There is created in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services the Board of Professional Surveyors and Mappers.
(1) The board shall consist of nine members, six of whom shall be registered surveyors and mappers primarily engaged in the practice of surveying and mapping, one of whom shall be a registered surveyor and mapper with the designation of photogrammetrist, and two of whom shall be laypersons who are not and have never been surveyors and mappers or members of any closely related profession or occupation.
(2) Members shall be appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
(a) Members shall be appointed for 4-year terms, and such terms shall expire on October 31. However, a term of less than 4 years may be used to ensure that no more than 3 members’ terms expire during the same calendar year.
(b) A member whose term has expired shall continue to serve on the board until such time as a replacement is appointed. A vacancy on the board must be filled for the unexpired portion of the term in the same manner as the original appointment. A member may not serve for more than the remaining portion of a previous member’s unexpired term plus two consecutive 4-year terms of the member’s own appointment thereafter.
(3) The board shall annually elect from among its number a chairperson and vice chairperson.
(4) The board shall meet at least once annually and may meet as often as is necessary. The chairperson or a quorum of the board have the authority to call other meetings.
(a) A quorum is necessary for the conduct of official business by the board or any committee thereof. Unless otherwise provided by law, 51 percent or more of the appointed members of the board or any committee, when applicable, constitute a quorum.
(b) The membership of committees of the board, except as otherwise authorized under this chapter, shall be composed of currently appointed members of the board. The vote of a majority of the members of the quorum is necessary for any official action by the board or committee.
(c) Three consecutive unexcused absences or absences constituting 50 percent or more of the board’s meetings within any 12-month period shall cause the board membership of the member in question to become void, and the position shall be considered vacant. The board shall define unexcused absences by rule.
(5) Unless otherwise provided by law, a board member or former board member serving on a probable cause panel must be compensated $50 for each day in attendance at an official meeting of the board and for each day participating in any other business involving the board. The board shall adopt a rule defining the phrase “other business involving the board.” However, the phrase may not routinely be defined to include telephone conference calls. A board member is also entitled to reimbursement for expenses pursuant to s. 112.061. Travel out of state requires the prior approval of the commissioner or the commissioner’s designee.
(6) The department and the board may advise licensees periodically, through the publication of a newsletter, of information that the department or the board determines is of interest to the industry. Unless otherwise prohibited by law, the department and the board shall publish a summary of final orders resulting in fines, suspensions, or revocations, and any other information the department or the board determines is of interest to the public.
(7)(a) Each board member is accountable to the commissioner for the proper performance of his or her duties as a member of the board. The commissioner shall investigate any legally sufficient complaint or unfavorable written report received by the commissioner or by the department or the board concerning the actions of the board or its individual members. The commissioner may suspend from office any board member for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform the member’s official duties, or commission of a felony.
(b) Each board member and each former board member serving on a probable cause panel is exempt from civil liability for any act or omission committed while acting in the member’s official capacity. The department shall defend any member in any action against the board or a member of the board. In addition, the department may defend the member’s company or business in any action against the company or business if the department determines that the actions from which the suit arises are actions taken by the member in the member’s official capacity and were within the scope of the member’s statutory authority. In providing such defense, the department may employ or use the legal services of the Department of Legal Affairs or outside counsel retained pursuant to s. 287.059. Fees and costs of providing legal services under this subsection shall be paid from the General Inspection Trust Fund, subject to ss. 215.37 and 472.011.