www.ashi.org and was immediately used to generate grassroots e-mails that opposed changes to North Carolina’s Standards. Although the changes passed, the Center proved its value as 140 ASHI Members nationwide weighed in with their reasoned objections. The Center makes it possible for the Membership to reach state and federal representatives when home inspector input is needed to influence government activities.

Under the direction of the committee, staff and leadership, Randy Pence, lobbyist, continued to open doors for the Society in Washington D.C. ASHI leadership met with representatives of the Appraisal Institute, National Association of Home Builders, and numerous federal government officials, and continued to push ASHI’s position on all property transaction matters being considered by agencies and legislators.

In the state arena, Alabama adopted the ASHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics this year. The committee focused on supporting Chapters and Members seeking to influence local regulation and legislation in this direction. ASHI developed the groundbreaking “Position Statement on Regulation of Home Inspectors.” The “white paper” graded and compared existing state legislation and laid out the necessary components of any legislation that purports to protect consumers and the profession. It provided a Model Licensing Law, serving as a template Members can share with legislators as a starting point for supporting meaningful legislation or opposing bad legislation. A living document, the Position Statement will be reviewed and revised annually in July. The committee introduced the Position Statement at the National Conference of State Legislators in July. More then 500 copies were distributed to state legislators and staff. ASHI was exhibiting for the first time at this gathering of more than 6000 state legislative movers and shakers. Important contacts were made. In October, ASHI staff was invited to take part in a regulation roundtable at the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials’ annual meeting.  Committee members and staff also updated “The Legislative Guidebook,” and responded to requests for help with legislative issues in Alaska, Missouri, New Mexico, Iowa, Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi, Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Alabama.  

Membership Committee

Purpose:
To recruit and retain the Society’s
membership

JD Grewell, chair; Jay Balin, Board liaison; Ray Begin; Denis D. Finch; John Flanagan; William Jacques; Donald Lovering; Jean-Paul Pilot; Ronald Rusch; Tony Smith; John Wilson and Jim Jones, staff liaison

A round table discussion was again held at the 2003 annual conference to discuss membership issues within ASHI and to find ways to remove barriers to the inspector community. The committee again invited input after last year’s recommendations to the Board on the topic of changing membership requirements were deemed too difficult to implement. In response to a separate workplan objective, CEO representatives from several large multi-inspector and franchise firms were asked for input on ways to expand their involvement with ASHI. Following the meeting, the committee made a motion to create an Advisory Council made up of such firms. The rational convinced the Board, and the motion passed. The Board also passed the committee motion to give recognition to expanding chapters, supporting the objective of fostering membership growth through chapters, and the motion to enhance benefits for retired members with a reduced rate for InspectionWorld.

In addition to presenting successful motions to the Board, the committee again recommended that all new applicants be assigned to chapters, and is in the process of exploring possible additional benefits for membership, specifically health insurance. The insurance project was carried over to 2003.

Officer Nominating Committee

Purpose:
To identify and name candidates who meet ASHI’s leadership requirements for the offices of President-Elect, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.

John Ghent, chair, Chuck Bellefontaine; David Brunstadt; Bill Conner; Leon Costanten; Jim Lee; Ken Salvo; Tim Stull; Tim Tucker and Rob Paterkiewicz, staff liaison

The chair is a past officer, appointed by the President and approved by the Board. The Council of Representatives selects the remainder of the Committee Members from among themselves by election. An alternate shall be appointed by the Speaker to serve if another Member is unavailable.

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; David Swartz. Board liaison; Danny Maynard; Skip Kelley, Jesse Perry, Paul Staron; Larry Cerro; Russell Abram, Mark Oldroyd, Keven Kossler, Max Curtis and Sandy Bourseau, staff liaison

Directing Publicis Dialogue, ASHI’s public relations consulting firm, the committee oversaw a program that established ASHI as the media’s “go-to” source for home inspection information and access to knowledgeable home inspectors. Moving from a relative unknown to the representative of the profession, ASHI now keeps a steady stream of information flowing to real estate editors across the country. In addition to creating and distributing monthly national press releases, Publicis Dialogue escorts ASHI’s leadership on media tours and spearheads special successful campaigns, such as publicizing ASHI’s Position Statement on Regulation of Home Inspectors. Millions had the opportunity to see ASHI’s name during the past year, thanks to the public relations program.

The committee also fulfilled internal public relations responsibilities. It responded when asked to provide ideas on how proposed changes in membership requirements could be presented to the Membership. The report to the Board raised many issues that needed to be clarified before such a program could be successfully presented. The committee directed much of its resources this year to chapter support, conducting a workshop at Chapter Leadership Day, and introducing several products for chapter use, including local media lists, several customized pamphlets and an ad.

To support the objective of developing mutually beneficial relationships with other organizations, the committee oversaw the development of a database listing contacts for this initiative. The committee positioned itself to be ready for what is needed to contribute to ASHI’s Branding Program.

Standards Committee

Purpose:
To develop and maintain recommended home inspection standards

Dan Friedman, chair; Don Norman, Board liaison; JD Grewell; Roger Robinson; Christopher Ueland; William Coull; Mark Cramer, Bill Sutton, Bob Peek Roger Hankey and Sandy Bourseau, staff liaison.

Continuing a practice began in 2001, the committee accepted and responded to requests for interpretations of both the Standards of Practice and the Code of Ethics. Fifty-five requests have been honored to date. This activity dominated the committee workload this year. It significantly lowered its response time to requests, and won Board approval to make the responses public to the Membership and in appropriate cases to the general public. Some ethics questions have identified potential sea changes (or transformations) in how home inspections are being marketed and conducted, in some cases with results that may not protect consumer interest due to conflicts of interest with real estate sales.

The Board also approved a generalization of ASHI policy to permit adjusting Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice update schedules as needed. A special committee task force met in June to bring forward results of the 2000 Carson task force on ethics; consulted with CEPP and with a professional business ethicist and began to develop an update to the ASHI Code of Ethics that addresses contemporary ethical concerns. A distinction made by some members between ethics and business practices was found vacant. There are business practices. Some are ethical, some are not.

For 2003 Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics update responsibilities have been split and will be handled by separate Standards and Ethics (new) Committees headed by JD Grewell and Chris Ueland respectively.

Technical Committee

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

Kenny Hart, chair; Frank Lesh, Board liaison; Robert Kraus, Sr.; Larry Cerro; James Hanratty; Lawrence Klock, Richard Lukoff, R. Sykes, Thomas Walther, John Cranor and Sandy Bourseau and Bob Kociolek, staff liaisons

Committee members reviewed links submitted to them for the launch of the technical resource center on Web site, and recommended a link to government product recall Web site be added to ashi.org. They also 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. John Cranor wrote a two-part article. They investigated feasibility of publishing technical bulletins, but decided Web site links are more effective, timely and efficient.