Attorney General Says Nursing Board Has Right to Approve Executive Director Candidates

According to an opinion issued by the Georgia Law Department, the Georgia Board of Nursing has the final say over which qualified candidate can be hired as the Executive Director of the Board, and the Secretary of State’s office determines which candidate(s) are qualified for the job.

The opinion from the Attorney General’s office is in response to a request from the Board of Nursing to clarify how to interpret two conflicting laws in the Georgia Code dealing with the selection and approval of candidates for the board’s executive Director. From the opinion:

Based upon my review of the applicable law, I conclude that the Secretary of State and the Board have related but separate, distinguishable roles with respect to the selection of the executive director of the Board. The Secretary of State has the authority to select which candidate or candidates to submit to the Board for its approval, and the Board has the authority to approve who may be appointed to serve as its executive director. Only a qualified person who has been submitted for approval by the Secretary of State and approved by the Board can be appointed to serve as its executive director.

The need to resolve the discrepancy comes after Secretary of State Brian Kemp decided he wanted to switch the positions of Board of Nursing Executive Director Jim Cleghorn with that of Board of Cosmetology Executive Director Andrew Turnage for cross-training purposes. As described in this post, the BON objected to the switch, despite the fact that the job duties of the executive director of the two boards are very similar. In the end, Secretary Kemp agreed to delay the job swap for a year.

Now that the Attorney General’s office has clarified that the Board of Nursing does have veto power over the Secretary of State’s selection, it is unclear what the next steps will be. We’ve asked the Secretary of State’s office for comment, and will post its response when it arrives.

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