The Alabama State Board of Midwifery met on Friday, May 4, 2018, to conduct business of this recently created board. Those in attendance were Ms. Noel Leithart (Board Chair), Ms. Tori Dennis (Vice Chair), Ms. Kaycee Cavender (member), Ms. Stacey Bufkin (member), Ms. Marietta Nero (member) and Ms. Colleen Tullis (member). The meeting was held at Warren & Company, Inc. located at 2777 Zelda Road in Montgomery. Also present were Mr. Bill Garrett, Assistant Attorney General and Ms. Renee’ Reames (Executive Secretary to Mr. Warren and recording secretary). Ms. Leithart called the meeting to order at 10:11 a.m. indicating that a quorum of the Board was present.
The Board meeting was advertised on the Secretary of State’s website, www.sos.state.al.us, in accordance with the Alabama Open Meetings Act. Ms. Leithart welcomed both members and guests present at the meeting.
The oath of office was administered to the new Board member, Ms. Marietta Nero, by Ms. Jennifer Love, a Notary Public. The meeting agenda was presented by Ms. Leithart for the Board’s approval. Ms. Dennis made the motion to adopt the agenda as presented. The motion was seconded by Ms. Bufkin and unanimously approved by the Board.
Mr. Garrett reported that the advertised date to received public comments concerning the Board’s proposed Rules was published in error. He explained that the actual deadline for comments was May 4, 2018 and the Board had already received many comments. Mr. Garrett recommended that the Board’s proposed Rules be pulled from publication and the Board consider the many public comments and conduct a full review of the Rules. Ms. Dennis made the motion to pull the proposed Board Rules from publication. The motion was seconded by Ms. Cavender and unanimously approved by the Board.
Ms. Leithart opened the floor for comments and the following individuals presented public comments, in addition to the written comments submitted by them, concerning the proposed Board Rules that had been publicized: Mr. Gregg Everett representing the Alabama Hospital Association and Mr. Cheairs Porter representing the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. Ms. Leithart thanked the individuals for their comments and guidance. She indicated that the Board had reviewed and approved various forms at their last meeting that did not get publicized. Mr. Garrett indicated that following a review of the Rules and comments, new proposed Rules would be published and a public hearing would be held to consider any comments. There were no additional comments concerning the Rules and several attendees from the public left the meeting.
Ms. Leithart presented the minutes from the March 9, 2018 inaugural meeting for the Board’s approval. Ms. Bufkin recommended the minutes be amended on page 3, line 1, to indicate Complaint Investigation. Also recommended was to amend page 3, paragraph 9, to reflect that the Board’s website was ALSBM.org. Ms. Cavender made the motion to accept the March 9, 2018 minutes as amended. The motion was seconded by Ms. Dennis and unanimously accepted.
Ms. Dennis asked for clarification about using personal funds to establish the Board’s website and rent a USPS Box on behalf of the Board. Mr. Garrett explained that personal receipts should be submitted for reimbursement once Board funds were available.
Ms. Leithart presented the Board Chair Report. She reported that a website domain had been acquired and the Board discussed the specific headings and information to be posted to the website: list of Board members, their designation and terms, Board-approved minutes, Board Seal, Board statute, Rules and Regulations, licensure search, forms, fees, and Board office contact information.
The Board discussed forming a Rules Committee to begin the process of considering the public comments submitted on the previously published proposed Rules. Mr. Garrett stated that the Board Counsel would be available to review and comment on the new proposed Rules prior to publication. Also discussed was the composition of the Committee and Ms. Leithart asked for volunteers. Each member indicated an interest in serving and the logistic of having a Rules Committee meeting was discussed. Mr. Garrett reported that the request for an AG’s opinion concerning electronic meetings was still pending and meetings must be held at a physical location pending receipt of the AG’s opinion.
Ms. Colleen Tullis arrived at 11:21 a.m. to participate in the Board meeting. Ms. Jennifer Love, Notary Public, administered the oath of office to new Board member, Ms. Tullis.
Mr. Garrett explained that the purpose of the Rules and Regulations was to clarify the statute and its jurisdiction and define procedures. The Board further discussed that the purpose of the Board was not to focus on protecting the licensees, but in creating a process for individuals to become licensed and protecting the public. The Board discussed being a source for the public to become aware of licensure for midwives.
Ms. Leithart inquired about Board members participating in professional associations and Mr. Garrett advised members to not discuss Board business outside of official Board meetings.
Mr. Garrett explained that Board committees comprised of a quorum of the Board would require public notice, meeting minutes and be open to the public. He recommended a few members comprise the Rules Committee and meet prior to the next Board meeting for the purpose of formulating a recommendation to the Board, and present the recommendations at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. He also recommended that the Rules Committee slow the process of formulating Rules and related forms and give thorough consideration to the public comments submitted. He recommended that the Board members direct their communications through the administrative office of Warren and Company to share information and schedule meetings. He commented on the Alabama Open Meetings Act, the Administrative Procedures Act and risk management coverage specific to handling Board business outside of official Board meetings.
Ms. Leithart commented on the members interest to serve on the Rules Committee and she appointed each member to the Committee. She stated that the Rules Committee meetings would be posted on the Secretary of State website for public awareness.
Ms. Cavender reported that a $10,000 donation had been made to the Board and the process of setting up STAARS accounting system was underway.
The members discussed scheduling the next Board meeting. Ms. Reames recommended that the Board establish several meetings dates in 2018 and post the meetings on the Secretary of State website. Ms. Dennis made the motion for the Board to meet at 11:00 a.m. on June 8th and July 20th. The motion was seconded by Ms. Cavender and unanimously approved.
There was no further business of the Board, and Ms. Leithart adjourned the meeting at 12:16 p.m.
Noel J. Leithart