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Board Minutes – September 28, 2016

South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium Board of Directors Meeting
September 28, 2016
Marine Resources Division
S.C. Department of Natural Resources
Fort Johnson, James Island
Charleston, S.C.

Present at the Board Meeting were:

Board Members and Alternates

  • Col. Alvin Taylor, S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Board Chairman
  • Dr. David Cole,  Medical University of South Carolina
  • Dr. Dennis Allen, University of South Carolina
  • Dr. Bob Jones, Clemson University
  • Dr. James Deavor, College of Charleston
  • Dr. Connie L. Book, The Citadel
  • Mr. Robert Boyles, S.C. Department of Natural Resources

Consortium Staff

  • Mr. M. Richard DeVoe, Executive Director, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium
  • Ms. Susannah Sheldon, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium
  • Mr. Susan Lovelace, S.C. Sea Grant Extension Program
  • Ms. Elizabeth Vernon-Bell, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium
  • Mr. Ryan Bradley, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium
  • Ms. Annette E. Dunmeyer, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium
  • Ms. Susan Ferris Hill, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium
  • Mr. Joey Holleman, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

The Chairman, Col. Alvin Taylor called the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium Board of Directors Meeting to order at 10:15 am. He thanked everyone for attending the meeting. He then asked Robert Boyles, Deputy Director of S.C. Department of Natural Resources to give a quick overview of DNR. After giving the overview, Mr. Boyles then invited the Board to come out and visit DNR at any time. Mr. DeVoe made a comment stating that from 1972-1980 that Sea Grant was managed by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. He mentioned that Ed Joseph was one of the leaders during that time. In 1978 the Legislation created Sea Grant. Sea Grant started operated in 1980.  Col. Taylor asked the Board if there had any questions, and then he also invited the Board to come out for a visit.  Col. Taylor then asked everyone to introduce themselves. Col. Taylor then goes on explaining that the information for the Board meeting was received electronically. Col. Taylor then asked if there were any changes to the agenda.  There were no changes to the agenda.  The Board approved the Board Minutes from last year’s Board Meeting in response to the motion made by Dr. Coles and seconded by Dr. Deavor Col. Taylor then asked for the approval of the minutes.  Dr. Bob Jones stated that there were two errors in the conference call minutes. The errors have since been corrected in the conference call minutes.

The corrections made were with word “illegible” which should have been “legible” and Dr. Bob Jones name was corrected from Bill to Bob.  Col. Taylor introduced Rick DeVoe, who then expressed his thanks to everyone for attending the Board Meeting.  Mr. DeVoe explains that the briefing books were sent in an electronic format this year.

Consortium Executive Director – Status Report  

3.1. Consortium Update – Mr. DeVoe gave a slide presentation about the Consortium. He mentioned that Sea Grant was celebrating 50 year anniversary of services. He stated the mission statement of Sea Grant, and explained that the work that Sea Grant does is based on the needs of the stokeholds.  He indicated that Sea Grant serves as a broker and a catalyst. Sea Grant niche is that Sea Grant works in the middle to bring people together for a common need.  Mr. DeVoe praised the staff for their resiliency in shucking through the changes during those difficult changes and for doing more with less.

3.2.1 State Appropriation –Rick DeVoe discussed the FY2016-2017 State Budget Chart. He mentioned that that overall budget for the Consortium was $609,288. And that the total budget/Expenditures are $5,483.881. He stated that Sea Grant has one staff position open, which is for an IT person, and just lost the Human Resources position in FY16-17.

Mr. DeVoe asked if there were any question about the chart. They then thanked Ryan Bradley for having the budget in order.

3.2.2.   Budget Performance and Efficiencies- Explained under this section by Mr. DeVoe he spoke about the Return-On-Investment; Consortium Office Lease Renewal and NOAA National Sea Grant External Review. The question was asked if Sea Grant was getting a return on investment, Mr. DeVoe answered, yes. A 704 percent return to the state. He then explained the Consortium Lease renewal. He stated that Sea Grant has a good relationship with WLI and has been renting from them since 1986.  He indicated that Sea Grant has been paying $10.60 per square foot at the time since our last three-year lease expired on July 1, 2015.  Washington Light Infantry put in a bid proposal that would increase our lease rate significantly. The lease renewal, with a term of five years, took effect May 1, 2016 at an initial price per square foot of $18.00. The Consortium’s budget request of $40,000 in recurring funds to cover the lease increase was approved in the FY16-17 state budget in June. There were no questions thereafter.  Mr. DeVoe then goes to go to explain the National Sea Grant Site Review Team visit on September 1-2, 2015.  The Consortium was highly rated by the Site Review Team, which determined that the Consortium meets the “standards of excellence” expected of all Sea Grant programs. Mr. DeVoe thanked everyone for making the site visit a great success.

