Daryl Isburg, President
Tim Bachman, Member
Howard Sogn, Member
Jim Goglin, Member
Susan Bentsen, Member
Alfred Rude, Vice-President
Jim Benham, Lay Member
Anthony Nelson, RN, Dept. of Health (Non-voting member)
Carol Tellinghuisen, Executive Secretary
Paula Spargur, Executive Assistant
John Strohman, Office of the Attorney General
Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health
President Isburg called the meeting to order at 2:04 PM CT.
Corrections or additions to the agenda: Isburg requested to add Secretary of Health Doneen Hollingsworth and non-renewal of licenses to the agenda.
Approval of Minutes from January 4, 2010: Bachman moved and Bentsen seconded to amend the minutes to read under Complaint # 141 “Rude moved and Sogn seconded to dismiss”. Motion carried by roll call vote: Goglin, yes; Bentsen, yes; Rude, yes; Benham, yes; Sogn, yes; Bachman, yes. Sogn moved and Rude seconded to approve the amended minutes. Motion carried by roll call vote: Goglin, yes; Bentsen, yes; Rude, yes; Benham, yes; Sogn, yes; Bachman, yes
FY Financial Update: Spargur reported fiscal year to date figures as of February 28, 2010: year to date revenue of $69,967.26, expenditures of $43,038.21and cash balance of $40,677.61. Rude moved and Bachman seconded to approve the financial update. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
Non-renewal of licenses: Strohman explained to the Board election of remedy, the options for the establishments and funeral service licensees that have not renewed. Strohman requested the Board’s permission to contact the State’s Attorney with the names of the establishments and funeral service licensees that have not renewed. Bachman questioned the ramifications of non-renewal of their licenses and Strohman explained the violation and that the election of contacting the State’s Attorney could result in a Class 2 Misdemeanor. The other option would be a cease and desist letter. Goglin moved and Bachman seconded to have Strohman proceed forward with contacting the State’s Attorney with the names of those not having renewed. Bachman questioned if our law addresses this and Strohman stated it did. Strohman suggested that a significant late fee be set in statute.
Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Department of Health, joined the meeting at 2:24 PM CT. Secretary Hollingsworth stated that she oversees eleven health boards, all connected with their own issues, members and executive directors. She further stated she asked to be added to the agenda to talk to the board about their scope as well as open meeting law requirements. Hollingsworth explained the board’s scope as very narrow; to grant, suspend or revoke licensure and inspect establishments. She reiterated that the Funeral Board is not a policy board but a regulatory board and the mission is to protect the public, which is very different than an association, which promotes the profession. A board must follow open meeting laws; it is a public body, an arm of state government. Board members cannot discuss board business with other board members outside of meetings and cannot hold pre-meeting meetings. To do so puts the Board at serious risk for being found in violation of open meeting laws.
Secretary Hollingsworth stated that between the Board’s legal counsel and Executive Secretary the board has received quality, consistent and reasonable legal and administrative advice. Their job is to keep the board out of trouble and they are looking out for the board’s best interest. She went on to state that both have experience with many boards and their advice is based on statute. If the board is interested in new legal or administrative services, the burden is on the board to prove a true need for that change. She stated that the Department of Health would not support any change at this time. In addition, the Board cannot operate without a contract approved through the Department.
Secretary Hollingsworth explained that there has been a history with this board and that Tellinghuisen was asked to be the administrative secretary of the board in 1996 because she understood the purposes, priorities and process of professional licensing. In 2006, a representative from the Office of Risk Management met with the Funeral Board regarding risk management and liability issues. Three months ago, Assistant Attorney John Strohman sent a letter to the board regarding the board’s fundamental duties. In closing; the Board must follow open meeting laws, stick to the scope of the board and follow legal and executive secretary’s advice.
Secretary Hollingsworth concluded by asking if the board had any questions and there were none. Hollingsworth thanked the board for their service, and let them know she is always available by phone for questions. She also thanked legal counsel and the executive secretary for being diligent, knowledgeable and dedicated. Hollingsworth exited the meeting at 2:49 PM CT.
Executive Secretary Contract Renewal: Tellinghuisen asked for renewal of her contract with no increase. Bachman moved and Rude seconded to enter executive session at 2:51 PM CT to discuss the executive secretary’s contract renewal. Motion carried by unanimous vote. Rude moved and Bentsen seconded to exit executive session at 3:22 PM CT. Motion carried by unanimous vote. Bentsen moved and Bachman seconded to approve Tellinghuisen’s contract at the same rate as last year. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
Strohman questioned the board if they understood what Secretary Hollingsworth was saying? He further said that it is important that the Board work together, not discuss board business outside of a meeting, and not handle board work as if it were a private business. Strohman stated as an Attorney, it was his opinion that the Secretary’s comments should be interpreted as a serious admonishment to this Board. Each member concurred and stated that they understood.
Schedule next meeting: The next meeting is scheduled for May 12, 2010 in conjunction with the Association Meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 3:37 PM CT.