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A letter was sent out by two local contractors, Mr. Jesse Anderson and Mr. Glenn Moore on March 3, 1988 inviting all irrigation contractors, distributors and related persons to a meeting to be held on March 30, 1988 in New Haven, CT. The purpose of this meeting as it was stated in the letter, was to investigate the possibility of starting a local Irrigation Association Chapter or a local Irrigation Association. The intent of this group was two-fold. First, to make available the technical information and design program of the Irrigation Association and then to discuss the pressing issue of licensing. Several of our fellow contractors had jobs stopped and had been asked to take a test for a license that pertains to a category other than irrigation. We felt a local association could benefit all of us to be recognized as irrigators. The issue of licensing brought a tremendous response from the approximately sixty irrigation contractors and support businesses.

 

Our first meeting resulted in the naming of the association, heretofore known at the "Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association," appointment of officers and a mandate from the membership that we spearhead a campaign from a legal and legislative position to secure appropriate licensing for our specialized profession.

 

The new Officers - President, Mr. Glenn Moore; Vice President, Mr. Jesse Anderson; Treasurer, Mr. Mike Streckfus, and Secretary, Mr. Mike Frechette met subsequent to our first meeting, on April 6, 1988. The test of the meeting included the first draft of our By-laws and a discussion of our purpose as an association. The following paragraph is extracted from our By-laws and reflects, that which we believe to be the purpose of the "Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association."

 

"Purpose - The Association shall exist for the purpose of promoting excellence in the field of turf irrigation installation. The Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association is dedicated to the achievement of standardization within its areas of expertise, through relevant licensing, involvement in educational seminars, trade shows and open communication within and outside the membership. The Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association is further dedicated to promoting a professional and autonomous self image for each member, that will further enhance industry wide acceptance, of this specialized profession. Lastly, the Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association is dedicated to the health and welfare of each member and their families through any means that are available or could be made available during a time of need."

 

The result of the first meeting of the officers was a set of By-Laws that we felt would provide us with some solid guidelines and the flexibility to change with the times. We resolved to meet within a two-week period of time.

 

The purpose of our next meeting on April 19, 1988 was to interview prospective attorneys to assist us with forming our corporate structure, applying for tax exempt status and assisting us with the licensing issue. After interviewing several attorneys we decided that Attorney Joseph P. Quinn Jr. of Furniss & Quinn, Hartford, Connecticut was the attorney that could best serve our needs. Mr. Quinn had served as the democratic counsel to the president of the Senate for the most recent session. Attorney Quinn is very knowledgeable with regard to the daily business of the Senate, he knows the appropriate people who can orchestrate our case and the proper procedures for insuring that proposed legislation is fairly heard.

After interviewing the different attorneys the officers met to discuss our newly written By-laws and to develop our Annual Dues Rate Structure.

 

On May 5, 1988, the Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association retained Attorney Joseph P. Quinn, Esq. On July 15, 1988, the CICA sent out a letter to all contractors and related industry stating that we had 30 plus new members in the CICA and the number was growing with each day's mail. It was stated in this letter that strength and influential power of any group is dependent upon numbers. Our legal and legislative impact will be directly proportionate to our numbers. It was stressed for those who have not joined to do so and for those who have, to bring in more members.

 

At this time it was also stated that our Attorney, Joe Quinn, and our officers have been in contact with the Director of the Department of Consumer Protection, Mr. Roland Bonoscani. All indicators looked positive for a resolution to the licensing issue without legislative changes or costly legal battles. Mr. Bonoscani informed us that, commencing immediately, we will no longer be stopped on any irrigation project, providing we are not involved with the water tap of the domestic water, installation of the backflow preventer or engaged in any 110 volt electrical service.

 

The Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association encourages all members to conform to these regulations as the aforementioned functions belong to the professions we are not involved with.

The Department of Consumer Protection's position is that irrigation contractors should be registered as "Home Improvement Contractors". They also state that you must use the appropriate trades for inside plumbing and electrical requirements. Mr. Bonoscani indicated at that time a statement to the general public should be forthcoming in the next few months, regarding the status on the licensing of irrigation contractors.

 

On July 18, 1988 we received a letter from our Attorney Mr. Joseph Quinn stating that he has spoken to Mr. Bonoscani. Mr. Bonoscani indicated that he had met with both the plumbing and electrical licensing boards and they had decided that members of our group would not need either a plumbing or electrical license. They did, however, require that a licensed plumber make any connections with potable water systems. Further, the electrical connection should be by plug which they understand we currently do. The precise language of the ruling or regulation was not available although at that time they did intend to publish a newsletter. This newsletter would emanate from the Department of Occupational Licensing of the Department of Consumer Protection. Attorney Quinn's advice to that internal ruling would be to read the newsletter and try to analyze the effects of it. Mr. Bonoscani indicates that no longer will fieldwork be stopped unless there is a problem with the connection to potable water systems.

