Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bend Council Candidate May Lose Professional License

Doug Knight, who is the chair of the Bend Planning Commission, made false claim to licensing board, said licensing officials.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 3:37 AM

click to enlarge doug_knight.jpg

Bend City Council Candidate Doug Knight is facing possible revocation of his engineering license after an investigator with a state board alleged Knight did not tell the truth on a license renewal form.

Knight, who has held an engineering license in Oregon since 1997, was informed earlier this summer by the board of its intent to revoke his license and assess two civil penalties, totaling $2,000, according to a letter sent from the board to Knight on July 9.

The board, called the State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying, found that Knight had lied about taking 30 units of continuing professional development courses after a random audit of his most recent renewal paperwork, according to a legal notice of intent drafted by the board earlier this summer.

“Being truthful is an issue that the board takes really seriously,” said JR Wilkinson, an investigator with the licensing agency overseen by the board.

Knight, who is running for council position 2 against three other candidates, certified on the form that he had taken the classes and even listed their names. Wilkinson said he did not actually take any of the courses.

Knight, who is a local developer and the current chair of the Bend Planning Commission, is the first engineer to face legal action and potential revocation of his license since the agency revamped its renewal certification requirements in the last few years.

In an interview with the Source on Tuesday, Knight said the agency’s recent changes to its renewal form requirements led to confusion, which he hopes to clear up in an upcoming hearing conducted by the Oregon Office of Administrative Hearings. No date has been set for that hearing.

“This is a simple matter regarding continuing education credits,” said Knight. “I will say that they haven’t been applying [rules] consistently.”

Of the 12,000 engineers in Oregon who renew their licenses every two years, Knight was part of the three percent also selected for an audit in 2008, said licensing agency staff.

At that time, Knight had also certified he had taken his required continuing education credits, but had not done so. He was granted leniency to take the credits after the 2008 audit discovered the discrepancy, said licensing agency staff.

Knight said he was under the impression that he could, again, take the credits if he was audited.

“That precedence that was created in 2008 was what predicated my actions,” said Knight, who added that he is also licensed in New York, California and Idaho. “I don’t consider it to be a big deal because it’s continuing education. It’s difficult to keep up with these licensure requirements in four different states.”

Knight said he would still be an effective councilor despite this issue.

“This doesn't change me doing good things for Bend,” he said.

After the upcoming hearing, a recommendation will be made to the licensing board about whether to, indeed, pull the license and assess the fines, said Allen McCartt, also an investigator with the state agency.

Knight then has the option to appeal the decision through the Oregon appellate courts.

A revocation of his license would be permanent, said licensing agency staff.

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