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Massage Today
August, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 08

CA Massage Board Changes Expenses Policy

By Kathryn Feather, Senior Associate Editor

The California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) Board voted to revise its expense reimbursement policy at the June board meeting after Chair Dixie Wall issued a May statement saying the board would "review its non-staff expense reimbursement policy to ensure that the policy reflects CAMTC's commitment to fiscal responsibility," at its next board meeting.

This review was in response to the controversies (see article "The CAMTC Money Grab" by Don Petersen in the June 2012 issue) surrounding the expenses of seven members who originally planned to go to the American Massage Conference (AMC), which was held in April in San Diego. Board members planning to attend the conference voted "yes" to reimburse their own expenses. In the wake of the controversy reported by Massage Today, only three ultimately decided to seek reimbursement. Ultimately, no one requested reimbursement.

As reported previously in Massage Today, 11 members of the CAMTC voted at their Tuesday, April 10, 2012 meeting to reimburse travel expenses for those board members planning to attend the American Massage Conference, which was set to open eight days later. While the motion to reimburse passed, critics on the Board contended that specific responsibilities were not discussed or defined in the original introduction of this item. However, after the story about the expenses appeared on MassageToday.com, CEO Ahmos Netanel submitted a list of duties board members would be expected to perform.

When asked about the reimbursement policy back in April, and if this would apply to other conferences, Netanel referenced first a 2009 and then a 2010 reimbursement policy passed by the board. However, some board members didn't think the policy applied to conferences and conventions, only to board meetings.

Wall explained what happened: "When the CAMTC first started planning the staffing for the AMC, the total conference attendance was estimated between 2,000 to 3,000 individuals. CAMTC planned accordingly by proposing that more staff attend to handle the number of participants," she said. "Later, when it was discovered that massage professional attendance would be closer to 1,000, CAMTC adjusted the staffing plan accordingly."

"Four of the seven (board members) spent their own time and money to attend and assist with this conference, said Wall. "The way in which the motion was framed was unclear because it gave the impression that the number of Directors attending the conference was not capped and that reimbursement was unlimited. In fact, that was never the intent."

The new reimbursement policy replaces the previous wording of reimbursement for "Council business" with the more specific, "CAMTC Board Meeting." (Visit www.massagetoday.com to see the 2010 policy and the new 2012 CAMTC reimbursement policy.)

The CAMTC also approved a specific policy for "Non-Board of Directors Meeting Travel." This policy states that, "In some instances, it will be more cost effective and efficient for Board members to personally travel to perform certain tasks for the CAMTC that are directly related to important core functions of the CAMTC (hereinafter "Board Reimbursed Trip" or "BRT")." This policy authorizes the Chair to approve travel subject to the following:

  1. No more than one director shall be sent on such a trip at CAMTC expense, with the exception of trips of 50 miles or less where the only reimbursed item will be personal automobile mileage, in which case two directors will be reimbursed. Multiple directors traveling together can only be approved by a vote of the Board.
  2. The Chair and the CEO have to make a written finding that: (a) there is no CAMTC employee or consultant that could perform the task intended to be performed by the traveling director of a lower cost to CAMTC; and (b) the task can only be accomplished by traveling and not by other means such as conference call or Skype.
  3. The purpose of the BRT must be directly related to CAMTC business.
  4. The duration of the BRT must be no longer than is necessary to carry out the task assigned by the CEO and Chair and overnight stays should be avoided when possible.
  5. The budget for BRT for the rest of calendar year 2012 will be $5,000 and subsequent year budget amounts shall be part of the regular budget process.

In response to the changes in policy, CAMTC Chair Dixie Wall said, "CAMTC looks forward to continuing its mission of protecting the public through its responsible fiscal policies and working to ensure the rights of certified massage professionals."

Resources:

  1. "CA Massage Board Votes to Send 'Roving Ambassadors' to San Diego Convention," published at www.massagetoday.com on April 12, 2012.
  2. "Editorial: The CAMTC Money Grab," Massage Today, June 2012, www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=14609.
  3. "CA Massage Board to Review Expenses Policy," Massage Today, June 2012, www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=14598.
  4. CAMTC 2010 Reimbursement Policy
  5. CAMTC 2012 Reimbursement Policy

 

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