January 15, 2020
Board Meeting (1/15/2020)
Meeting Minutes and Notes
North Carolina Board for Licensing of Geologists
Minutes • January 15, 2020
Board Room, State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors
Call to Order/Conflict of Interest Statement/Welcome and Introductions
The meeting was called to order at 9:45 a.m. by Board Chair Steve Stadelman. Other Board members present included Dennis LaPoint, Robert Mensah-Biney and Kenneth Taylor. Rachel Kirkman joined the meeting by telephone. Executive Director Barbara Geiger, staff member Jenna Miller and Board Counsel Sarah Zambon were also present. Applicant for license by comity, Troy Bernier was present. Richard Spruill was absent. Dr. Stadelman read the Conflict of Interest Statement as required by the State Government Ethics Act. Dr. Taylor noted that, as the State Geologist and employee of the NC Department of Environmental Quality, he would refrain from participating in the deliberation or taking any action by the Board with respect to any matter involving an employee of the Department. A quorum was established.
Welcome and Introductions
Dr. Stadelman introduced Troy Bernier, applicant for license by comity. Mr. Bernier addressed the Board, thanking them for the opportunity to introduce himself and to speak.
Approval of Minutes
Motion to approve the minutes of the November 12, 2019 meeting was made by Dr. Taylor, seconded by Dr. LaPoint and carried.
In order to accommodate Ms. Kirkman, who was not feeling well and with approval from Board members, the continuing education report was moved up on the agenda.
Continuing Education Committee Report
Ms. Geiger shared the frustration of some licensees regarding Board decision regarding certain applications for CE and in addition, inquiries by licensees regarding the strict guidelines used by the Board, in review and approval of applications for continuing education requests. There was discussion among the group regarding the type of activities for which the rules of CE would allow. Staff noted that the rules for CE do not specifically state that CE must be technically geological in nature but that this requirement was stated in the Guidelines for CE, the document prepared by the Board, which can be changed as necessary.
Ms. Kirkman stated that application review can be challenging and that the Board has and continues to set precedents which are and will be used in future application review. She suggested that in order to maintain consistency and accurate record keeping, that a spreadsheet be created to track CE and Board decisions regarding all CE applications. Dr. LaPoint noted that part of the motivation for CE for many licensees is career advancement and that most individuals must have justification for spending time and money in order to obtain CE. Dr. Stadelman requested that staff prepare an overview of continuing education application results and trends, indicating the number of applications that have been reviewed since the CE requirement began, along with the percentage of applications that have been approved as requested, approved but modified, deferred and for what reason and denied and for what reason. He specifically requested this information for those activities related to the topics of safety training, geological engineering, sediment and erosion control, stream restoration and soils. The Chair noted that the Board did not necessarily need to be more lenient in their review, but that consistency and the commitment to the profession must be key in the decision making process of CE applications. Ms. Geiger suggested that the article regarding CE to be published in the next newsletter, could include guidance to licensees regarding the condition of applications (i.e not properly addressing the essay questions and leaving remarks such as “see attached”) and the fact that many applications are not properly detailed, causing them to be returned to the applicant prior to sending forward to the Committee for review.
Ms. Miller will share with all members of the Board, the spreadsheets that have been prepared thus far for CE application review. She requested that Board members send suggestions/ideas on how the data could be compiled and categorized.
She also requested that the position of the Board regarding the number of times, and/or the amount of time lapse required, before a licensee can repeat an activity, be defined by the Board.
Ms. Geiger will schedule a CE Committee meeting in late-March to address recommended modifications to the CE guidelines, an agenda item for the April 14, 2020 meeting of the Board.
Ms. Miller reported on the status of the annual audit of continuing education, noting that 100 licensees and all licensed members of the Board had received the audit of CE for the 2018-19 period. One of those licensees requested and qualified for inactive status, resulting in 104 individual audits of CE. Of that number, 77+/- audits are complete, 8 continue to have issues and 5 will be complete following approval of CE today. There are four licensees who have not responded to multiple requests regarding the annual audit of CE.
The Board asked that the four individuals who have not responded to the audit request be sent a final notice requesting compliance with the audit request within 15 days of the date of the letter and warning of license revocation, should they not comply.
Ms. Miller shared an instance regarding pre-approved provider of CE, NC DEQ, not supplying documentation of attendance for some in-house CE activities/webinars. Following discussion by the Board, it was determined that NC DEQ must provide documentation of attendance and that if the licensee cannot prove that he or she was in attendance that the hours can not be used to meet the CE requirement. Dr. Taylor noted that webinars hosted by NC DEQ were done through WebEx and that NC DEQ should be able to provide the necessary information regarding attendance via those records.
The final results of the CE Audit report will be presented to the Board at the April 14, 2020 meeting for review and approval.
