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Pennsylvania Licensure Threatened Contract dispute stalls process Harrisburg, PA Landscape Architecture students in the state of Pennsylvania cannot take the LARE test in their state due to a contract dispute between the Pennsylvania Department of State and CLARB. The December 1999 and June 2000 tests were both canceled and unless this situation is resolved, the December 2000 test will be canceled as well. Though CLARB has refused to send any more tests to Pennsylvania, students can opt to travel to a nearby state-Ohio, West Virginia or New Jersey-to take the LARE. Before testing can resume in Pennsylvania, CLARB needs to be paid for tests that were provided over a year ago. The State of Pennsylvania hired a third party testing company, LGR, to administer the LARE test. LGR was responsible for collecting the testing fee from exam candidates, ordering the tests from CLARB and issuing payment for the tests once delivered. When the Dec. 99 test was canceled, students scheduled to take the test were notified by mail and their money was refunded. CLARB is still owed money for past due invoices and until the money is paid, no tests will be administered in Pennsylvania. Who Will Pay? CLARB believes that the Department of State is responsible for the debt because they hired LGR as a subcontractor. According to Clarence Chaffee, Executive Director of CLARB, five other states who all contracted with LGR found themselves in similar situations. "Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Arizona all determined that they were liable for LGR's debt because they were hired as a subcontractor by the state," Chaffee said. The Pennsylvania Board of Landscape Architects has sided with CLARB. "We believe that the State should pay for the funds that CLARB is short," Chairman Jim Pashek, ASLA, said. The State of Pennsylvania claims that LGR is responsible for the debt. John T. Henderson Jr., Chief Council of the Pennsylvania Dept. of State, explained that the contract between Pennsylvania and LGR clearly indicated that the State is not obligated to pay off third party debts. He also explained that nine other test developers, including CLARB are also awaiting payment. The State Dept. asked to address CLARB Board Members at a recent conference in Virginia, but they were denied access because they only came to explain the situation, not offer a resolution. "If they wanted to send someone who had the authority to negotiate a settlement, we would have been happy to do that," Chaffee explained. Henderson, on the other hand, is hopeful that LGR can be held accountable for the debts owed to the test developers. "Instead of cannibalizing on each other, the creditors can work together to make LGR accountable," he said. Engineers in Pennsylvania almost found themselves in a similar situation. Their debt, which was nearly 10 times more than the approximate $20,000 owed for Landscape Architecture, was paid in full after LGR defaulted on the payments. Henderson attributed this to contract language that specified that Pennsylvania would be responsible if the third party defaulted. Chaffee stressed that ASLA National can play an important role in bringing about a resolution. At this time, according to Jim Tolliver, ASLA Deputy Executive VP, National has not stepped into the ring to help protect licensure in Pennsylvania. To facilitate at a local level, Carl Kelemen, Penn/Delaware ASLA Chapter President, has spearheaded an aggressive letter writing campaign to encourage both parties to reach an agreement. To get involved contact John Wanner at 717-441-6041

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June 26, 2019, 12:00 pm PDT

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