Boards and commissions

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By Merilee Dannemann

“There is no such thing as a Republican or Democratic audiologist. There are just professional audiologists.”  

This comment was made in December 2002 by an audiologist of my acquaintance, after he received a letter informing him that he was being booted off the New Mexico audiology board. My friend was a very nice fellow, a responsible professional and, I’m sure, a diligent member of this board.

When Bill Richardson was elected governor, you may remember, there was widespread turnover on many state boards and commissions. Which leaves the next governor with an interesting problem.

Boards and commissions are sprinkled through state government. Some boards have a great deal of responsibility, while others are mostly advisory. Their duties are based on specific statutes, rules and procedures, which may be complex and challenging to learn. A board may have the power to revoke a professional or trade license — a power not used often, but utterly serious when someone’s professional future is at stake.

Boards typically have “staggered terms.” Board members begin their service in alternate years, so turnover will be gradual, boards can function without a break and new members can learn from experienced members.

Lots of terms came to an abrupt end in December 2002.  

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