NORTHEAST NEWS (375)
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Eastern Center in Willow Grove, PA, is Training Site for New Small Area (Collision) Repair Techniques (SMART)Written by staff
Eastern Center for Arts and Technology is home base for a new SMART effort. The Willow Grove-PA based technology school is the site for R.W. Mallon Auto Paints & Equipment employees being trained on new Small Area Repair Techniques (SMART) collision repair technologies.
Robert Mallon, proprietor of Warrington-based R.W. Mallon Auto Paints & Equipment, is also chairman of the Willow Grove-based school’s Occupational Advisory Committee for the Collision Repair Technology high school program. Each of Eastern’s 14 programs has a group of volunteers from local business and industry that assists faculty and administration on keeping the curriculum and tools used in each program relevant to the skills needed in today’s workforce.
R.W. Mallon contracted with RPN Collision Technologies to train the R.W. Mallon employees on some new eco-friendly products that they will be distributing. RPN Collision Technologies uses repair technologies from the UK-based company, ECO Repair Systems.
“We were able to utilize the cars in their Collision Repair Technology program to demonstrate the new technologies such as pulling dents, and repairing rubber and plastic bumpers. This new technology will allow us to repair panels that normally would be replaced,” Mallon said in a press release. “The new bumper and plastic repairs will allow our students to repair these products versus sending them to a landfill.”
Mike Monaghan, RPN Collision Technologies managing director, said the products being used are economically and environmentally friendly.
Students in Eastern’s Collision Repair Technology program benefit from a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience needed to carry out repairs on motor vehicles. Students benefit from the use of I-CAR enhanced curriculum.
The Watertown, NY, Industrial Center Local Development Corp. has started legal action to collect $214,177 in overdue rent, utility charges and an equipment loan owed by Junction Boyz Inc., an auto body and stereo business that has leased space in the facility for a number of years, according to a story published in the Watertown Daily News. The WIC filed court papers in the Jefferson County clerk’s office June 28. A court date for state Supreme Court has not been set.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Counterfeit Airbag Prevention Act into law on Aug. 1, a move supported by the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA). The legislation makes it a crime to knowingly import, install, reinstall or sell a counterfeit or nonfunctional airbag. The new law goes into effect this November.
“ARA is committed to... warning the automotive repair industry community and consumers about the dangers they pose and their increasing prevalence,” said ARA president Chris Wright. “We have met with U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) representatives twice this year, as recently as last month, to give our support of their October 2012 consumer advisory warning about the prevalence of counterfeit airbags, as well as request that future advisories acknowledge recycled OEM airbags as a practical repair option in repairs.”
Legislation targeting counterfeit airbags was signed into law in Connecticut in July and state legislators in Ohio, New Mexico and Maryland introduced similar bills this year.
NJ Supreme Court Says Warrants Required for Cell Phone Location Data, Court: “Reasonable Expectation of Privacy”Written by staff
The New Jersey Supreme Court has found unanimously in State v. Earls that New Jersey residents have a constitutional right of privacy in their cell phone location data, and that law enforcement officers must obtain a search warrant in order to access the data. In the Earls case, the police were searching for a suspected burglar and his girlfriend. In that effort, they contacted a cell phone service provider. At three different times that evening, the service provider gave information about the location of the suspected burglar’s cell phone. After the Appellate Division concluded that defendant lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy in his cell phone location, the Supreme Court held that the New Jersey Constitution protects an individual’s privacy interest in his or her cell phone, and that the police must obtain a warrant based on probable cause (or must qualify for a warrant requirement exception) to obtain location information from a cell phone. The court noted:
“When people make disclosures to phone companies and other providers to use their services, they are not promoting the release of personal information to others. Instead, they can reasonably expect that their personal information will remain private… Today, cell phones can be pinpointed with great precision, but courts are not adept at calculating a person’s legitimate expectation of privacy with mathematical certainty. What is clear is that cell phones are not meant to serve as tracking devices to locate their owners wherever they may be. No one buys a cell phone to share detailed information about their whereabouts with the police.”
