SB133, Anonymity and Opposition

I just noticed that I got called out by Ryan Ross’ blogger for keeping my true identity a secret.

If Ryan Ross and his blogger want to raise the issue of anonymity, I’ll raise the same issue with a guy they decided to spend two whole blogs on.  

Let’s talk about a long-time opponent of licensing, Bob O’Block.  Just who is this guy and who is this organization he “leads”?  I think I heard him boasting a membership of anywhere from 40 to 70 private investigators.  Hmmm.  I can’t seem to find any evidence that his organization actually exists, except on paper.  He calls it the Colorado Independent Investigators Association.  Has anybody every seen CIIA’s website?  I don’t seem to be able to find it.  Maybe I’m just not a good PI.  And so far, the only names that I have associated with CIIA have been those that are listed on corporate documents (Anthony “Tony” Mastin and Robert Waldon O’Block) and Daril Cinquanta (who identified himself as a CIIA member in a Denver Biz Journal article back in 2002:

(http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2002/02/04/story8.html?page=all).

As a matter of fact, in that same bizjournal article, Mastin is reported as saying the whole reason that CIIA was formed was to fight licensing and PPIAC.   But as far as I can tell, they don’t meet, they don’t publish information and they certainly don’t post a membership roster.

As much as I currently disagree with most of what Rick Johnson currently says (he does have a few good points), at least his Colorado Society of Private Investigators has a website where they proudly post their members.  And so does PPIAC.  And so does every single other professional organization I can think of.  But not the super-secret CIIA.  

I challenge CIIA to post a membership roster so we can see who is behind the opposition.  Could it be that the vast majority of his “members” would not pass a background check?  Could it be that his members exist only in his head? 

I think I’ll go to the Secretary of State’s website and pay my $50 to form an organization called PIs For Licensure.  I have a membership of 300.  All of my members believe in regulation, background checks, competency testing and insurance.

Don’t believe me?  Just check out our website.  If you can find it.

Fred

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4 comments
  1. Why is this guy allowed to post and not identify him/her self? I really don’t care about his/her criticism of me ,we can agree to disagree. Guys, this is a licensing bill, emotions will run high, what else would you expect, If the blog is designed for discussion than lets do that, this guy starts off with criticism and assertions-ok let it pass.

    I do not favor licensing at this time, I do not see any benefit,40 years of not licensing Colorado pi;s and sure we have a few problems, but should all of us have to be held responsible for a few clowns?

    Don’t potential clients have some responsibility to do some of their own homework before hiring a pi? It is not the responsibility of the government to hold everyone’s hand when they engage anyone to do anything for them-at least not yet.

    1-What would you like to see in the licensing law as far as experience ,testing, insurance,, continuing education?

    2-What are you willing to pay for the license?

    Heck,none of us know if you are in the business and if so what is your experience is to be so critical of those of who testified against the bill at the judiciary committee?

    If you would like to use this format to debate the licensing issue than lets get it going. I have asked two questions ,please answer, you ask me a few and lets see where this takes us.

    Rick Johnson-my real name
    http://www.denverpi.com

  2. Michael said:

    Agreed Rick. I’m also against licensing under the current iteration because there just doesn’t seem to be that much of a benefit to your average investigator. As I’ve been discussing in the other thread with Dean, I’m not against licensing of some kind – but if we’re going to be expected to pay and jump through hoops, then I want something a bit more than a “privilege” card.

    What would I like to see? What I’d like to see isn’t going to happen because as Dean pointed out in the other thread, giving investigators access is a prickly deal and not realistic given the current privacy laws. If we can’t get better access than John Q. Public, then that’s one thing … but if we’re stuck in the same privacy hole as the public then why should our clients hire us to do anything in the first place?

    Regarding training: some agencies already put on investigator training if you know where to look. It just depends on what you’re looking for.

    Insurance would be a big help – especially if we’re going to now need malpractice insurance now that our “mandatory license” is going to be subject to claims and such.

    Has anyone really thought that through?

