In the April 24, 2006 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I authored an article titled, "Do the Right Thing Keep Your Paddle Down!"1 that encouraged NBCE state delegates to keep their voting paddles down should the District V caucus nominate the incumbent district director, and for all bylaws amendments.
You can read the full particulars about what occurred at the NBCE Annual Meeting in the last issue of this publication.2 This article will give you the "Insider's Insights" on how all of this occurred and sincerely thank those most responsible for making it happen.
My all-time favorite Broadway musical is "Les Miserables," which I have seen performed in numerous cities in the United States and Europe. This magnificent musical is based on the 1832 student rebellion in France and features a song titled, "Do You Hear the People Sing?" As I write this article, I am listening to that song over and over, because it so precisely describes the heroic actions of the NBCE state delegates.
The song begins with its chorus:
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!
Without question, the NBCE state delegates used every ounce of their very limited powers to affect a complete revolution at the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Truly, the beating of their hearts echoed the beating of the drums. As a result, "tomorrow" has finally come for the NBCE and there is a new "life about to start" with the election of the new outstanding pro-delegate leadership.
The song's next verse is:
Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free.
Words simply cannot express the admiration I have for the following NBCE state delegates and how proud I was to "stand" with them:
- Gary Counselman, DC (Kan.)
- Carol Davis, DC (Ark.)
- Marc Gamerman, DC (Md.)
- Farrel Grossman, DC (S.C.)
- Gaylord Hanssen, DC (Neb.)
- Salvadore LaRusso, DC (Fla.)
- Nancy McCown, DC (Wash.)
- Anthony Mirando, DC (D.C.)
- Glenn Moldenhauer, DC (Idaho)
- Paul Morin, DC (Maine)
- Carl Nelson, DC (Ala.)
- Leslie Schmidt, DC (N.M.)
- Theodore Scott, DC (Utah)
- Kirk Shilts, DC (Mass.)
- Ron Tripp, DC (Okla.)
- Steve Willen, DC (N.C.)
- David Yoshida, DC (Calif.)
These ladies and gentlemen performed so flawlessly at the NBCE Annual Meeting that one NBCE board member later commented, "It almost seemed like their actions were orchestrated." While that was not the case, the majority of the above-mentioned state delegates had attended a special briefing session (by former state delegates) that detailed exactly what the old guard could be expected to attempt at the annual meeting, and how state delegates could keep from getting trampled by the board's parliamentarian and legal counsel. They listened intently, took notes, and then went out and accomplished their mission. To have had some small part in what these state delegates achieved was one of the most gratifying experiences of my career.
When it comes to the song's reference to "beyond the barricade," that most certainly occurred when 40-plus licensing board members decided to attend the NBCE board meeting the next day. While NBCE board meetings have always been closed, and NBCE legal counsel told them to get out of the room, that barricade was crossed when the old guard capitulated and allowed the licensing board members to stay.
In addition, the following licensing board members were instrumental in affecting this historic change through their efforts in a variety of actions, either recently or in years past:
- Vinton Arnett, DC (Kan.)
- James Badge, DC (Ariz.)
- Jerry Blanchard, DC (N.D.)
- Ken Dougherty, DC (Fla.)
- Howard Fidler, DC (Minn.)
- J. Michael Flynn, DC (La.)
- Ali Jafari, DC (N.Y.)
- Don Minor, DC (Nev.)
- Larry O'Connor, DC (N.J.)
- Norman Ouzts, DC (S.C.)
- Mary Ellen Rada, DC (N.J.)
- Daniel Saint Germain, DC (Canada)
- Jeff Steinhardt, DC (Calif.)
- Jerry Ray Willis, DC (Va.)
- Daryl Wills, DC (Neb.)
- Wayne Wolfson, DC (Fla.)
The final verse of this tremendous song is the most powerful:
Will you give all you can give
So that our banner may advance?
Some will fall and some will live
Will you come up and take a chance?
The blood of the martyrs
Will water the meadows of France!
Even though the NBCE Executive Committee had a five-member security force posted, some armed with Tasers and handguns, of course no blood was shed. Nevertheless, this painful seven-year process yielded several "martyrs" who were brutalized by the NBCE old guard. The "fallen fighters" who fought and sacrificed for reform include the following:
- Past FCLB President Carroll Winkler, DC (S.D.), 1998
- Past FCLB President David Brown, DC (Va.), 2001
- Licensing Board President Lawrence Davis, DC (Nev.), 2002
- Licensing Board President Cindy Vaughn, DC (Texas), 2002
- Licensing Board Member Hal Bowen, DC (Del.), 2002
- Licensing Board Member Tom Butler, DC (Pa.), 2003
- Past FCLB President Richard Cole, DC (Tenn.), 2005
Finally, I want to salute the "magnificent seven" individuals: the ones most responsible for making this wonderful change in NBCE leadership occur.
- First, the District I (Northwest states) NBCE state delegates. When the NBCE District I director announced that he was going to vote to re-elect the two incumbent at-large board members, those delegates organized immediately and then expressed their vehement opposition, relentlessly, forcefully and convincingly. Had they not been successful in changing his mind, the very same five-member executive committee would still be in power today!
- Second, new NBCE Board Member, Earl Wiley, DC. (Ohio). Dr. Wiley cast the deciding vote for Dr. Vernon Temple that resulted in the reformists gaining majority control of the NBCE board of directors. Without question, Dr. Wiley's very first vote as member of the NBCE board of directors was one of the most important votes ever cast in the history of this profession!
- Third, NBCE Board Member and FCLB Vice President, Dr. Oliver "Buddy" Smith (Texas). Not only did Dr. Smith stand solidly by his FCLB president, but he also repeatedly corrected the untrue misstatements of the old guard at the public forum held just prior to the NBCE Annual Meeting.
- Past FCLB President and Past NBCE Board Member, Richard Cole, DC (Tenn.). During his four years as an NBCE board member, Dr. Cole was the leader of the "loyal minority" that fought valiantly for more delegate involvement. He also was a tremendous resource for reformist state delegates during the past year.
- Dynamic Chiropractic Publisher Donald Petersen Jr. Had Mr. Petersen not been willing to inform the NBCE state delegates about the old guard's improprieties, the NBCE (through its communications department) easily could have "shouted down" the reformists.
- New NBCE President, Dr. Vernon Temple (Vt.). Dr. Temple started the reform movement way back in 1999 and I am honored to have been his teammate in those early efforts. Dr. Temple is tremendously qualified by his experience, expertise and temperament, and I can assure you that he will be an outstanding NBCE president.
- Finally and most importantly, NBCE Board Member and FCLB President, Dr. Edwin Weathersby (Ariz). More than any other person, Dr. Weathersby was the one who put it all on the line. His willingness to sacrifice his personal reputation and position speaks volumes about his character and his courage.
With the removal of the entire five-member executive committee, state delegates are now just one step away from being "all the way home." The final piece of the puzzle is to give state delegates the authority to amend the NBCE bylaws. Once that authority is granted, hopefully at the 2007 NBCE Annual Meeting in St. Louis, the voice of state delegates and the licensing boards they represent can never again be silenced by a future regime.
Well done, NBCE state delegates - well done! Your actions were a victory for the chiropractic profession that set a bright course for the future.
- Edwards J. Do the right thing keep your paddle down! An open letter to NBCE state delegates. Dynamic Chiropractic, April 24, 2006. www.chiroweb.com/archives/24/09/07.html.
- NBCE meeting results in reform. Dynamic Chiropractic, June 6, 2006. www.chiroweb.com/archives/24/12/12.html.
Click here for previous articles by James Edwards, DC.