The Director of State Parks and Recreation may revoke or suspend a forester's license to practice forestry within the Commonwealth upon a finding that the forester has engaged in fraud, negligence, deceit, incompetence, unprofessional conduct or gross misconduct in the practice of forestry, or for any offense against the laws of the Commonwealth relating thereto. The Director may initiate proceedings under 302 CMR 14.05(3) upon receipt of notice that a Licensed Forester has been found guilty of or in violation of any forestry related federal, state, or municipal law or regulation.
A Licensed Forester has 30 days after receipt of written notice of denial of renewal, suspension or revocation to request that the Director of State Parks and Recreation hold a hearing. Failure to request a hearing within 30 days of receipt of a notice of suspension or revocation shall result in automatic suspension or revocation of the license. The Director of State Parks and Recreation shall hold a hearing within 30 days of receipt of a request for a hearing, and shall provide reasonable notice of said hearing to the Licensed Forester.
Initiation of Investigatory Proceedings
Any person may file a complaint with the Director of State Parks and Recreation or the Forester Licensing Board concerning the conduct of a Licensed Forester. The Forester Licensing Board shall refer all complaints filed with it to the Director of State Parks and Recreation. The Director shall initiate proceedings under 302 CMR 14.05(3) upon receipt of a properly filed complaint.
A properly filed complaint shall be in writing and shall be either hand-delivered or mailed certified mail/return receipt requested to the Director of State Parks and Recreation or the Forester Licensing Board, Department of Conservation and Recreation contain the name and current address of the complainant, and shall set forth:
- the name of the Licensed Forester whose actions are the source the complaint
- the specific facts or circumstances giving rise to the complaint
- the particular action or conduct in question
- any provisions of federal, state or local law and regulation on which the complaint is based.
The Director of State Parks and Recreation shall send a copy of the complaint to the Licensed Forester who is the subject of the complaint by certified mail/return receipt requested to the last address on file with the Division, and to the FLB.
The Director of State Parks and Recreation shall review the complaint and determine whether proceedings to investigate the conduct of the Licensed Forester are warranted, and if so, request the FLB to initiate an investigation and render a decision in the matter.
The chair of the FLB shall appoint one of the members of the FLB, or some other person or persons, to act as an investigator in the particular case, and shall forthwith notify in writing both the Licensed Forester against whom the complaint is registered and the complainant of that appointment.
If a member of the FLB files the initial complaint, that member must excuse himself or herself from all proceedings and deliberations pertaining to the complaint.
The investigator shall:
- contact and question each party individually about the complaint and take such other actions as the investigator deems appropriate to investigate the charges
- interview any other persons deemed appropriate
- provide to the FLB a written report containing a summary of the evidence that, in the opinion of the investigator, could be proved at a disciplinary hearing
- distribute copies of the investigative report to each member of the FLB.
FLB Decision and Appeal
The FLB shall review the investigator's report, and shall make a recommendation to the Director of State Parks and Recreation whether or not to reprimand, limit, restrict, suspend, or revoke the Licensed Forester's license. The Director shall inform the Licensed Forester and the complainant(s) of the Director's decision by certified mail/return receipt requested.
The Licensed Forester shall have 14 days after receipt of the Director of State Parks and Recreation's decision to file an appeal with the Director.
If there is an appeal, the Director of State Parks and Recreation shall conduct an adjudicatory proceeding in conformance with M.G.L. c. 30A.
Any decision or recommendation by the FLB on matters considered pursuant to 302 CMR 14.05 shall be by majority vote. Upon issuance, the FLB shall transmit any recommendation under 302 CMR 14.05(6), in writing, to the Director of State Parks and Recreation.
In the event of suspension or revocation, a copy of the FLB's recommendation and Director of State Parks and Recreation's order shall be issued at the expiration of the appeal period or after an adjudicatory proceeding to the equivalent body of each state in which the respondent Licensed Forester is licensed to practice.
Voluntary Surrender by a Licensed Forester
A Licensed Forester who is the subject of a complaint or an investigation into allegations of misconduct may voluntarily surrender his or her license. The Licensed Forester shall deliver to the Director of State Parks and Recreation, an affidavit stating that the Licensed Forester desires to voluntarily surrender the license and that:
- The surrender is freely and voluntarily rendered
- The Licensed Forester is not being subjected to coercion or duress
- The Licensed Forester is aware of the implications of the surrender and agrees to the terms of the voluntary surrender as set forth by the Director of State Parks and Recreation
- The Licensed Forester is aware that there is presently pending an investigation into allegations that the Licensed Forester has been guilty of misconduct, the nature of which the Licensed Forester shall specifically set forth
- The Licensed Forester acknowledges that the material facts upon which the complaint is predicated are true.
Unless ordered otherwise by the Director of State Parks and Recreation a person previously licensed as a Licensed Forester by the Director may:
- apply for reinstatement of a revoked or voluntarily surrendered license after two years have passed from the date of revocation
- apply for reinstatement or return to good standing following a period of license suspension or probation not sooner than two months prior to the expiration of the period of suspension or probation ordered by the Director of State Parks and Recreation, or consented to by the applicant.
If the Director of State Parks and Recreation denies an application for reinstatement, an applicant may not re-apply to the Director of State Parks and Recreation, for reinstatement until at least six months have passed since the date of denial of the application, unless otherwise ordered by the Director.
Notice of Director of State Parks and Recreation's Decision
If the FLB recommends that the Director of State Parks and Recreation reprimand the Licensed Forester, or limit, restrict, suspend, or revoke a license, then at the expiration of the appeal period or upon the completion of an adjudicatory proceeding, the Director shall promptly issue a notice setting forth the full name of the Licensed Forester, his or her professional address as it appears in the records of the FLB, and the fact that discipline has been imposed. Said notice shall state that the license has been revoked or voluntarily surrendered pursuant to 302 CMR 14.05, or that the license has been suspended and the time during which the Director's disciplinary action shall be in effect, or that a disciplinary action has been imposed, whichever is appropriate. The notice shall specify whether the license has been limited or restricted and the terms thereof which relate to the time, place or manner in which the Licensed Forester may practice. 302 CMR 14.05 shall apply to disciplinary actions taken both with and without the agreement of the Licensed Forester, and it shall not be waived by the Director of State Parks and Recreation.