April 14, 2020
Board Meeting (4/14/2020)
Meeting Minutes and Notes
North Carolina Board for Licensing of Geologists
Minutes • April 14, 2020
Virtual Meeting held by Zoom
Call to Order/Conflict of Interest Statement/Welcome and Introductions
The meeting was called to order at 9:34 a.m. by Board Chair Steve Stadelman. Other Board members present included Rachel Kirkman, Dennis LaPoint, Robert Mensah-Biney, Richard Spruill and Kenneth Taylor. Executive Director Barbara Geiger and Board Counsel Sarah Zambon were also present. 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 and welcomed newest member of the Board, Richard Spruill.
Approval of Minutes
Motion to approve the minutes of the March 31, 2020 meeting was made by Dennis LaPoint and seconded by Rachel Kirkman. Motion was made by Richard Spruill and seconded by Dennis LaPoint to approve the minutes of the January 15, 2020 meeting. Both motions carried unanimously.
There was discussion during review of the minutes regarding updating the Guidelines for Continuing Education. It was recommended that a flow chart be created as part of the Guidelines for ease of reference.
Dr. Taylor presented the third quarter profit and loss statement and balance sheet. Following an overview, motion was made by Dr. LaPoint and seconded by Dr. Mensah-Biney to accept the report as presented. The motion carried.
Ms. Geiger reported that there are currently 1089 active individual licenses and 231 active corporate licenses. There are 223 licensees on inactive status.
Ms. Geiger reported on the cancellation of the March 20, 2020 ASBOG® exam and the handling of the deferral of funds to the October 2, 2020 administration. There was discussion regarding social distancing and best practices during the October administration.
Ms. Geiger shared information on licensing board management software that she recently discovered through the Council on Licensure Enforcement & Regulation (CLEAR). Certemy, a company started by individuals from both the regulatory and the licensee sides of occupational licensing, provides software that can manage all aspects of licensing, including application, licensing, continuing education and license renewal. The software program is web-based and would be accessible through the NCBLG website. Ms. Geiger noted that the NC Board of Landscape Architects, also managed by Upton Associates (UA) is considering purchasing the software and that other clients of UA would most likely consider purchasing the software in the future. She shared with the Board that UA is receiving preferential volume pricing. The Board discussed security issues, procurement requirements and potential benefits to the licensees and the public. Ms. Geiger was asked to set up a demonstration of the software for May 13, 2020 at 1:00 pm.
Legal Report and NC GS § 93B Training
Sarah Zambon provided an update on Chapter 132 – The Public Records Act and Article 33C – Meetings of Public Bodies, as required by NC GS § 93B-5.
Dr. Taylor inquired of Ms. Zambon regarding the documents that are uploaded to DropBox or other online cloud based document management systems. Ms. Zambon informed the Board that as long as the Executive Director maintains a copy of those documents as part of Board records, that Board members are not required to keep copies of documents that they receive or download as part of their Board service.
Approval of CE Applications
The Continuing Education report will be compiled by staff and forwarded to Board members following the meeting. A vote will be taken on this report at the August meeting of the Board.
Having given a report of the status of the ASBOG® exam during the Administrative Report, Ms. Geiger asked Board members for direction in handling exam fees for those individuals who are unable to take the exam on October 2 but who would like to take it during the March 2021 administration. Following discussion, Dr. LaPoint made the motion that exam candidates be allowed to defer exam fees paid for the March 2020 administration to the March 2021 administration. The motion was seconded by Dr. Spruill and carried unanimously.
Following discussion of the revision of the CE Guidelines, it was decided that Jenna Miller, Board Staff and Ms. Geiger would continue to work on the newsletter and that the CE Guidelines would be discussed again at the August meeting. A special email communication will be sent to licensees regarding matters as relates to continuing education.
Status of Fine Imposed on Licensee Gibson
Ms. Zambon reminded the Board that Mr. Gibson’s license was suspended for one year and that a $2000 fine was imposed, noting that 80% of that fee must be sent to the Office of State Budget and Management and is ultimately used by the NC Public Schools. She provided the following information:
· The licensee cannot reinstate his NC geology license until the fine is paid in full and all other requirements are met.
· Collection of the fine will cost the Board money and that amount of money may be more than the amount of money that will ultimately come to the Board.
· Due to the Corona virus, all filing deadlines have been moved to June 1, 2020 or after and no hearings will be held unless the issue is urgent. As a result of this delay, there will be a backlog of six months to one year for some hearings to take place.
Following discussion, the Board agreed that payment of the fine should be followed up on and Ms. Zambon was asked to draft a letter to Mr. Gibson and sent to Dr. Stadelman for review and signature. The letter should be sent certified mail to document receipt by the licensee.
Ms. Geiger was asked to research whether Mr. Gibson is licensed in other States and if so, are there are or have there been disciplinary matters involving him in those States.
Dr. LaPoint asked Ms. Geiger to forward the document prepared by Ms. Zambon regarding scholarships to Dr. Spruill. He encouraged Board members to continue working on and establishing guidelines to be used in providing academic and/or educational scholarships to young professionals. The matter will be further discussed at the August meeting of the Board.
Academic Approach to Undergraduate Geoscience Education
Dr. Spruill reminded the Board that institutions are moving away from the traditional geology academic program, noting that it was becoming more difficult to evaluate transcripts as required by the Statute and the rules of the Board. He suggested that ASBOG® could do a study to compare the curriculum of institutions with geology programs to the pass/fail rate of the ASBOG® exam, noting that there is a disconnect between what is actually happening in academia and what the NC Board thinks is happening. Dr. Spruill suggested that the Board and ASBOG® be proactive in obtaining data by using the exam candidate answer sheets to collect important information regarding the matter, in order that the exam and the requirements for license are keeping up with the current time.
Upton Associates’ Management Contract & Application Review
Per NCGS § 143-318.11(6), motion was made by Dr. Spruill, seconded by Dr. Mensah-Biney and carried to move into closed session to discuss the Upton Associates contract and to review applications.
Motion was made by Dr. Taylor and seconded by Dr. LaPoint to resume the open session. The motion carried.
Motion was made by Dr. Taylor 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. LaPoint and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 1:58 pm, by acclamation.
Kenneth Taylor, Secretary/Treasurer