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TITLE 22EXAMINING BOARDS
PART 39TEXAS BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL GEOSCIENTISTS
CHAPTER 851TEXAS BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL GEOSCIENTISTS LICENSING AND ENFORCEMENT RULES
SUBCHAPTER DCOMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT
RULE §851.157Complaints and Confidentiality

(a) Who may file a complaint. A complaint may be filed with the TBPG by a member of the public, a member of the Appointed Board, or by Board staff. Also, a state agency that becomes aware of a potential violation of the Act or a rule adopted by the Appointed Board may fulfill the requirements of the Act in Texas Occupations Code, §1002.207, by filing a formal complaint with the TBPG or providing the information relating to the potential violation in writing to Board staff.

(b) How to file a complaint. Complaints should be filed with the Secretary-Treasurer of the Appointed Board at the office of the TBPG or electronically through the TBPG's website. The TBPG provides a complaint form that should be used to file a complaint.

(c) Whom complaints may be filed against. A complaint may be filed against any person or entity who: holds a Professional Geoscientist license issued by the TBPG, is a registered Geoscience Firm, or holds a certificate as a Geoscientist-in-Training issued by the TBPG. A complaint may also be filed against a person or firm that is not licensed or registered with the TBPG alleging that the person or firm has engaged in the unlicensed or unregistered public practice or offering of geoscience services in Texas.

(d) A complaint must be filed within two (2) years of the event giving rise to the complaint. The event giving rise to the complaint is an event from which a concern with geoscience work completed becomes apparent. Complaints filed after the above stated period will not be acted upon by the TBPG unless the Complainant can show good cause for the late filing.

(e) Complaints and investigations under this chapter are of two types:

  (1) Complaints received from a member of the public; and

  (2) Complaints and investigations that are initiated by the Board staff or an Appointed Board Member as a result of information that becomes known to the Board staff or an Appointed Board Member and that may indicate a violation.

(f) A complaint from a member of the public must be:

  (1) In writing;

  (2) Sworn to by the person making the complaint; and

  (3) Submitted to the authorized staff deputy to the Secretary-Treasurer or electronically through the TBPG's internet website.

  (4) The Board staff shall accept a complaint regardless of whether the complaint is notarized.

(g) A complaint that is initiated by a member of the Board staff or an Appointed Board Member must be:

  (1) Made in writing; and

  (2) Signed by the person who became aware of information that may indicate a violation.

(h) Confidentiality.

  (1) The TBPG shall maintain the confidentiality of a complaint from the time of receipt through the conclusion of the investigation of the complaint. Complaint information is not confidential after the date formal charges are filed, which is the date that a notice of alleged violation (NOV) is issued.

  (2) Information submitted to the TBPG that has not been filed as a complaint and the identity of the person who submits the information are not confidential.

  (3) Confidential information from other state agency. The TBPG maintains confidentiality or privilege of any confidential information submitted by a state agency under Texas Occupations Code, §1002.207. A state agency will inform the TBPG of the confidentiality or privilege provisions applicable to the information in accordance with procedures agreed upon between the agencies. If Board staff opens a complaint based on information it has received, the information becomes a part of the complaint record and is subject to the confidentiality provisions in Texas Occupations Code, §1002.202, in addition to any other confidentiality provisions that may apply.

  (4) If a complaint is determined to be frivolous or without merit, the complaint and other information related to the complaint are confidential. The information is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other disclosure. A complaint is considered to be frivolous if the Executive Director and investigator, with Appointed Board approval, determine that the complaint:

    (A) Was made for the likely purpose of harassment; and

    (B) Does not demonstrate apparent harm to any person.


Source Note: The provisions of this §851.157 adopted to be effective December 15, 2010, 35 TexReg 10695; amended to be effective January 1, 2014, 38 TexReg 9368; amended to be effective December 11, 2014, 39 TexReg 9539; amended to be effective March 15, 2016, 41 TexReg 1843; amended to be effective September 25, 2017, 42 TexReg 5143

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