The Department of Finance and Administration has had to step in to straighten things out at the Arkansas Psychology Board, which is in apparent disarray. The board’s director, Sheila Pauley, who was arrested in Saline County on an insurance fraud charge in March, was fired.
DF and A Director Richard Weiss said his office took over the office about a month ago after several unsuccessful tries to get a budget proposal from the director. Weiss said bills weren’t being paid and “money wasn’t being deposited properly.” He said DFA auditing staff was sent to straighten out the files, which he said are now in “decent shape.” Maggie Sponer, Pauley’s assistant, is interim director.
“Our big concern is that [license] renewal season is in the month of June or July and we’ve told them we will help in that process,” Weiss said.
Edward Kleitsch, chairman of the board, has not returned messages left at his offices at the Veterans Administration or his private practice in Sherwood, so it could not be determined how long the office has malfunctioned. But Brad Williams, a psychological examiner for the Social Security office, said that when he asked the board for a list of licensed psychologists last August, the board could not provide one.
Pauley, 51, and her daughter, Elizabeth Lyons, 29, were arrested on felony warrants March 28 after police said Pauley provided prescription controlled medications that she claimed on her insurance plan to her daughter, who is uninsured. Williams and others said they believed Pauley had serious health problems. A hearing will be held in Saline County Circuit Court on May 12.
Weiss said the job description requires the director to be a licensed psychologist but that the pay is low ($41,280.10), which may not appeal to licensed psychologists. He said the office needs someone “who can run a small operation,” not necessarily a licensed psychologist.
Weiss said the office has an annual budget of about $200,000. It’s not known yet if there are any shortages at issue.
Legislative Audit’s David Webb said his agency was aware of problems at the board and plans to do a regular audit, at which time it will work with DF and A.