Board MeetingOffice of Upton Associates
January 8, 2015
Meeting Minutes and Notes
North Carolina Board for Licensing of Geologists
Office of Upton Associates, Raleigh, NC
January 8, 2015
The conflict of interest statement was read by Board chair Lindsey Walata. Board member Kenneth Taylor noted that, as the State Geologist and employee of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 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. The meeting was called to order at 9:23 am. Others present included Rick Kolb, Bill Miller, Steve Miller, John Stevens, Board Administrator Barbara Geiger and Phillip Reynolds, Board Counsel.
Welcome and Introductions
Ms. Walata welcomed Board members and noted that Mr. Reynolds would be filling in for Board Counsel Mary Lucasse who could not attend the meeting due to a scheduling conflict. Mr. Reynolds noted that this would be his final meeting with the Board, but that he would continue to support Ms. Lucasse as required.
Approval of Minutes
Following review of the minutes of the November 18, 2014 meeting of the Board, motion was made by Kenneth Taylor and seconded by Steve Miller to accept the minutes with the replacement of the word respondent with the word petitioner in the legal update. The motion carried.
The second quarter financial report was reviewed and discussed. On motion by Mr. Kolb and second by Dr. Taylor the report was accepted by the Board.
Barbara Geiger informed the Board that as of this date there were 1336 active individual licenses and 241 active corporate licenses. Ms. Geiger noted that the next administration of the ASBOG exam is scheduled for March 6, 2015.
Ms. Geiger informed the Board that the application and official transcripts for Anna Stoddard, applicant for Part One of the ASBOG Examination, have been misplaced. Ms. Stoddard has sent the Board a copy of the original application and an unofficial copy of her transcripts. Ms. Geiger requested the Board approve the application without requiring that Ms. Stoddard forward a second copy of her official transcripts. . Board staff will continue to try to locate the missing file. The Board approved the application based on the submission of the replacement documents (including the unofficial transcripts).
Ms. Geiger shared with the Board results of a recent meeting with representatives from ClickCulture regarding issues and updates to the Board website. ClickCulture will provide the Board with cost estimates for additional improvements to the site. Ms. Geiger will report back to the Board at the next regularly scheduled meeting.
Phillip Reynolds noted that the status of the contested case before the Board would be discussed during the working session. Mr. Reynolds also noted that two reports of potential unlicensed practice by Dr. Jeffrey Wilcox and Mr. Frank Anastasi had been reported by Matt Wallace and Susan Kelly from the licensed geological firm AMEC, in Asheville, NC.
Prior to discussion of the case, Dr. Miller noted that he and Dr. Wilcox are colleagues. Mr. Reynolds informed the Board that as there would be no financial impact or pecuniary gain for Dr. Miller as a result of his relationship to Dr. Wilcox, there did not appear to be an actual or potential conflict of interest. Mr. Reynolds advised Dr. Miller that he could participate in discussion of the matter and any action taken without reservation.
Vice Chair Rick Kolb informed the Board that he had previously been employed by MACTEC, a predecessor of AMEC and inquired if he should recuse himself from the matter. Mr. Reynolds noted that as there would be no financial impact or pecuniary gain for Mr. Kolb there did not appear to be an actual or potential conflict of interest. Mr. Reynolds advised Mr. Kolb that he could participate in discussion of the matter and any action taken without reservation.
Mr. Reynolds noted that the issue at hand is to determine if Dr. Wilcox had been engaged in the public practice of geology or if he was offering to perform geological services outside of his role as a professor and of performing research. The Board reviewed three video links provided by the complainant involving Dr. Wilcox. Following discussion, Ms. Walata proposed that the Board send Dr. Wilcox a letter of concern informing him of what he can and can’t do per the statute and the rules of the Board. She suggested that Dr. Wilcox be informed of the process for obtaining a license as a geologist and to encourage him to pursue the license should he wish to continue to advise/consult for the community action group. Mr. Reynolds noted that it appeared that Dr. Wilcox may be providing technical advice and that he may have crossed the line between being a professor and a technical advisor. Mr. Reynolds also noted that it is evident that Dr. Wilcox has good intentions and that he is obviously trying to help the affected citizens.
Dr. Taylor made the motion that Dr. Wilcox be notified of the complaint and sent a letter of concern outlining the exemptions to the statute and informing him of the law and rules of the Board. The motion was seconded by Mr. Kolb and carried. Mr. Reynolds will work with Ms. Lucasse to draft the letter. Mr. Reynolds noted that a copy of the complaint would be included with the letter of concern.
Ms. Geiger will contact Mr. Wallace and Ms. Kelly to inform them of the decision of the Board.
The case of Frank Anastasi was reviewed and discussed. Dr. Miller made the motion that the Board Administrator send a cease and desist letter to Mr. Anastasi by certified mail. The motion was seconded by Mr. Kolb and carried.
Mr. Reynolds noted that the discussion regarding the unlicensed practice complaints had provided the Board the required training on the enabling statute §89E, in particular, unlicensed practice vs. disciplinary cases for licensees.
Barbara Geiger provided an update from ASBOG. Long time executive director Sam Christiano is no longer employed by ASBOG. The interim executive director is Deana Sneyd. There was discussion regarding exam security and other matters. Ms. Walata will draft a letter to be sent to ASBOG informing the association of certain concerns of the NC Board for Licensing of Geologists.
Council of Examiners
The ASBOG Council of Examiners Workshop is scheduled for April 10-11, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. Following discussion, motion was made by Rick Kolb to allow up to three past or present Board members to attend the COE meeting. The motion was seconded by Bill Miller and carried.
SE GSA Conference
The Southeastern Section meeting of the Geological Society of America is scheduled for March 19-20, 2015 in Chattanooga, TN. Following discussion, motion was made by Mr. Kolb to allow up to four past or present Board members to attend the meeting and that the Board designate up to $1000 to be used for participation in the trade show during the conference. Barbara Geiger will contact ASBOG to inquire if the NC Board can share a booth with the association during the conference as in years past. The motion was seconded by John Stevens and carried.
Program Evaluation Division Report Update
Ms. Walata gave the Board an update regarding the NC General Assembly PED report. The report will be formally presented to the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee on January 21, 2015. Ms. Walata asked that Barbara Geiger prepare a certificate to be presented to staff member Jenna Miller for her assistance with compilation of the additional information requested by the PED Committee.
Periodic Review of Existing Rules
Mr. Reynolds shared with the Board that the periodic review of existing rules of the Board had been completed with no issue.
NC Mining and Energy Commission Update
Dr. Taylor updated the Board regarding the NC Mining and Energy Commission.
Ms. Walata asked that election of officers for the Board, typically held in January, be postponed until the April meeting of the Board due to her involvement in several compliance issues before the Board. The Board agreed. Ms. Walata noted that her term on the Board as “company geologist” would expire on June 30, 2015.
Motion was made by Dr. Taylor and seconded by Rick Kolb to move into closed session per § 143-318.11(a). The motion carried.
Following a motion by Mr. Kolb and seconded by Dr. Taylor, the Board resumed the open session.
Motion to accept the applications and action taken by the Board in closed session was made by Dr. Miller, seconded by Mr. Kolb and carried unanimously. Mr. Kolb recused himself from the application made by Christopher Kyler.
Dr. Taylor made the motion to present a “pick plaque” to Phillip Reynolds and Jennie Hauser for their outstanding service as Counsel to the Board and that both Mr. Reynolds and Ms. Hauser be invited to attend the April meeting for recognition. The motion was seconded by Mr. Kolb and carried.
There being no further business, on motion and second, the meeting was adjourned at 3:42 pm.