NCBTMB Elections: Massaging the Rules, Part II

The NCBTMB sent out the following press release just a few minutes ago, signed by new Chair Leena Guptha:

My fellow Certificants,

As the Chair of NCBTMB, I would like to thank those community members and friends who asked legitimate questions about the Board nominations process. NCBTMB expeditiously and seriously looked into the issues regarding recent election candidates for the public member Board seat. Two nominees had been proposed for the soon to be vacant public member position. The NCBTMB Bylaws state, in relevant part, that:

A Director who is a public member shall not be a Certificant or a practitioner of therapeutic massage and/or bodywork within three (3) years of election, and shall have no material financial interest in the field of therapeutic massage and/or bodywork.

In the case of Susan Landers, due to her closeness to the profession in her role as a Continuing Education Health Coordinator overseeing several programs including a 780-hour massage therapy program, it appeared that Ms. Landers may not fully meet the criteria for public member. Ms. Landers gracefully offered to withdraw her candidacy and NCBTMB accepted her withdrawal.

In the case of Dr. Stuart Watts, NCBTMB determined that
Dr. Watts:
a) does not hold a certification in massage therapy and bodywork
b) has not practiced in the field of massage therapy and bodywork for the past 10 years and remains retired from Oriental Bodywork
c) has no material financial interest in the field of therapeutic massage and or bodywork

As a result, NCBTMB confirms that Dr. Stuart Watts complies with NCBTMB’s Bylaws and therefore, remains as the only nominee for the public member Board seat.

Yours respectfully,
Dr. Leena Guptha

I’m calling BS on this one, people. As I said in last week’s post, I do not personally know Watts or have anything bad to say about him, other than my opinion that he is inappropriate as a candidate for public member (I do still maintain that he would be totally suitable if he were put forth as a candidate for therapist member). This response is just as inappropriate as his candidacy.

Watts is the current treasurer (and has served in that position for 16 years) of the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia. My research shows that it is an unpaid volunteer position, so he personally is not receiving money to do that, but I would classify being a treasurer of a national organization as having a financial interest.

Although the NCBTMB is stating that he is not currently certified in massage therapy or bodywork, that’s a crock. According to the AOBTA website, he is currently certified as a practitioner and an instructor of Shiatsu, which is clearly a form of Asian bodywork. Although his massage license is expired in New Mexico, his Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine license was just renewed in June 2013. That does not seem to indicate retirement.

I know for a fact that the NCBTMB has received a number of communications about this, including some from their own former Board members who have voiced their concern.

According to the current NCBTMB By-Laws, as published on the NCBTMB website, a Public member is not to be a practitioner of Massage Therapy and/or Bodywork.  In the past, any practitioner of Bodywork, including Oriental medicine, would have prohibited Mr. Watts from serving on the Board in the role of Public member.Those bylaws have not changed. They are merely being ignored to suit the organization.

Susan Landers, the only other public member candidate, was in fact deemed to be inappropriate due to her status as a current CE coordinator in a massage program, and voluntarily removed herself from the ballot. I suggest that this entire election should be redone. I also suggest that if it isn’t, it’s a case of ignoring their own bylaws, and one more nail in the coffin they seem to be hellbent on building for themselves.

To the NCBTMB Board of Directors, including newly seated Chair Dr. Leena Guptha, the election committee, and Executive Director Steve Kirin, I am calling on you to make this right. There is nothing wrong in saying “we screwed up.” There is EVERYTHING wrong in denying that you have screwed up and letting a big mistake like this stand. Any decision by your Board, once he is seated, could be subject to challenge. I don’t think this organization can stand too many more challenges, quite frankly.

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