Virginia State Bar

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

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Construction Law & Public Contracts

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

Meeting Minutes - April 16, 2014

Minutes of the Virginia State Bar
Construction Law & Public Contracts Section
Board of Governors  Meeting

I. Call to Order – 12:00 PM. Present on call: Sean Howley (Chair), Mike Branca (Vice Chair), Shannon Briglia (Secretary), Jennifer Mahar (Treasurer), Brett Marston (Past Chair), Scott Kowalski, Christopher Boynton, Steve Test, Spencer Wiegard, Dan Fitch, J. Barrett Lucy, Mark Crawford, Randy Wintory, Hobie Andrews, Allison Mullins, Hanna Blake and Dolly Shaffer (VSB). Absent: Hon. Robert Ballou, Hon. Robert M.D. Turk, Hon. J. Overton Harris, and Blair Lonergan (Va CLE).

II. Approval of Minutes from January 15, 2014 meeting - Minutes were unanimously approved.

III. 2014 Membership/Financial Report - Jennifer Mahar reported that Section finances are sufficient to cover final year end needs. The most significant expenses this past year included newsletter mailing/publication, the Joint Va/MD/DC section networking event and the Board dinner at the November program. Scott Kowalski requested that the next year’s budget include $500-600 for the annual Handbook hyperlink updates. Section membership remained relatively stable, with four new dues paying members.

IV. Chair’s Report – Sean Howley reported that our updated Five Year Plan was sent to the VSB for review and comment. Dolly and Sean agreed to discuss ways to encourage new layers to become involved in our Section (i.e., offering a 1 year free Section membership). Sean indicated that he will report on this initiative at the next Board meeting.

V. Fall Seminar – Chris Boynton and Randy Wintory reported that the fall program is fully developed and many speakers have been secured. The theme is a “Best Practices Clinic” and will include ethics presented by Tom Spahn, a mechanic’s lien segment presented by Jim Windsor, payment bonds presented by Hanna Blake and Chris Hill, a sticks and bricks presentation on the Battlefield Boulevard reconstruction project during lunch by Charlie Bolyard of McDonough, Bolyard & Peck, a federal government contracts panel moderated by Bob Cox, a panel on construction defects presented by David Wise and Kristan Burch, an in-house counsel panel chaired by Neil Lowenstein, a panel involving a judge and private attorney on resolving complex construction disputes moderated by Shannon Briglia, a presentation on construction claim preparation and presentation moderated by Brett Marston and, finally, the construction law update presented by Tom Wolf.

VI. Handbook Committee Report (Scott Kowalski) – After the successful launch this past fall of the hyperlinked Handbook, the committee is now turning its attentionto the semi-annual update. Scott and his committee (Hanna Blake and Dan Fitch) are working on assignments for updating the Handbook and will issue assignments and due dates in the near future.

VII. Newsletter Committee (Jennifer Mahar and Barrett Lucy) - The Spring Newsletter is in the final stages of completion and is expected to be published in early May. The current edition will report on the new decision in the Carnell Construction dispute, as well as several other new cases. The Committee Co-Chairs are meeting with the State Bar Publication Department to explore ways to reduce the costs of issuing the newsletter. One option is to reduce the length of the Chair letter to 1 page. In addition to working on cost control, Jennifer Mahar is trying to transition her role as Co-Chair of this committee to Hanna Blake. Jennifer and Barrett want to recognize that Jessie Kean of Pekar will be assisting with the Fall Newsletter and Jessie Gordon of Pendar Coward was extremely helpful with the Spring Newsletter.

VIII. Summer Program Committee (Chris Boynton) – Chris Boynton reported that the Summer Program is being presented in conjunction with five other Sections on the topic of P3s. The program will feature Senator Tommy Norment, Cynthia Hudson, Chuck Wall and Patrick McSweeney. It will occur on June 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and will be immediately followed by a Board meeting and then, at 12:00 noon, a Bar luncheon. Mr. Boynton further reported that a dinner for the Board will be arranged again for the Thursday before the Friday program, at Salacia at the Hilton Hotel.

IX. Membership (Allison Mullins) – Allison reports that she is working on a seminar to be held in Tidewater. She hopes to have a judge committed to the program before the next meeting.

X. Social Media (Chris Hill) – Chris Hill reported that all efforts to energize social media through the VSB are still barred. Sean will follow up on creating and issuing a member survey to gauge Section interest in various forms of social media.

XI. Publications Committee (Randy Wintory) – Randy Wintory reported that his committee did not receive any articles by the April 1 deadline as requested at the last Board meeting and they still have space for 4 articles. Potential topics include green building, teaming agreements, statute of repose in light of a recent Va. S.Ct. case, and Job Order Contracting under the VPPA. His committee would really like to have a judge author, and it was suggested that he send an email to all 24 of our judicial members extending an offer for them to publish in the Section exclusive edition. The deadline for articles is October 1, 2014.

XII. Five Year Plan Committee – As noted earlier, the updated Plan has been submitted to VSB and we are awaiting comments or approval.

XIII. Website (Spencer Wiegard) – Spencer reported that he has identified a number of updates which are required for our Section webpage, including missing meeting minutes, links to Construction Law articles and the Index to Annual Seminar Papers. Spencer is undertaking efforts to implement these updates.

XIV. Old Business – Jennifer Mahar reported that the third annual Joint Reception with the Maryland State Bar’s Construction Section is scheduled for May 15, 2014 in Bethesda, MD. An email blast is scheduled to occur and a link to the event has been posted to the Section website. The alcohol is being sponsored by Navigant Consulting so the estimated cost to the Section for the event food is $300.00. There was some discussion of exploring the same concept with the North Carolina Bar. Mike Branca advised that he has had preliminary discussions with Jim Schenck of Conner Gwynn Schenck in Raleigh, NC, and will follow up and report on his discussions at the next meeting.

XV. New Business

a. Sean Howley reported that a Nominating Committee, chaired by Prior Chair Todd Metz, will begin working on a proposed slate. The Nominating Committee must consist of five members, two of which are current Board members. Sean advised that he has received several nominations and he solicited other nominations to be forwarded to the committee. The Nominating Committee’s proposal will be voted upon by the membership at the June 13th Board meeting.

b. The Board discussed the writing competition idea raised at the last meeting by Randy Wintory. It was agreed to defer the topic for now, as any action will have to wait a year for implementation due to the need to budget the costs for awards.

The Meeting adjourned at 12:55 p.m.

The next Meeting is scheduled for June 13th, at approximately 11:15 a.m. immediately following the presentation.