Board Meeting

Upton Associates - Raleigh, NC
January 26, 2016

Meeting Minutes and Notes

North Carolina Board for Licensing of Geologists


January 26, 2016

Upton Associates – Raleigh, NC

The meeting was called to order at 9:17 am by Board chairman Rick Kolb.  Others present included Bill Miller, John Stevens, Steve Miller, Kenneth Taylor, Lindsey Walata, Board Counsel Mary Lucasse and Board Administrator Barbara Geiger.  Josh Feierstein, candidate for the ASBOG examination also attended the morning session.  Mr. Kolb read the conflict of interest statement.  Dr. Taylor noted that, as the State Geologist and employee of the NC Department of Environmental Quality, 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. 

Welcome and Introductions:  Board members introduced themselves to Mr. Feierstein.

Approval of Minutes:  There was discussion regarding seals.  The Board revised page 3 of 4 of the draft minutes to state as follows:

            “Seal Requirements 89E-13

Following discussion of the statute and the rules, it was determined that the geologists’ seal should be placed on any work prepared by the licensee. This may be an entire submittal including a cover letter, drawings, reports, maps or other attachments. Or, if the portion prepared by the licensee is part of a total package which includes portions not prepared by the licensed geologist, it is acceptable that only the content of the report prepared by the licensed geologist bear the seal and signature of the licensee.”

Motion to accept minutes as revised was made by Kenneth Taylor, second Lindsey Walata and carried.

Financial Report:  The Board Administrator distributed a copy of the Annual Financial Audit to Board members.  The audit will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.  Board members were advised to review the audit and to be prepared with any questions that they may have.

The Board accepted the 2nd quarter financial reports as presented.

Administrative Report:  Barbara Geiger reported that there are currently 1356 Active Individual Licensees and 241 Active Corporate Licensees.  Ms. Geiger reported that there are 26 exam applications on the agenda for approval – 25 for Part One and 6 for Part Two.  She noted that exam order forms had been received by 10 candidates for Part One and 5 candidates for Part Two.  Ms. Geiger noted that she anticipated that at least 35 candidates to register for Part One and 11 candidates to register for Part 2 of the March 18, 2016 administration of the ASBOG examination.

Ms. Geiger reported that she had contacted ClickCulture regarding the project estimate reviewed by the Board at the November meeting.  She noted that the Board had approved the Project Estimate at the November meeting, but that upon further discussion, clarification was made by ClickCulture, that the estimate of the monthly maintenance fee did not include the plan of work included in the estimate.  Following discussion, motion was made by Dr. Taylor that the Board approve up to $13 K to be expended for updates to the Board website as recommended by the administrator.  The motion was seconded by Ms. Walata and carried unanimously.  Ms. Geiger was asked to put online application and acceptance of credit cards for all fees on the agenda for the April meeting.

Legal Report:  Mary Lucasse, counsel for the Board reported that the Petition for Judicial Review was filed in Alamance County Superior Court as Payne v. NCBLG 15 cvs 2055 on November 6, 2015. Petitioner improperly caused a Summons to issue. Board Counsel filed a Motion to Quash Summons which was granted by order filed December 3, 2015. Working with the Board Administrator, counsel filed the Record of Proceeding in Superior Court on December 7, 2015.  The case has been placed on the March 7, 2016 Administrative Calendar. On that date, we expect the court will set a hearing date for argument on the appeal. Counsel has reached out to Mr. Payne’s attorney to see if we could set a briefing schedule and hearing date by agreement. To date, opposing counsel has not indicated any interest in setting a schedule by agreement. Counsel agreed to notify the Board when the hearing date is set. Some Board members indicated an interest in attending the hearing.

Board Training:  Ms. Lucasse provided training for the Board in compliance with N.C.G.S. § 93B-5. The training focused on N.C.G.S. §143, Articles 31 and 31A – the State Tort Claims Act and Defense of State Employees. In summary, the Tort Claims Act has created a limited waiver of immunity for claims against the NCBLG arising as a result of negligence by an agent of the state acting within the scope of his or her authority,  The Board’s liability for negligent acts is limited to one million dollars. Likewise, upon the request of an employee or agent of the Board, the State may provide a defense of any claim brought on account of an act done or omission made in the scope and course of that defendants position as a State employee. The Board will pay any final judgment awarded up to the limit specified under the Tort Claims Act. The term “employee” includes an agent of the Board, which could include a member of the peer review committee. The Board will determine at the time the case is filed whether under the specific circumstances giving rise to the claim, it should accept or refuse the defense of the claim.. 

Legislative Update/Status of Occupational Licensing Boards PED Report

Ms. Lucasse gave a summary of the Program Evaluation Division (“PED”) Report and its history. Specifically, in Session Law 2013-413 the General Assembly required a study of occupational licensing boards. PED completed the study and recommended that an Occupational Licensing Commission be established, that occupational licensing authorities are clearly defined and listed in statute, that a standard complaint process be established for all boards, that periodic performance audits be required, and that the need for continued licensing authority for 12 boards be reviewed as well as consideration of consolidating 10 boards with other licensing entities.  Work consistent with these recommendations is ongoing.

