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1 N.J.A.R. 112

Electrical Contractors, Board of v. Batelli, Joseph & Joseph Batelli Electrical Contractors, Inc
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Citation: 1 N.J.A.R. 112
Decision Date: 1980
Agency: BOARD OF EXAMINERS OF ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS
Synopsis: Batelli, a licensed electrical contractor, was charged with gross negligence, a level of competence inconsistent with the retention of a license and business permit and performance of work in violation of the National Electric Code and N.J.S.A. 45:5A-16 arising out of electrical work done in an elementary school. Batelli did not contest the allegations of substandard workmanship but denied responsibility for the resulting violations claiming that his work had been sabotaged by the school custodian. Noting that mere speculation or hearsay was insufficient to prove an affirmative defense of sabotage, the administrative law judge found that ß there was no independent credible evidence upon which a conclusion of sabotage could be based and that it was Batelli's firm alone which had performed the work. After evaluating the work in question and applicable industry standards, the judge found that it had been shown by a preponderance of the evidence that six areas of the work were performed in grossly negligent fashion in violation of N.J.S.A. 45:5A-16(e) and (h). However, the administrative law judge concluded that gross negligence on this one job alone was insufficient to support a finding of continuing incompetence and thus under N.J.S.A. 45:5A-16(b) Batelli would be permitted to retain his license and business permit. The administrative law judge did find that Batelli had failed to adequately supervise his employees in violation ofN.J.S.A. 45:5A-16(d) and that this failure resulted in the negligent work. In assessing the penalty to be imposed, the administrative law judge concluded that character testimony should be considered in mitigation of any penalty. Finding that the negligent work was an isolated incident in a reputable career the judge ordered a suspension of Batelli's license and business permit for 30 days and the imposition of a monetary penalty equal to the cost of the required corrective electrical work. State of New Jersey 113 Douglas J. Harper, Deputy Attorney General for Petitioner (John J. Degnan, Attorney General of New Jersey, Attorney) Miles Feinstein, Esq., for Respondent