November 18, 2014

Board Meeting (11/18/2014)

Meeting Minutes and Notes

NC Board for Licensing of Geologists

November 18, 2014

NC State University – Jordan Hall

The meeting was called to order at 9:16 am by Board Chair Lindsey Walata.  Others present included Rick Kolb, Bill Miller, Steve Miller, John Stevens, Kenneth Taylor, Barbara Geiger, Board Administrator, Phillip Reynolds and Mary Lucasse, Board Counsel.  Ms. Walata read the conflict of interest statement.  Dr. Taylor noted that, as the State Geologist and employee of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, he will refrain from participating in the deliberation or taking any action by the Board with respect to any application for licensing submitted by an employee of the Department.  There were no other conflicts noted.

Welcome and Introductions

Board members introduced themselves to incoming Board Counsel, Mary Lucasse.  Mary and Phillip will work together to transition Mary into this new role.  The Board acknowledged Phillip’s constant support and efforts, and thanked him for all his efforts on the Board’s behalf. 

Approval of Minutes

Following review of the minutes of the August 12, 2014 meeting of the Board, motion was made by Bill Miller and seconded by Kenneth Taylor to accept the minutes with edits.  The motion carried. Rick Kolb made the motion to approve the conference call minutes of October 9, 2014.  The motion was seconded by Kenneth Taylor and carried. 

Financial Report

The first quarter financial report was reviewed, discussed and accepted by the Board.  The 2013-14 independent audit of the financial status of the Board was reviewed.  There was discussion regarding the footnotes included in the audit as provided by Shelton Hawley, CPA. Board members asked Barbara Geiger to communicate with Mr. Hawley to inquire if there would be an advantage to move from the cash based method of accounting to an accrual based accounting method.  The Board would like to inquire of Mr. Hawley regarding the issue of deposits received at the end of the fiscal year that are deposited in the next fiscal year requiring adjustment using general journal entries.  In addition, the Board would like to inquire if there is a conflict with Mr. Hawley performing the audit and preparing the footnotes or if the Board should have an independent audit performed regarding the footnotes that are prepared by Mr. Hawley.

Certificates of Deposit were discussed.  Mr. Stevens noted that both CDs were left with Suntrust Bank as the rate was comparable or better than other options. His research of alternate financial institutions had not revealed better options.  Barbara Geiger was again asked to contact the NC Board of Engineers to inquire how that Board invests their funds.

Barbara Geiger shared an email from Shelton Hawley regarding the use of QuickBooks Online.  Following discussion, motion was made by Steve Miller and seconded by Kenneth Taylor to authorize Barbara Geiger to pursue the use of QuickBooks online.  The motion carried.

Administrative Report

License Update

Barbara Geiger reported that there are currently 1286 individual licensees with 41 reinstatement applications on the agenda for approval and that there are currently 235 corporate applications with 7 corporate reinstatement applications on the agenda for approval. 

Corporate Application Review/Approval Process     

Ms. Geiger discussed the review and approval of corporate applications.  She proposed the possibility of certain corporate applications being approved administratively, with final Board approval on a quarterly basis, in order to facilitate the practice of geology in North Carolina by firms desiring to offer geology services.  Corporate applications are thoroughly reviewed by Ms. Geiger ensuring that each application meets the requirements of NC GS §55B, prior to presentation to the Board for final approval.  Following discussion, Ms. Geiger was asked to include on the January Board meeting agenda the proposed process for administrative corporate application approval, including delegation of duty and any limitations that would streamline the corporate application approval process, so that the Board may make a determination regarding this issue.                                                                       

Board Member Appointment

Ms. Geiger reported that she had contacted the Governor’s office regarding reappointment/replacement of the expired term of Board member Rick Kolb and that she had been informed on October 27 that Mr. Kolb’s position had not yet been addressed by the Office of Boards and Commissions and that she would be notified when action was taken.

New York Geology Licensing Law

Ms. Geiger reported to the Board that the Governor of the State of New York had received the bill providing for the licensing of the profession of geology and that the bill was waiting for signature.                                                                                                                                       

Legal Update

Board Counsel Phillip Reynolds reported that reassignment had taken place in the Office of the NC Attorney General and that Mary Lucasse would replace him as Counsel to the NC Board for Licensing of Geologists.

Mr. Reynolds reported that there was a case outstanding that had been referred to the NC Office of Administrative Hearings that was still pending due to continuances by the petitioner.  Mr. Reynolds noted that the AG attorney assigned to the Board in that case was Nancy Dunn.

Board Training

Board Counsel, Phillip Reynolds, provided training to the Board regarding the Administrative Procedures Act (Chapter 150B) in compliance with N.C.G.S. § 93B-5. 

Following Board training, Mr. Reynolds gave an overview of the requirement for Board member training within six months of appointment per N.C.G.S. §93B-5.  In addition, the required ethics training was discussed.  Barbara Geiger noted that she would maintain a record of the required training of Board members and asked Board members to notify her once the bi-ennial ethics training had been completed in order that she keep a record and be effective in keeping Board members on track and up to date with the requirements.

Board Counsel Mary Lucasse suggested that the SEI approval letters for each Board member, or a link to each letter on the North Carolina State Ethics Commission website, be posted on the Board website for reference by Board members and the public.


Lindsey Walata reported for Bill Harris and Dennis LaPoint who attended the ASBOG Annual Meeting and Workshops, November 10-15, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Ms. Walata noted that Dr. Harris attended the TAS Analysis Workshop as Subject Matter Expert (SME) and that he also attended the Council of Examiners Workshop (COE) and that Mr. LaPoint attended the COE as SME and also served as the voting delegate for the annual meeting. 

