DES MOINES — Members of the Iowa Board of Medicine met in closed session Thursday to discuss the employment status of their executive director, Mark Bowden, but did not make a final decision. Officials say they expect some action to be taken Friday.
Bowden, a former editor of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids who has been the medical board’s executive director since 2008, has been on paid administrative leave for nearly a month for undisclosed reasons. He was paid more than $114,000 in fiscal 2017, state record show.
During Thursday’s board meeting, members voted 8-0 to go into closed session to discuss Bowden’s employment status after he indicated he wanted the matter to be discussed privately. The board spent about three hours and 45 minutes in closed session — part with Bowden and part in deliberations before announcing that no discussion would take place in open session.
“The board has not made a decision. They are still considering,” said Lynn Hicks, a spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, which acts as the board’s legal counsel. “At 9 a.m., they are going to go back into open session to consider the status of the executive director,” he added, noting that the meeting agenda would be amended to include that action item.
Before moving to go into closed session, board Chairman Kyle Ulveling of Carroll cited provisions of the Iowa Code that allows a state board to vote to close a meeting to the public “to discuss the appointment, hiring, performance or discharge of an individual” in situations where it is “necessary to prevent needless and irreparable injury to the reputation of the individual whose appointment, hiring, performance or discharge is under consideration.” The law also allows meetings to be closed to discuss “strategy with counsel for matters that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent where disclosure would likely prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body in that litigation.”
The Iowa Board of Medicine has the authority to regulate the practice of medicine and surgery, acupuncture and genetic counseling, with duties that include licensing physicians and taking disciplinary action to fine or suspend licensed practitioners if they are found to have provided substandard care or violated ethics.
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