An issue lost in the debate whether to confirm the Gubernatorial appointments of Sheila Solon and four members to the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors is the autonomy granted to state boards by the Missouri Legislature through RSMo. Section 324.001.11. Through subsections (3) and (4) the Legislature limits the Division of Professional Registration’s authorities over the management functions of certain boards and commissions (including the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors), and vests in those boards and commissions the authority to hire and retain non-clerical personnel. For much of 2021, acting director Solon and the State Board argued over inspectors. Open records requests have produced numerous emails documenting the Board’s executive director’s requests for an explanation why the Board could not hire its own inspector. The Division and the Department of Commerce and Insurance simply stalled those requests or lied to the Board’s executive director. When the State Board sought to hire an attorney to defend its authorities under Section 324.001.11, the Division then began looking for replacements for the four Board members serving on expired terms, advising the Governor that changes were needed “especially with inspections and financial examinations”, and that there could be potential cost savings of $200,000.
If the State Board were ineffective or inefficient in conducting funeral home inspections and preneed audits, the Division should first have gone on record with the State Board that changes were needed. If the dispute between the State Board and the Division then continued, the Division should then have gone to the Senate Committee on Professional Registration Oversight. The disputing parties would then have the Senate Committee’s input. Instead, the Division ignored Missouri law and took matters into her hands and misinformed the Governor.