S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

Board Minutes – September 30, 2020

South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium Board of Directors Meeting
September 30, 2020
Virtual Meeting
Charleston, S.C.

Present at the Board Meeting were:

Board Members and Alternates

  • James Clark, President, S.C. State University, Board Chairman
  • Dr. Harris Pastides, President Emeritus, University of South Carolina
  • Mr. Robert Boyles, Interim Director, S.C. Department of Natural Resources
  • Dr. David DeCenzo, President, Coastal Carolina University
  • Dr. Bob Jones, VP and Provost, Clemson University
  • Dr. Sebastian van Delden, Dean, School of Science and Mathematics, College of Charleston
  • Col. Darin T. Zimmerman, Dean, School of Science and Mathematics, The Citadel

Consortium Staff

  • Mr. M. Richard DeVoe, Executive Director
  • Dr. Susan Lovelace, Assistant Director for Development and Extension
  • Mr. Ryan Bradley, Assistant to the Director for Administration
  • Ms. Annette E. Dunmeyer, Executive Assistant/Office Manager
  • Ms. Susan Ferris Hill, Director of Communications
  • Ms. April Turner, Coastal Communities Specialist
  • Ms. Susannah Sheldon, Research and Fellowships Manager
  • Ms. Elizabeth Vernon Bell, Marine Education Specialist
  • Ms. Marlena Davis, Human Resource Manager
  • Ms. Crystal Narayana, Web Developer/Graphic Designer
  • Ms. Sarah Watson, Climate & Resilience Specialist
  • Mr. Chris Carr, IT Resources Manager
  • Ms. Brooke Saari, Coastal Environmental Quality Specialist
  • Ms. Amanda Namsinh, Marine Education Program Assistant
  • Mr. Landon Knapp, Coastal Resilience Specialist
  • Ms. Lacy Alison, Program Manager, NOAA National Sea Grant College Program

Opening Remarks by the Chair

Chairman Clark called the meeting to order at 10:01 am. A roll call was conducted to see if there was a quorum. Mr. DeVoe acknowledged a quorum. President Clark continued with the meeting. Susan Lovelace asked permission from the Board Chair to record the meeting. President Clark asked if the public media was informed of the Board Meeting, and if there were any media representatives present on the call. Mr. DeVoe answered no. President Clark thanked everyone for being on the virtual meeting. He invited the staff to introduce themselves. President Clark asked for the approval of the agenda. The Board unanimously approved the agenda; Dr. David DeCenzo 1st motion; 2nd motion by Robert Boyles.

2. Review/Approval of Minutes of December 10, 2019 Meeting

President Clark asked for the approval of the Board Minutes. There were no corrections or addition to the minutes. Therefore, the Board unanimously approved the minutes. Robert Boyles 1st motion; 2nd motion by Dr. Zimmerman.

3. State-of-the-Consortium Update

President Clark turned this portion of the meeting over to Mr. DeVoe, who then acknowledged and recognized Annette E. Dunmeyer for working for the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium for the past 34 years. He stated that this Board meeting would be the last meeting for Annette. President Clark gave a heartfelt remark about Annette. He, along with the Board, acknowledged and recognized Annette E. Dunmeyer for dedication and hard work at the Consortium for the past 34 years. Robert Boyles also gave touching words of acknowledgment and recognition to Ms. Dunmeyer. Rick DeVoe then presented Ms. Dunmeyer with a beautiful Charleston picture with all of the original signatures of the entire Board of Directors. Ms. Dunmeyer humbly accepted with the award with a gracious thank you.