If the opinion had found the right to locational privacy from the government under the federal Constitution, Earls could be undermined by subsequent federal court decisions. But the New Jersey Supreme Court has the final say over what New Jersey’s Constitution means. By framing the issue in state constitutional terms, Chief Justice Rabner insulated the decision from further review, and settled an issue in New Jersey that is unsettled across the country by the US Supreme Court’s decision in the GPS privacy case, US v. Jones. Because the state government can exert so much power over individual citizens, the state is often constrained in ways that private companies are not.
The following article comes directly from a post on AASP/NJ’s website:
As PartsTrader and State Farm continue to roll out their parts procurement program across the country, the announcement of the removal of the shops’ option to order from any vendor they choose comes as no surprise to the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ). From day one, AASP/NJ has been one of the country’s biggest opponents of the program.
“Are we surprised by this?” AASP/NJ President Jeff McDowell asks. “Hell, no. We have been expecting these kinds of changes from the start. This program is all about control and money and taking both of those things away from the shop owner. What we are surprised about is how quiet the industry has gotten since this was first implemented. Back then, there was widespread outrage, but State Farm waited it out like we knew they would. Now, with what seems like little resistance from our industry, they are steamrolling through states and changing the rules in their favor as they go. It’s only going to get worse.”
Rick Bowman, owner of two Collision Experts repair shops in the Albany, NY, area, has died.
Bowman died Aug. 2 at age 46, according to a statement released by the company.
Bowman started the business 27 years ago, with locations today in Clifton Park and Schenectady.
READ REST OF ARTICLE HERE
An auto body shop in Raritan Borough which sells and restores classic cars is being accused in a lawsuit of scamming a woman out of the value of more than a half-dozen classic motorcycles and cars—an accusation Joseph Tinnes and his business, Total Automotive, denies.
Online comments at local media sources expressed support for Joseph Tinnes and disbelief that he was at fault. Rather, they speculated, there was a large storage fee owed on the vehicles in question.
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chaffee signed H-5263 and S-465 into law on July 17. The bills require an insurance company to obtain the owner’s consent before declaring a vehicle a total loss if the cost to repair the vehicle is less than 75% of its value.
The Auto Body Association of Rhode Island (ABARI) said, “We are grateful to the Governor and the Legislature for recognizing that consumer protection is the true purpose of this law. For too many years, many consumers at the lowest economic levels, have been subjected to the heavy hand of insurance companies that seek only to increase their profits.
Hudson County officials are accusing a North Bergen Union Turnpike towing company of trying to dupe the county into giving it business, and the firm may now be blacklisted from winning future contracts with the county.
Four companies owned or co-owned by John’s Main Auto Body owner John Appello submitted proposals to win spots in Hudson County’s tow rotation list, even though county officials had said only one company owned or controlled by an individual would be allowed to submit proposals.
In a July 3 memo obtained by The Jersey Journal, Hudson County Counsel Donato Battista calls Appello’s actions a “concerted scheme” to win more business with the county. County lawyers are investigating whether Appello’s companies can now be “disbarred” from doing business with the county, the memo reads.
The four companies are John’s Main Towing, John’s Main Auto Body, Main Garage Corp. and Planet Towing. According to Battista’s memo, Appello is a principal in all four.
Appello, 53, denies he did anything wrong. Speaking by phone to The Jersey Journal, he said all four companies are valid businesses that should have a shot to tow vehicles for the county. He did not dispute that he owns or co-owns all of them.
“I’m not that clever that I would be able to fool the county,” Appello said.
Seven companies in total submitted proposals to get into the county rotation, and all four of Appello’s firms were disqualified. A fifth, Truchan’s Towing, of Jersey City, was also rejected for failure to submit required material, according to Battista’s memo.
County spokesman Jim Kennelly said county officials plan to assist with a criminal prosecution “to deter future attempts at this sort of thing.” Appello declined to respond to the threat of criminal charges.
“I can’t really comment on that,” he said. “You’re telling me something I haven’t heard.”
Recently, the Massachusetts chapters of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP/MA) named Jillian Zywien to the position of Executive Director. Zywien is honored to be chosen to represent the association’s best interests, and she looks forward to implementing new programs to benefit their members. Despite the time demands of her new duties, she was eager to take time to share her plans for the association.
As a senior account executive for Lynch Associates, Zywien’s experience is primarily based in the Public Relations and Communications fields, and she believes that her work in association management consulting across a broad spectrum of industry organizations will benefit AASP/MA as she steps into her new role.
