in Houston, Texas
Mold remediation worker ensnared over lapsed state license, which judge says amounts to misplaced paperwork
Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012, 06:46PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
mold

Much like the General Services Administration and the Secret Service, the Texas Department of State Health Services is a stickler for protocol.

The department’s Environmental Sanitation Licensing Group didn’t let its misplacement of a mold remediation license renewal back in 2007 interfere with trying to punish the applicant to full extent of the law, according to a story today by the Austin American-Statesman.

Jeff Young, of College Station, whose handiwork includes mold abatement from the fire-damaged Governor’s Mansion, has so far spent $11,000 in legal fees on what Administrative Law Judge Joanne Summerhays termed a paperwork mixup, the story says.

Young says he filled out the form and turned it over to his employer at the time for submission to the state. When the Health Services Department failed to confirm his renewal, Young says he called the department several times and was assured his license had not expired.

On each new mold eradication job he worked on in 2008 and 2009 Young sent to the department required notifications, documents the department managed to hang onto.

In June of 2009 the licensing group realized it had no renewal form from Young. This lack of a license endangered public health, the department concluded. For each of four violations, the department fined Young $2,500, $10,000 in all.

Young turned over to them a copy of the renewal and an e-mail exchange with his firm that included the number of the check paying the renewal fee. He later produced phone records attesting to the follow-up calls he made.

When the case got before Summerhays she wrote off the fine and the public health hazard and questioned the licensing department’s lack of automated filing. Her ruling by law, however, was only a recommendation.

Health Services appealed Summerhays’ decision.Their concern for public safety remained grave. In February, she reiterated that at most Young ought to be reprimanded.

The commonweal can rest easy that this isn’t the end of it. Young’s case is now in the hands of David Lakey, the commissioner of State Health Services, for a final ruling.

If it isn’t misplaced before then.

***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of mold in a petri dish from epa.gov.

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