Board MeetingEast Carolina University, Greenville, NC
November 15, 2016
Meeting Minutes and Notes
North Carolina Board for Licensing of Geologists
November 15, 2016
301 Graham Building, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
The meeting was called to order at 9:05 am by Board Chair Rick Kolb. Mr. Kolb read the conflict of interest statement. Other Board members present included Rick Garrett, Bill Miller, Steve Miller, John Stevens and Kenneth Taylor. Executive Director Barbara Geiger and Board Counsel Mary Lucasse were also present. 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. Dr. Richard Spruill and ECU students attended the meeting as they could work around their class schedules.
Welcome and Introductions
Board members introduced themselves to the students who in turn identified themselves to the Board.
Approval of Minutes
Motion to approve the minutes of the August 9, 2016 meeting as amended, and the August 26, 2016 conference call meeting, was made by Bill Miller, seconded by Kenneth Taylor and carried.
John Stevens reviewed the first quarter profit and loss statement and the first quarter balance sheet. Dr. Taylor made the motion to accept the financial report as presented. The motion was seconded by Mr. Garrett and carried. Mr. Stevens informed the Board that he and Ms. Geiger had met with financial advisors from Suntrust Bank and Wells Fargo Bank regarding investment products. He informed the Board that the Suntrust Bank CD that matured in October had been moved to a money market account at that bank, pending further investment. There was discussion regarding the current financial market and available options offered by both banks. Dr. Miller made the motion to diversify the funds into long-term and short-term accounts and proposed that the CDs be “laddered”, leaving at least half of the current STIF account balance in that account. The motion included the recommendation to invest $100,000.00 in a four and one half year CD and $100,000.00 in a six-year CD with Suntrust Bank and to invest no more than $134,000.00 from the Suntrust Bank money market, in a Wells Fargo CD for no more than two years, at Mr. Stevens’ discretion. The motion was seconded by Dr. Taylor and carried unanimously.
Ms. Geiger presented a proposed schedule of 2017 quarterly Board meetings as follows: January 24, 2017, April 18, 2017, August 15, 2017 and November 14, 2017. All meetings will be held at the office of Upton Associates with the exception of the November meeting which will be held at UNC-Charlotte. Motion to accept the 2017 schedule of meetings as presented was made by Dr. Taylor and seconded by Dr. Miller and carried.
Ms. Geiger reported the current number of individual licensees as 1382 and the current number of corporate licensees as 241.
Ms. Geiger shared with the Board information on the Federal Association of Regulatory Boards (FARB) Forum to be held January 26-29, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas. She asked if the Board would be interested in splitting the registration and travel expenses for her and an additional Upton Associates staff member, between the three boards managed by Upton Associates, to attend this Forum. Ms. Geiger noted that the topics and education offered at the conference include sessions to inform and educate attendees regarding recent regulatory issues that encourage collaboration among regulatory boards to assist in fulfilling their responsibilities. Ms. Geiger also recommended to the Board that a membership in the organization be purchased, as the member benefits would be valuable to the Board financially, especially should they approve Board staff member attendance. In addition, the membership would provide access to valuable benefits throughout the year. Following discussion, motion was made by Dr. Taylor to fund registration and expenses to attend the FARB Forum for Barbara Geiger, Lisa Deubler and Mary Lucasse. The cost for Barbara Geiger and Lisa Deubler will be split between the three Boards managed by Upton Associates. The motion was seconded by John Stevens and carried unanimously.
Mary Lucasse gave the legislative update, giving an overview of the recent events that have transpired through the Joint Legislative Administrative Procedures Oversight Committee of the NC General Assembly and the December 2014 PED report regarding Occupational Licensing Boards, recognizing the recent effort to re-conceptualize occupational licensing boards in North Carolina, following the outcome of the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission.
As part of the required annual Board training per NCGS §93B-5(g), Ms. Lucasse educated Board members on the rules review process, including the current proposed rules of the Board.
Ms. Lucasse reported that the final decision in the case Payne v. NCBLG, 15CVS2055 case had been made by the NC Superior Court Judge, and was in favor of the Board. The Board noted that accurately documenting work performed was an indication of professionalism and requested that the general leasons learned from this litigation be included in the lunch presentation to ECU students.