    Scenario: client hires me to do investigation work on their criminal case. (Note: the mandatory SB133 doesn’t differentiate between private, civil or criminal – so I’m assuming we’re all in the same boat.) If I do an interview and it goes against the client, the client get’s all pissed off and wants to grieve me even though *I* did nothing wrong because I didn’t “change facts” so that it would go to his benefit. Facts are facts, right? We can challenge them, we can poke at them, we can put them under a magnifying glass, but if they don’t change – there’s nothing that can be done about it. Some times interviews and investigation can turn on an interview, other times we’re mitigating the brunt of stuff, and the remaining balance of time we’re unfortunately verifying what was already said.

    Okay – so client grieves me – saying that I didn’t zealously investigate the witness interview I conducted.

    I still have to go through the grievance process with the regulation counsel (or investigative equivalent) just because my client isn’t happy with the outcome. Even if there’s no findings or basis of which I did anything wrong … it’s another added process to what would be an already stressful profession.

    How does this improve our profession? How does this improve my standing as an investigator? Is it really going to “keep me honest” when I wasn’t dishonest before?

    How does this benefit me again?

    So far, the perks are completely perception based. We are “perceived” as being good investigators because we fit someone’s ideal structure to hold an investigation license. There’s the perception that we’re going to protect the consumer apparently at the expense of the investigator that does nothing wrong. Then there’s the perception that we’re just as cool as other states that have licenses. “See, we’re cool too.”

    I don’t need a “perception rewards card.” What I need are the tools that can make me better at what I have done for the last 18 years. What tools I want, I can’t have. What tools are available with the licensing, I already have.

    • Michael – how often in other states have you seen or heard of the grievance scenario? It happens, but to what degree? I would offer much less than the burned consumer. Presently, insurance is not in the bill – a bond is (I would prefer bond or insurance); obtaining insurance would be a purely business decision. DORA has opined that a bond would cover your concerns and protect the consumer, and is less onerous in overall costs to the licensee. Just as a defendant may be wrongfully accused, or charged, or convicted.

      Funny how those opposing say a license program with minimal requirements is a burden that will put new investigators out of business, but onerous requirements are better. Similarly, a person might say its free market – let the person make it or fail – but excessive requirements don’t give that opportunity. For some one side of the mouth says a certificate for a few hours of classroom is free market, while the other side says that same certificate isn’t worth the paper its printed on. Of course for some a $25 license fee would be excessive as there would be no perceived return on their investment, whereas paying $150-$200 to renew a license in another state is a better investment (remembering, most states can set their fees in statute – CO and MD, I know, cannot). The reality is more likely for the reason you stated – a PI licensed in another state, working in CO, cannot be grieved for what happens in CO by the other state. Just one reason, reasonable mandatory licensing and fees should exist – both consumer and profession protection. I would also prefer to make sure that consumers don’t risk retaining nefarious persons, such as with felony criminal histories. Some would say that the consumer should be responsible for their choices and whether or not they check backgrounds. Well, they are trying to retain a PI for a reason – perhaps to conduct a background. The irony of a felon conducting background checks still gets me.

      As to the privacy of this blog owner – so be it, its his/her issue. If you wait long enough…the truth tends reveal itself – from the identity of the blogger to the agenda of those opposing behind bogus reasons. One thing you won’t notice in the bill – you mentioned it the voluntary is replaced by mandatory. Did you know that a stakeholder group presented that option, as the original bill first repealed voluntary and then started a new mandatory program? That little change saved thousands in DORA projected costs that ultimately reduced the projected per license cost in the fiscal note. Some have an interest in doing the best that can be done, others have an interest in only opposing. Just listen closely to what is being said, ask for all the cards to be laid out…including the ones hidden in sleeves.

  3. Well surprise, surprise, we might agree on more than we disagree with. If it were up to me the requirements would be so high many would not be qualified and we would need to lower them again and again. I assume we would agree that a license does not make you better investigator. Reputation as you know, is earned not purchased,, some believe if licensed more business will come their way-I don’t buy that. Many pi’s need the license to show they are something they might not be, that being credible. Twenty five years as Colorado pi and the licensing issue has come up maybe five times,has not hurt my business one bit. If I have been successful that long, how is a license going to benefit me? What I do know and you will agree it will cost money and time, other pi’s complaining about God only knows what.

    Who ever you are,cant we have lunch m treat and discuss this man to man, we appear to have much in common than not I could car less about earlier comments you made about me-heard worse in my time..

    Rick

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