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Board Minutes – December 19, 2018

South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium Board of Directors Meeting
December 19, 2018
President’s Conference Room – Randolph Hall 2nd Floor
The College of Charleston, Charleston, S.C.

Present at the Board Meeting were:

Board Members and Alternates

  • Dr. Harris Pastides, President, University of South Carolina, Board Chairman
  • Dr. Lisa Saladin, Executive VP Academic Affairs & Provost, Medical University of South Carolina
  • James E. Clark, President, South Carolina State University
  • Dr. Keith Belli, Clemson University
  • Dr. David A. DeCenzo, President, Coastal Carolina University
  • Dr. Stephen C. Osborn, Interim President, College of Charleston
  • Dr. Van Delden Sebastian, Dean, School of Science and Mathematics, College of Charleston
  • Dr. John Weinstein, The Citadel
  • Robert Boyles, Deputy Director, S.C. Department of Natural Resources

Consortium Staff

  • M. Richard DeVoe, Executive Director
  • Annette E. Dunmeyer, Executive Assistant/Office Manager
  • Ryan Bradley, Assistant to the Director for Administration
  • Susannah Sheldon, Program Manager/Fellowship Coordinator
  • Shaun Moylan, IT Director
  • Marlena Davis, Human Ressources Manager
  • Dr. Susan Lovelace, Assistant Director for Development and Extension
  • Sarah Watson, Coastal Climate Specialist
  • Dr. Hamed Majidzadeh, Coastal Environment Quality Specialist
  • Susan Ferris Hill, Director of Communications
  • Joey Holleman, Science Writer
  • Elizabeth Vernon-Bell, Marine Education Specialist

1. Opening Remarks by the Chair – The Chairman, Dr. Harris Pastides, called the meeting to order at 10:01 am. He thanked everyone for attending and for accommodating Sea Grant’s schedule. The Board approved the meeting Agenda by acclimation. He then introduced Mr. DeVoe.

2. Review/Approval of Minutes of October 10, 2017 Meeting – The Board reviewed and approved the minutes from both the Board of Directors meeting held on September 28, 2016 and the Conference Call Board of Directors meeting held on January 30, 2017, after a motion to approve by Dr. DeCenzo and a second by Mr. Boyles.

3. State-of-the-Consortium Report – Dr. Pastides then recognized Mr. DeVoe, who expressed his thanks to everyone for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend the Board Meeting. Mr. DeVoe thanked the eight representatives in attendance for attending the Board meeting. He also thanked Consortium staff for attending as well. Mr. DeVoe gave a power point presentation on “The State of the Consortium” to members of the Board. He provided a brief overview of the Consortium’s mission and goals. He spoke of the four vetoes that the agency had to overcome during the early 2010s. Dr. DeCenzo stated that Sea Grant’s good work was not noticed in Columbia up to that point, but once Columbia realized what Sea Grant was about, support for the agency and what it does greatly improved.

Building Lease. Dr. DeCenzo also asked if all legal issues with respect to the relationship between the Consortium and the Washington Light Infantry building owners were resolved. Mr. DeVoe acknowledged that all legal issues were resolved and that the agency’s lease is in place through June 2021, which includes 20 parking spaces for staff. Dr. Pastides stated that it appears that over the long-term Sea Grant will be housed in their present location, although Dr. DeCenzo noted that downtown flooding may become a problem over time.

Flooding Discussion. Mr. DeVoe mentioned that there is a need for additional expertise which can help address the continuing issues related to flooding. Dr. DeCenzo mentioned that Governor McMaster has appointed a Floodwater Commission to address statewide issues dealing with flooding. Dr. Pastides asked the question “Does Sea Grant want to be invited?” Mr. Clark then asked if anyone at the table was appointed to the Committee, and then stated that he was indeed a member. Dr. Pastides asked Mr. Clark to provide additional information on the Commission. Mr. DeVoe then asked Mr. Boyles is there were a number of state agencies on the Commission. Mr. Boyles answered a few. Mr. DeVoe then thanked Mr. Clark for raising the Consortium “flag” with the Commission’s leadership.

