2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: General Government

Department of Consumer Affairs

Eliminations of Boards and Bureaus

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is responsible for protecting consumers by licensing various occupations and promoting good business practices and standards of professional conduct. The department includes 28 semiautonomous boards, commissions, and committees that regulate various professions. These boards are comprised of appointed consumer and industry representatives, and set policy for their respective industries or professions. In addition, the department regulates additional professions through 12 bureaus and programs, which are statutorily under the control of the director of the department, and subject to the policies set by administration.

Governor Proposes Elimination of Boards and Bureaus. As part of an effort to follow up on the work of the California Performance Review, the Governor proposes to get rid of four boards, four bureaus, and two committees within DCA through program consolidations and eliminations. Figure 8 shows the boards and bureaus that would be affected by the plan, and the expenditures proposed for each in 2009–10. (The numbers do not reflect anticipated costs or savings associated with the proposal.) As the figure shows, the organizations vary in size. In general, the Governor’s proposal merges smaller entities into larger ones. In total, the proposed budget for these boards, bureaus, and committees represents 14 percent of the proposed 2009–10 spending level for the entire department.

Figure 8

Consumer Affairs Boards and Bureaus
Affected by the Governor's Plan

(Dollars in Millions)


Estimated 2008‑09


Proposed Consolidations



California Board of Accountancy



Professional Fiduciaries Bureau






Board of Behavioral Scienceb



Board of Psychology



Psychiatric Techniciansc






Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board



Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau






Board of Registered Nursing



Vocational Nursingc






Board of Geologists and Geophysicistsd



Proposed Eliminations



Court Reporter's Board



Inspection and Maintenance Review Committeee



Landscape Architects Technical Committeef



Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine



Telephone Medical Services Bureau






    Total Affected Boards and Bureaus



    As Percent of DCA Budget




a  Proposed consolidations and eliminations not reflected in January 10 budget.

b  Would create a new Board of Mental Health.

c  From the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians.

d  Would be consolidated into the State Mining and Geology Board with the Department of Conservation.

e  Now part of the Bureau of Automotive Repair.

f   Now part of Architect's Board.

While Details Lacking, Proposal Has Merit and Should Be Adopted. The administration has indicated that the overall goal of its proposal is to eliminate redundancy and reduce costs. We concur that opportunities for efficiencies and savings exist in DCA’s regulatory programs. In the past, we have raised similar issues regarding the effectiveness of, or need for, several of the department’s activities. As such, we think the Governor’s proposal has merit and should be adopted.

In order to ensure that these changes are done in a cost–effective way, the Legislature would still require details from the administration regarding how the consolidation or elimination of the proposed boards and commissions would be implemented. At the time this analysis was prepared, we had not received the specifics on the proposal. For instance, it is not known how many and what types of positions would be eliminated as part of the proposed consolidations. Nonetheless, we think the proposal probably would result in program efficiencies, such as improved policy coordination among occupations in related fields and less duplication of work. The administration estimates that the proposal would save up to $3.5 million in special fund monies. We think the savings would probably be lower in 2009–10, potentially in the range of $1 million, but then increase in 2010–11 as full–year salary savings materialize. Under current law, any special fund balances of entities that were eliminated could be transferred to the General Fund.

The Governor’s proposal relates to a relative few number of boards and commissions within DCA. We recommend that, at the time of budget hearings, the Legislature ask departmental representatives to discuss the efficiency and effectiveness of other boards, bureaus, and committees under the department’s jurisdiction so that the Legislature may determine if additional entities should be reorganized or eliminated.

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