|(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;
(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
(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.
(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;
(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