Accounting, open meetings compliance among significant issues raised in the report.

The Legislative PEER Committee released its latest report titled A Review of the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology.

The Committee found that the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology (MSBC), in its current form, does not ensure Board representation of consumers or all Board-licensed persons.

Board member terms are not staggered and qualifications for service are higher than those of similar boards. The report notes that MSBC’s meetings are disorganized and inefficient. On 10 occasions in FY 2021, a quorum of the Board met but did not provide meeting minutes.

Further, PEER says MSBC Board members are involved in day-to-day responsibilities that should be handled by the staff.

PEER says these factors, and the ones listed below, negatively impact MSBC’s effectiveness and efficiency.

Other concerns and expressed by PEER regarding the Cosmetology Board include:

  • Universal licensing requirements create an imbalance between in- and out-of-state license applicants, resulting in a competitive disadvantage for Mississippi residents.
  • In FY 2021, MSBC completed only 63% of its mandated inspections and is unlikely to finish inspections in FY 2022 due to current staffing levels.
  • MSBC maintains a large cash balance while continuing to collect fees and fines from licensees.
  • Weaknesses in the Board’s segregation of duties compromise MSBC’s accounting records.
  • MSBC Board member policies for claiming per diem, meals, and travel reimbursements are inconsistent and insufficient for expanding public funds in a cost-effective and prudent manner.
  • Due to a lack of staff, the Board has increasingly relied on contractors to perform several core administrative tasks (e.g., budget development, accounting, IT), which could result in an inefficient use of funds and potentially an over-reliance on contractors to perform critical Board functions.
  • From March to September 2021, the Executive Director requested and received 142 hours of comp time without approval by the appointing authority (i.e., the Board) as required by state law.
  • Over the course of PEER’s review of MSBC, it became evident that the Board is operating with personnel conflicts that may jeopardize the future ability of the Board to fulfill its statutory obligations.

PEER recommends significant changes to MSBC, some of which include:

  • Hiring qualified, full-time staff.
  • Develop policies and procedures to comply with Open Meetings laws.
  • Strengthen internal controls through segregation of duties.

You can read the full report here.