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My morning mail arrived with a packet sent by an anonymous contributor…copies of emails and correspondence concerning the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC). I must say it caused me to choke on my breakfast.

The CAMTC, according to their website, is currently conducting a search for a CEO. That’s not shocking news. What is shocking news is the insistence of former Board chair Ahmos Netanel, who is said to be gunning for the position, that the job is worth $348,000 a year, and that it should come with an executive assistant to the tune of another $144,000. Is there another Gold Rush in California that the rest of us haven’t heard about?

Let’s put that in perspective: The governor of California gets paid $206,500 a year. The President of the United States makes $400,000 a year. An e-mail from Netanel states “…for the kind of skill set and record we are looking for, anything less than $29,000 per month would represent a major cut in pay for the kind of CEO we need."

I personally think that’s over the top. I know hundreds of hard-working massage therapists who don’t make $29,000 a year. Can you say “non-profit?” It really looks like somebody is going to profit, and in a major way.

I believe there are former CEOs all over the country with great skill sets, knowledge, and expertise who are out of work, who’d take the job for half of that and be glad to have it. Is the head of a state massage association really worth more than the governor? I hope the Board members at the CAMTC will wake up and smell the coffee. It smells a little burnt from where I’m sitting.

Peace & Prosperity,

Laura Allen

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Comment by Carol Johnson on July 7, 2010 at 8:52pm
Rumor has it that Netanel is not the only board member to accept a paid position. It seems the new division is made up of ex-board and family members. The fun never ends.
Comment by The Rev on February 27, 2010 at 7:13pm
Hey Irene,

It was great seeing you at James Waslaski's presentation the other night.

You write, "I ask you to not put your head in the sand and pretend nothing wrong is going on, but let's put our energy into figuring out the best way to have this work for all of us as CA MTs!"

Lord knows I have tried to figure out the best way, even making some great suggestions along the way. The rub is (or used to be) there is a problem from the get/go when the leading proponent of state involvement, for which you are the PR Chair, would stop you or anyone else from providing massage with less than their 500 hour banner.

I am not one to put my head in the sand. I am also not one to contribute good time into something I think will cause more harm than good in the long term. The CAMTC is a foot in the door for the Amta agenda.

Let's not forget the Amta is a 501(c)6. According to the Internal Revenue Service, a 501(c)(6) organization is a business league devoted to the improvement of business conditions of one or more lines of business. It is not engaged in any regular business typically carried on by for-profits.
Trade associations and professional associations are considered to be business leagues. The mission of a 501(c)(6) organization must focus on the advancement of the conditions of a particular trade or the interests of the community.

The particular trade the Amta is advancing is Massage Therapy. The advancement of that trade has been at the expense of those desiring to render massage/touch without going through the hoops to provide massage therapy. My long standing position has been there is a lot more to touch than sex, violence and massage therapy,.

The Rev
Comment by Irene Diamond, RT on February 27, 2010 at 6:46pm
I just joined this website and don't want to make enemies on my 'first day of school'.

I personally practice in San Francisco, and own a wellness center too that provides business ops for Massage therapists, AND even after 20+ yrs as a therapist I could 'only' get a massage practitioner's cert if I applied thru the CAMTC since I only went to a 100 hr massage school. Even though I have a 4 year BS degree in Rehabilitation Therapy! (I guess college doesn't count?)

The CAMTC is not a perfect solution, but, if it is structured correctly it will absolutely make it easier for therapists to move around the state providing their massage services.

I've personally known both Ahmos and Bev on a professional and personal level and do know they are passionate massage therapist supporters. I will reserve judgment until it all plays out. I ask you to not put your head in the sand and pretend nothing wrong is going on, but let's put our energy into figuring out the best way to have this work for all of us as CA MTs!

Too much is at stake now to be complaining but not taking constructive action.

