|A Sunset Review of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board, September 17, 2005.|
PURPOSE OF THE REPORT
In accordance with Title 24 and Title 44 of the Alaska Statutes (sunset legislation), we have reviewed the activities of the State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board (board). As required by state law, the legislative committees of reference are to consider this report when considering whether to extend the termination date for the board. Currently under AS 08.03.010(c)(16), the board will terminate on June 30, 2006. If the legislature does not extend the termination date for the board, it will have one year to conclude its administrative operations.
In our opinion, the State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board is operating in the publicís best interest and should continue to regulate physical and occupational therapists. The board is safeguarding the public interest by promoting the competence and integrity of those who hold themselves out to the public as qualified and competent physical therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapy assistants, and occupational therapy assistants.
The board serves a public purpose and has demonstrated an ability to conduct its business in a satisfactory manner. The board continues to propose changes to regulations to improve its effectiveness and ensure that physical therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapy assistants, and occupational therapy assistants are licensed in the State of Alaska.
Alaska Statute 08.03.010(c)(16) requires that the State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board be terminated on June 30, 2006. Under AS 08.03.020, the board has a one-year period to administratively conclude its affairs. We recommend that the legislature extend the boardís termination date until June 30, 2014.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Recommendation No. 1
The Office of the Governor should recruit candidates and make appointments to the board in a timely manner.
Board appointments are not filled timely due to a lack of candidates. AS 08.01.020 requires that board appointments be made by the governor. The statute does not specify a time period for filling board vacancies; however, six months is a reasonable time period to appoint a board member following a term expiration date or board vacancy.
Since January 2004, three of seven board members have served beyond their appointed terms; another seat has remained vacant for an extended period of time. Currently, one board seat has remained vacant for 17 months. In another instance, a board member has continued to serve 17 months beyond the maximum two successive terms allowed by statute. Additionally, two other board members served 14 months beyond the termination date of their board terms before new appointments were made.
Failure to both fill board vacancies and replace outgoing board members hinders a boardís operations, exceeds legal term limits, and creates an imposition on individuals to stay until a successor is appointed. We recommend that the Office of the Governor recruit candidates and make board appointments in a timely manner.