Investigations Committee Report
The Board had previously been provided with minutes from the Committee meetings. Ms. Lucasse reported on discussions with other Boards and the Code of Conduct of the Board. The use of private investigators and the possibility of sharing investigators with the NC Board of Examiners of Engineers and Surveyors was discussed. The National Certified Investigator and Inspector Training sponsored by the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) for potential Board investigators was discussed. It was noted that the next National Certified Investigator & Inspector Training is scheduled for March 13-15, 2017 in Raleigh, NC.
The CLEAR training would be an opportunity for Board investigators to benefit from hands-on training and to receive certification in investigation and inspection techniques and procedures. The Committee recommends that the peer reviewers and investigators on the Board’s list receive an information letter and assessing their interest in continuing to serve and to attend training. The Committee also recommends using assignment letters to both peer reviewers and investigators from the Board’s Executive Director for future assignments.
Dr. Miller made the motion that the Executive Director request approval from the NC Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors to use their investigators. The motion was seconded by Rick Garrett. Ms. Geiger was asked to inquire of the Executive Director of NCBELS regarding how payment would be handled and other details. The motion carried unanimously.
Motion was made by Mr. Garrett to authorize the Executive Director with the assistance of Board Counsel, to send a letter to the current list of investigators asking them to indicate if they were will to attend the CLEAR training in Raleigh, NC and to continue to serve the Board with investigations. The motion was seconded by Dr. Taylor and carried.
Motion was made by Dr. Taylor to join CLEAR as a regulatory agency member. The motion was seconded by Mr. Garrett and carried.
Dr. Miller recommended to amend the investigator contract, adding the agreement to complete the CLEAR training, and increasing the hourly fee for investigators to $100. Motion to accept the revised contract as amended was made by Mr. Kolb, seconded by Dr. Miller and carried.
Dr. Taylor made the motion to approve the draft investigative assignment letter with revisions. The motion was seconded by Mr. Stevens and carried.
The rules changes were deferred to the Rules Revisions item under Old Business.
Barbara Geiger submitted a written report on attendance to the Administrator’s Workshop held in Lawrence, Kansas. Ms. Geiger shared what she learned from the workshop regarding continuing education, administration of the exam, and strategic planning. She noted the importance of having a strategic plan in place. Ms. Geiger thanked the Board for allowing her to attend this valuable workshop with her peers.
Rick Kolb reported on the ASBOG® Annual Meeting. He asked Ms. Geiger to give Board members access to the Annual Meeting Book via DropBox. Mr. Kolb noted that there would be an increase in the cost of Part 1 (FG) of the exam. There was discussion regarding State Boards’ outreach to students, the EPA coal ash disposal rule, continuing education and signing and sealing of documents.
Bill Harris submitted a written report regarding the COE workshop, noting that the largest number of SMEs ever recorded were in attendance. Dr. Harris shared with the Board potential changes in the examination and the formation of a Special Committee to review all exam questions for quality, in order that those which are antiquated or of poor quality be removed from the question database.
Mr. Kolb informed the Board that he and Dr. Miller had made presentations to the Triangle and Western RECs. Mr. Kolb noted that the NCBELS has representatives who visit the Regional Offices every other year. Communications, sealing of documents and the online complaint process were discussed. Mr. Kolb asked that the PowerPoint presentations presented to the RECs be posted on the website.
Mary Lucasse reported on the proposed rules revisions which include the adoption of gender neutral language, a requirement for continuing education for licensees, an inactive licensee status and revision of the complaint/investigative process. If the Board approves, Ms. Lucasse will forward the rules for publication to the Rules Review Commission. Dr. Taylor made the motion to approve the rules as recommended by the subcommittee. The motion was seconded by Dr. Miller and carried with one opposed.
Ms. Lucasse presented the final revised subcontracting statement. Dr. Miller made the motion to accept the subcontracting statement with revisions. The motion was seconded by Dr. Taylor and carried.
Mr. Kolb informed the Board that he would like to publish a message from the Chair and/or a Board member on a regular basis to keep the lines of communication and critical thinking open among licensees. He also discussed possible ways to “liven up” the Board website and provide a social media presence for the Board. Ms. Lucasse would be responsible for reviewing and approving these methods of communication.
Per NC GS § 143-318.11(6), motion was made by Dr. Taylor to move into closed session. The motion was seconded by John Stevens and carried.
On motion by Dr. Taylor and second by Dr. Miller, the Board resumed the open session.
There being no further business, on motion and second the meeting was adjourned at approximately 3:03 pm.
John Stevens, Secretary/Treasurer