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March 31st renewal dates for licenses in California - Delays

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007


My PE license expires on 3/31/07 – in 11 days. After speaking with one of two representatives at Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors Licensing, I found out that the state sent out renewals late this time. I paid my renewal on March 4th after receiving the renewal notice on March 3rd.  I e-mailed and called PELS in Sacramento since as of today I have not received my renewal card. I also checked with my bank and found out that the check has not been cashed yet. This morning I sent an E-mail to PELS and this afternoon my wife phoned the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) for me. I received a phone call a little while ago from a very frustrated young woman and I think it is probably best to let those of you who are sitting on pins and needles know what happened.


PELS sent out the March 31st renewal notices late this year. It is normally sent out sixty days in advance, but for some reason it was sent out closer to 30 days and takes 2 to four weeks to go through processing. The typical proceedure without a change of address is simply to fill out a check and send it back in with the renewal form folded over. However, the payment goes to DCA rather than PELS. The Department of Consumer Affairs processes the payment and based on all of the licenses that the DCA handles which are due on this date, there is no way to verify whether or not your payment was processed. Normally, I would have expected the state to offer an extension of at least two weeks for their delay in sending out the notices, but they are not going to do this. If you do not receive your new license by 3/31, you can not sign your work and for many of us that means we are out of business at least until our check is processed.


You could have mailed the payment directly to PELS, but they don’t advertise this and it is not included in the return receipt that we use to send back our payment. PELS also tells you not to cancle the first check and reissue payment via overnight express mail to PELS (if you sent to DCA). Not only would they charge a $50.00 late fee, but they would still delay processing by two to four weeks.


The only solution I have had offered is to call PELS in 7 days to see if the payment was listed as processed. If not, I would need to issue a new check and send it directly to PELS overnight where it would be processed immediately. They would cash both checks and reimburse the overpayment. I got the strong impression that the two people handling renewals are getting literally hundreds of calls each day.


If your license expires on 3/31 I suggest you contact PELS directly (not DCA) next week and be ready to send a second payment via overnight mail. You can not sign drawings until the payment is processed which can put some of us out of business while we wait.


Looks like its time for a new Governor since not only has PELS been short staffed, but DCA has had staff reductions, BORPELS is taking more than five years to address complaints and our renewals are now every two years instead of four years as it has been in the past. The least I would have expected is that PELS should offer an extension of at least two weeks inasmuch as they admitted sending the notices out late.


I have a bit more to be concerned with as mail easily gets lost in La Quinta or stolen from our post boxes located in rural boxes on the street. Our local post office sub-contracts out delivery services and I often find the stack of mail at the end of the day for over 50 families in one of our post boxes by my home or at one of the other neighbors.








Dennis S. Wish, PE

California Professional Engineer

Structural Engineering Consultant

C-41250 (Potentially Out of Business by 3/31/07)




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