Complaint and Hearing Procedure
Background and Purpose
CPESC, Inc. is a certification organization that maintains a registry of all persons who have achieved the status of a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control, known as CPESC Registrants. CPESC, Inc. is dedicated to promoting a high standard of reliable performance and ethical conduct by its Registrants, who have received education and training in minimizing soil erosion and sediment transport due to land-disturbing activities. By achieving the status and recognition as CPESC Registrants, these persons have enhanced their opportunities to provide services to public and private property owners, governmental units and agencies, and others and to be appropriately compensated for their services. CPESC, Inc. recognizes, on behalf of all Registrants, the need to protect the high standards and dignity of CPESC certification.
All CPESC Registrants are required to adhere to high standards of ethical conduct set forth in the CPESC Code of Conduct and Ethics. Any person who believes that a CPESC Registrant has violated the CPESC Code of Conduct and Ethics may file a complaint against the Registrant. All complaints are treated very seriously by CPESC, Inc., as significant violations may result in suspension or loss of a Registrant's CPESC certification, which could impact his or her ability to provide professional services and earn income.
A person filing a Complaint, referred to as a Complainant, should be aware that CPESC cannot order a Registrant to pay money to the Complainant, or to take corrective action or to complete work that the Complainant feels has not been completed. Those are matters for the civil courts. CPESC does not need the consent of a Complainant to settle or dismiss a Complaint. The Complainant shall not have the right to appeal a decision made under this procedure.
The purpose of the Complaint and Hearing Procedure Against Registrants is to provide an orderly process for responding in a timely manner to Complaints that a CPESC Registrant has violated the CPESC Code of Conduct and Ethics. The procedure is intended to maintain due process and appropriate privacy rights and includes the procedures for a hearing to be conducted as well as appeal opportunities.
The procedure for a person to file a Complaint against a CPESC Registrant is to complete the Complaint Form Against CPESC Registrant that is available through the link on this page. Fill in all information requested with factual information and submit copies of all documents that support your position. If different colors of ink are on the original, and if that is important to understand your claim, send a color copy. Do not send original documents, but have them available for examination by the Ethics Committee if requested. You must sign the form under oath, and your signature must be properly notarized.
When a properly completed and signed/notarized Complaint Form is received in the offices of CPESC, Inc., a file will be opened and assigned a case number. Thereafter, the following procedure will be followed:
- Within 10 days of the Complaint Form being assigned a case number, the Executive Director of CPESC, Inc. will:
- send written confirmation to the Complainant that the Complaint Form has been received. There will be no status reports provided to the Complainant while the complaint process is pending
- send written notice to the Registrant that a Complaint Form about the Registrant has been received by CPESC, Inc. The nature of the complaint will be disclosed to the Registrant, but a copy of the Complaint Form and all accompanying documents submitted by the Complainant will not be provided to the Registrant until after the Ethics Committee has its screening meeting described in item 2, below.
- notify all members of the CPESC Ethics Committee that a complaint has been filed against a Registrant and enclose for each an unredacted copy of the Complaint.
- Within 21 days of receipt of notification of the complaint, the CPESC Ethics Committee ("EC") shall convene and conduct a screening evaluation to determine whether the Complaint contains sufficient meritorious information to warrant a hearing.
- If the EC determines that the Complaint does not contain sufficient meritorious information to warrant a hearing, the EC shall dismiss the Complaint and close the file and immediately notify the CPESC Executive Director of their action. Within 10 business days of receiving written notice of the decision, the CPESC Executive Director shall send notice of the dismissal to both the Registrant and the Complainant, and the file regarding the matter shall be closed.
- If the EC determines that the Complaint does contain sufficient meritorious information to warrant a hearing, the EC shall identify the grounds for a hearing and the provisions of the CPESC Code of Conduct and Ethics that are involved. The EC Chair shall, within 10 business days of the decision, send written notice thereof to the CPESC Executive Director.
- Within 10 business days of receipt of notification from the EC of their decision to conduct a hearing in regard to the Complaint, the CPESC Executive Director shall notify the Registrant of the EC's decision to conduct a hearing and shall send to the Registrant a copy of the Complaint, redacted to protect privacy. The notice to the Registrant shall state that:
- the Registrant shall have 15 business days to submit written response to the Complaint. The written response should include supporting documentation and an item by item specific rebuttal and comment to each allegation in the Complaint. The Registrant will be told that his response and rebuttal along with his supporting documents, together with the Complaint and any other documents that may be obtained independently by the EC, will constitute the record from which the EC will conduct its hearing.
- the EC will consider, on a case-by-case basis, any request for an extension of time for the Registrant to provide rebuttal and response to the Complaint.
- failure of the Registrant to respond and rebut the allegations in the Complaint within the time provided shall be treated as a waiver by the Registrant of his opportunity to provide any response or rebuttal and all of the allegations in the Complaint shall be accepted as accurate and truthful.
- Within 10 business days after the first to occur of (a) the timely receipt of Registrant's response and rebuttal to the Complaint, or (b) the expiration of the time period for the Registrant to submit response and rebuttal to the Complaint, the EC shall schedule and give notice to all parties of the date, time, and location for a hearing on the issues identified in Section 2.(B) above. The hearing shall take place no sooner than 15 days and no later than 45 days after the date when it is scheduled.
