Wall Street regulator-cum-gadfly Eliot Spitzer promised Friday morning that the next chapter of Wall Street reform is just getting under way, as the New York State attorney general pushes for a shake-up among mutual fund boards of directors. Speaking at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, Spitzer displayed characteristic bluntness in dissecting the failings of fund boards. Fund boards "screwed up. I can't say that in a much nicer way," Spitzer said. "Or I could, but I won't. They abdicated responsibility." Appropriately, the seminar at which Spitzer spoke, sponsored by risk consultant Kroll, was entitled "Funds Under Fire." Regulators charge that boards have fallen down on the job by rubber-stamping fund companies' own agendas, which have at times conflicted with the needs of retail investors. Most famously, fund boards have come under scrutiny for allowing market-timing and late trading to go unchecked. They have also okayed reportedly generous compensation for fund managers while declining to make public the details of those pay packages. Growing pressure from regulators, however, could push board members to become more active. The latest shot fired across the fund industry's bow came Monday, when securities regulators levied more than a half-billion dollars in fines on Bank of America ( BAC) and FleetBoston ( FBF), charging that the banks allowed practices favoring wealthy clients over retail investors. "The days are over in which cronies of management sit there, voting on mutual fund issues without asking questions ," Spitzer said. The record of mutual fund boards is so underwhelming that even legendary investor Warren Buffett has felt compelled to criticize them, he noted. In his latest letter to investors, Buffett described independent fund directors as "lapdogs," writing: "Sadly, 'boardroom atmosphere' almost invariably sedates their fiduciary genes." Speaking before an audience of lawyers and a scattering of investment bankers, Spitzer said the trouble with mutual fund oversight was part of a broader, "gradual dissipation in standards that somehow overtook us" in the 1990s.