“During my tenure, I have applied my skills to broaden communications to members; to enhance marketing of events and benefits to members, and to implement electronic and social media contacts. The members will find this provides a growing stream of industry related information at their fingertips.”
In recent months, a large part of AASP/MA’s attention has been focused on education. Having instituted a variety of training options during her career, both industry-specific and general business topics, Zywien notes that “Education is a primary focus of the services professional associations provide… For example, we recently began providing educational opportunities through webinars for ease of delivery to members. These programs provide members with the opportunity to access educational content at any time that is convenient to them. We would love to hear what members think and how we can better cater to their needs.”
AASP/MA has also spent a considerable amount of time in filing complaints about insurance companies with the Auto Damage Appraiser Licensing Board (ABALB). Zywien believes these efforts are yielding fruit, and it’s important to attend these hearings on members’ behalf because “In order to continue to influence the regulatory process, we must build a robust and ongoing relationship with the Board of governance over this industry. Relationship building and strategic interaction are two of the goals we have for AASP members with the ADALB Board. Demonstrating that an issue is a frequent reoccurrence allows us to approach remedies from the broader viewpoint, as such, we will continue prior practices relative to the ADALB board.”
One of AASP/MA’s largest projects in 2013 has been the re-filing of the Labor Rate Bill. Zywien is taking an active role in this process; “Having just come into the position in the last few days, our first goal will be to meet with our legislative committee and formulate a long-term strategic plan that addresses all of the public policy objectives the association is confronting. Issues include the labor rate, insurance company practices with consumers, and matters brought before the ADALB. For the mechanical side of the industry, we will remain vigilant on the implementation of the recently enacted Right to Repair initiative. It is our goal to take an expansive view of both statutory and regulatory initiatives affecting the automotive service industry, and develop remedies that may occur in a variety of governmental bodies.”
Additionally, Zywien feels it is imperative to educate consumers on their rights under the policy and with regard to repairs in particular. “One of our many goals is to ensure that the AASP/MA is a resource, not only for the industry, but also for our consumers. It would be our hope that providing this education would begin to overcome the misimpressions often left by insurance companies and empower consumers when it comes to their own vehicles.”
Though it’s no surprise that many AASP/MA members are discouraged by the past failures in passing the Labor Rate Bill, Zywien remains optimistic. “A new broom sweeps clean. Each industry advocate comes to the table with different perspectives on how issues can be addressed. Our relationship with the association provides for an opportunity to rebrand and expand the arguments used on policy debates. We would ask that the members remain open to new strategies and informational delivery systems. Clearly the reason people join associations is to enhance their own business environment. We are keenly aware of that and will work to build the members’ confidence for new strategies. We will provide members with informational content they can use to advocate on their own behalf with elected officials and regulators. I would ask the members to give us a chance to change the dynamics and reinvigorate advocacy efforts regarding their issues.”
As Zywien strives to implement improvements throughout the association and the industry as a whole, she believes that now is the perfect time to join AASP/MA. By contributing many new, innovative ideas, she hopes to continue strengthening the foundation created by the current leadership of the association. Additionally, her involvement with Lynch Associates provide beneficial resources as the firm consists of many long-term professionals in the association consulting market, and they’ve already outlined several new programs to the Board, making it easier for members to access benefits, participate in programs, and receive timely communications.
Zywien’s enthusiasm and energy makes her an idea choice for Executive Director of AASP/MA, and she’s diving right in to her new responsibilities. “This provides an exciting opportunity to grow AASP/MA and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and share the enthusiasm we have for the organization. Look for new branding, look for new benefits, look for new educational opportunities, and please provide feedback. We serve the members, and we want to do it with excellence.”
Since 1968, the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) has been fighting for the collision repair industry. While their focus has changed many times over the past 45 years, ABAC is still dedicated to preserving the integrity and independence of repair specialists throughout their state. Because there are currently so many important issues facing the industry, Tony Ferraiolo, President of ABAC, took time to share the association’s goals and stances with Autobody News readers.
Regarding their mission, Ferraiolo states, “ABAC continuously strives to educate the motorists of Connecticut and to enhance the abilities and knowledge of its members, through education, to provide safe and dependable repairs to the public. Through proposing and monitoring legislation, the ABAC endeavors to protect the best interests of consumers, its members and the collision repair industry.”