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Concern raised over new GBAHE members

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - There was heated discussion during today's Guam Board of Allied Health Examiners meeting, as participants questioned the legality of the sitting members as well as how they conduct business. Wise Owl Animal Hospital owner Dr. Joel Joseph is no stranger when it comes to the controversy between the Board and his business.

But during today's meeting Dr. Joseph along with other participants questioned the sitting board members, specifically the qualifications of the chair, Dr. Mamie Balajadia. "Has the Guam Board of Allied Health ever required a person for clinical psychology not to be a graduate of a college of psychology or the equivalent?," questioned Joseph. Board legal counsel Assistant Attorney General David Highsmith defends Balajadia, saying, "The fact of the matter is Dr. Joseph is just off the mark on the law, he's attacking the chairperson qualifications and he's just wrong, so I don't think we should waste any time of this we've talked about it six maybe eight meetings. There's really nothing else Dr. Joseph can do, there's nothing anyone else can do, Dr. Balajadia is properly licensed under Guam law and properly appointed to the board."

Highsmith noted that Balajadia, who has a doctorate in education, said she meets the qualifications of a licensed psychologist. But Benjamin Chef, a member of the Guam Society to Prevent Animal Cruelty, raised more concern for all members. "For Public Law 30-195, which says all your terms expire in January of this year," with Highsmith responding, "That's not what it says - that law is inorganic…I wrote the opinion, I work for the AG…and it was approved by the attorney general. You stop interrupting! It was approved by my superiors at the AG's Office."

With tempers high during the meeting, more and more participants began crowding the doorway holding signs and wanting answers as they still disagree with the way the board is operating, specifically when handling investigations into allegations lodged against one of their own. "When there is a complaint brought to the board it is reviewed and brought to the attorney general's opinion they have investigators to investigate complaints and then when that's done it will be brought to the board and its up to the board to determine if it will further be investigated and brought for disciplinary action or not," said Balajadia.

Despite the ongoing push by residents with questions, board members said they could all submit their questions and concerns in writing for review, and that's when Dr. Balajadia made the motion to adjourn.

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