Monitoring bill update
Licensing Bill Stands Despite Opposition
By Deborah L. O'Mara
Despite opposition by industry leading alarm installing and central station companies, the New York Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NYBFAA) continues its quest for a new statewide licensing law for monitoring firms.
Some of the top revenue-generating companies who monitor customer accounts in the state, including ADT, Rapid Response Monitoring Services, Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, Protection 1 Security Solutions, Vivint, Sonitrol, MACE CSSS, Doyle Security Systems, Direct Alarm, Legacy Security Systems, Security Solutions, C.O.P.S. Monitoring-have unequivocally stated their opposition to the proposed legislation. The legislation, Article 6E
"Business of Alarm Monitoring," seeks separate licensing of central station monitoring companies. Currently, only alarm companies selling, installing and servicing alarms are licensed (Article 6D, 1992). According to SD&I sources, the number of monitored accounts in the state could amount to some seven figures.
"We are categorically opposed to the legislation," said Jeffrey Atkins, president of Rapid Response Monitoring Services. In a letter submitted to the NYBFAA on behalf of Rapid Response, Russell MacDonnell, chief executive officer stated: "We strongly urge you not to support proposed Article 6E. The Article should be dropped and the state of New York should focus on more serious issues at hand."
Ina Staris, legal counsel for Stanley Convergent Security Solutions also wrote: "Stanley CSS strongly opposes the proposed Article 6E and believes it should be abandoned. It is not the time to further burden monitoring companies with more costs and bureaucracy in managing their business."
While the NYBFAA contends their open discussions on the issue began in 2008, John Lombardi reiterated to SD&I magazine that no one in the industry responded or provided little or no comment with regards to the draft, until early 2011. He also stated that while he is a member of the committee that drafted the legislation, the issue is currently in the hands of the board of NYBFAA and "whether or not it goes through will be up to them, but I believe it will." Lombardi is president of Commercial Instruments & Alarm Systems in Fishkill, N.Y.
"Just because it's more licensing doesn't mean it's bad," Lombardi said. "I maintain that this may be the foundation for national reciprocity." He added that the NYBFAA is a benevolent group focused on the well being of the industry.
Time for national licensing?
The Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) also "opposes the proposed New York Licensing bill," it wrote in a statement distributed to media. "CSAA's official position on this matter represents the will not only of its board and members but also numerous non-members in the central station industry who have communicated their concerns to CSAA about the proposed New York State licensing legislation." In an interview with Ed Bonifas, vice president of Alarm Detection Systems of Illinois and president of CSAA, he said: "CSAA is actively looking at proposing a national licensing bill and will move forward quickly in that direction."
However NYBFAA has different interpretations of the numerous letters submitted and believes they are inconclusive. It stated that the Board of Directors will "review the comment letters submitted by those unable to attend the February 10 meeting." The directors are adding an agenda item for their next scheduled meeting to review additional comments. According to Joseph Hayes, president of the association and owner of All County Security in Putnam Valley, N.Y., in a letter issued on his behalf by Dale Eller, executive director of the NYBAA, the organization will at this time "stop all actions seeking prospective legislative sponsors."
The process will take time, with the NYBFAA board to meet in May 2011, at which time it will assess letters and other comments and make a determination whether or not to proceed. For more information, check out the SD&I February issue archives at www.securityinfowatch.com and the Integrator Insights blog on the site.