Approval of CE Applications
Ms. Geiger reported that the CE Committee had reviewed and recommended action on 30 applications from the morning meeting. Nineteen were approved as requested, six were approved for a different number of hours, four were deferred for additional information and one activity was denied. On motion by Dennis LaPoint and second by Robert Mensah- Biney, the Continuing Education Committee report was approved as presented. The motion carried unanimously.
The Board thanked Ms. Kirkman for her efforts and attendance, under the circumstances and she departed the meeting at 11:10 am.
Dr. Taylor presented the second quarter profit and loss statement and balance sheet. Following an overview, the Board accepted the financial report by acclamation.
Ms. Geiger reported that there are currently 1077 active individual licenses and 229 active corporate licenses.
She reported that there were a total of 61 candidates for examination during the October 4, 2019 administration of the ASBOG® exam. There were 48 candidates who took Part 1 (FG) and 17 candidates who took Part 2 (PG). Twenty-five candidates passed Part 1 of the exam and 10 candidates passed Part 2 of the exam. Ten candidates qualified for license following the October exam.
Legal Report and NC GS § 93B Training
Sarah Zambon provided an update on HB 910/SB 305, the bills regarding the use of criminal history records as relates to licensure, noting that the legislature had adjourned until Spring, when they will resolve pending legislation. She indicated that if and when the legislation passes, that the Board would hold further discussion.
She reported on the disciplinary matter from November, noting that the Final Agency Decision had been sent and that the appeal period had ended, making the recommended disciplinary action final. Board members inquired regarding the effective date of the revocation of license and collection of the fine. Ms. Zambon indicated that the revocation of license was effective immediately and that if the fine is not collected prior to the April meeting, that the Board would discuss further action at that time.
As part of the required GS § 93B training, Ms. Zambon reviewed the Administrative Procedure Act, specifically the rules regarding the hearing process.
Further, Ms. Zambon reported to the Board regarding the process/requirements regarding submission of an RFP for website services.
Dr. LaPoint informed Board members that he recently resigned as chair of the International Committee for ASBOG®. The current ASBOG® executive committee is concentrating on other areas of focus and does not see the value of this committee at this time. He shared information regarding the Committee on Discipline and the need for a National disciplinary database.
It was noted that the ASBOG® COE workshop is scheduled for April 16-17, 2020 in Cheyenne, WY. Dr. LaPoint made the motion that the NC Board send up to three people to the workshop. The motion was seconded by Dr. Taylor and carried unanimously. Ms. Geiger informed the Board that former member Rick Kolb had volunteered to attend ASBOG® activities on behalf of the Board, when and if needed.
Ms. Geiger informed Board members that the newsletter was delayed until mid-February. Dr. Taylor asked that the passing of former State Geologist Jim Simons and former employee of NC DEQ, Jeff Reid be mentioned in the newsletter.
Website – CE Broker
Web developer Chris Basnight, IMP Designs, gave and overview and explained CE Broker, a CE management software company, suggesting that the Board consider using the firm to manage continuing education for licensees. Mr. Basnight noted that CE Broker could potentially result in the savings of tens of thousands of dollars in building a CE management tool for the new website.
Following a question and answer period and further discussion, Dr. LaPoint made the motion to further evaluate CE Broker as a viable option for setting up the continuing education application, approval, reporting and auditing process via the website and to set up a demonstration webinar through CE Broker. Dr. Mensah-Biney seconded and the motion carried with Dr. Taylor recusing himself from the vote.
Dr. LaPoint informed Ms. Geiger that he had received confirmation that the Geology Department at UNC-Chapel Hill will host the November meeting and luncheon presentation for students.
2020 GSA Southeastern/Northeastern Section Meeting, March 20-22, 2020, Reston, VA
Ms. Geiger informed Board members that ASBOG® will sponsor a booth at the conference and trade show in Reston and that the NCBLG was invited to share the booth. Dr. Taylor will attend as State Geologist and volunteered to assist ASBOG® in manning the booth. Motion was made by Dr. LaPoint to send up to three people to the conference to represent the Board. The motion was seconded by Dr. Stadelman and carried unanimously.
Academic Approach to Undergraduate Geoscience Education
This topic was deferred to the April meeting of the Board.
Upton Associates’ Management Contract
Ms. Geiger informed the Board that she and Dr. Taylor were in the preliminary stages of contract negotiation and that Board members would discuss and vote on an updated management contract at the April meeting.
Ms. Geiger asked Board members to be thinking about and to please suggest recommendations for recognition of Dr. Miller, as he already has a “pick plaque” from his previous service on the Board.
Per NCGS § 143-318.11(6), motion was made by Dr. LaPoint to move into closed session to review applications. The motion was seconded by Dr. Mensah-Biney and carried.
Motion was made by Dr. Stadelman and seconded by Dr. Taylor to resume the open session. The motion carried.
Motion was made by Dr. LaPoint to accept those actions taken by the Board in closed session regarding applications for examination, comity, reinstatement and corporate license. The motion was seconded by Dr. Mensah-Biney and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:50 pm, by acclamation.
Kenneth B. Taylor, Secretary-Treasurer