NSPS Fall 2017 Board Meeting Highlights
October 6-7, 2017
Report from A. Richard Vannozzi, MS, PLS
I attended the NSPS Board meetings in Frisco, TX in early October. Though numerous items were discussed, I would offer the following as highlights:
By way of background, NSPS is still wrestling with meeting formats as the former functions of the Board of Governors are merged into the functions of the Board of Directors. This Fall the format that was used was one where committee meetings were held on the first day, committee reports were taken on the morning of the second day. Some of those reports were written and some were verbal. The more formal Board of Directors meeting was held all day on the third day. The afternoon of the second day was utilized by committees and other interested parties to fine tune any motions that flowed from the committee meetings so that as many issues could be ironed out ahead of the Board meeting to streamline debate. The format worked reasonably well, but will be further tweaked for the Spring 2018 meetings.
Notable items from the reports:
CST: This aspect of NSPS’s programs continues to grow and is serving a vital function in credentialing technicians. As the number of licensees continues to drop nationally the importance of having qualified technicians is expected to continue to grow and it is this that is propelling the growth in the program.
NSPS Foundation: Much of the Foundation’s report was focused on their efforts to raise additional funds for Disaster relief so that more grants could be made. Though they had received requests from colleagues in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, it was expected that many more were expected along with request for assistance from California due to the wild fires in Sonoma County. MALSCE was thanked for their donation, though all states were asked to see if they could dig deeper, especially in those states that were not affected…this time.
Certified Floodplain Surveyors: The CFS program is expanding from North Carolina to Tennessee. For more information about this credentialing program visit the NC Society of Surveyors website: http://www.ncsurveyors.com/education/cfs_program.
Education Committee: The University of Maine is on the cusp of offering their ABET accredited BS in Surveying Engineering Technology degree completely on-line. The Dean of the College of Engineering has commissioned a third-party market study to help him make the decision about whether to move the proposal forward. NSPS is strongly supporting this effort since it is believed this will meet a national need for on-line baccalaureate education due to the limited number of programs in the country and the associated problems for individuals already working in the profession to avail themselves to residential programs. Once the degree is officially offered by the University on-line, out of state students will be allowed to register for 1.25x Maine instate tuition. Great Basin College in Elko, Nevada that has had an un-accredited on-line baccalaureate degree program for some time is also currently working to get their program ABET accredited.
The NSPS Student Competition will be held in conjunction with the NSPS Spring meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada February 10th thru the 14th of 2018. This year’s competition is a “head to head competition….and I am chairing the competition again this year.
Private Practice: The committee is compiling a list of all the right of entry (“Trespass”) laws in the country as a resource for those states that are working on getting statues passed in their states. Though I have not done so yet, I will forward our statute to that committee’s chair, Bob Aikens of Ohio.
UAS/UAV: NSPS voted to become an Organizational Member of UAVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) so that NSPS would have a place at the table with other industry stake holders as the use of this emerging technology by surveyors grows. There was also a motion to hire a third-party consultant to study and write a set of standards or a best practices document for the use of NSPS members. There were many questions about how this would be accomplished and exactly the purpose of such documents that the committee did not seem to have sufficient answers for. The Committee was asked to refine their proposal and resubmit their proposal at the Spring 2018 meeting.
Editorial Note: If there are individuals within MALSCE who would like to work on this committee, please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward your name to the committee chair, Joanne Williamson with a note of introduction. Joanne is the Director from Hawaii and is working very hard to makes sense of all the information that is out there for our profession.
Surveyor’s Historical Society: Report by Rich Leu of Iowa on the recent SHS Rendezvous in Concord, MA that focused on Thoreau the Surveyor. The setting of the Final Marker for Thoreau greatly impressed the Board.
Treasurer’s Report: NSPS is in the black, but just barely. As with all things financial, a dues increase is inevitable and though the 2018 budget is based on no change in the dues the treasurer expects the next budget will need to include a dues increase. NSPS runs on a calendar year budget and votes its new budget in the Fall (e.g we just voted the 2018 budget at this meeting). Since every state has a different process and timetable for voting dues increases each of us was charged with verifying our state’s process. My understanding is that if the NSPS Board were to vote a dues increase at the February 2018 meetings that would be in time for MALSCE to include that in its July 2018 dues invoice. What I don’t know is when that money is then forwarded to NSPS. Can someone let me know how that works…maybe Rich Keenan? The dues increase that were being bantered about informally was $5 to $10 year. Though everyone would prefer $5 to $10 (human nature), the NSPS Executive Committee will be looking at the strategic plans of NSPS to determine if/where any new funds are needed along with what funds are needed to maintain existing programs. The Treasurer will be providing us with detailed information about the budget planning. Once I have that I will forward it to the MALSCE Board for discussion. These issues will all be discussed at the Spring meetings in Las Vegas. It was also felt that some states may need to look at their specific MOU with NSPS to see if there are any issues contained in them regarding dues increases, etc. that need to be looked at.
