Efforts to find a champion for a licensing initiative that would require all central stations offering monitoring services in the state of New York to become licensed have come to a temporary halt as the New York Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NYBFAA) seeks further comment from its members and other organizations.
The drafted bill, titled Article 6-E, has garnered much attention and zealous opinions from the alarm industry in the past few months. Article 6-E was developed by a committee of volunteers from the New York Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NYBFAA) and would require all central stations to become licensed in the state in order to provide monitoring services. The licensing application would require fingerprinting of all operators and central station staff, continued training, and potentially State-required competency examinations among others.
Work on the current wording of 6-E began in 2009 and after posting the language on the NYBFAA website for public comment, the association voted to forge ahead with the draft in June 2010. Progress was halted when the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Brian Foley was not reelected. In November 2010, the NYBFAA board of directors decided to pick up the issue once again and find a new sponsor. At that point, John Lombardi, president of CIA Security and a member of the drafting committee, related, “All of a sudden there was a really big reaction from the alarm industry. We decided to listen and entertain all public comments.” At the quarterly NYBFAA board of directors meeting held on Feb. 10, 2011, time was allotted to discuss Article 6-E.
At the meeting, Bill Cooper, industry liaison for ADT, observed an “overwhelming” opposition to 6-E. “The general consensus was that it was opposed very strongly by most people in the room,” Cooper noted. “There were no major central monitoring stations and few that have dealer networks in favor.”
Lombardi noted a strong reaction as well, though he believes completely rejecting the idea of licensing could be detrimental to the industry in the end. He commented, “The recurring theme was ‘no more legislation.’ That message came across loud and clear. In my opinion, the question is: Are we addressing the problem dead-on or acting like ostriches, putting our heads in the ground and ignoring our surroundings?”
Though some left with the impression their views would be largely ignored, Joseph Hayes, NYBFAA president, issued a statement on February 17 saying that during an extended discussion that took place after the open portion of the meeting adjourned, the association came to the decision to halt its search for a sponsor to replace Foley and to take some time to fully evaluate its next step by evaluating comment letters, polling NYBFAA members, and contacting different groups such as law enforcement, fire service and code officials, SIAC and FARA, various consumer or end user organizations and other state associations with existing alarm monitoring licensing regulations. NYBFAA’s statement also acknowledged the need to seek out details on CSAA’s national alarm monitoring initiatives. 6-E isn’t dead yet, but the association has vowed to continue and expand dialogue with the industry.
Editor’s note: Stay tuned: SDM’s March issue will contain much more on the New York licensing initiative story.