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Higher Education Board Meeting Minutes

Thursday, February 2nd
Central Conference/Commission Room
Maryland Higher Education Commission
839 Bestgate Road , Annapolis MD
9:00 a.m. Executive Session
9:30 a.m. Public Session

Hon. Robert Neall, Presiding

The public session began with a call to order from Chairman Neall at approximately 9:40 a.m.

Board members present: Chairman Neall, Vice Chair Cooperman, Leo Gant, Seymour Stern , Sheldon Steinbach

1. Opening and welcome –Chairman Neall

2. Approval of minutes of September 29, 2005

Chairman Neall inquired as to whether the Board members had had the opportunity to review the minutes. Board members indicated that they had.

Motion to approve the minutes from September 29, 2005 : Seymour Stern
Second: unanimous from remaining board members
**All Board members in favor: Motion Carried**

3. Chairman’s report

Chairman Neall noted that all Board members have confirmation hearings before the Senate Executive Nominations Committee, on Monday, February 6, 2006 .

4. Executive Director’s report

A. Department of Legislative Services Study on the Feasibility of Providing Labor Relations Services to Local Governments

Acting Executive Director Erica L. Snipes presented information about this study that the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) required of the Board, due on December 31, 2005 . Ms. Snipes noted that it was an interesting study—well circulated, and well responded to by the counties and by the cities and local governments. The study is now being reviewed by DLS and is available to the public through that office. Ms. Snipes indicated that she would post the study on the Board website for further review.

B. ALRA Conference—July 21-26

Ms. Snipes indicated that she was continuing her involvement, along with former Executive Director, Karl Pence, in planning the Association of Labor Relations Agencies (ALRA) conference coming to Baltimore in July of 2006. Ms. Snipes noted that there would be an academy portion of the ALRA conference which was for new Board members, new staff, and human resources workers who are new to the labor relations area. Ms. Snipes indicated that the academy dealt with an introduction to labor relations, teaching about various statutory and regulatory themes, as well as practicalities of being involved with labor relations.

Ms. Snipes also mentioned Advocates Day, scheduled for Monday, July 24, the program schedule of which she could not relate because she is not on that committee, but that Karl Pence is working very hard with the program committee for Advocates Day, so it should be a good program with some fine speakers.

Ms. Snipes indicated that she is listed on the ALRA website ( the conference coordinator, so if anyone had questions about the conference, they could contact her through either the Board or the ALRA website.

Finally, Ms. Snipes indicated that registration wouldn’t be available until April, and that there would be online registration if needed.

C. Introduction of Sonya Spielberg, new Assistant Attorney General and Board Counsel

Ms. Snipes introduced Ms. Sonya Spielberg , the new Board Counsel. Chairman Neall asked Ms. Spielberg to say a few words about herself. Ms. Spielberg indicated that she had come to this Board from the National Labor Relations Board where she had worked with the Chair. She indicated that she attended law school in Virgina, and that she is currently preparing for the Maryland Bar. Ms. Spielberg indicated that she is currently licensed in Virginia and New York , and is pleased to be here working for this Board as well as the State Labor Relations Board.

5. Regulations

A. Pending regulations:

There are proposed regulations which were listed in the November 14, 2005 Maryland Register. These are now eligible for final adoption. See attachment for complete list.

Chairman Neall indicated that there were regulations that had been published in the November 14, 2005 Maryland Register for a notice and comment period. He asked if any of the other Board members had any concerns about what had been proposed. Seeing none, Chairman Neall sought a motion to approve final adoption of those regulations:
Motion for final adoption of regulations attached here: Seymour Stern
Second: Leo Gant

**All Board members in favor: Motion Carried**

B. Proposed new regulations—there are no proposed regulations to consider at this time.

Chairman Neall indicated that at this time there are no new regulations, but noted that there may be some coming in the future

6. Announcement of administrative determinations or Board decisions and orders, as appropriate:

Chairman Neall indicated there was nothing to announce at this time

7. Issues arising from the elections, negotiations, investigations, and cases pending before OAH:

OAH has issued a proposed ruling and order on Unit Clarification case UC2005-03. As of 1/18/05 , staff is waiting for completed exceptions and responses, after which the Board may review the proposed ruling and render a final decision. If materials are received prior to the Board meeting, the Board may choose to hear oral arguments as appropriate, presuming adequate notice is able to be given to the parties.

Ms. Snipes indicated that this case has come down from OAH but we remain in the briefing period and that the Board is not ready to issue any disposition or other information about this case at presen

8. New Businessproposed by members of the Board or staff.

Chairman Neall indicated an action item that had been made available to the Board and the public. He had acted on the Board’s behalf in approving acting capacity pay for Erica L. Snipes, Acting Executive Director of the SHELRB, based on state rules and regulations. Chairman Neall requested a motion to approve his doing that.
Motion to approve acting capacity pay for Ms. Snipes: Harriet Cooperman
Second: Leo Gant

**All Board members in favor: Motion Carried

9. Meeting calendar

Proposed meeting calendar for the rest of fiscal year 2006:
March 30, 2006
June 22, 2006

Chairman Neall indicated that the two meetings currently scheduled are posted and will be listed as appropriate with the Maryland Register. The chairman then requested that Ms. Snipes come up with two additional dates spaced out through the remainder of calendar year 2006.

