SUMMARY OF: A Sunset Review of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Board of Professional Counselors, September 30, 2009

Purpose of the Report

In accordance with Title 24 and Title 44 of the Alaska Statutes, we have reviewed the activities of the Board of Professional Counselors (BPC). As required by state law, the legislative committees of reference are to consider this report when considering whether to extend the termination date for BPC. Currently under AS 08.03.010(c)(17), the board will terminate on June 30, 2010. If the legislature does not extend the termination date for the board, BPC will have one year to conclude its administrative operations.

Report Conclusions

BPC should continue to regulate professional counselors. The board is serving the public interest by promoting the competence and integrity of those who provide services to the public as licensed professional counselors. We recommend the legislature extend the board’s termination date to June 30, 2018.

The Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing’s investigation unit did not address all investigations in a timely manner. Investigators inconsistently recorded information in the case management system.

Several deficiencies were noted in the administrative support provided to BPC by the division’s staff. The information contained in the annual reports was often inaccurate and incomplete. The methodologies used to account for BPC revenues and expenditures were inconsistent and, in some cases, inaccurate. Furthermore, important information was not forwarded to investigative staff.

Findings and Recommendations

1. The division’s professional licensing administrative officer should take steps to improve administrative support.

2. The division’s chief investigator should establish procedures to ensure investigators consistently enter information into the case management system and should take steps to ensure complaints/cases are investigated timely.

3. The division’s professional licensing supervisors should take steps to ensure salient investigative information is forwarded to the investigative section.

4. The Office of the Governor should take steps to make the necessary appointments to keep BPC at full membership.