Nevada Dental Board Lacks Common Sense Leadership
by Daniel F. Royal, DO, HMD, JD
Common Sense Leadership is precious and rare. It is not self-serving or influenced by ego. Rather, it embodies a type of emotional wisdom where leaders can relate to perceptions, feelings, judgments, and evaluations of their constituents. Those blessed with this skill know how to listen, lead, make good decisions, and motivate others in such a way as to bring out the best in others. Can Common Sense Leadership be found among the Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners (“NVBDE”)?
On July 15, 2016, the NVBDE held a meeting where its Agenda included item 4(e) to “Review, Approve/Reject of Amendment to Current Contract for Legal Services” to “John Hunt, Esquire.”1 One of the attachments for the NVBDE’s July 15th meeting disclosed in its “Statement of Revenues, Expenses, and Fund Balance” where from July 2015 through May 2016 the NVBDE paid $225.105.88 for “investigations/complaints.” Most all of this amount is paid to the NVBDE’s legal counsel, John Hunt, Esq. In fact, the actual amount of “legal costs” the NVBDE paid to Hunt and his firm in 2015 is $278,000.00. Moreover, the total revenue reported by the NVBDE from July 2015 through May 2016 is $1,052,034.85. All of this revenue comes from “licenses and fees” the NVBDE receives from its constituents. Thus, the NVBDE is paying more than 20% of its annual budget for a private attorney to conduct “investigations” against its own constituents.
At the beginning of the NVBDE’s meeting on July 15th, Adrian Ruiz, DDS read a prepared statement,2 which included comments on a recent case of self-reporting for drug abuse the NVBDE handled without exercising common sense:
“The recent case of Travis Sorenson, DDS…was very badly handled in that the Dental Board publicly humiliated and vilified him when it should’ve all been handled confidentially as there was never any patient complaint, malpractice, or bad outcome. Sorenson was the first case of ‘self-reporting’ and based on how the Dental Board handled his case such self-reporting is virtually guaranteed to never happen again. The Dental Board severely disciplined him and did so in blatant violation of the Board’s own policy published on its website….”3
During the public comment section of the NVBDE’s July 15th meeting, Erika Smith, DDS also read a prepared statement (see Ibid, “Decades of Nevada Dental Board Corruption”) and Tina Tsou, secretary for the Las Vegas Dental Association, stated that “over 20 dentists have contacted me asking for the termination of Debra Shafer and John Hunt.” This latter recommendation was based on a recent audit by the Legislative Counsel Bureau (“LCB”) where the NVBDE appeared to have purposely obfuscated key facts in its report to the LCB regarding Hunt. In the LCB’s 2016 Audit Report for the NVBDE, it identified the following in its “Key Findings”:
“The Board paid about $200,000 more, on average, in legal expenses in fiscal years 2014 and 2015 than shown in its financial statements. Actual legal expenses were almost three times the reported amounts and exceeded the annual contract maximum for one firm …Specifically, the contract approved in October 2013 stated payments will not exceed $175,000 per year. However, payments exceeded $300,000 in both calendar years 2014 and 2015, the first two full years under the new contract terms . Additionally, the overall contract maximum of $700,000 has almost been reached with over a year left in the 4-year contract . The Board could save approximately $100,000 per year by hiring a General Counsel while still utilizing the services of outside counsel when necessary. This estimate assumes the Board would still use outside counsel about 20% of the time. Boards have a fiduciary duty to be an effective steward of public resources, which in this case is fees collected from licensees .”4
Following the public comments made by Ruiz, Smith, and Tsou during the NVBDE’s July 15th meeting, and in spite of not even one member of the public or licensee showing up at the NVBDE’s meeting in support of Agenda item 4(e), the NVBDE Board Members voted to increase their contract for services with John Hunt, Esq. During the discussion of the motion, board members Timothy Pinther, DDS, Gregory Pisani, DDS, and Byron Blasco, DMD all praised Hunt and even went so far as to thank him for “preserving costs for the Board.” Thereafter, the NVBDE board members all voted to increase Hunt’s salary as their means of addressing the finding in the LCB Audit that Hunt had exceeded in charges what the NVBDE had previously agreed to pay him.
In short, although dental licensees protested against such a decision in advance of any discussion or action being taken, the NVBDE board members did the exact opposite of what their own constituents had publicly petitioned them not to do. In fact, according to one participant in the NVDBE’s July 15th meeting, “the board members showed no interest in our comments and seemed to pay us no attention whatsoever.” Thus, the NVBDE’s action appears to void of its “fiduciary duty to be an effective steward of the public resources” it collects in the form of “licenses and fees” from its constituents. Therefore, if the NVBDE pays no attention to its own constituents then it remains to be seen how much attention the Nevada Legislature will pay the NVBDE when it blatantly disregards recommendations made to it from the Audit Division of the Nevada Legislature’s Legal Counsel Bureau. NVBDE is in need of leaders with common sense who know or sense what is right or wrong and who can make decisions that are in the best interest of everyone.
by Daniel F. Royal, DO, HMD, JD
Owner of the Royal Medical Clinic, Las Vegas, Nevada
2 http://bit.ly/2brTjWr “Statement to NV Board of Dental Examiners,” July 15, 2016.
3http://dental.nv.gov/Public_Info/News_PR, “The Domino Effect of Board Complaints,” John Hunt, Esq., 2013.
4http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Audit/Full/BE2016/LA16-14%20Board%20of%20Dental%20Examiers%20Report.pdf, “Performance Audit, Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners,” Rocky Cooper, CPA, May 24, 2016)(emphasis added).
— Last Edited by Health_Freedoms at 2016-08-19 15:02:16 —