Foot-Dragging, Silence, and Turnover

At the May 2015 meeting of the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners, they once again put the issue of their own illegal harassment of unlicensed practitioners on the agenda (they called it “Exempt Practitioner Workgroup”), and once again they did nothing.

Money talks, and silences at the oregon board of psychologist examinersWarren Foote, the board’s attorney, said that they were not done “investigating the legislative history of the exemption.” But that’s just lawyer-speak for “We’re in the wrong, the case against us is open-and-shut, but I’m still combing through the dusty stacks of precedent, hoping against hope to find a loophole.”

In the meantime, what about the board’s false prosecutions? They’ve put them on hold, right? “Above all, do no harm.” Well, the OBPE is a different kind of organization. The investigations are continuing, as if nothing had happened.

And, in a very real sense, nothing has. The board’s longest-serving staffers both have law degrees. The board’s legal counsel sits in on every board meeting. So presumably they’ve known all along that their actions were illegal, and they’re okay with that.

And what about the board’s policy of bullying and harassing people instead of investigating them? That, too, remains unchanged. They not only haven’t changed the policy, they haven’t denied that the policy exists.

You have to feel for the board members. Most of them aren’t abusive, or criminals, or sociopaths, so they’ve found themselves in a very uncomfortable environment! But neither do they have the moral courage to protest against the majority. Heck, I doubt there  is a majority. Perhaps all but one or two members are remaining silent when they should speak, and voting “yes” when they know they should be voting “no.” It would be strange if the bullying didn’t extend not just to the public, but to any board members who showed the least sign of weakness. “If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like someone to hit.”

Not surprisingly, the more alert board members are looking for the exits. Two members, Devin Salinas and Daniel Munoz, are leaving the board. One can hardly blame them!

Characteristically, when the OBPE announced these vacancies, they made no mention of, “Hey, these two seats are open. Want to be on the board? Head over to this Web page.”  After all, it’s easier to stack the board with your cronies if no one else applies. The turnover in the Board is tremendous — they’ve lost three of nine members so far this year, and two more have terms that expire later in the year. If they had the slightest interest in having a high-quality board, they’d be doing everything they could think of to get the word out.

But that would quickly lead to a very different board, with very different policies, so it ain’t gonna happen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *