Appointments to Health Care Overseers Drawing Scrutiny
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is facing increasing pressure from lawmakers and watchdog groups to dismiss members of the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners, and dental hygienists are criticizing the governor's appointment to the state dental board, the Los Angeles Times reports (Nicholas, Los Angeles Times, 4/2).
State lawmakers at a joint legislative committee last week accused the board of violating the state's open meetings law when it fired Executive Director Catherine Hayes on March 1 in a closed meeting and named Richard Tyler interim executive director. Tyler, who also serves as chair of the board, was forced by the governor to relinquish the dual role (California Healthline, 3/30).
Tyler and board Secretary Franco Columbu are personal friends of Schwarzenegger.
Board members at the hearing also were criticized for conducting business through private e-mails, thus violating the state's open meetings law requiring that board business be done in public.
Tyler testified at the legislative hearing last week that the board is taking corrective actions, including courses on the open meetings law and delegating personnel issues to the staff's executive director.
Assembly member Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), who co-chaired the hearing, said he will ask the governor to fire Tyler, Columbu and another board member.
Schwarzenegger's press secretary Aaron McLear said, "The governor feels the board is taking appropriate measures to ensure these mistakes won't happen again."
Meanwhile, the governor's appointment of his personal dentist, John Bettinger, to the dental board is drawing fire from dental hygienists who are seeking their own state regulatory board. Schwarzenegger last year vetoed legislation to create such a board.
Tricia Osuna, a dental hygienist and former member of the dental board, said, "This unusually close relationship creates a fertile environment ... for favoritism and unprecedented access to the executive branch" (Los Angeles Times, 4/2).