November 2, 2021
Board Meeting - 9:30 am
North Carolina Board for Licensing of Geologists
Meeting Minutes of November 2, 2021
Mitchell Hall • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Call to Order/Conflict of Interest Statement/Welcome and Introductions
A quorum having been established, Board Chair Steve Stadelman called the meeting to order at 9:42 a.m. Other Board members present included Rachel Kirkman, Kenneth Taylor, and Dennis LaPoint. Drs. Spruill and Mensah-Biney did not attend. Board staff members Jenna Miller and Jean Kirk 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 any action by the Board with respect to any matter involving the Department.
Welcome and Introductions
Dr. Stadelman welcomed Board members to the meeting.
Approval of Minutes
Dr. LaPoint moved to approve the minutes of the August 11, 2021 and August 18, 2021 meetings as submitted. Dr. Taylor seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
After review of the third quarter balance sheet and profit and loss statement, Dr. LaPoint moved to accept the financial report as submitted. Ms. Kirkman seconded the motion, and all were in favor.
Ms. Miller reported on current individual and corporate license renewals: 1060 individual license renewals received; 57 individual licenses expired/not renewed; 15 requests for inactive status; 222 corporate license renewals received; 15 corporate licenses expired/not renewed. In brief, 93.6% of individual licenses were renewed and 93.7% of corporate licenses were renewed. Dr. Stadelman indicated that he would like to know why people are not renewing. Ms. Miller responded that AIPG completed a study on why people aren’t renewing; trend might be related to Baby Boomers retiring. Discussion ensued regarding survey to those failing to renew.
Requests for Inactive Status
Ms. Miller presented the list of individuals requesting Inactive Status. Ms. Kirkman moved to approve Inactive Status for 15 individuals. Dr. LaPoint seconded, and all were in favor.
Certemy /Website Update
Ms. Miller reported that creation of the workflows for the online application portal is going well. If online-reporting for continuing education is built within Certemy, there would be a marketplace with approved courses and providers. A searchable list of approved providers will be available on the website. Ms. Kirkman would like to have Certemy launched well before the renewal cycle. Dr. Stadelman asked for a timeline by the January Board meeting and asked for the Continuing Education Committee to have a preview before the end of the December 2021.
Request for Waiver of CE
Ms. Kirk reviewed a request for a waiver of the continuing education requirement for the 2021-2022 license year. All agreed that most licensees were in the same difficult position as the requesting individual and were able to complete their continuing education on time. The request was denied; individual’s license is expired until he meets continuing education requirements and must present application for reinstatement.
Ms. Kirk presented the Executive Director’s request to participate in the virtual CLEAR Winter Symposium. Dr. Taylor moved to approve attendance and registration fees for CLEAR Winter Symposium in January 2022. Dr. LaPoint seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Legal Report and Training
Attorney Zambon detailed the Code of Professional Conduct section of 21 NCAC 21 and answered related questions. She reviewed each section and explained the meaning and the intention.
Dr. Stadelman brought up a hypothetical situation related to a spill of petroleum that most likely would go into the water supply, noting that regulatory reporting is mandatory, but that the employer doesn’t want it reported. What if the situation created an environmental impact only because spill goes into soil? Dr. Stadelman indicated that in his opinion, environmental protection falls under “welfare”. Ms. Zambon advised that the hypothetical situation presented should cause the individual, if licensed by the NCBLG, to consult the Code of Professional Conduct and the relevant statutes regarding petroleum spills. All agreed that public servants are bound to uphold the law.
Continuing Education Report
Approval of Committee Report
Eleven applications for continuing education approval were reviewed. The CE Committee recommended denial of one activity. The Committee recommended pre-approval for university departments offering geologically relevant activities. Dr. LaPoint moved to accept the Committee’s recommendations and Dr. Stadelman seconded. Motion carried.
