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Dynamic Chiropractic – April 17, 2000, Vol. 18, Issue 09

NBCE: More Questions

National Board Treasurer John Tierney,DC, Refuses Interview

By Editorial Staff
Numerous additional issues have been raised about the actions of the directors of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) in the wake of comments and concerns expressed in Dynamic Chiropractic by the International Chiropractors Association (ICA); the American Chiropractic Association (ACA); the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB); the Student ACA; the Student ICA; and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACE).
Numerous DCs, students, and even the National Board's own delegates have expressed concerns and raised valid issues.

In response to this profession-wide outcry, Dynamic Chiropractic requested a second interview with a representative of NBCE to obtain answers to the pertinent questions brought up by these groups. As most of the concerns regarded the financial accountability of the NBCE Board of Directors, we requested an interview with John Tierney,DC, the NBCE treasurer. In hopes that Dr. Tierney would agree to an interview, Dynamic Chiropractic agreed to limit the questions to three items:

  • NBCE's proposed 1999 budget;
  • financial reports for the period ending September 30, 1999;
  • reports provided to the delegates at the last annual luncheon in Philadelphia.

To our surprise, Dr. Tierney refused to be interviewed. In a letter dated March 6, 2000, Dynamic Chiropractic was told: "The Board's policy is not to engage in phone interviews." While Dr. Tierney chose to withhold the answers to these questions, the questions are presented here for review by the profession and the NBCE delegates. The NBCE delegates will find these questions particularly relevant, given the fact that they were never allowed to see two of the documents listed above.
  1. Looking at the financial report handed out to the NBCE delegates at the annual meeting in Philadelphia last year, I can't seem to find a 1999 budget. Why wasn't the 1999 budget presented to the NBCE delegates?

  2. Looking at the financial statements handed out to the NBCE delegates, how would they figure out the revenues over expenses for 1997 and 1998? From which pages would they have been able to draw the necessary information to make the necessary computations?

  3. According to Dr. Tullio, in his interview with Dynamic Chiropractic:

    "Board members of the NBCE give up their meal allowance on those occasions where the board has a dinner meeting. And, all board members forfeit one extra meal allowance when their spouse is present."

    I take this to mean that when a board member and their spouse have dinner paid by the National Board at a "dinner meeting," they give up two meal allowances - somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 total. Having talked to a number of past NBCE directors, I have heard reports that these meals for the directors and their spouses can cost as much as $3,000-$5,000 each. When the board picks up the check for a big dinner like this, what account is that expense put into? Also, can you provide the minutes from the last three NBCE "dinner meetings"?

  4. According to page three of the memo from NBCE controller Nancy Richardson, the following is a "Recap of Financial Condition" of the NBCE for the first nine months of 1999:

    "The first nine months ended with NBCE's operating income $1,444,655 greater than expenses. The budget excess revenue for the same period is $935,449. Therefore, actual excess revenues before the 8% revenue restriction were $509,206 more than budgeted for. Eight percent of revenue is currently $435,741, leaving a net balance of $73,465 more than was budgeted for."

    It has been reported that you have stated that the NBCE's income for the first nine months of 1999 was less than $80,000. Is this recap how you arrived at that figure? Isn't that a little misleading, given that the "total excess revenues" for the first nine months of 1999, according to the "statement of revenues and expenses" in that same memo, were $1,657,941?

  5. It is my understanding that the NBCE directors discussed increasing the fees for Parts I, II and III at the last board meeting. Were the NBCE delegates informed of this consideration and the potential increases at the annual meeting in Philadelphia? If I were to ask several of the delegates if they knew about the potential increases, what do you think they would say?

  6. Which expense categories on the "Schedule of General and Administrative Expenses," which was handed out to your delegates at the last annual meeting, would a National Board delegate need to include to calculate the amount of money the board of directors spent on meetings, travel, observing at test sites and the accompanying "dinner meetings"? Do you think the delegates realized the money budgeted by the board of directors for their own travel and meetings in 1999 was in excess of $600,000?

  7. According to the financial statements presented to the NBCE's delegates, the amount of examination fees attributed to "temporarily restricted assets" in 1997 was almost $1.3 million, over 20% of all revenues for that year. Why was so much money relegated to the restricted asset account? Do you think that gave the delegates the misconception that the NBCE's income over expenses was something less than the almost $1.2 million it was that year?

  8. In preparing this interview, I had the occasion to talk to several NBCE delegates. The impression I got from them was that they were unaware of what was happening with the NBCE's finances, and they didn't feel the financial statements they had been given were reflective of the current situation. How would you react to that?

  9. Finally, in looking at the binder presented to the NBCE delegates at the annual meeting, I failed to find a copy of the minutes from either of the two NBCE full board of directors meetings, the three executive committee meetings, or any "dinner meetings." How can your own delegates be expected to know what is happening and be expected to accurately report to their respective states when you don't provide them with any minutes from any of the interim meetings held in their absence?

    It is my understanding that the delegates aren't allowed to attend the full board and executive committee meetings. When will the delegates get copies of the minutes from the last two full board meeting and the last three executive meetings - meetings they apparently weren't invited to?

    Continuing to look at the last meeting with the NBCE delegates, there was a request by the delegates that the bylaws be changed to allow the delegates to amend the bylaws. They felt they should have that right, given the fact that most of the delegates were never given a copy of the NBCE's bylaws. At that meeting, the NBCE bylaws committee was to prepare bylaws changes consistent with comments made by the delegates and deliver them to the delegates by January 1, 2000 for review; the delegates were to make comments and recommendations. As a member of the NBCE bylaws committee, why didn't you deliver a copy of the bylaws changes to the delegates? I understand you will be distributing a copy of the recommended bylaws changes only 45 days before the delegates are supposed to vote on them at their annual luncheon in May. Was this done to eliminate the comment period? Doesn't this violate parliamentary procedure? Will there be a recommended bylaw to allow the delegates to amend their own bylaws?

  10. The last NBCE executive meeting was in New Orleans. As treasurer, you have to approve all expenditures. How can you justify travel to another meeting at a vacation spot?

    Looking at the NBCE board's travel to the European Chiropractic Union (ECU) meeting in Denmark last year, one board member's expenses, according to the 1999 budget, were to be paid for 10 days at a budgeted cost $14,000 in travel expenses, $5,000 of which was paid to him for going, not to cover expenses. Dynamic Chiropractic published a rather detailed article on the ECU meeting, an event that lasted three days (May 13, 14 and 15). As treasurer, how could you approve 10 days of travel expenses knowing that over half of that time was unnecessary? By the way, who attended that meeting for the National Board? Did the spouse join him? Which of their expenses were paid by the National Board?

    Looking at the average travel expenses per board member from the 1999 budget, it averages out to over $55,000 per director per year. Yet a number of directors have told us that their annual expenses are not nearly that much money. Who are the top three travelers on the National Board?

  11. Why were the liability insurance premiums budgeted for in 1998 ($46,411) increased by almost 125% to $104,224 per year? Why is the liability insurance of the directors and officers budgeted up to $20 million with an annual premium of $54,354 in 1999, when the entire budget for all liability policies for 1998 was only $46,411? What could possibly justify $104,224 per year in insurance premiums? What is happening that the directors are so nervous about?

  12. What else would you like to say regarding any of the issues already presented, or anything else regarding the National Board and its finances?

 


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