Budget and Impact. Mr. DeVoe followed with a presentation of items for Board action. He stated that under the budget trends, the number have more impacts than words. Mr. Clark asked a question about State funding with the matching funds and advised Mr. DeVoe to be careful with how the numbers are presented. Mr. DeVoe then called upon Ryan Bradley to explain the current FY18-19 Appropriation. Mr. Bradley stated that the Consortium’s $50,000 increase was the result of our budget request to provide support for a Coastal Economist Program Specialist position, which has been leveraged with $25,000 from the agency’s federal Sea Grant omnibus grant. He pointed out that the Consortium had a Carry-forward of 10% of its annual State Budget. Dr. Pastides asked if the 10% is the only carry-forward funding. Mr. Bradley said, yes, and only in state funds.

Mr. DeVoe then explained the “By-the-Numbers” one-pager. He stated that the document is meant to provide the National Sea Grant Office and our constituents an idea of our overall value and represents another way of sharing “impact” information. Under the Economic Opportunity section, Dr. DeCenzo asked if the overall economic benefit is a trillion and not a million? Mr. DeVoe suggested that it was a million. Mr. Boyles asked whether the volunteer hours is a pledge for match. Mr. DeVoe said no, that it is included in the overall value. Mr. Clark stated that people do become aware of volunteer impact. Dr. Pastides mentioned that Sea Grant’s reputation is not public enough, and that Sea Grant flies below the radar. He suggested that the agency should engage more with young people. Mr. DeVoe stated that one of Sea Grant’s challenges is to maintain its credibility upon its audiences.

Program Evaluation and Performance. Mr. DeVoe talked about Sea Grant External Process Overview for FY2010-2014. He stated that the Consortium’s final assessment letter, included in the briefing material, was received from Dr. Jonathan Pennock, Director of National Sea Grant Program. The letter congratulated Mr. DeVoe and the entire staff for reaching and sustaining the “Standards of Excellence” expected of all Sea Grant College Programs. Dr. Pastides said that the letter reflects an outstanding review. Mr. DeVoe continued to discuss the FY14-15 to FY17-18 Management Performance Measures. He stated that the return on state investment for FY17-18 was 338%; the results based on outcomes, not outputs. Dr. DeCenzo asked where the information was being used. Mr. DeVoe indicated that it is included in the agency’s State Accountability Report. Mr. Clark offered his applause for the good work that the agency is doing. Dr. Pastides again stated that Sea Grant has been for 20 years under the radar, but it must look at targeting future efforts. The question was asked by Mr. DeVoe and Dr. Pastides if Sea Grant should approve the changes to the performance measure tables? Mr. Clark said, No, let it stay as is. Mr. DeVoe continued with the slide presentation, and stated that the Consortium’s overall success has been due to its dedicated staff. He explained the “building capacity” slides. Dr. Pastides asked “What does a Climate and Resilience Specialist do?” Ms. Watson answered and said that they are helping communities prepare for and recover from flooding. Dr. Pastides stated that the motto can sell. Due to the length of time, Dr. Pastides suggested that the Board go to the actions and them come back to the other items if the time allowed.

4. Consortium/Board By-Laws – Mr. DeVoe presented the proposed changes to the By-Laws. He stated that Dr. DeCenzo and Dr. Bob Jones cleaned up the By-Laws to clarify what the Board does and its associated power and duties. Revisions to the By-Laws were completed on August 31, 2018 for consideration by the full Board. Dr. Pastides thanked Dr. DeCenzo and Dr. Jones for their work on the revised By-Laws. During the discussion of the By-Law changes, Dr. Pastides mentioned that having a Vice Chairman would be beneficial. Mr. Clark asked if the Board of Directors meeting can Electronic. Mr. DeVoe mentioned that the Board only meets once a year in person, but electronic participation is allowed. Dr. Pastides confirmed that both electronic and present are allowed. Dr. DeCenzo suggested that By-Laws be approved. The Board unanimously approved the By-Laws, with Mr. Boyles offering the motion to approve, and Dr. Lisa Saladin providing the second.

5. Consortium FY18-21 Quadrennial Sea Grant Program Plan – Mr. DeVoe explained the Consortium’s Sea Grant Quadrennial Program Plan which has been submitted to the National Sea Grant College Program for funding support. Mr. DeVoe suggested that the Board Chair sign off on Sea Grant Omnibus proposals which are submitted to the National Sea Grant Program for review and funding. Mr. Clark asked whether the Board should participate in the approval process; Mr. DeVoe said, no, not approval, but yes, to inform the Board and seek its endorsement. Dr. Pastides stated that it would indeed be good if the Board is aware of the Grants, but they do not have to approve such.