3.2.3. Audit Results – Mr. DeVoe explained the State Audit of the Consortium. Rick said that Sea Grant had an audit a little over a year – They were three minor findings that Sea Grant has addressed. Sea Grant now has a mechanism in place to avoid any future findings.  Dr. Bob Jones asked if Sea Grant have security for checks on the computer. Rick stated that Sea Grant does not have an IT person on staff, but that the state IT department has a monitor on our computer. Therefore, Sea Grant has partial money for an IT person and hopes to fill the position in the near future.  DeVoe praises Ryan Bradley and the Consortium finance team for continuing to do a great job.

3.2.4. FY16 and FY17 NOAA National Sea Grant Appropriations Status- Mr. DeVoe explained the FY16 Federal Budget.  He stated that the NOAA National Sea Grant program received a FY appropriation of $73 million national which is a $5.7 million increase over the FY15 appropriation.  FY17 Federal Budget – Mr. DeVoe stated that the President’s FY17 budget request for the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program is $68.9 million of which $7 million is targeted for aquaculture. Mr. DeVoe stated that when Sea Grant stands on Aquaculture, the National Program is getting the same plan.  He state that Sea Grant has been lucky not too have been marked.

3.2.5. Sea Grant Core Program Plan – FY16-17 List of Projects- Mr. DeVoe reviews the list of Sea Grant Projects that have been funded. The projects started in February 2016 and goes through Jan 2018.  He informed the Board that the Consortium was getting ready for RFP and expects between fifty to sixty proposals, which will be followed by a Technical Review Panel. Mr. DeVoe states that there are no proposals from S.C. State University, but mentioned that Dr. Clark, President of SC State does show interest in being a part of Sea Grant.

3.2.6. Extramural Grants and Contracts – 2016 Update: Mr. DeVoe went through the current actions of the RFPs – Mr. DeVoe stated that the chart shows current core program Management and Outreach funding, as well as the Research and education funding.

Rick explained the Program Grants that were received in FY2016-17- Listed were grants that were received. Mr. DeVoe stated that the new grants are in italics. He called attention to the grants that were funded just to name a few, there are:  “A Community-wide Public Health Risk Assessment of Vulnerable Water Infrastructure in Coastal Cities, who the Principal Investigator of the grant by our employee Dr. Elizabeth Fly. The Grant funding was $270,623 with no match required. The partners of this grant along with Sea Grant are University of South Carolina; North Carolina Sea Grant, North Carolina State University, and East Carolina University. The grant was awarded on August 1, 2015. The other granted mentioned by Mr. DeVoe is “Building Community Resilience to Water-Related Hazards in the Charleston, SC Region: A Charleston Resilience Network Initiative”. Mr. DeVoe stated that there were twelve proposals nationwide that were funded and Sea Grant got one of them. Sea Grant is the lead institutions along with College of Charleston, University of South Carolina and The Citadel.  The funding of the grant is $510,319 (plus 50% match. The grant was awarded on May 1, 2016. Mr. DeVoe informed the Board that when it comes to grant, that Sea Grant a memorandum of agreement (MOA), and a memorandum of understanding (MOU).  Mr. DeVoe asked if there were any questions on session, and there were none.

3.2.7. Recent Grants and Proposal Developments –ICSR was awarded a grant for the first time.

3.2.8. Key Performance and Management Measures – He states that the chart is pretty much explanatory. He pointed out that Sea Grant has 4 vacancies and 1 Extension vacancy. Rick stated that the State Accountability report was due on September 15, 2016.  He stated that the same platform for reporting that was use for the state was also used for Federal.  Rick also stated that the Beach Sweep/River Sweep program that Susan Ferris Hill, Communications Director of Sea Grant coordinates this program with DNR don’t use any state or federal funds.

3.2.9. Consortium Staffing Update – Mr. DeVoe gave an update on Sea Grant’s staff listing. He praises his staff for doing more with less. Mr. DeVoe said that Sea Grant had a list of new hires and they were some separations as well.  He stated because of the staff changes each of the staff has multiple roles to play. He indicated that Sea Grant has 14 FTE.  He also stated that in thirteen year Sea Grant was without a full time Marine Education Specialist. Sea Grant now has Elizabeth Vernon-Bell aboard, who is leading a certification program for Sea Grant, and is going a great job! He also mentioned that John Tibbetts, Editor of the Coastal Heritage resigned after 28 years. Since then, Sea Grant Consortium has hired, Joey Holleman as our new science writer.  Mr. Holleman did his first own version of Coastal Heritage on flooding.

 4. Consortium Visioning Exercise

4.1 Visioning Update– Rick thanked the Board for endorsing the Consortium’s Visioning Exercise. The purpose is to determine how SC Grant will be doing business in the next 20 years from now.  Rick mentioned that Sea Grant has five groups with different topics –each group has between  10 to 15 people. He mentioned that over 75 people participated in the vision exercise, and the feed back in general was that the people didn’t thought that their time was wasted.  It was mentioned that we are missing the milieus, African American, Latino. Rick said that he wanted to engage the Board into the visioning exercises, because of their leadership, and that they will have great advices.  Rick also thanks the NOAA office for allowing Sea Grant to engage in the visioning exercise. Dr. Lovelace gave a status report process on the progress that Sea Grant has made with their vision exercise.