 

Attorney Quinn suggested that our group may still prefer to pursue a separate licensing category for its members. It was suggested that we discuss this at our next meeting with Attorney Quinn on August 9, 1988. Also the incorporation papers for the State of Connecticut would be signed at this time as well as the application for tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

 

The next meeting of the Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association was on October 24, 1988 in Milford, CT. The announcement letter of this meeting was sent on September 8, 1988 and for those people who were already members it contained a copy of the By-laws for their perusal. If they were not yet -a member, they were again encouraged to join and become involved.

 

At this meeting Attorney Quinn was our guest speaker. He gave the membership an overview of his background and a progress report on our association business. Attorney Quinn encouraged us to move forward by obtaining licensing for our profession. Complacency with the most recent directive from the Department of Consumer Protection could backfire, as any governmental directive can be superseded and unless we strive towards applicable licensing, we could find ourselves in the same boat we were in prior to the most recent directive from the Department of Consumer Protection that brought us to our current status. Attorney Quinn advised us to use a lobbyist in our efforts to gain licensing.

Other association business was conducted at this meeting and it was decided that our top priorities at this juncture were increased membership and the continued pursuit of licensing. Elections were held to fill the Board of Directors position.

 

The next meeting of the Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association was held on March 8, 1989. We recorded our largest turnout to date for our first dinner/meeting attended by 84 members and nonmembers. Regular association business was conducted at this meeting and the current officers were voted upon and passed to retain their positions for an additional year. Mr. Bob Sears of the IA was our guest speaker for the evening. The next general membership meeting of the CICA was on August 1, 1989. Regular association business was conducted at this meeting.

 

Since the July 15, 1988 meeting of the CICA the officers of the association had contacted and interviewed several lobbyists for both pursuing the licensing issue and also for watching for legislative bills or regulations which would have an impact on our profession. After these interviews, the officers decided that Mr. Don Kiley would be the best lobbyist for watching the events at the capital and reporting any possible legislation or regulations that may affect us. It was also decided that Mr. Jay Malcynsky and Mr. Michael Handley of the firm Gaffney, Bennett and Associates, Inc. could best handle our licensing needs. Mr. Malcynsky had many contacts within the Department of Consumer Protection, as well as the plumbing and electrical unions. He also seemed to know the best way to pursue this licensing venture. It was agreed upon by the officers to bring these two firms to the next general membership meeting of the CICA.

The next general membership meeting of the CICA was held on March 5, 1990. Regular association business was conducted at this meeting.

 

Mr. Jay Malcynsky and Mr. Michael Handley of Gaffney, Bennett and Associates, Inc. were introduced. They spoke to the group about the prospects of getting licensing passed and the costs which would be involved. The cost for the firm of Gaffney, Bennett and Assoc., Inc. to pursue licensing would be $16,000.00 for a one year contract. There was no guarantee that this could be accomplished in one year although they thought there was a good chance of it. Mr. Don Kiley told the membership that his purpose was to keep us advised about what's going on at the capital. He highlighted the issues presently being discussed.

 

The membership voted to hire both firms and discussed various methods of raising funds to finance this endeavor. It was decided that the Association would ask for donations from its members and non-members to help support this endeavor. Election of new officers and board of directors was held.

A contract was drawn up and signed by both the CICA and Gaffney, Bennett and Assoc., Inc. and dated January 1, 1990 to pursue the licensing bill.

 

On April 16, 1990 the CICA received a letter from Gaffney, Bennett and Assoc. stating that the licensing bill had passed both the General Law Committee (3/20/90) and the Appropriations Committee (4/6/90). The bill was then being analyzed by the Legislative Commissioner's Office and the Office of Fiscal Analysis before being forwarded to the House for further action.

 

It was also stated in this letter that we were on a tight schedule for passage before the May 9th adjournment. Also indicated was that the Plumbing and Piping Board was not in favor of this bill for an irrigation contractors license.

 

On May 23, 1990, the CICA received a letter from the firm of Gaffney, Bennett and Assoc. stating that the licensing bill did proceed all the way through the capitol and was in fact law. The bill would take effect as of October 1, 1990.

 

The CICA still had several instances after this date where different bodies at the capital tried to remove or change the structure of this bill. Many times the firm of Gaffney, Bennett and Assoc., Inc. and CICA officers had to attend and testify in favor of it. Throughout the entire process of this bill the CICA officers had to appear at many hearings at the capital to testify favorably for the licensing bill and hand in this written testimony.

