Comment on Sonitrol case from May 6 2014 article
    The Sonitrol case is the perfect example of a disaster as outlined in Malcom Gladwell's The Outliers.
    1.  Comcast should have had the homeowner verify the telephone/alarm interface was installed correctly.
1.1.  Comcast should have used your disclaimer about how fragile their VoIP modem is and that they tested it.
2.  Sonitrol should have responded to the missing timer test.
3.  The alarm panel should have been programmed to sound on premise and indicate a Communication Failure.
4.  The house was not  ideally located for a fire department response thus they should have had a sprinkler system.
    If I was I the plaintiff's attorney or Mr. Zwinn I would have had a jury hear about Comcast's incompetence and included them (I could be an expert witness on that subject) and Sonitrol's failure to notify about the missing test and premise notification.  The premise notification could go either way as the homeowner might have acknowledged it and then ignored it.
Best Regards,
Barney O'Donnell
comments on prevailing wage issue from May 6 2014 article
    An anonymous reader of your newsletter on Tuesday asked about prevailing wages and work classifications in NY and LI.  This is an area that many in our industry have difficulty with, stay clear of or sometimes get into trouble with so your reader should not feel alone.  Congratulations are in order for asking before leaping!  First, there are Federal Prevailing Wages and State Prevailing Wages. They are different and come into play when doing work for any governmental agency or other government sub-division or authority or agency that is getting funding from either the Federal or State Government.  State government will also include County, City, Municipal governments and their agencies and Authorities.  The first step is identifying Federal or State.  Most often, the contracting agency will know and will have included information in the bid package.  Federal Prevailing wages are covered by the Davis Bacon Act and you can find those wage rates and classifications at http://www.wdol.gov/dba.aspx NY wage rates can be found at http://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/publicwork/PWRateSch.shtm   These wage rates will vary not only by work classification but by where the work is being done.  In order to have a successful outcome on a prevailing wage job, you must know the ropes or get appropriate help.  As the saying goes, "the devil is in the details".  If you get it wrong, you can lose your shirt or worse.  It is important to read the bid documents carefully and if you are not completely familiar with the meaning of any section or term, you have to ask.  You may for example have to provide certified payroll records before getting paid or provide a bond.  Understand what your obligations will be.  Remember that the bid documents will be incorporated into the contract or purchase order that you will be required to sign so it may be prudent to have your attorney review it before you bid.  It may be too late after you submit your bid!
    The other scenario requiring Prevailing Wages is on a building project where contractors use union employees.  The General Contractor will then require that you use union workers or pay your workers prevailing wages.  The same work classifications and wage rates will generally apply.
    If you want to do this type of work, get yourself educated first.  Your consultant and your attorney are your friends!  I am available for consultation and you can find educational opportunities from companies listed in The Alarm Exchange in the Educational and Training category.
Bob Shoremount
Strandberg Consulting Group and NJCEUcenter.com
    I can answer for CONNECTICUT but the principal is the same.
    In CT The Department of Labor web site lists all the prevailing wages required to be paid, (GET THIS!!!)  By zip code.  The prevailing wage is higher in 1 town than another.........
    For example we did work on the Connecticut Turnpike. Alarm installers are classified JOURNYMAN ELECTRICIANS. (Each state will have a list of classifications. Find yours and put in the numbers and turn the crank.)
    The Department of Labor list the prevailing WAGE as $37.00/Hr PLUS BENEFITS. Benefits are around $14.00/Hr.
    There is a table by which you can DEDUCT the cash value of the benefits you provide, (Take home truck, sick time, vacation, medical etc) and arrive at a final hourly rate.
1-    This is the rate at which they are to be paid
2- Each employee should be notified that this is the pay rate.
    According to the labor department you may adjust travel pay (for those companies that pay from office to office) to minimum wage for travel for the prevailing wage job only.
    After all this you must submit an AUDITED PAYROLL weekly to the general contractor to prove you are in compliance.
From under the bus,
Joel Kent 
    re:  public works projects. The wage must be paid in compliance with the state wage order plus wage equivalents, typically equal to at least 1/3 the wage itself. City can stipulate additional terms on its projects and the new sick leave law would be applicable. Benefits can be paid in wage equivalents in theory but the law must now be read in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act. We all know that the classifications are inadequate and do not reflect actual job descriptions. This was addressed in the state courts in a 2011 decision in Metropolitan Movers Assn v Liu, in which prevailing wage was successfully challenged in that it excluded junior workers from the calculations.
Judge Ruth Kraft
Chair, Employment and Labor Law Department                                       
    In response to the prevailing wage ..if you are an a city .state or gov project .either contract holder or sub .you must pay prevailing wage .the category is alarm tech .or electrician m....certified time sheets must be submited to get paid ..agency auditors proccess these documents before payment is made .if you dont pay ALL your men prevailing wage and suplement .you will be accessed and required to do so .out of your pocket. So factor prevailing wage for all employees on the job and pay them the money ..if you lie on a time sheet or pretend that you have paid prevailing wage but didnt .you can have very stiff fines .and /or get arrested ...do it right or dont do it ..im a city and state contracts holder for many years and get audited on every job we do ..be careful ....call me if you have any questions .
Pete Castellano
Safeway Security
Brooklyn NY
718 375 3050 
licensing violators from May 6 2014 article
    As far as NY licensing goes. Just call the police when you witness someone installing a security system without a license. You may have to educate the Police about the Licensing law The police  will issue a summons. They will have to appear in court. Don’t bother calling the Department of State.
Joe Sacchetti, Operations Manager
Catskill Branch
Scott Alarm Systems

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