Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is under fire for allegedly using his political powers to illegally appoint a new member to the Auto Damage Appraisal Licensing Board or ADALB. According to some critics, Gov. Patrick violated the provisions set by law that dictates who should sit in the board.
The ADALB is a special body that assesses and issues licenses to auto damage appraisals. Recently, the Gov. Patrick removed Joe Valariotti from the ADALB and replaced him with a woman from a prominent car insurance company. According to the law, the board should be composed of two representatives from the car insurance industry, two from the auto repair industry, and a chairman who is independent from both sides. Some detractors point out that because the governor appointed another representative from the auto insurance industry, any future actions of the council will be illegal.
There are also reports that Gov. Patrick allowed the entry of another representative from the insurance industry because of their financial contributions during the election campaign. Critics allege that four different car insurance providers gave the governor $50,000 each for his various committees and inauguration. Detractors of the governor also add that this has compromised the state’s ability to provide protection for consumers and car owners.
Auto repair shop owners expressed concern over the current make-up of the council, saying that with three members affiliated with the insurance companies, the sole member from the car repair industry is outnumbered. This would mean that any actions the ADALB does in the future can have the car insurance industry’s best interest in mind.
With three affiliates from the insurance industry, car owners can face more problems ahead, critics say. The licensing board can then issue licenses only to auto damage appraisers who side with the insurance providers. This can mean drastic changes in the quality of service provided to consumers, as well as cheaper parts and labor. In the long run, Massachusetts’ motorists would pay dearly for Gov. Patrick’s actions.
For his side, the governor said that he had no knowledge of the appointment. Gov. Patrick said on his website that he “knows nothing” of what had transpired in the ADALB. Experts say that if the problem is left unresolved, car owners can suffer the consequences in the immediate future. Insurance companies are notorious for finding ingenious ways to cut back on expenses, one of which is to slash expenditures for car repairs.