the republic logo

Audit finds 4 Massachusetts licensing boards often met without quorums, casting doubt on votes

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

BOSTON — Four Massachusetts licensing boards cast hundreds of votes during meetings that were held without a majority of members present, according to a review by the state Department of Public Health.

The findings of the internal audit cast doubt on the legality of the votes that were taken at the meetings over more than a five-year period from January 2008 to May 2013, The Boston Globe (http://bit.ly/1z3zfdT ) reported Saturday.

The boards of pharmacy, dentistry, physician assistants and perfusionists met nearly three dozen times without the required number of members present. Many of the 465 votes taken by the boards without quorums were procedural; others were on matters such as licensing and disciplinary actions, according to the audit.

Perfusionists operate heart-lung machines during surgery.

Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, was disappointed by the findings.

"We can't have boards making decisions without a quorum," Wilmot told the newspaper. "It is a basic principle of good government."

If the votes were not legally cast, they could potentially be challenged or overturned in court.

The Globe previously reported that state officials had been slow in filling vacancies on roughly 700 state boards. This led to more than one-third of the seats on the boards being vacant or filled with members whose terms had expired.

Attorneys for the public health department had believed that boards could base a quorum on the number of seats currently filled, but a 2013 ruling by the state attorney general's office declared that unfilled seats do not lower the number of members required for a quorum.

State Rep. Bradley Jones, the House Republican leader, said he was surprised that boards would vote without quorums because staff and attorneys often attend the meetings.

"It's kind of bizarre," he said. "It just leaves me scratching my head."


Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Places:

 

Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2014 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.