September 9, 2004
The executive director of the Arizona Medical Board resigned Wednesday before a meeting to discuss his job performance.
Barry Cassidy’s resignation, in a letter to the board’s chairman, is effective no later than Dec. 1.
Cassidy declined to comment and provided no reason for resigning.
He has been executive director since July 8, 2002.
His announced departure follows a closed-door evaluation of Cassidy in May by the board and a long public discussion at an Aug. 11 board meeting.
Board members raised concerns, including an ongoing high turnover rate among staff, the failure to do exit interviews when employees left the board, and soured relations between Cassidy and the governor’s office, the state Legislature and the board’s legal counsel, according to minutes of the Aug. 11 meeting.
On Wednesday, board members said they expected a long and difficult discussion of Cassidy’s job performance and continued employment, but they were cut short by his resignation.
"I know there’s been a lot of politicization that has kind of risen to a boil over the last several months, and that’s unfortunate," said Dr. Patrick Connell, a board member. "It’s a very difficult issue to deal with and Dr. Cassidy has sort of relieved us of that burden."
Several board members said Cassidy had done a good job and they were disappointed that he resigned.
Members also said they were troubled by numerous messages from board staff members suggesting that the board had already made up its mind about Cassidy.
"No decision had been made," said Sharon Megdal, the board’s vice chairwoman.
At its Aug. 11 meeting, the board heard from its lawyers from the state Attorney General’s Office, who complained of being shut out of the board’s business at Cassidy’s direction, according to meeting minutes.
Attorneys complained that they were not being contacted by board staff members for legal guidance as they had been previously, policies were being put into place without their guidance, and board agendas, minutes and newsletters were no longer being sent to them beforehand for their review.
Cassidy told the board that he stayed in frequent contact with the Attorney General’s Office, but did so more with the office’s litigants on specific cases.
Board counsel, he said, were no longer part of the executive team because "a large portion of the day-today issues of the agency do not have anything to do with board counsel," according to meeting minutes.
Several former employees terminated by Cassidy, who attended the meeting, said the resignation would be good for the agency.