Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Can you legislate professional behavior?

How would you like me, an editor, to put together licensing legislation for landscape contractors in my home state of Ohio? Not a good idea? Hey, I’ve been a part of the landscape industry for more than 20 years, albeit as a reporter and editor; cut me some slack.
OK, I don’t have 20 years “practical” experience as a landscaper, not like Tom Castronovo. Castronovo is the publisher “of New Jersey-based “Gardener News,” a nice little monthly publication that provides good information on everything from turfgrass to pumpkins. He’s also the author of legislation to license landscapers in his home state of New Jersey.
The aim of the bill, which may be considered by state legislators when they reconvene in November, is to “elevate” the profession of landscaping by weeding out low-ballers, fly-by-nighters and so forth.
If enacted it would require all owners of landscape businesses, and one in 10 employees, to be licensed. It also establishes an continuing education component.
Friends in the landscape business in New Jersey are divided on the need for yet another licensing requirement.
One told me he feels the state already has plenty of licensing requirements — for pesticide applicators, irrigation contractors and home improvers. As a certified landscape technician and a card-carrying member of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, he isn’t looking forward to having to get another license and paying more fees, which he sees as just another complication.
Others seem to feel the legislation, if enacted and enforced, will cut down on the number of “gypsy” landscapers that undercut their prices and do sub-standard work.
The basic question is: Can you legislate professional behavior?
Proponents of licensing for landscapers say their efforts will help bring the industry’s image on a par with other professionals, such as doctors and lawyers. Hey, I know doctors and lawyers that I don’t think are professional, at all. On the other hand,I have to confess, I've never met a lawyer or doctor that low-balled another lawyer or doctor, and we've got plenty of both in my neighborhood. — Ron Hall

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Scutari, Mr. Green and Ms. Stender

I recently read an article in the Courier News which states that you are sponsoring a bill to “weed out part-time and "unprofessional" landscapers”. The article went on to explain the good things about this bill, but left out the bad ones.

1. It will increase landscaping fees for homeowners
2. It will require additional fees which small landscaping businesses cannot pay
3. It will add a new layer of bureaucracy to the industry.
4. It will eliminate competition
5. It will punish small startup and existing businesses in favor for big industrial landscaping businesses
6. It pretends to weed out undocumented immigrants, when it fact it is big landscaping industries who hires them

Knowing a bit about the business, these are just some of the reasons to kill this bill. As a person who have always voted and work with Democracts, I must say, those who support or vote for this bill, will not get our votes. Since the bill has been tactically held until after the election, I will like to have your response on this bill, if possible, before then.

Those who do not agree with this bill, should do the same.