Public comment

Individuals may sign up to present comment on Board business, except matters filed as cases, and may present comments for up to 3 minutes. The Board particularly cautions speakers against commenting in any manner on cases to be heard by the Board after the conclusion of this meeting. Individuals who wish to speak to the proposed regulation should provide the Board with written copies of their comments.

There were no individuals signed up for public comment.

10. Adjournment

At approximately 9:55 , Chairman Neall indicated that he would entertain a motion to adjourn.
Motion to Adjourn: Vice chair Cooperman
Second: Seymour Stern

**All Board members in favor: Motion Carried**

**Regulations approved for final adoption**:

14.30.05 Elections

Authority: State Personnel and Pensions Article,
§§3-2A-05, 3-2A-06, and 3-2A-07,
Annotated Code of Maryland

.10 Challenged Ballots.

A. (text unchanged)

B. If a voter is challenged for cause, the challenged voter may vote and then:

(1)—(4) (text unchanged)

[(5) If there are not enough challenged ballots to affect the election result, there shall be no determination of the ballots made, and the ballots may not be counted.

(6) If there are enough challenged ballots to affect the election result, the Executive Director shall resolve the challenges.

(7) A party aggrieved by the action of the Executive Director on challenged ballots may request a hearing under the provisions of COMAR 14.30.11.]

.13 Certification of Election Results.

A. Service to Parties. Within 5 days of the election, the Executive Director shall prepare and serve on the parties a report of the election results which shall include the official tally of the ballots and a certificate of service.

B. Objections. Within 8 days after the report of election results has been served, any party to the election proceeding may file with the Board objections to the election procedure or to any conduct which may have improperly affected the results of the election. The objecting party shall include a specific statement of the reasons for each objection and any supporting evidence.

C. Determinative Challenges. In any election where there are sufficient unresolved challenges to affect the election results, within 8 days after the report of election results has been served, the party or parties making the challenges shall file with the Board a statement of reasons for each challenge and any supporting evidence.

D. Certification of Representative. The Board shall certify the results of the election within 13 working days after the report of election results and, within 5 days after the certification of election results has been served, the Board shall issue to the parties a certification of representatives if:

(1) The challenged ballots are insufficient in number to affect the results of the election;

(2) No objections have been filed; and

(3) No runoff election is required.

E. Investigation of Determinative Challenges or Objections. If the challenged ballots are sufficient in number to affect the results of the election or if objections are filed, the Executive Director, or other person designated by the Board, shall conduct an investigation and make a report and recommendation of findings to the Board on the merits of the objections filed or the validity of any determinative challenges.

F. Hearings. If the Board has reason to believe that the allegations or challenges may be valid, the Board shall order a hearing, if necessary, and make a determination on the findings made in the Executive Director’s or the Executive Director’s designee’s report.

G. Final Board Action. After consideration of the findings made by the Executive Director and any hearing held, the Board shall certify the results of the election, issue a certification of representative, or overturn the results of the election and order a new election, as appropriate. The procedures of COMAR 14.30.11 shall apply to any hearing ordered.

.14 Runoff Election.

A. The Executive Director shall conduct a runoff election when no choice receives a majority of [ballots] valid votes cast except in the circumstances described in Regulation .13B of this chapter.

B.—F. (text unchanged)

[.16] .15 Objections to the Conduct of Election Judges.

At any time before the eight day following the report of the election results [to] from the Executive Director, a party [who objects] may object to any action of the Executive Director, election judge, or other Board staff in conducting an election as having been inconsistent with the Collective Bargaining Act or these regulations and having materially prejudiced the party and likely changed the outcome of the election [shall request a hearing under the procedures of COMAR 14.30.11].

[.17] .16 Objections to the Conduct of a Party.

A.—B. (text unchanged)

[C. The Executive Director may schedule a hearing on an objection under the procedures of COMAR 14.30.11.

D. If the Board sustains an objection, it may overturn the results of the election and, if it deems appropriate, order a new election.]

14.30.07 Unfair Labor Practices

State Personnel and Pensions Article, §§3-2A-05, 3-2A-06, and 3-2A-07,
Annotated Code of Maryland

.04 Relief from Unfair Labor Practices.

A. A party alleging an unfair labor practice may request relief from the Board by filing a petition with the Executive Director, within [30] 90 days of knowledge of the occurrence, under the procedures set forth in COMAR 14.30.11 except as otherwise modified by this regulation.

B.—L. (text unchanged)

14.30.09 Collective Bargaining

State Personnel and Pensions Article, §§3-2A-05, 3-2A-06, and 3-2A-07,

Annotated Code of Maryland

.02 Memorandum of Understanding.

A.—D. (text unchanged)

E. The parties to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) negotiated in accordance with §§A—C of this regulation shall file a copy of the MOU with the Board within 30 days after it has become effective as provided under §D of this regulation.