Currently, the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Land Surveyors is located in Fayetteville. This board was created to serve and protect the public from unqualified individuals practicing land surveying. The Legislative Auditor selected three related boards which share parts of a larger process in the construction industry. They are: the West Virginia State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers, located in Charleston; the West Virginia State Board of Architects, located in Huntington; and the West Virginia State Board of Landscape Architects, located in Morgantown. Legislative Auditors selected these boards because they share similar requirements, powers, and duties with the Land Surveyors Board.
Of the four licensing boards being discussed, the Board of Professional Engineers is the only one that is located in Charleston. Since the State Capitol is located in Charleston, it is the logical place that the public will first try to locate a particular board. By having these boards located in different cities, the public is put at a disadvantage. In some instances, the location of licensing boards is determined by the hometown of appointed members. For example, the Land Surveyors Board's Secretary resides in Fayetteville and has one staff person who lives close by the office. Also, the Chairman of the Landscape Architects Board is a faculty member at West Virginia University and has one staff person who is an employee of the university and works for the Board on an as need basis.
According to the Land Surveyors Board members, the Board's office needs to be located in or near the hometown of where the Secretary of the Board resides. However, the West Virginia Constitution, Article 6, §20 states, ... "The seat of government shall be at Charleston, until otherwise provided by law." Legislative Auditors checked nine telephone books throughout the state for listing of the boards; no boards were listed in five of the nine. In addition, the Land Surveyors Board's clerk told Legislative Auditors that on several occasions people have contacted the Board's office only after being referred by a surveyor or a legislator.
Several states have combined boards or staff in one centralized location. These
professions include land surveying, professional engineering, architecture, and
landscape architecture. Legislative Auditors contacted boards in Minnesota, South
Dakota, Kansas, Virginia, Arizona, and North Carolina to compare the number of
full-time staff, board members, people licensed or registered, annual operating
budget, and average cost of a license. (See Table Two on page 14).
The Executive Director of the Arizona Board sums it up well: "A single board handling dealing with all of the issues increases communication between the professions and reduces the possibility of professional bias becoming a major driving force. The cited professions have some natural relationships in the performance of their professional duties and there is some cross profession knowledge and also some concerns about practice impacts. The issues, I believe, get a more balanced discussion and the decisions, in my opinion, are more moderate and more in the public's best interest."