Per Mr. LaPoint, there is an interest at ASBOG to involve a greater number and wider cross-section of geologists in ASBOG activities, such as serving as SMEs for the COE workshops and supporting the Task Analysis process.  Ms. Walata inquired of the Board their choice for Board representation at future ASBOG meetings.  Dr. Miller noted that new representatives should be encouraged to attend the ASBOG meetings in these capacities to ensure continued support by the NC Board.  It was the consensus of the Board to encourage licensees to become involved in ASBOG. 

Ms. Walata stated that she would like to form a subcommittee to determine the requirements and necessary credentials of individuals to potentially serve ASBOG on behalf of the NC Board and to offer this opportunity to all NC licensees.  The NC Board would cover all travel expenses to the ASBOG meetings incurred in accordance with State of North Carolina requirements.  These potential attendees to the ASBOG meetings would need to be educated and informed and in addition, there would be a necessary signed statement involved, which would include requirements for exam security.  There was discussion regarding the liability of the NCBLG.  Mary Lucasse noted that these subcommittee meetings would be subject to the Open Meetings Law.

Ms. Walata appointed a subcommittee of Rick Kolb, Kenneth Taylor, Bill Harris and Dennis LaPoint along with Mary Lucasse to develop guidelines for those individuals who might represent the Board at ASBOG meetings.  Barbara Geiger was asked to contact Dr. Harris and Mr. LaPoint to inquire of their availability/willingness to serve of this subcommittee.

Ms. Walata also discussed information provided by Mr. LaPoint  in regard to a change for future ASBOG meetings.  Currently, the COE meets twice each year for a two-day period and that will continue.  However, the Annual Meeting, which has been held in conjunction with one of the COE Workshops and requires attendance by a Board representative typically for nearly a week, will in the future be conducted as a teleconference call.  This is intended to facilitate participation from Boards, and Board Members, who may be unable to participate in person due to travel restrictions or other concerns.   This also would represent a decrease in expenditures for ASBOG. 

Old Business

Periodic Review of Existing Rules HB74

Ms. Geiger reported that the meeting of the Rules Review Commission was scheduled for Thursday, November 20, 2014 and that she and Lindsey Walata would attend.  The NC Board for Licensing of Geologists existing rules are on the agenda for this meeting.  John Stevens noted that he would also attend the meeting.  Ms. Geiger was asked to email the Board following the meeting with an update on the outcome.

Program Evaluation Division (PED)

Ms. Walata updated the Board on the request by the PED for additional information from the Board regarding disciplinary cases and action taken.

Communications and Email Blasts

There was nothing to report regarding this matter.

N.C. Mining & Energy Commission Update

Dr. Taylor reported to the Board that the rules of the Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) were scheduled to go before the Rules Review Commission at their December meeting.  He also reported that the MEC would be split into two separate agencies – the Oil and Gas Commission consisting of 9 members and the Mining Commission consisting of 8 members.  Dr. Taylor will serve as a non-voting ex-officio member on the Mining Commission.

Insurance of Peer Review Committee

Dr. Miller noted that there had been discussion regarding the insurance coverage of the peer review committee members.  It was noted that these individuals were not directly insured by the Board, but would have legal counsel provided to them as agents of the Board in accordance with the State Employee Defense Act.

New Business

2015 Meeting Schedule

The 2015 tentative meeting schedule of the Board was presented and amended.  The 2015 meetings of the Board are scheduled as follows:  January 8, 2015, April 14, 2015, August 11, 2015 and November 17, 2015.  All meetings will be held at the office of Upton Associates with the exception of the November meeting.  Rick Kolb will contact Guilford College to inquire if they can host the November meeting where the Board can conduct a licensing information session for students.

2015 Southeastern GSA Meeting

It was noted that the 2015 Southeastern Geological Society of America meeting would be held March 19-20, 2015 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Members of the Board expressed an interest in attending as NCBLG representatives.  Barbara Geiger was asked to contact Sam Christiano regarding sharing a booth with ASBOG at the conference trade show.  Ms. Geiger was asked to put this topic on the January meeting of the Board.

Credit for Military Training

Barbara Geiger gave an overview of Senate Bill 761 regarding Credit for Military Training.  Motion was made by Kenneth Taylor and seconded by Rick Kolb to give Ms. Geiger authority to move forward with the report as required by Senate Bill 761 regarding the requirements for licensing by the NC Board for Licensing of Geologists.  It was noted that each military application would be reviewed on a case by case basis and that the Board would work with the applicant on the required experience as related to relative experience received while in the military.  The motion carried.

Motion was made by Dr. Taylor and seconded by Rick Kolb to move into closed session per § 143-318.11(a).  The motion carried.

Following a motion by Dr. Taylor and second by Dr. Miller, the Board resumed the open session.

Motion to approve the disciplinary action proposed in the closed session by the Board chair was made by Kenneth Taylor and seconded by Rick Kolb.  The matter is now a public record and a copy of the Letter of Reprimand will be placed in the file of Ed Aguirre.

Motion to accept the applications and action taken by the Board in closed session was made by Dr. Taylor, seconded by Dr. Miller and carried unanimously.

It was noted that the Spring COE meeting of ASBOG was scheduled for April 10-11, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  Ms. Geiger was asked to put this topic on the agenda of the January meeting of the Board.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 2:46 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

John Stevens