 

As of October 1, 1990 the State of Connecticut required all irrigation contractors to be licensed contractors with licensed journeymen and registered apprentices in the field. The Department of Consumer Protection Occupational Licensing Dept. gave the irrigation contractors doing business in Connecticut an eighteen month period in which to make application and submit proper proof of the requirements for taking the exam. At this time the test would be available to both contractors and journeymen. After this time, one must go through the apprenticeship program to obtain a journeymen license. A journeymen may apply for a contractors license after one year if they own a part of an irrigation contracting business.

 

CICA History Part II


From 1990 thru the present time the CICA has had many ups and downs as most associations do. It seems that most of these negative times are a result of a down economy or extreme weather conditions that are not conducive to the irrigation industry. We were fortunate to have a strong membership, board of directors and officers during these down times that seemed to always find a way to rally the troops and get things back on track.

 

During the time from 1990 to the present the CICA worked with many different management individuals and companies to assist in the day to day duties involved in running an association. As with all things it seems we had several real positive experiences and a few that were not so good. I am happy to say that in 2009 the CICA contracted with the Accrete Group, LLC to manage the daily activities of the association. They have done an excellent job and continue to provide this service at this time.

 

Also during the time from 1990 to the present we have contracted with several different lobbying individuals and groups to watch for proposed bills and legislation that would have a negative impact on the irrigation industry as well as to assist us with our lobbying effort to develop and pass any bills that would benefit the industry. After contracting with our own lobbyist for many years we found that we could join the Connecticut Environmental Industry Council as an Association and utilize their lobbyist for a much reduced rate compared to what we were paying to contract directly with a lobbying company. This happened in the early 2000’s and we still are members of this group although the name has changed to the Connecticut Environmental Council. We also have someone from our association serve on their Board of Directors. To date this has worked very well for the CICA.

 

After the CICA developed a proposed rain sensor bill and lobbied for its passage we were finally successful in getting the bill passed in 2003. The only problem was that it passed to be required only on commercial and state owned property. The CICA continued to lobby for it passage to also require it for all residential properties. This bill was finally amended to require any new irrigation system installed in the State require a rain sensor device effective July 1, 2010 including residential properties.

 

We suffered a severe loss in 2007 when we had the passing of two prominent members of the CICA since its inception. During this year we lost both Mr. Joseph Hopkins, Sales Manager for Atlantic Irrigation Specialties, Inc. and then Mr. Jesse Anderson, founder of Anderson Turf Irrigation Co. Joe had served on the Board of Directors and was chair of the Membership Committee as well as serving on numerous committees. Jesse was cofounder of the CICA, served as its President twice as well as chairing and serving on numerous committees. Both were instrumental in the development, support and success of the CICA through the years. Jesse and Joe will be greatly missed.

 

The CICA developed a scholarship program and golf outing in the memory of both Joe and Jesse. The annual scholarship and annual memorial scholarship golf tournament will insure that they are not forgotten. The golf event is one way that the CICA will raise money to generate funding for college scholarships that CICA member’s children can apply.

 

In 2008 the CICA offered the first ever CICA Family Day at Lake Compounce. We just barely met our minimum 100 person guarantee but the weather was great and everyone had a great time. We have continued with this yearly event and the numbers keep growing every year. In 2009 it was decided that we would present the successful scholarship applicants with their checks at the lunch buffet during this event. It brought some much deserved attention to these young men and women who worked hard to earn these scholarships.

 

In 2009 the CICA Board of Directors voted to make Mr. Glenn Moore it’s first ever  Life Member of the CICA in recognition of the special and valuable service that he has rendered to the Association.

The CICA in 2010 contracted with Mr. Ted Moriarty of Smart Watering Co. to develop and teach the continuing education classes for the CICA that licensed irrigation contractors and journeymen must complete in order to maintain their licenses. Before this we were depending on others to provide this education and it was geared towards plumbers rather than the irrigation industry. It was also very costly for those with licenses and did not bring in any income for the CICA. Although we contracted with others to provide these classes the provider of these classes made a huge profit while the CICA saw little if any revenue from these classes. Mr. Moriarty developed the curriculum for the classes and the CICA submitted it to the State and got approval for its use as our continuing education requirement starting for the 2010 year. We must review and update the curriculum on a yearly basis and resubmit each year for approval from the State.

 

 

Featured Members
Diane TothFor years of distinguished service Diane Toth received a lifetime membership with CICA!
Louis TothFor years of distinguished service Louis Toth received a lifetime membership with CICA!


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