Last updated: 2 June 2015

Terms of Reference

The Government Relations Task Team is established to serve the Board of Directors in government relation activities. The charge of the Task Team is to prepare and update approaches and information materials on GCOOS-RA matters to legislative bodies and staffers, upper level governmental personnel, and other influential persons or entities. The goal of the Task Team is to improve relationships and communications between the GCOOS-RA and these decision-making entities.

The Task Team responsibilities include:

  • Develop approaches, protocols and suggested operational procedures for the GCOOS-RA that will lead to the establishment and/or maintenance of strong relationships with elected officials, their staff, and other governmental agencies.
  • Recommend to the GCOOS-RA Board and membership appropriate positions on issues related to ocean observing systems and ocean policy.
  • When requested by the GCOOS-RA Executive Director, review and approve flyers and brochures intended to provide information for legislative bodies or high-level executive personnel on GCOOS, ocean observing, ocean policy, and other matters relating to GCOOS-RA interests in the Gulf of Mexico. Such approval should include confirmation that no lobbying content is included.
  • Provide appropriate outreach information to members and others interested in discussing GCOOS matters with their legislative representative.
  • Develop testimony for legislative bodies and other governmental entities when invited to do so.
  • Write GCOOS-RA position papers on ocean observing system or ocean policy issues, as directed by the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors or Executive Director. These position papers will be informational and reflect thoughts of the GCOOS-RA Board of Directors.
  • Work with national, state, and local agencies on their programs that relate to GCOOS-RA interests.

The Task Team will undertake only outreach activities and will not engage in any lobbying or advocacy activities, either actual or implied, when dealing with elected officials. For purposes of this restriction, lobbying or advocacy activities shall mean, but not be limited to: (i) direct advocacy for the adoption or rejection of legislation and (ii) efforts to encourage the public to contact members of a legislative body to propose, support, or oppose legislation or the government’s budget process.

The Board will appoint the Chair of the Government Relations Task Team. There will be approximately 10-15 members on the Task Team. Membership will consist of people, knowledgeable about the GCOOS and GCOOS-RA, from a range of areas, including the private, non-governmental organization, academic, government, and education/outreach sectors. When possible, one member from Florida should also be cognizant of public policy positions of SECOORA to allow coordination of positions impacting overlapping jurisdiction. The NFRA Executive Director may be appointed to an ex officio position on the Task Team. It will provide regular reports on their activities to the GCOOS-RA Board

Government Relations Task Team Membership

Name Affiliation Sector State
Mike Spranger, Chair University of Florida Academic FL
Jan van Smirren Fugro GEOS Private TX
Terry McPherson Baldwin Group Private NC
Jerry Boatman QinetiQ North America Private MS
Chloe Lieberknecht The Nature Conservancy NGO TX
Barb Kirkpatrick Executive Director, GCOOS-RA Academic FL/TX
Landry Bernard USM Academic MS
Sara Graves University of Alabama – Huntsville Academic AL
Nancy Rabalais Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium Academic LA
Josie Quintrell IOOS Association, Ex-Officio    
Susan Martin GCOOS-RA, Support Staff    
Pasquale Rosigno BOEM, GCOOS-RA Board Liaison    

Board Liaison

Pasquale Roscigno
Terry McPherson