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California Briefing / Sacramento

Consumer Affairs official resigns

July 17, 2009|Michael Rothfeld

The head of investigations for the state Department of Consumer Affairs has resigned, part of the continued fallout from the exposure of serious problems at the state nursing board.

The decision by Lynda Swenson, director of the Division of Investigation, to quit Wednesday was related to disclosures by The Times and the nonprofit news organization ProPublica about the Board of Registered Nursing, said Erin Shaw, a spokeswoman for the California State and Consumer Service Agency, which includes the Department of Consumer Affairs.

The report, published Sunday, said that the board, which licenses and takes enforcement action against nurses, takes an average of three years and five months to investigate and close complaints. Meanwhile, nurses with criminal records and documented histories of incompetence and drug abuse continue to practice.

After the article was published, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger abruptly replaced four members of the nursing board and filled two vacancies. Two holdover members remain and one position remains vacant on the nine-seat board. Longtime executive officer Ruth Ann Terry resigned Tuesday. The new board members, who were sworn in Wednesday, have promised to make changes.

-- Michael Rothfeld

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