Mr. DeVoe started his presentation by giving a brief state of the Consortium. He stated that the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium was a free-standing State Agency, created in 1978, Act No. 643; began operation in 1980 and that the Consortium is a nationally certified Sea Grant College Program under the auspices of the National Sea Grant College Program, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce. Mr. DeVoe thanked Mr. Bradley and the staff for maintaining a good budget. Mr. Bradley thanked him and mentioned that Sea Grant always carried 10% for safety. Mr. DeVoe mentioned the mission statement of the Consortium, and Sea Grant’s niche in South Carolina. He also discussed the organization of the Consortium. Mr. DeVoe discussed the Consortium’s current leasing situation. The lease is effective from May 1, 2016 – May 1, 2021; and the per square foot rate will increase to $20.26 in year 2021; 5,000 square feet, including 20 parking spaces for the staff. He mentioned that the renewal discussion began mid-2020; bids were sought and received by the State. The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium is seeking $35K in state recurring appropriation in FY21-21 to help with the rent increase. Mr. DeVoe stated that the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium is celebrating 40 years in business, which is featured in Spring 2020 Coastal Heritage Volume 31, Number 1, entitled 1980-2020 S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, Four Decades of Change. Mr. DeVoe briefly described the “By-the-Numbers” fact sheet stating that the fact sheet is used mostly in Columbia whenever he visits legislators. The fact sheet also provides information reported to the National Sea Grant Office. Mr. DeVoe went on to explain the Performance and Management Measures chart from FY16-17 to FY19-20. Mr. DeVoe stated that State Accountability Report keeps track of the trends and is shared with the Board every year. Mr. Boyles recommended that the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium revisit having a Beach Sweep/River Sweep Scorecard. Mr. Clark asked questions regarding the Agency’s Web Site Page Views “Was it a lack of views? Rick responded by saying the Sea Grant started a new way of tracking in mid-June 2019 as the Consortium moved to a new content management system with an updated design. Mr. DeVoe also stated that it was the transition that changed the numbers, not a lack of usage. Mr. Clark then asked another question, “How will Sea Grant apply the new data? With the new metric, would it have been different? Mr. Clark suggested that a solution would be just to indicate in the old data verses the new data. Mr. DeVoe discussed the Impacts and Accomplishments. He thanked Susannah Sheldon and everyone who worked on the State Accountability Report for FY19-20. He indicated that the Impacts and Accomplishments are reported to the National Sea Grant Office each year. The Consortium normally has over 50 impacts to report each year. He then goes on to explain the budget trends which is pulled out of the State Accountability Report. He mentioned that the Consortium has been successful with the state securing funds. Mr. Boyles thanked Mr. DeVoe for the site visit results, and that he was grateful to Mr. DeVoe and the staff for a great job getting non-state dollars, he again said congratulations to the staff. Mr. Clark recommended the Consortium look into future questions. Rick answered that The Consortium has been successful with grants needed to get the work done; the Consortium has secured 1.5 million in grants. Mr. Boyles also mentioned the red snapper proposal that the Consortium had applied for. Mr. DeVoe stated that the the FY2020-21 budget is on hold and still pending. However, the Consortium’s request was included in the Governor’s Executive Budget. Mr. DeVoe briefly mentioned the overall focus on resiliency and adaption. He stated that the future organizational needs will make the Consortium to be stronger than ever. Strategic Plan Areas for FY18-21 were discussed and it was mentioned that the Board has a role in the development of the Consortium’s Strategic Plan. He mentioned the agency’s Impacts and Accomplishments. He stated that 58 in total were reported; 6 impacts and 52 accomplishments. He reviewed the “By the Numbers’ FY2018-19 flyer, and mentioned that the Consortium brought in $1,802,795 in leveraged funds, a 248% return on state’s investment. He also referred to the Consortium’s Volunteer Stewardship work; 3,156 volunteer hours completed; Beach Sweep/River Sweep is a model program. Subsequent research conducted at The Citadel and USC is based on the data and results of the Beach Sweep/River Sweep program.

4. Budget and Grants Update

Mr. DeVoe introduced Ryan Bradley, Assistant Director of Administration to discuss the Budget Update. Mr. Bradley made a comparison between The FY2019/2020 Appropriations and FY2020/2021 appropriations and the total Budget Expenditures. There were no comments on the budgets. Mr. DeVoe then introduced Dr. Susan Lovelace, who then explained the Extramural Grant Activity for 2020. She went on to explain that the Consortium staff have been extremely busy formulating, writing, and submitting grant proposals. She indicates that nine proposals have been submitted, and four of them have been recommended for funding, two not funded, and three were pending. Mr. Clark said that the proposal submission was fascistic and commended the team for doing an outstanding job.

5. National Sea Grant Site Review

Mr. DeVoe discussed the NOAA National Sea Grant External Review for 2014-2017 Quadrennial Review, which was supposed to be held in February 2019, but was postponed until August 6-8, 2019. He stated that the Consortium did a fantastic job. He mentioned that the final results of the Site Visit met the Standards of Excellence and Performance. There were no recommendations for improvement, the Consortium has been re-certified as a Sea Grant College Program. The Consortium will receive an increase in its base budget of 12.5% along with an increase in its merit fund allotment of 37.7% as a result of both this review and several adjustments made by the NSGO; and the Consortium’s new base/merit fund budget will now total $1,514,692 per year for the next six years; a 15% overall increase, to begin with the FY2022 fiscal year and extending through FY2027 (pending, of course, on the availability of federal funds each year). Mr. Boyles thanked Mr. DeVoe for an excellent Site Visit and stated that the Site Visit put the Consortium in a good position. He then goes on to say that he was grateful to Mr. DeVoe and the staff for a great non-state dollar the Consortium received from NOAA. Mr. Clark suggested that the Consortium should look into the future. Mr. DeVoe responded that the Consortium has been successful with grants. The Consortium had secured 1.5 million grants from the National Fisheries. Mr. Boyles mentioned the significance of the red snapper grant that the Consortium had been awarded. Mr. Rick closed this his “State of the Consortium” by mentioning that the Consortium is strong and has a full staff with highly skilled professional, committed Member Institutions and supportive stakeholder and partners who have kept the Consortium alive.