4.1.1. Presentation by Dr. Susan Lovelace– A presentation of Sea Grant’s visioning exercise entitled ‘Looking to the Next Twenty-to-thirty Years – Evaluating our Past; Envisioning our Future was given by Dr. Lovelace. Dr. Lovelace also spoke about the survey that was sent out to the stakeholders by her and Chelsea Acres, an intern student working at Sea Grant.  They receive 106 results back from the survey.

5. Consortium Strategic Planning

5.1 Strategic Planning Update Mr. DeVoe mentioned that the Strategic Planning Slides was explained as outlined. He talked about the ten principals of Sea Grant with the main focus was on people. He went on ahead explaining the timetable for FY18-21. After the slide presentation by Mr. DeVoe there were no questions. Mr. DeVoe continues explaining the Strategic Planning for FY18-21.  “The Changing face of South Carolina: Building a Resilient Future”.  With the changing occurring, Mr. DeVoe pondered with a question “Do Sea Grant want to take the agency to a bigger capacity? Dr. Jones, said that Sea Grant have the opportunity, but not the manpower to do it.  Mr. DeVoe stated that the Resilient proposal have been submitted and has been funded.  Dr. Cook asked what the total grants was that Sea Grant submitted. Mr. DeVoe replied that only two grants were turned down. Colonel Taylor focuses on the question on staffing, how will it be used? The benefits?  And the Sea Grant should have more of a plan. DeVoe mentioned that more ways to full capacity with is partnership, but it will require an endorsement from the board. Dr. Dennis Allen suggested that one way to decrease capacity is to wine down the things not needed, but Mr. DeVoe said that the survey didn’t show anything to cut out. Dr. Lovelace stated that the survey can be narrowed a little, but not a lot. Dr. Jones stated that the University is building a response resource capture team. Dr. Cook asked what was happening with the other Sea Grant Program; Mr. DeVoe stated that he didn’t know. Dr. Cook wanted to know if they were in a growth mode. Mr. DeVoe state if they were he didn’t know. Dr. Lovelace said that most of the Sea Grant Programs are embedded within a university and are limited. Mr. DeVoe indicated that the Board approved the Strategic Plan in January during the conference call.   Mr. DeVoe acknowledged and thanked Sea Grant for the reporting stuff.

Because of time restrained the Board made the decision to go into the section of Board Election, before covering the budget.

Election of Board Chair– Colonel Taylor asked if there were an election on the table.  Mr. DeVoe said that current Chairman of the Board, Colonel Alvin Taylor had served 4 years, when he should have only served 2 years. Therefore, Colonel Taylor’s termed would be up in December 2016. Mr. DeVoe mentioned how Colonel Taylor had showed interest and time concerning the Consortium.  He thanked Colonel Taylor for his dedication and guidance as the chair. Dr. James Deavor nominated Dr. Harris Pastides, Dr. Connie Cook 2nd motion the nomination.

6. Consortium FY17-18 State Budget Request

6.1 Budget Request Overview Mr. DeVoe explained the Fiscal year 2017-18 Agency Budget Plan. He stated that Sea Grant is requesting a net increase in recurring General Fund appropriations, but not requesting capital and/or non-recurring funds and are not requesting any proviso changes for FY2017-18.  Mr. DeVoe stated that the Budget request was due in two days. He stated that Sea Grant has been laying low for 4 years when it came to asking for an increase. However, he will be asking for an adjustment increase of $168,000.  An increase in budget authority will also request.  Colonel Taylor stated to Mr. DeVoe that he appreciated the Budget update and motion for approval of the Budget. Dr. Bob Jones 1st motion and Dr. Deavor 2nd motion.  After there were no questions concerning the Budget Request, Colonel Taylor made motion that the Executive Session get started.  Dr. Deavor 1st. and Dr. Dennis 2nd motion

8. Executive Session

8.1. Review of Agency Head Evaluation – There were no actions taken during the Executive Session. Colonel Taylor thanked Rick for his work . He also praised his staff as well. He stated that the presentation was just a small snapshot for what Sea Grant does. He mentioned that he had the opportunity to work with Rick closer stated that the success with the General Assembly doesn’t happen without good work. Dr. Bob Jones states that “We all shared the same way…going a great job”.  The Chairman accepted the Agency planning evaluation and the planning for Mr. DeVoe.  Col. Taylor praise Rick and the staff for doing an excellent job. The Board appreciates Rick’s leadership. The meeting was adjourned at 1:03 pm.

Respectfully submitted by
Annette E. Dunmeyer