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On Friday, May 16th, members of the Arkansas Psychological Association’s (ArPA) Executive Committee attended the Arkansas Psychology Board (APB) meeting to seek clarification about the recent personnel changes. As members may know, the Executive Director of the Arkansas Psychology Board was terminated on March 24, 2014, due to mismanagement. An interim executive officer was appointed and the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) is assisting the board in making a smooth transition and correcting problems that had developed. ArPA submitted a written request for information and requested to be placed on the agenda for the board meeting.
The first issue that ArPA wanted to address was what could have been done to prevent the above problems and what changes in hiring and oversight of employees of the APB are being implemented to prevent this from happening again. The points below were provided:
- The APB stated that nothing could have been done to prevent the situation. They stated that due to a lack of communication directly from the Dept of Finance and Administration (which regulates state licensing boards) and all information flowing through the Executive Director, they were unable to get the needed information to prevent the situation.
- The DFA and the legislature are conducting an audit of the APB. These audits will include recommendations for changes that can be made and will be available to the public via the APB minutes when they are presented.
- In addition, APB funds have been moved to and will be paid through the State Treasury. This is a change that ensures bills are paid and allows for greater oversight by the APB in financial matters.
- The APB will begin receiving a monthly list of expenditures for review.
- The APB is working with the DFA to train the interim executive director and will cross train all personnel to ensure that all employees can perform all tasks. This will decrease reliance on one employee for specific tasks and increase ability for oversight.
- The APB has implemented a system to approve leave time for employees and will receive reports from the DFA that will assist them in determining activity (logging into computers, answering telephones) in the office when they are not present.
- DFA is providing training for board members in order to enhance their knowledge about the business management of the office.
- The APB is working with the DFA Office of Personnel to change the Executive Director job description to better fit the needs of the position (e.g., requiring a business degree, rather than a social science degree). They changed the name of the position to Administrative Director. They also approved to begin the process of an emergency hire of an Administrative Director.
The second issue ArPA wanted to address was to inquire about possible infractions or monetary losses incurred during the time of the former executive director. Below was their response.
- The APB denied knowledge of any infractions or monetary losses. As stated above, an internal and legislative audit will be conducted
- It was presented to the board that two computers were missing after an audit was conducted by the DFA. The board approved the action to send a letter to the former executive director to return the computers if they are in her possession.
In a written response from Dr. Ed Kleitsch, the chair of the Arkansas Psychology Board, the board is committed to fulfilling the mission of the APB, which is to protect the citizens of Arkansas from harm by ensuring that only individuals who are trained and competent to practice psychology are issued a license. In addition, the board is committed to ensuring those who practice psychology do so in an ethical and competent manner.
The board is working amicably with DFA and is appreciative of the assistance provided. The APB will issue a written statement to licensees in the near future.
# # #Founded in 1949, the Arkansas Psychological Association is a statewide, non-for-profit, professional organization whose purpose is to advance psychology as a science, a profession, and a means of promoting human welfare in a challenging and changing world. Our members represent the most well-trained, highly-credentialed, and clinically-experienced mental health care professionals in Arkansas. Our members are actively involved in providing psychological services in private practices, hospitals, and community mental health centers. Others teach in undergraduate and graduate academic programs, conduct cutting-edge research, serve in administrative positions for human service programs, and dedicate countless hours as committee members and chairs of various boards on the state, national, and international level. In all these settings, ARPA and its members are committed to expanding the parameters of psychology in Arkansas and increasing the quality of psychological services within our communities. In an effort to promote the mental and emotional well-being of individuals, families, and society at large, we strive to serve both the public and our membership through educational opportunities, workplace training, networking, and professional development. # # #
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact the Arkansas Psychological Association
P.O. Box 21220 Little Rock, AR 72221 (501) 614-6500 Fax (501) 224-0988 www.arpapsych.org