Jeri Auther Out as Governor's Liaison

That was fast.

We broke the news in this week's New Times that Jeri Auther, Governor Jan Brewer's liaison to regulatory boards and commissions, was pushing the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners to repeal a law it had lobbied to pass. The law dealt with how complaints against court-appointed psychologists are handled -- and, thanks to a messy divorce, Auther seemed to have a personal agenda on that front.

Auther pushed the board to repeal the law. She even told its executive director, Dr. Cynthia Olvey, that there would be "no negotiating," according to remarks Olvey made at a public meeting. Fearful of losing its funding, the board actually voted to work for a repeal, even as members grumbled about being "dictated" to.

As it turned out, however, a repeal was most emphatically not the governor's position. Her flack, Paul Senseman, seemed surprised when we told him last Friday that Auther was taking such a hard line with the agency; the governor, he said, had no interest in repealing the law, much less forcing it through without negotiations.

It appears that Brewer's administration, to its credit, took the matter seriously. We learned this morning -- just one day after our report hit the Web and six days after our conversation with Senseman -- that Auther is (surprise!) no longer the governor's liasion to boards and commissions.

We're told that Auther's new job is at the Governor's Regulatory Review Council. According to its newly updated Web site, she's listed as "administrator."

Auther was previously a staff attorney at that agency, records show.

So what the heck is the Governor's Regulatory Review Council? Glad you asked. Its Web site explains:

The Council reviews most rules to ensure that they are necessary and to avoid duplication and adverse impact on the public. The Council assesses whether a rule is clear, concise, and understandable, legal, consistent with legislative intent and within the agency's statutory authority, and whether the benefits of a rule outweigh the cost. If a rule does not meet these criteria, the Council returns it to the agency for further consideration.

Sounds exciting.

We have a call out to the Governor's Office; we'll will let you know if we find out more about Auther's new job, why this decision was made, and what this means for the Board of Psychologist Examiners.

If nothing else, with Auther no longer pushing the Psych Board, it's a fair bet that the law in question won't be repealed any time soon.

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Sarah Fenske
Contact: Sarah Fenske