Meeting Date: 4/21/2020

Meeting Location: GoTo Meeting due to COVID-19
Approved – May 19, 2020
Recorded by: Susie Bishop


I. Welcome & Introductions
Scott Kirouac, HSWCD Supervisor – Board Chairman
John Causey, HSWCD Supervisor – Vice-Chairman
Steve Smith, HSWCD Supervisor
Pam Fentress, HSWCD Supervisor
Jim Brooks, Highlands County Commission Liaison
Susie Bishop, HSWCD Executive Director
Laurie Hurner, Highlands Co. Extension
Chad Allison, CFRPC – Project Manager
Roland Bishop, Heacock Insurance

II. Approval of Agenda
Motion to approve agenda as presented (Smith/Fentress) Unanimous approval.
Presentation/Discussion – Liability Insurance Policy-R. Bishop, Heacock Insurance
Group – Agent Bishop presented to the board the options for increasing the General Liability from $ 1 million to $ 2 million. The cost would be an additional $ 707.00 annually and would require an umbrella policy to increase over $ 1 million. HSWCD currently has “liability” coverage in the auto policy for auto accidents, in general liability for claims outside of auto accidents and workers’ comp policy to cover any employee accidents/injuries. Directors & Officers policy covers the Supervisors as individuals for $ 1 million. Discussion regarding all policies took place. Board directed S. Bishop to seek legal input as to how protected the Supervisors’ personal assets are via these policies.

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes – February 18, 2020
Motion to approve minutes as presented. (Fentress/Causey). Unanimous approval.

IV. Financial Activity
a. Overview & Approval of Financial Reports – February & March 2020 – Chairman Kirouac asked if there were any questions regarding the reports. Receiving none, motion made to approve financial reports as presented (Causey/Smith). Unanimous approval.

V. Agency Partner Updates (not on agenda, partners present were offered time to give updates)
a. Extension – L. Hurner reported the current working conditions are very different with lots of desk/computer work getting accomplished. She meets weekly via teleconference UF Dean of Extension and all Extension Directors. Tele-meetings with her staff take place on a daily basis. Everyone on staff has completed their hurricane training.
b. HCBCC – Brooks reported most of the county staff is working from home now except for essential services. The Board scheduled a special meeting for April 28 to discuss options/plan for re-opening the county for business and at what levels. The Governor’s plans should be announced by this date. Advent Health conducted a day of mass testing for COVID-19 this past weekend. Results should be released by Thursday. Brooks expressed his concern for people out of work right now.
c. CFRPC – Allison reported The RCPP application they submitted with NRCS was denied but they plan to apply again. There is some funding via DEP that is being applied for by CFRPC for easements in Okeechobee. Funds for easements in Polk County are being applied for via the State. There are currently two easement purchases being completed in Highlands County.

VI. Old Business
a. Scholarship History – Bishop shared the minutes from the Feb. 26, 2016 Board meeting when vote was taken to provide scholarships. While it was voted then to provide for 5 years, it was on an annual year of approval in the budget. Bishop also provided email responses from both colleges, Warner Southern & South Florida, regarding who received these scholarships. Warner provided information and followed with thank you notes from the recipients. South Florida replied that none of the scholarship dollars have been awarded due to strict criteria. Bishop will inquire with South Florida regarding what was done with these funds and report back to the Board next month. Desires to re distribute scholarship funds to more local projects within the county were discussed along with asking SFSC for the return on the unused funds totaling $8,000.00 to date. Topic will be brought back to the next Board meeting.
b. Grant Application – Bishop presented the draft of a Grant Application for HSWCD to distribute when asked for contributions. Chairman Kirouac presented option to table this item until a live meeting can take place. Fentress made a motion to accept the application as presented, second by Smith. Unanimous approval.

VII. New Business
a. COVID-19 Working Conditions – Bishop explained to the Board how they are scheduling work time in the office vs. at home, the daily scheduled GoTo meetings held at 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and the work being accomplished by staff.
b. Office Space & Staffing – Purchasing of some new furniture for anticipated increase in staff has been completed, but with COVID-19, all hiring of state employees has been halted. Bishop is currently advertising for a MIL Technician with no applicants to date. Having had discussions with Congressman Stuebe’s aide and the County Administrator Vosburg it is very likely we will be granted the office space of the Congressman when they vacate to move to Lake Placid Government Center. HSWCD is also working to create a conference room area within the office.
c. Filings & Elections – S. Bishop reported D. Deen, S. Smith, & J. Causey are all up for re-election in Nov. 2020. They will need to file for their seats during filing week of June 8-12, 2020. Bishop will provide the necessary paperwork to them in May. At this time there are no other candidates known.

VIII. Executive Director’s Report
 Bishop reported she attended the Lay of the Land Conference and felt it was worth her time to be there. The conference’s primary focus was on Hemp growing.
b. Due to the notification from the Federal Gov regarding their liability for our MIL Manager driving the USDA-NRCS truck Bishop engaged FDACS-OAWP to assist in resolving the issue. Funds were made available and a truck was purchased for the MIL program. It is owned by HSWCD with a state issued license tag.
c. Bishop reported the recent resignation of BMP Technician W. Johnson. He has not provided a formal letter of resignation, but has told Bishop verbally and in an email with an ending date of employment for June 30, 2020. Discussion regarding his performance, reasons for leaving, Bishop’s attempt to meet with him and input she has received from a  labor attorney used by Okeechobee SWCD. The consensus of the board was for Bishop to determine acceptance of resignation and course of action as to final day of employment. Due to length of employment time no annual leave will be paid out to Johnson and his work agreement states no un-used sick leave time is paid when position is vacated.
d. HSWCD has always used a fairly simply work agreement form for new employees, a vehicle use policy and various agreements technicians are required to sign with OAWP.  Due to the recent staffing issues Bishop is currently writing an employee handbook for HSWCD.

XI. Supervisor Comments
Fentress – None
Deen – None
Causey – None
Smith – None
Kirouac – Shared his filing to run for County Commission.

Meeting Adjourned 4:55 P.M.