NSPS is preparing a proposal to host the 2022 FIG conference in Orlando, FL. This is a huge conference and has significant financial (positive) ramifications for NSPS if it wins its bid to host, but any windfall that comes to NSPS for hosting this conference (it only comes to the US once every few decades) would not come in time to forestall the need for a dues increase, especially when combined with the wisdom (or lack thereof) in using one-time influxes of money to fund general operations of an organization.
By-Laws: There were a number of ministerial changes to Board policies. There were also two By-Law changes that were voted. One was to fix a typo, but the other was to allow for official notice to members of NSPS to be made “any means accepted as standard service at the time of delivery”. This replaces requirements for “first-class, certified or registered mail”. Both were passed.
Government Affairs: NSPS decided last Spring to discontinue joint Lobby Day efforts with MAPPS. In a nutshell, it was felt that the priority of issues being lobbied was being set by MAPPS with little recognition of NSPS’s priorities when they differed from MAPPS. Though the national meetings will be held in February in Las Vegas the Board voted to hold a Lobby Day on Capitol Hill in early April. It was understood that this might add costs for a state to send someone to both meetings but it was hoped that individuals within states charged with their state’s government affairs activities would be able to attend. I will discuss in my general comments below.
NGS- NSRS New Datum: MALSCE needs to be determining when it should file the legislation necessary to change the official datums for Massachusetts to track the language provided by NGS. I am not sure if this should be a MALSCE Government affairs committee function or if a separate Ad-hoc committee should be formed to take care of this, but I think we need to get on this in the next year. Here is the link to the boiler plate language provided by NGS.
Dan Martin, our regional NGS adviser is also available to help us with any technical matters associated with the wording of whatever statute we propose. (Please forgive me if I am behind the curve on this….It may be possible this is “old news” and if this is already being handled by MALSCE and/or MASS DOT, I apologize). I would be happy to assist in this matter in any way I can.
NSPS Young Surveyors Network: No question that after numerous overtures for participation, I have dropped the ball on this one and not followed up with those who have contacted me in the last year. If those who have contacted me before were to re-email me, please be assured that I will prioritize connecting them with the NSPS Young Surveyors leadership in the hopes of really getting this off the ground in Massachusetts. My email is email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Either one is fine.
Some General Concluding Comments:
? The NSPS Board is functioning quite well. There was a bit of a lag when the body moved from being The Board of Governors (advisory to the Board of Directors) to being the actual Board that had to make decisions and be both responsible for their execution and their financial soundness. By combining the roles, the Board members from each of
the states are now closer to where “The rubber meets the road”. Previously, many members of the BOG saw their role as being a passive liaison merely reporting back to their state on the goings on. Now all but a few of the board members are actively working on committees in the months between meetings. Many of the committees are
also using conferencing software and meeting throughout the year remotely.
? New England is well represented and quite active at the national level. All the Board members from the New England states are active on committees and active in Board deliberations. We are also fortunate that several key committees are chaired by New England Board members and we continue to actively participate in national leadership.
? Greater Participation: Strategically, I think MALSCE would benefit from having additional members attend and participate in these national meetings. Many states send their current president or a senior staff member, if not regularly, on occasion. Many of these are states with smaller memberships, lower dues, and/or more active state
educational and/or membership programs then MALSCE. I do not think we need to send huge “delegations” to these national meetings but I think there would be a great benefit for MALSCE to fund each president to attend one meeting during their term which equates to one meeting out of four during their two-year term. In a perfect world it would
be the first meeting after their becoming President. I also think that funding the attendance of a senior staff person once every two years (again, one meeting out of every four) would be a great benefit. If MALSCE were to budget $1200/yr., with say the President going in the odd years and a staff person in the even years, much could be
accomplished without burdening either with an overload of travel or meetings.
? I also believe that MALSCE should be funding out of its external affairs budget the travel for a member and a staff person (assumedly our External Affairs chair and our External Affairs Director) to attend and participate in the NSPS Lobby Day. I think, again, $1200 per person would be an appropriate amount to budget for this. One thing that NSPS wants to do is make sure that when members meet with their state’s delegation that not only national issues are addressed but that if there are federal issues that are of a more local or regional concern that they can be worked into the meetings. I would hope this would resonate with MALSCE since many of our issues are of this nature. Using Lobby Day for states to bring up their own issues was not able to be done (or done well) when working with MAPPS, and it is hoped that an NSPS only Lobby Day will be able to be shaped to allow for this to take place.
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