6. National Sea Grant Program Evaluation – Mr. DeVoe discussed the upcoming Site Review Visit which is scheduled for February 5-7, 2018. Mr. DeVoe explained the purpose of the Site Review visit, which is to help the National Sea Grant Office determine whether the programs included in the Sea Grant Network are meeting the primary drivers for planning, execution, and evaluation processes found in the statutory requirements. Mr. DeVoe expressed the importance of the Board’s engagement with the National Sea Grant Site Review Team, and informed the Board that a joint meeting will be scheduled to include the Consortium Board of Directors and members of the National Sea Grant Site Review Team during the visit. Mr. Clark stated that he would like to serve consistency. Dr. Pastides stated that on Feb 5th, the date of the Board meeting with the Site Review Team that all members of the Board should be in attendance via in person or remote. Mr. DeVoe also asked for ideas for sponsorship to support the Evening Networking Reception with stakeholders. After much discussion from various Board members, it was decided that Dr. Pastides and Mr. DeVoe will discuss the Networking event at another time.

7. Budget Overview and Audit Findings and Responses, and Action Items – Mr. DeVoe again Mr. Bradley to discuss this section of the agenda. Mr. Bradley provided an overview of the three audits conducted during the past year. The Agreed Upon Procedures Audit, the Human Resources Audit, and the Federal Single Agency Audit which was performed by an outsourcing firm. Mr. Bradley stated that the Agreed Upon Procedures Audit had a few findings. Per these findings, the Consortium has implemented a strategic plan to resolved the findings. The Human Resources Audit covered the period July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. There were some minor findings, but the overall results were great. The Statewide Single Audit was for the Year ending June 30, 2017. Though there were several findings during this audit, Mr. Clark pointed out the finding regarding a material weakness in internal control over compliance, which raised a big flag for him. Dr. DeCenzo mentioned that the University get audited yearly. He stated that there should be questions to the auditor by the Board. Dr. Pastides asked Mr. Bradley if the auditor requested a meeting with the Board; Mr. Bradley said no. However, Dr. Pastides seemed surprised that the auditor did not wish to meet with the Board. Dr. Pastides requested clarification about this with the auditor. Dr. DeCenzo stated that there should be a letter from the auditor that states that the finding has been corrected. Dr. Pastides suggested that the Board would like to meet with the auditors.

8. Information Technology and Disaster Recovery – Mr. Bradley and Mr. Moylan discussed the Consortium IT and Disaster Recovery Plan. The overview of the plan was that the Disaster Recovery Plan will serve as a reference for ensuring that Consortium business-critical systems remain safeguarded, and when possible operational, before, during, and after a disruptive event. Mr. Clark asked if the Consortium was in the process of building a business continency plan? Mr. Moylan said yes. Mr. DeVoe stated that the continency plan is to partner up. Dr. Pastides then told Mr. Moylan that the Board was happy to have him on board.

9. Consortium FY19-20 State Budget Request – Mr. DeVoe explained the Consortium’s FY19-20 Agency Budget Plan. Mr. DeVoe mentioned that the Consortium has budgeted money for hardware and software, but did not ask for new money. Dr. DeCenzo asked if the Board needs to approved the Budget. The Board unanimously approved the budget, with Dr. DeCenzo making the motion to do so, followed by a second from Mr. Boyles.

10. Program Snapshots – Time did not permit for this section of the Agenda to be presented.

11. Election of Board Chair – Dr. Pastides led this session to elect a Board Chair for 2019. Dr. DeCenzo nominated Dr. Pastides to continue as the Chairman. Dr. Pastides nominated Mr. Clark as Vice Chair. The Board unanimously voted for both Dr. Pastides to serve as Chair, and Mr. Clark to serve as Vice Chair, with Dr. DeCenzo making the first motion, and Mr. Boyles offering the second.

12. Executive Session – Personnel Issues

13. Reconvene Board Meeting – There was no formal report from Executive Session. The other part of the conversation was confidential; therefore, no further notes were taken.

Adjournment – The suggestion was made by Dr. Pastides for a motion to bring this meeting of the Consortium Board of Directors to a close. Dr. DeCenzo made the motion, Robert Boyles the second, and the meeting was adjourned.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:20 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Annette E. Dunmeyer