Dr. Miller commented that the Board owes a debt of gratitude for the written response to the legislature regarding the PED report that was written by Lindsey Walata and Board staff member Jenna Miller. Barbara Geiger was asked to forward a copy of the response to Mary Lucasse.

Session Law 2015-286:  Ms. Lucasse noted that Session Law 2015-286 has passed.  Mr. Kolb presented Board members with a copy of an email from Nancy Deal, Branch Head, Division of Public Health, On-site Water Protection, NCDHHS regarding the Session Law.

Mr. Kolb made note that the Board is aware of the Session Law and that licensees should be made aware of the situation.  Ms. Geiger was asked to put a copy of the Session Law on the Board website.

Dr. Miller noted that the Board currently has written and approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Soil Science Board. The MOU did not provide a clear, concise definition of where soil science and/or geology end and begin.  Prior to the MOU, after he rotated off of the Board, Bill Miller met with the Soil Science Board at their request.  They could not demark the lines between the two professions.

Senate Bill 469:  Ms.Lucasse reviewed provisions of Senate Bill 469 – Chapter 93B Occupational Licensing Boards.  There are proposed revisions to Senate Bill 469 which various occupational licensing authorities will attempt to shepherd through the legislature during the upcoming short session.

ASBOG:  The ASBOG Spring Council of Examiners (COE) meeting scheduled for April 7-9, 2016 in Baton Rouge LA was discussed.  John Stevens expressed his desire to attend.  Barbara Geiger was asked to invite Dennis LaPoint and Dr. Bill Harris to attend on behalf of the Board.

Mr. Kolb and Ms. Geiger noted that working with ASBOG and the new administration was going well.  They both noted that the administration of ASBOG is appreciative of the NC Board’s involvement.

Old Business

Academic Requirements:  Barbara Geiger was asked to send Board members the most recent document composed by Dr. Miller to Board members by email.  Board members thanked Dr. Miller for the work that he has put into the document.

Presentation at NC State:  There was discussion regarding the next licensure presentation to geology students at NC State. John Stevens, Rick Kolb and Kenneth Taylor will attend and make a presentation to geology students on March 3, 2016.

Dr. Miller volunteered to assist if needed in the Western part of State.  Rick Kolb will contact UNC-Charlotte, Western Carolina and UNC-Asheville to inquire if there is an interest in Board members making a presentation to those students.

Continuing Education:  As noted in the minutes of the November meeting, Dr. Taylor presented the Board with his report regarding continuing education requirements of surrounding states.  Dr. Taylor noted that the trend shows that CE is a requirement that licensed professionals should be required to obtain.  He noted that individual states determine the requirements and that those states who have recently obtained licensure are more likely to require CE.

Ms. Walata thanked Dr. Taylor for the amount of effort that he put into the report.  It was suggested that the topic be discussed at the ASBOG annual meeting.  The Board discussed the option of a required ethics activity.  Mr. Kolb encouraged Board members to contemplate how the NC Board should proceed and noted that the topic would be placed on the agenda for the April meeting.

Complaint Form:  Mary Lucasse reported that she continued to work on the complaint form to be posted on the Board website.

Retention Schedule:  Ms. Lucasse shared with the Board the history behind retention schedules, noting that the NC Department of Cultural Resources is charged with keeping records of State agencies and providing approval of records retention.  Ms. Lucasse noted that 1995 was the last time that the records retention schedule of the Board was revised.  She advised that proposed changes to the Board’s record retention schedule would be presented to the Board reflecting a change in how electronic files (back-up files) are maintained. Following the Board’s approval, the schedule will be forwarded to the NC Department of Cultural and Natural Resources for its approval.  The matter will be placed on the April agenda for discussion.

GSA Regional Meeting:  The Southeastern GSA meeting to be held in Columbia SC, March 31-April 1, 2016 was discussed.  Dr. Bill Miller, Dr. Kenneth Taylor, Steve Miller and Rick Kolb voiced a desire to attend on behalf of the Board.  Motion to send and pay expenses for up to (4) people from the Board to attend the GSA meeting in Columbia and to share a booth with ASBOG was made by Lindsey Walata and seconded by Bill Miller.  The motion carried.

Vehicle Insurance when on Board Business:  Board members were advised to purchase the insurance provided by rental car agencies when renting a vehicle while on Board business.  The coverage through the rental agency will ensure that the personal policy of the Board member will not be affected should an incident occur.

Why Licensure page of ASBOG® Website:  The “Why Licensure” page on the ASBOG website was discussed.  Barbara Geiger was asked to contact Deana Snyed regarding the page. The statement regarding protection of the public and the environment is misleading and the Board feels that the message could be relayed using alternate wording.

Per NC GS § 143-318.11(6), motion was made by Dr. Taylor to move into closed session.  The motion was seconded by Lindsey Walata and carried.

On motion and second the Board resumed the open session.

There being no further business, on motion and second the meeting was adjourned at approximately 2:45 pm.

Respectfully submitted:

John Stevens, Secretary/Treasurer

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