For those of you who are going to the AMTA-CA convention next week in Palm Springs- see if you can get to the meeting that is being held on Friday, March 5th 2-4pm to keep everyone up-to-date.
(Full Disclosure- I am the California Public Relations chair but this statement here comes from me personally.)
Comment by Carol Johnson on February 27, 2010 at 2:08am
The question is not whether Netanel should be paid half a million dollars for a year and a half; the question is whether CAMTC will survive another year under his leadership. His attitudes and behavior towards women and massage therapists in general are well-known. Regardless of how intelligent and talented some of these these men may be, I for one would have no interest in being certified by an agency led by them. And "gunning for the position"? The job description's "ideal candidate" is unmistakably copied from his resume. Ethical much? Is this how the CMTC wants to be remembered? Yes, the coffee is burning like Starbucks on overdrive.
Comment by Carol Johnson on February 26, 2010 at 7:30pm
This sounds really scary.
Comment by Angela Palmier on February 22, 2010 at 5:12pm
Most laws-including Medical Practice Acts, etc., there is a "sunset date" and I'm assuming that's what is being referred to with regard to the California Bill. In Illinois for example, the Sunset date for the Medical Practice Act which licenses all medical doctors, osteopathic physicians and chiropractors expires December 31, 2010. The practice act is reviewed, modifications made, etc.
Comment by The Rev on February 22, 2010 at 4:23pm
Ditto to much of what you write, Kathy... From AB1822, comes this, "This bill would, until January 1, 2016, require any person who administers massage for compensation to be certified by the nonprofit
Massage Therapy Organization or certified, registered, or licensed by a city, county, or city and county."

After that, licensing would fall back into the hands of the cities alone.

I am not too concerned because that is what we have now and by 2016, I will probably be retired and/or still holding a city license.

By then, the landscape of city governance may be such that most will be in compliance with a 500 hour requirement which is still overkill but will (hopefully) slow the bigger schools seeking 600, 720 and even 1000 hours of training.

(Hey Keith!) What do those numbers mean, again?. 600 hours makes a school eligible for federal grants and 720 makes a school eligible for Pell Grants, or some such thing. I don't care that schools look to plug into those programs, .I am angry many a good 100 hour program which was more than enough for folk to learn to give a good massage. for income, has fallen by the wayside, because of some of those schools not wanting to compete with those offering those programs. .

Anywayyyyy... It's World Thinking Day and I am going off to think.

I have no sympathy for those on the board of the CAMTC. It is their bed, let them sleep in it. My hope is I don't get caught under the covers with them. May the less dogmatic of the board prevail. Lots of things can happen between now and 2016.
Comment by Kathy Weaver on February 21, 2010 at 7:38pm
I am grateful for and learning quite a bit from everyone's comments on this blog.

After reading Laura's initial blog and posting my comments, I emailed each member of the CAMTC's BOD with my opinion. I received two responses by email. The following day, Feb. 11, I went to the meeting to observe the meeting and gain more understanding. I encourage other therapists to attend the meetings. I had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with a few board members and prospective members. Here are a few of my thoughts.

First, the BOD members work very diligently. I thank them for the energy, time and sacrifices they make to do the necessary work.

Second, I would like to see the following items posted in a timely manner on the CAMTC's website with the intention of creating transparency and clarity for the activities and intentions of the CAMTC BOD:

1. the minutes of the meetings,
2. the resumes of the board members (with personal contact information omitted),
3. a chart of the roll call vote, as on the AMBP website (www.abmp.com/news/california-regulatory-update/), and
4. an accounting of the funds.

I could see opportunity for conflicts interest and self-interest to happen intentionally or unintentionally. The universe of CA massage therapists, schools, insurers, professional organizations, suppliers is finite and interconnected. The salary of the CEO and other expenses need to be reasonable. I want to feel confident in the experience and character of the board members and that the goals of the CAMTC are met or are in progress. I would prefer that this be available through the CAMTC website rather than scattered over several different blogs and websites. I did hear that the CAMTC website is scheduled to be changed. Hopefully, it will be new and improved.

A compelling case with evidence can be made to support the issues raised in Laura's initial post; yet I hope that those issues can be resolved with more transparency. At the moment, I want to put my attention on the AB 1822.

I, too, felt angry and heartbroken about the issues raised in this blog because I, too, am passionate about the goodness inherent in massage work. I have put time and energy into promoting it as an occupation worthy of respect. So, with emotions now calm, I feel it is time to focus on what can be done and how can we do it. Any suggestions?

Sincerely,
Kathy
Comment by Lori Bradshaw on February 18, 2010 at 9:42pm
Sorry for the misunderstanding, I meant they were required by many cities to take 720 hours for their city licenses, not that they needed that many hours to provide a quality massage. Not my students anyway. They are awesome after their first 100 hour class, better than many therapists after completing the 720 hour programs at other schools. But now that they only need 500 for their state certification, too many of them are content with that. And some of them, to my chagrine, are applying with only 250 hours. For us, it means a slow down. The serious students continue on with their education, just at a slower pace.
Comment by The Rev on February 18, 2010 at 8:38pm
Laura,

A person doing outcall massages in multiple towns is still required to get multiple licenses if the towns require licensing for outcall. Many municipalities disallow outcall and cottage industry. The CAMTC cert will help a person avoid having to go through licensing hoops when working in the employ of others.

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