The Brevard Soil and Water Conservation District met in regular public session on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, at 4:00 p.m., in the UF/IFAS auditorium, UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County, 3695 Lake Drive, Cocoa, FL.
The meeting was called to order by the Chairman, Bud Crisafulli , at 4:00 p.m. COVID-19 personal and environmental protection procedures for public meetings in Brevard County buildings and areas were in effect at the Board of Supervisors meeting. The meeting was electronically recorded by the secretary, Jim Sloan .
Board members present were: Bud Crisafulli, Chairman, Supervisor Group 5
James Sloan, Supervisor Group 2
Jonathan Schuman, Supervisor Group 4
Staff members present: Joe Walter, UF /IFAS Agriculture Extension Agent
Mike Engelgau, BSWCD Engineering Technician VI
Chelsea Partridge, Supervisor-Elect Group 3,
Adam Tritt, Supervisor-Elect Group 1
Visitors and Presenters: Richard Anderson
Passed by Motion & Vote –
* Treasurer’s Report for the Period of October 14, 2020 to December 8, 2020.
* Treasurer’s Report for the Period of September 9, 2020 to October 13, 2020.
Reported for Public Records –
* Government-In-The-Sunshine Manual, 2020 Edition, Volume 42, A Reference for Compliance with Florida’s Public Records and Open Meetings Laws. Distributed for personal reference by all sitting Brevard Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisors on questions about the Sunshine Law.
* Email 11/17/2020; Jack Gaskins <Jack.Gaskins@DEO.My Florida.com>, Government Analyst, FL Department of Economic Opportunity, Special District Accountability Program.
* Email 12/4/2020; Pat Gleason < Pat.Gleason@myfloridalegal.com >, Special Counsel for open government, Office of the Attorney General.
No formal presentations were scheduled by Brevard S&WC District supervisors, staff, or guests.
Review and Approval of Minutes for prior Board of Supervisors meeting.
A motion without amendment by James Sloan, was seconded by Jonathan Schuman to approve meeting minutes for the October 14, 2020 Board of Supervisors meeting. The motion was passed by unanimous vote of the supervisors.
A motion without amendment by James Sloan, was seconded by Jonathan Schuman to approve the October 14, 2020 to December 8, 2020 Treasurer’s Report. The motion was passed by unanimous vote of the supervisors.
Jonathan Schuman, District Treasurer, provided the year-end financial report for the Brevard S&WC District accounts with the Bank of America. The ending balance for the checking account was $22,450.45 on 12/8/2020. The ending balance for the certificate of deposit account was $27,112.44 on 12/8/2020. Supervisors Schuman and Crisafulli arranged a schedule to visit the Bank of America branch office to remove Adam Perez from the signature cards for both accounts and authorize the Jonathan Schuman signature for account checking and control of the accounts.
Mike Engelgau reported that the audit of our website brevardsoilandwater.org will continue until December 31st. He also verified that the Brevard District could use a fl.nacdnet.net mailbox for our business emails. Jack Gaskins of the Special District Accountability Program for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) was notified that the Brevard District email address firstname.lastname@example.org has been changed to Michael.Engelgau@fl.nacdnet.net on the DEO records. All email to the Brevard Soil & Water Conservation District office from other districts, supervisors and Florida state agencies shall use Michael.Engelgau@fl.nacdnet.net.
Bud Crisafulli asked for permission to use an old logo of the Brevard District on shirts being designed for supervisors and technician staff identification at meetings, business, and public venues. The new logo is too large and detailed for reproduction and printing above the shirt pocket location. It will be a long sleeve shirt with button down collar and embroidered district organization name and logo. The consensus of supervisors and supervisors-elect was to approve use of the old logo. Jim Sloan verified that the approximate cost of $50.00 per shirt would be paid with Brevard District funds.
A discussion was carried over from a previous District Board meeting about whether joint field surveys by two or more supervisors working on the same study, survey or project plan were violations of the Florida Sunshine and Public Records Laws. Jim Sloan was referred by Pat Gleason, Special Counsel for open government, of the Office of the Attorney General to their reference – Government-In-The-Sunshine Manual, 2020 Edition, Volume 42, A Reference for Compliance with Florida’s Public Records and Open Meetings Laws. The answer to the question of joint field surveys, studies, and project planning was “yes” two supervisors (but not more than two) can jointly work together for fact finding with the following constraints.
* Three or more supervisors would constitute a quorum and that would constitute a meeting of the board . That is prohibited by the FL Sunshine Law.
* The two supervisors in joint activity must be considered a fact-finding only advisory committee. They must be delegated information gathering or fact finding authority by the board of supervisors with avoidance of decision making and/or discussion of subjects that may be referred later to the board of supervisors in public business meetings.
* The FL Sunshine Law does not apply to individual supervisor meetings with staff members or a fact-finding committee’s work with staff members.
* Boards in quorum must not travel together on fact finding tours – even with separation of seating and avoidance of discussion of facts and observations. Such situations constitute a violation of law specifying the open board meeting in a public forum ruling.
Jim Sloan will draft a district rule to cover the FL Sunshine Law constraints as addressed in the Government-In-The-Sunshine Manual. The draft rule will be offered by email to district board supervisors for review after the Supervisors-Elect are seated in January 2021. No reply comments will be requested, and the District Board Rule 2021-1 will be presented for discussion, amendment and motion-to-adopt at the February 2021 meeting. Complete file copies of the Government-In-The-Sunshine Manual will be sent by email attachment to all supervisors for their personal reference during review of draft District Board Rule 2021-1.
Bud Crisafulli reported that the legislative luncheon was tentatively proposed date of January 7th. He said he would send an email to all supervisors with the actual date for the legislative luncheon. Joe Walters verified the proposed date and cautioned that Brevard County COVID -19 guidelines might make it difficult for the UF/IFAS Extension staff to hold a luncheon at the agricultural extension building.
Mike Engelgau gave the results of the USDA/NRCS audit to the Board at the December 9th meeting. He informed the board the Brevard/Seminole District Conservationist for the NRCS Field Office in Cocoa is still in the personnel selection process of USDA/NRCS. The following is the update data report as approved for release by the NRCS District Conservationist, Chuck O’Rourke.
o Active Conservation Program Contracts Brevard County-12-8-2021
* Contracts 12
* Obligations $938,190.37
* Payments $187,505.37
* Contract Acres 7,478.9
o EQIP 2018 Conservation Program Applications for Fiscal Year 2021, Brevard, Florida
* Total Contracts 7
Chelsea Partridge offered a planning submission letter from the floor at the December 9th meeting. The document lists four ideas she personally plans to pursue in 2021 as a seated district supervisor, along with two items she would like to implement with the help of other board members. The letter will be distributed to the board members for information and review prior to being added to the New Business agenda, so Chelsea can brief those items and answer a few questions. Discussion may have to be carried over into subsequent monthly board meetings.
A general discussion was held among the board members as to how the District’s public business meeting can reach a larger audience throughout Brevard County. Improvements to the content and accessibility of the District’s website were discussed but have to wait for restoral of local upload capability after audit completion on December 31. Joe Walters offered the existing capability of the agricultural extension building currently used to conduct training meetings with ZOOM coverage. They use the ZOOM capability for large audience virtual classes conducted by UF/ IFAS Extension. Chelsea Partridge said she had experience using ZOOM for virtual political club meetings and would coordinate with Joe Walters on the proper equipment setup and meeting control procedures needed to achieve Brevard County wide coverage of meetings using the UF/IFAS Extension building capability.
Upon consensus of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.
Prepared for board review and approval by ,
Secretary, Board of Supervisors
James E. Sloan