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Higher Education Board Meeting Minutes

Thursday, October 29, 1009
Central Conference 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

Chairman Neall called the meeting to order at approximately 9:35 a.m.

Board members present: Robert R. Neall, Chair; Harriet E. Cooperman, Vice-Chair; Sheldon Steinbach, Board member

Board staff present: Erica Snipes, Executive Director; Joe Pokempner, Board Counsel; Denise Galante, Special Assistant.

1. Opening and welcome –Chairman Neall

The Chairman called the meeting to order at approximately 9:45am.

2. Approval of minutes of SHELRB meeting of 04/23/09
(Motion to approve)

The Chairman asked for a motion to approve the minutes from April 23, 2009. Harriet Cooperman moved for approval, Sheldon Steinbach seconded the motion. All were in favor and minutes were approved.

Chairman’s report
The Chairman indicated that he did not have any information to report on at this meeting.

Executive Director’s report
Ms. Snipes indicated that LERA meetings are the last Wednesday of every month. If interested, board members and those present at the meeting should give their contact information to Ms. Snipes to forward to the LERA membership coordinator.

Ms. Snipes reported on a meeting she had recently had with Dr. Lyons, Secretary of Higher Education, regarding appointments, and a general overview of what the Board does

Continuing Business

Proposed “Procedures Governing Disclosure of Employee Information”.

Assistant Attorney General and Agency Counsel Joseph Pokempner introduced this new regulation contingent on the agreement of the parties. Linda McKeegan for AFSCME, Hillary Davis for MCEA, and Maureen David for the state universities all worked together to draft and edit the proposal before the Board at this meeting—COMAR 14.30.12. Mr. Pokempner indicated the similarity of this regulation to a corresponding regulation of the State Labor Relations Board, the only difference being in the costs/fees scale for copying and administrative costs shared between the union and the state employers.

Mr. Pokempner indicated that based on the administrative timeline, this regulation would not take affect until 2010, but that it was an important supplement to clarify the Board statute at MD Code section 3-2A-08. A unified motion by all Board members present was made to submit 14.30.12 to the AELR Committee as a proposed regulation and a second was universal as well. Chairman Neall directed Executive Director Snipes to submit the regulation to AELR and noted that the Board would tailor its next meeting date to the State Documents publication of the regulation.

Announcement of administrative determinations or Board decisions and orders, as appropriate:
None at this time.

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

Circuit Court appeal of ULP 09-01 decision issued by the Board on 08/11/09. Staff will update Board members as appropriate with dates/time of arguments, as well as any decision that comes from the court.

Ms. Snipes noted that the court hearing date will be February 26, 2010 in Wicomico County Circuit Court. Mr. Pokempner stated that the union/petitioner has a high burden of proof on its appeal. He was hopeful that the Board’s opinion would be sustained. Mr. Pokempner also pointed out that the remedy to the petitioner if successful on its appeal would likely involve a direction that both parties return to the negotiating table on the underlying issues of the case. Mr. Pokempner then informed the Board that MD Rule 7-209 provides that “the court may dismiss the action for judicial review, or may affirm, reverse, or modify the agency’s order or action, remand the action to the agency for further proceedings, or an appropriate combination of the above.“

New Business proposed by members of the Board or staff
Nothing to report at this time.

Meeting calendar

The Chairman noted that the timeline of the proposed regulation being eligible for final adoption would determine the Board’s next meeting date.

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 Boards particularly caution speakers against commenting in any manner on cases to be heard by either Board after the conclusion of this meeting. Individuals who wish to speak to the proposed regulation should provide the Boards with written copies of their comments.

There were no individuals signed up for public comment at this meeting and no one showed up unannounced.

Universal motion to adjourn at approximately 10:00, all Board members in favor.