- The EC shall have the discretion to contact persons identified in the materials submitted by either party and obtain statements or additional information, and such statements or additional information shall become part of the record for the file. Any such statement or additional information must be received before the hearing is convened.
- The EC shall decide, in its sole discretion, whether it desires to conduct the hearing based upon the record or whether it desires to receive supplemental oral testimony from the Complainant and Registrant.
- If the EC decides not to receive supplemental oral testimony, the Complaint from the Complainant and the response and rebuttal material from the Registrant shall constitute the record from which the hearing shall be conducted.
- If the EC decides to receive supplemental oral testimony, and if the hearing takes place as a teleconference, the supplemental oral testimony from the Complainant and Registrant shall be by telephone. Accordingly, the notice to the parties shall provide the date, time and telephone contact information for the teleconference.
- If the EC decides to receive supplemental oral testimony, and if the hearing takes place as a meeting with at least a majority of the EC members personally in attendance, the Complainant and Registrant shall have the choice to appear in person (which would be preferred) or to participate by telephone conference call. If the hearing is to be conducted by meeting to be attended by at least a majority of the EC members, the notice to the parties shall include the date, time and location of the hearing. Telephone contact information shall be made available to any party who chooses to submit supplemental oral testimony by telephone.
- If the EC chooses not to receive oral testimony, the hearing shall be based upon careful review and evaluation of the record. At the conclusion of the hearing, the EC shall by majority vote adopt findings of fact and conclusions based thereon.
- If the EC chooses to allow the Complainant and Registrant to appear and present supplemental oral testimony, the EC shall consider the supplemental oral testimony as well as the written materials and documents submitted. The EC shall have the right to limit the number of witnesses from whom oral testimony may be presented as well as the length of such testimony. At the conclusion of the hearing, the EC shall confer in private session and shall by majority vote adopt findings of fact and conclusions based thereon.
- After finding the facts and entering the conclusions based thereon at the hearing, the EC shall immediately take one of the actions listed below in this section. Any action that suspends or revokes the Registrant's CPESC certification or registration shall require an affirmative vote of 2/3 of the EC members present for the hearing where a quorum is present. The options available to the EC are:
- dismiss the Complaint and close the file.
- issue a letter of warning to the Registrant that may contain conditions and recommendations as a result of information produced at the hearing.
- suspend the Registrant's CPESC certification and registration for a period of up to (to be determined by the Ethics Committee) months after finding that a violation took place but the same does not merit a harsher punishment than suspension for said period of time.
- revoke the Registrant's CPESC certification and registration for a period of up to (to be determined by the Ethics Committee) months after finding that a violation took place and the same merits a harsher punishment than suspension.
- permanently revoke the Registrant's CPESC certification and registration. A Registrant whose CPESC certification and registration has been permanently revoked may apply as a new applicant for CPESC certification and registration after a period of five years after such revocation.
- The EC Chair shall within 5 business days of the decision send written notification thereof to the CPESC Executive Director, who shall within 5 business days thereafter send written notification of the EC decision to the Registrant and the Complainant.
- The Registrant shall have the right to appeal the decision of the EC, subject to the provisions herein. The Registrant's written notice of appeal shall be submitted to the CPESC Executive Director within ten business days of receipt of the decision of the EC. The only grounds for an appeal are:
- the evidence submitted prior to or at the hearing did not support the material facts found by the EC at the hearing; or
- the conclusion(s) made by the EC at the hearing are not supported by the material facts found by the EC at the hearing; or
- the punishment issued by the EC at the conclusion of the hearing is unreasonably excessive in light of the material facts found and conclusion(s) made therefrom at the hearing.
- Any appeal shall be to a three-member Appeals Panel, none of whom shall have been a member of the EC that conducted the hearing from which the appeal is taken. The Registrant's notice of appeal shall specify the ground(s) for the appeal with specific particularity. A general and unsubstantiated assertion that the evidence did not support the material facts or that the material facts did not support the conclusion(s) or that the punishment was unreasonably excessive, without specific evidence to support the Registrant's appeal, will not be sufficient.
- Within 5 business days of receipt of the notice of appeal, the CPESC Executive Director shall send a copy thereof to the Complainant. Within 10 business days of receipt of the notice of appeal, the CPESC Executive Director shall schedule a date for the Appeals Panel to convene in private session and review the record that was considered by the EC as well as the ruling document by which the EC stated its findings of fact, its conclusions, and its punishment decision. The Registrant and the Complainant shall be notified at least 14 days in advance of the date the Appeal Panel shall convene. No oral testimony or additional written evidence and no oral advocacy shall be presented to the Appeal Panel, although the Appeal Panel may receive and consider written advocacy by the Complainant and Registrant in regard to the findings, conclusions or decision of the EC. When the Appeal Panel convenes in private session, if it determines that the evidence in the record supports the findings made by the EC, and that the findings support the conclusions made by the EC, and that the punishment imposed by the EC is not unreasonably excessive, then the decision and ruling of the EC shall be affirmed. If the Appeal Panel determines either that there are material deficiencies in the EC's findings and/or conclusions or that the punishment imposed by the EC is unreasonably excessive, the Appeal Panel shall have the authority to issue revised findings and/or conclusions and impose a revised punishment. The decision of the Appeal Panel shall be final.
- Any logistical, procedural or administrative details necessary for the reasonable implementation of this Complaint and Hearing Procedure shall be within the jurisdiction of the CPESC Executive Director.