Continuing Education Guidelines Subcommittee
Ms. Kirkman provided an overview of the origin of the Board requirement for continuing education as a condition of renewal. She noted that the subcommittee had worked on revision of the CE guidelines to make them easier to read, putting the onus on licensees to provide required information, and established precedent allowing them to do so. The preapproval form was devised, along with a flowchart. Ms. Kirkman presented the flowchart for Board review.
Self-Assessment Form: Dr. Spruill revised Minnesota’s form and adapted it for North Carolina’s use. Those attending provided suggestions for additions and changes to the form. Dr. Taylor suggested that the form indicate if payment was required to participate in the continuing education activity. Ms. Miller asked if the form would be optional. Ms. Kirkman noted that some of preapproved providers may provide content that is non-geological, therefore the Self-Assessment Form would be helpful to licensees in determining whether an activity is relevant and approvable.
The Board adjourned for lunch at 11:45 a.m. A presentation on licensure was given to approximately 30 students and faculty from the UNC Chapel Hill Department of Earth, Marine and Environmental Sciences. The Board meeting reconvened at 1:22 p.m.
Ms. Kirkman asked that Ms. Miller double-check the rules references in the guidelines. The wording should be updated to be similar to the wording in the rules. Additional guidelines suggested: “Even if provider is approved, activity must be geological in nature”; “Time spent on breaks cannot be counted unless poster session or other presentation is part of said break”. Board staff was asked to send updated CE Guidelines to each Board member. Each should respond directly to Ms. Geiger. The Board would like to have comments compiled and shared with the Board before Christmas break.
October Exam Update: Scores have not yet been received for the most recent exam, typically received closer to end of November.
Annual Meeting and & COE Workshop
Ms. Kirkman attended and reported strong support for ASBOG® having a masked and vaccinated event. This was her first time attending the Administrators’ Workshop. She reported that there was excellent engagement from those attending online. Ms. Kirkman and Ms. Geiger gave a presentation about “Continuing Education Lessons Learned”. Two or three states are initiating continuing education programs. Feedback from attendees was overwhelming that preapproval of activities was not standard unless specifically requested.
Ms. Kirkman reported that there were about 40 people in attendance at the Annual Meeting with a mix of virtual and in-person. There were many questions regarding computer-based testing. She also attended the COE Workshop.
Dr. LaPoint reported that he attended the ASBOG® Annual Meeting as the voting delegate and that he also attended the COE Workshop, noting that the group had a great fieldtrip, with about 40 attending the Crater of the Diamonds and Hot Springs, AR.
Dr. LaPoint reported that the Task Analysis Survey Meeting is scheduled for January 15, 2022 in Atlanta. Dr. Taylor moved to fund attendance to the TAS meeting, Dr. Stadelman seconded. The motion was amended to include Dr. LaPoint and Ms. Kirkman. Motion carried unanimously.
Dr. LaPoint relayed to the Board that ASBOG® is improving the quality of the test, noting that there are still some questions that are out of date. Though they review the questions before and after each exam, the Subject Matter Experts still find questions to throw out.
Ms. Zambon will attempt to locate a Word version of the rules in previous Counsel’s files. Rules require that those taking and failing the examination three times must seek additional educational experiences. With the advent of computer-based testing, the Board may lose control of this particular process. Ms. Kirkman indicated that ASBOG® should be apprised of this rule.
Meetings & Virtual Presentations
Ms. Kirkman indicated that she was hoping to put together a Board webinar regarding law and rules, continuing education requirements and guidelines. Perhaps it could be offered for continuing education credit.
Ms. Kirk noted that the location of the January Board meeting would be determined. Dr. Stadelman asked that Ms. Geiger inquire if the Plumbing Board office available.
Ms. Kirkman moved, per NCGS § 143-318.11(6), to go into closed session to review applications, discuss confidential matters related to licensees, and consult with the Board’s attorney on attorney-client privilege. Dr. LaPoint seconded, and all were in favor.
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 Ms. Kirkman and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, on motion by and second, the meeting was adjourned at 3:13 p.m.
Kenneth Taylor, Secretary/Treasurer