Auditor: Chiro Board Violated State Law

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A damning report is out this morning chronicling the activities of the State Board of Chiropractor Examiners -- a report that flatly says that board members broke the law.

The report released by California State Auditor Elaine Howle doesn't say that the illegal activity was intentional; rather, it says that the "lack of understanding" of both the law and their responsibilities led to the actions in question.

The chiro board has been in the hot seat for about a year, with the controversy peaking after a feud between members appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger and the board's top staffer led to that staffer being fired. Reporting by The Sacramento Bee at the time described the firing and subsequent actions at one meeting last year as a "coup" staged by appointees who are friends of the governor. The Bee has done a yeoman's job at following this story in the months since the squabbling first broke out.

The audit requested by the Legislature concludes that the firing of then executive director Catherine Hayes was fraught with "significant errors." The audit also alleges that some top officials at the commission didn't file financial disclosure forms as required by state law.

And there's more. From the audit's executive summary:

The chiropractic board has insufficient control over its licensing and continuing education programs. It has not established timelines for processing some of its applications for licenses, certificates, and referral services. The board also could not always show whether it verified the status of chiropractors' licenses before approving applications and certificates. Additionally, many of the chiropractic board's current practices for administering its continuing education program are not consistent with its regulations and written policies and procedures.

You can find the entire audit here.

UPDATE: The state chiropratic board has issued a formal statement in response to the audit. "The auditor's report lays out the path for improvment that we began implementing last summer," said current executive officer Brian Stiger in the written release. "These are the Board's top-priority issues."

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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