Repair Licensing Debate Continues in Connecticut

The topic of licensing for auto glass repair technicians in Connecticut was reviewed again Friday, October 22, when members of the Automotive Glass Work and Flat Glass Work Board met to discuss the status of licensing language proposed earlier this year.

A discussion of optical clarity within the sweep of the driver's side wiper was a bit contentious; some board members, including Carl Von Dassel, continue to express concern with repairs made to the "acute" area of a windshield, citing the websites of different insurance companies indicating that the companies do not recommend it.

Board member John Wisniewski said that because the "acute area" changes according to the person driving a vehicle, and more families are sharing or renting vehicles, he and others on the board feel the driver's side wiper sweep is the fairest way of ensuring that an "acute area" not be compromised. Wisniewski cited the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards (AGRSS) interpretation on using recycled or previously used glass in a windshield replacement, pointing out that if a windshield is not free of distortion it cannot be used in the replacement.

The current status of repair licensing was also discussed.

In July, Commissioner Edwin Rodriguez, wrote a letter stating that licensing requirements for would not change from what they currently are. Discussion about this letter at the board meeting brought to light additional points of uncertainty, particularly what the current standards for the licensing of auto glass repair technicians is and the goals of the board with regard to the repair licensing issue.

Board chair and public member Mary Grabowski inquired aloud what that meant for the board and what they should be focusing on with regard to repair.

"Maybe we're all wasting our time," she said.

According to Richard Hurlburt, director of the Occupational and Professional Licensing division of the Department of Consumer Protection, who was present at the meeting, auto glass repair technicians currently are required to be AG2 licensed and employed by an AG1 licensed company. The AG2 license requires 1700 hours of glass installation instruction, 100 hours of windshield repair instruction, 100 hours of orientation and safety and 100 hours of customer service, along with 144 hours of related instruction and a minimum of one year on the job experience. Qualified technicians can apply for licensure by submitting proof of their experience to the Automotive Glass Work and Flat Glass Work Board, but are still required to take a written test that includes questions about both windshield replacement and repairs. To require separate testing for repair technicians only, a limited repair license must be established.

Hurlburt further pointed out the grandfather clause that went along with the passage of the AG1 and AG2 requirements.

"How many repairers were notified?" Safelite's Glenn Moses asked. No one really had an answer, though one member of the board asked if any of the repair technicians in the room had been contacted. One person said he'd called the state two weeks ago and was told that no license could be recommended to him.

Grabowski reminded everyone that until the board members knew what was expected of them, they could do little to advance the situation.

"We could all just be sitting here, spinning our wheels," she said before asking the board to vote on whether or not to table the discussion.

Moses recommended that the discussion concerning limited licensing repair be tabled until the National Windshield Repair Association/National Glass Association Repair of Automotive Glass Standards (RAGS) committee could finish working on the standard being created and have it approved as an ANSI standard.

"Maybe we're moving too quickly," he said.

Peg Stroka, RAGS secretariat and NWRA administrator, also asked the board to consider waiting before making a decision.

"Why make a decision you'll have to make changes to later?" she asked. "We're asking that the ANSI repair standard also become standard in Connecticut."

Currently, the AGRSS/ANSI standard for windshield replacement is the standard to which the windshield replacement technicians in the state are held.

Board members voted to table further discussion on the issue until the board, in its entirety, could meet with the commissioner and discuss what the intent of his letter was and what it means for the board. Members of the windshield repair industry who have attended the many board meetings were encouraged to also schedule a collective, private meeting with the commissioner to further explain their concerns and arguments.

Prior to adjournment of the meeting, Moses called into question the presence of Kurt Muller on the board.

"In recent court testimony, Mr. Muller said he closed his business," Moses said. Muller said he continues to do consulting work and provide expert witness testimony.

The next meeting of the Automotive Glass Work and Flat Glass Work Board is scheduled for December 17, 2004.

No reproduction, in print, electronic or any form without the expressed written permission of
Key Communications Inc. 540-720-5584.