6. Audits -Finding and Responses

Mr. DeVoe introduced Ryan Bradley, Assistant Director of Administration, to discuss this section of the agenda. Mr. Bradley presented an overview of the audits.

The State of South Carolina Statewide Single Audit report was submitted on June 30, 2019. There was one audit finding; Subrecipient Monitoring. However, as of February 2020 the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium implemented the correction that was recommended. There was no comments or questions concerning the audit.

The South Carolina State Auditor conducted an audit and provided a report on June 30, 2019. He mentioned that there were no findings on the audit.

Therefore, Mr. Clark complimented Mr. Bradley on the audit. Mr. Ryan, acknowledged the compliment, and said it was the feedback from the Board that has helped him with the audit.

7. Consortium FY20-22 State Budget Request

Mr. DeVoe asked Mr. Bradley to discuss the budget request. Mr. Bradley reviewed the FY20-22 Agency Budget Plan. He mentioned that the state budget request is pretty straight forward. The Consortium requested a $35, 000 increase to help with the building lease. Mr. DeVoe state that on October 8, 2020, he and Mr. Bradley had a virtual meeting with the State Budget Property Office to discuss the Consortium’s lease. Mr. Bradley also mentioned the 2 previous requests that were just mentioned by the Board. There were no questions about the State Budget Request. Mr. Boyles complimented Mr. Bradley on the budget, and requested that the budget be approved. The Board unanimous endorsed the support of the budget request unanimously, after being moved by Mr. Robert Boyles and seconded by Dr. Bob Jones.

8. Consortium Strategic Plan Update/Revision

Mr. DeVoe give an overview background and context of the Strategic Plan, and then he asked Susannah Sheldon to discuss the Revision of the Plan. Ms. Sheldon gave a brief discussion of the Consortium’s Strategic Plan for FY2018-2023. The Strategic Plan is a reflection of the Program Advisory Board’s priorities. The revision of the Strategic Plan was highlighted throughout the Plan for review. After reviewing the revision of the Plan, there was a motion to approved the changes by Dr. David DeCenzo and seconded by Mr. Robert Boyles.

 9. Consortium Diversity Plan

Mr. DeVoe did a quick overview of the S.C. Sea Consortium Diversity Work Plan. He mentioned the title of the Plan, “Actions to Back Up Words”. Mr. DeVoe stated the importance of having a Diversity Plan, and that the Diversity Plan is a part of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium Strategic Plan. Mr. DeVoe then turned it over to Marlena Davis, Human Resources Manager, and Elizabeth Vernon Bell, Marine Education Specialist, who are spearheading the Plan. Ms. Davis gave an overview of the Plan. Ms. Davis stated that the Plan came into action after the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer. Ms. Davis mentioned that there are 9 sections to the Plan. Ms. Davis also stated the they currently working on a Diversity Statement for the Plan. Ms. Davis continued that the Plan will include, Staff, Community, Constituents, etc. Mr. Clark asked when and what time they will be able to present a goal. Ms. Davis answered by saying there was not a specific date, and that the plan is pretty general right now. Ms. Vernon Bell said that they are trying to develop a diversity team with the staff first. Ms. Vernon Bell also stated that they are trying to anticipated the cost of maintain the Plan. Dr. Sebastian asked “If the Diversity Statement is already in the Strategic Plan, will Sea Grant us another statement for this Plan?” It was recommended that the Consortium use the same Diversity Statement that is in the Strategic Plan. There were no further questions. Mr. DeVoe then thanked the Board for their approval of the revision of the Strategic Plan.

10. Business of the Board – Election of Board Chair

Mr. Clark opened the floor to select a new Board Chairman. There were no new nominees. Therefore, the Board unanimously re-elect Mr. Clark to serve as the Board Chairman for another term. 1st motion by Mr. Robert Boyles and 2nd motion by Dr, David DeCenzo. On behalf of the Board, Mr. Robert Boyles thanked Mr. DeVoe for serving the Consortium for the past 40 years! Mr. Robert Boyles closed his statement to Mr. DeVoe with these questions: “Who are you? Where are you? Where are you going? What are we clinched to? Often times it’s the things that are important to us.” Closing comments were made by Mr. Clark. He thanked the Board and offered a congratulatory statement to Mr. DeVoe about his dedication and commitment to the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium. Mr. DeVoe then thanked the Board and expressed his appreciation for their leadership. He thanked his staff and stakeholder as well. Dr. David DeCenzo also make remarks to Mr. DeVoe about his leadership. There were no further questions or comments. Dr. David DeCenzo moved that the meeting come to a close, 2nd by Mr. Robert Boyles.

The meeting was then adjourned at 11:46 am.

Respectfully submitted by

Annette E. Dunmeyer