LOS ANGELES-More than a year has passed since California State Athletic Commission which oversees the busiest pro boxing and mixed martial arts shows in the country has been without an Executive Officer to guide the fight machine.

It’s going to take a little bit longer.

On Monday, the Commission narrowed down the selection to four candidates that all come from the West Coast. One of those four will be recommended to the Department of Consumer Affairs to decide who guides the CSAC.

“It could take up to 30 days to decide,” said Mario Rodriguez, the chairman of the CSAC.

The candidates for Executive Officer are Scott Schwartz, a current Athletic Inspector for CSAC; David Finger a deputy district attorney in New Mexico; Bryan Mckrell, who is vice president of CBG Commercial Real Estate Industry in Sacramento, and George Dodd, who works for the state of Washington in a department that deals with athletics.

All four were present at the scheduled CSAC meeting held at the state building in downtown Los Angeles. Each spoke to the Commission behind closed doors in closed session. By 3 p.m. the interviews were concluded with the group’s recommendation not revealed, though Rodriguez had said earlier it would be.

The appointment of a new Executive Officer has been a mysterious journey as a previous group of candidates was swept away with no formal explanation. It seems the Department of Consumer Affairs sees itself as autonomous and not needing to explain to the media their reasoning.

This is not acceptable.

On several occasions this year journalists including myself have sought explanations on why a previous slate of candidates for Executive Officer was tossed aside, including Pat Russell, who works as a judge and referee for California and Ron Arnold, an attorney based in California to name two of that prior list. On each occasion the Commission declined to answer.

Perhaps it’s time for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to clamp down on Consumer Affairs and make it more accessible to the press. Otherwise, the cloud of secrecy makes the aforementioned state department seem above the law and unconcerned with the general public’s concerns. Yes, there are greater worries in the state, but still, Consumer Affairs and all state agencies should be accountable to the public.

It’s been over a year that CSAC has not had someone permanent guiding it through these especially rough times. The media has been lenient with CSAC, Dept. of Consumer Affairs and with the governor. Action and open books are necessary now. Quit hiding behind bureaucracy.

Tomorrow: Referees and judges.