Board MeetingUpton Associates - Raleigh, NC
August 9, 2016
Meeting Minutes and Notes
North Carolina Board for Licensing of Geologists
August 9, 2016
Upton Associates – Raleigh, NC
The meeting was called to order at 9:05 am by Board chairman Rick Kolb. Others present included Bill Miller, John Stevens, Kenneth Taylor, newly appointed Board member Rick Garrett, Board Counsel Mary Lucasse and Board Executive Director Barbara Geiger. Jill Weese, Assistant Attorney General 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 would 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. Garrett. Ms. Lucasse asked that the April 29, 2016 letter from the State Ethics Commission evaluating the Statement of Economic Interested filed by Mr. Garrett be a part of the official meeting minutes.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the April 18th meeting of the Board were reviewed and edits were made. Motion to accept the minutes as revised was made by Kenneth Taylor, seconded by Bill Miller and carried.
Following review of the financial statement, motion was made by Dr. Taylor and seconded by Mr. Garrett to accept the report.
Treasurer John Stevens gave an update on the status of investments of the Board. Mr. Stevens researched several financial institutions regarding products offered and interest rates. Dr. Taylor made the motion to empower John Stevens and Barbara Geiger to further investigate available products, to include interest bearing money market accounts, and to report back to the Board for approval. If necessary, a conference call can be scheduled to take action regarding investments. The motion was seconded by Dr. Miller and carried.
Barbara Geiger reported that there are currently 1381 Active Individual Licensees and 242 Active Corporate Licensees. Ms. Geiger shared the memo from the Office of State Budget and Management regarding the reduction in the state mileage rate. Ms. Geiger informed the Board that the Program Evaluation Division (PED) had requested additional information on behalf of the General Assembly. She also informed the Board of reports that were sent to the NC Department of Revenue and the Office of State Budget and Management.
As part of the required Board Training per N.C.G.S.§ 93B-5(g), Mary Lucasse, counsel for the Board gave a Legislative overview of several bills that could have an impact on the NCBLG. Ms. Lucasse reviewed HB1007 regarding complaints, SB469 regarding modernizing and improvements in reporting requirements for NC Occupational Licensing Boards, HB593 regarding amendment of stormwater management requirements and HB765 regarding regulatory relief. Also included in HB765 is an addition to N.C.G.S. § 93B regarding investigators. This bill, which passed during the 2015-16 legislative session, states that licensees are prohibited from serving as investigators if the licensee is actively practicing in the profession or occupation and is in competition with other members of the profession or occupation over which the board has jurisdiction. Ms Lucasse gave an overview of the current investigation process, which includes the use of NCBLG licensees as investigators and peer reviewers. Ms. Lucasse recommended that the Board review its current practice to ensure that it conforms to the requirements of the general statutes which require that a licensed private investigator perform the investigations unless the investigator is an employee of the Board. She also informed the Board that N.C.G.S. § 130A-334 and 335 was amended to allow NC licensed geologists to provide the evaluation and report for wastewater systems.
Ms. Lucasse noted that she expects the issues raised in these bills may be considered in the 2016-17 Legislative session. She reminded Board members that Board counsel and staff are not allowed to lobby on behalf of the Board.
The ASBOG Annual Meeting, Administrator Workshop and Council of Examiners (COE) meeting are scheduled for November 1-6, 2016 in Lawrence, Kansas. Following discussion, motion was made by Kenneth Taylor to send Barbara Geiger to the Administrator Workshop and to send up to three Board members or Board representatives to the Annual Meeting and COE Workshop. Barbara Geiger was asked to invite Dennis LaPoint and Dr. Bill Harris to attend the COE Workshop on behalf of the Board. The motion was seconded by John Stevens and carried. Rick Kolb will attend the Annual Meeting as the voting delegate. Dr. Miller expressed an interest in attending the COE workshop.
Records Retention Policy Update
Ms. Geiger will contact the NC Department of Cultural Resources for an update on their work to update the Board’s records retention policy.
Board Communications/Continuing Education
Dr. Taylor noted that N.C.G.S. § 89E-5(i) allows the Board to “establish and approve” “reasonable standards for continuing professional education for geologists.” He and Ms. Geiger gave a brief overview of possible continuing education processes. Following discussion, Dr. Taylor requested that the Board approve a survey to be sent to all licensees regarding continuing education. He distributed copies of a draft survey. Board members were asked to review the document and to send any comments to Mary Lucasse. Approval of the survey could be added to the agenda if a conference call is scheduled.
Ms. Lucasse shared the flowchart for rules revision prepared by the Rules Review Commission. The Board considered new rule language that would allow licensees to request Emeritus or Inactive status. One benefit of establishing this category of license is that these licensee could act as investigators for the Board. Ms. Lucasse asked that Board members submit suggestions for new rules and/or revisions to current rules. Rules revision will be an agenda topic at the November meeting of the Board.
Mary Lucasse gave an overview of the current process for complaints and investigations noting that the current members of the Peer Review Committee of the Board are all licensed geologists who practice geology. She distributed copies of the flowchart of the complaint procedure for the NCBLG and documents that she was asked to prepare including a complaint form, instructions on how to file a complaint and FAQs regarding complaints She informed the Board that a complaint had been received. Ms. Lucasse noted that the current peer reviewer contract should be updated. Dr. Miller made the motion to authorize Ms. Lucasse and Ms. Geiger to move forward with the revision of the investigator/peer reviewer documents and that Mr. Gilbert be sent the most recent complaint and asked to serve as the investigator for that complaint. The motion was seconded by Dr. Taylor and carried.
The draft of the Board’s subcontracting statement was discussed and concerns were raised as to whether the language in the statement clearly informed the regulated community of the Board’s understanding of acceptable practices based on its statute and rules. The Board decided to provide additional time for the members to review the statement and to convey any suggested revisions to Ms. Lucasse. These revisions will be considered at a future meeting. The Board’s intent is to post the final approved subcontracting statement on the Board website.
It was noted that 21 NCAC 21 .0301 should be revised to conform with the statute.
Mr. Garrett noted that it is likely that N.C.G.S. § 55B, the Professional Corporation Act, would be reviewed by the legislature during the next session. He also discussed the NC Department of Transportation and the hiring of consultants and/or contractors.
Dr. Taylor noted that the Department of Environmental Quality will hold regional meetings and that the Geology Board had been invited to speak at these meetings.
At 4:05 pm, per N.C.G.S. § 143-318.11(6), motion was made by Dr. Taylor to move into closed session. The motion was seconded by Dr. Miller and carried.
On motion by Dr. Taylor and second by Mr. Garrett, the Board resumed the open session. Motion was made by Dr. Taylor and seconded by Mr. Garrett to approve actions taken on the applications reviewed by the Board. The motion carried.
There being no further business, on motion and second the meeting was adjourned at 5:25 pm.