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Administrative Staff Reports

November 10, 2017

The interim Grant Officer is Maryalice. This is the summary of related grant activity through early November. 

Major projects completed.   
The LearningWorks compliance review final report was issued. There was only one noncompliant file and resulted in a disallowance of $500 which the agency has repaid. The file for one person had documentation that was obtained late. In fact, the file had been accidentally shredded when the agency digitized its filing system and recreating the file meant obtaining background checks that had late dates. The person was eligible to serve. There were no instances of fiscal noncompliance or problems related to terms and conditions. It should be noted the program leadership changed during the summer. The new AmeriCorps program manager is an experienced teacher which seems to make a difference in cooperation from the individual school buildings. 

The Goodwill Industries of Northern New England (GINNE) Take2 compliance and performance review was completed. Again, the former MCCS Grant Officer had done the record inspection and testing but did not issue the report. There were 7 noncompliant member records. The disallowance amounts to $3,500. There are some issues the agency must correct in order to ensure compliance of the other AmeriCorps grant it operates. 

The compiled report of AmeriCorps grant performance for the period 9/1/2016-8/31/2017 was completed and submitted to the federal agency on October 30. The report was given to the Grant Selection and Performance Task Force for review at their November 3 meeting. Minutes for that session have their comments. Recruitment and enrollment is a serious ongoing issue. 

Two AmeriCorps grants slated for closing after year 2 of the usual 3 years were, in fact, closed out: Medical Care Development’s AmeriCorps Somerset County and GINNE’s Take 2. 

A complete slate of peer reviewers was recruited, considered by the Grant Task Force and certified to serve. Membership of the group will not be public until the grant selection process is complete in June because, usually, reviewers contribute time to more than one competition. If Commissioners have candidates for the spring peer reviews, please direct them to the grants section of our business site where there is a role description and application. 

The introduction or training for tasks members of the Grant Selection and Performance Task Force will carry out in December was done at their November 3 meeting. 

The AmeriCorps State Competitive Request for Proposals was finalized, reviewed by the Division of Procurement Services, and published. The deadline for submitting proposals was moved to November 28 because the legal review took longer than anticipated. The change shouldn’t impact the timeline for completing reviews. 

Instructions for AmeriCorps State Competitive grantees applying for continuations were issued. As usual, the directions from the federal agency say the programs may not ask for an increase in funds and may not increase the cost-per-member even though the minimum required stipend for 1700 hour AmeriCorps members increased $1,100. 

Issues to be aware of:  
-- The Northern Maine AmeriCorps Collaborative has not begun operation. The funding leveraged by AmeriCorps was largely workforce development funding for youth summer employment and training disconnected youth (16-24, not in the workforce and not in school). Those funds are no longer available. The grantee, Eastern Maine Development Corp., is exploring two options but may have to forego the project. They will notify the Commission by November 16. 

-- Six of the seven grantees have had a change in the AmeriCorps program director position in the past nine months. The most recent changes: Meghan McCormick is leaving Maine Campus Compact; Sara Knowles was appointed director for Maine Conservation Corps. 

-- Maine Conservation Corps member records review is 50% complete. I took a break while the brought on a new administrative assistant and selected the new leader. The review will be complete by the end of the month. 

-- CNCS has made major changes in the National Performance Measures. These were announced when they were published as part of the grant competition documents. Going forward, we will have grantees operating under the “old” system through the end of their grants and new awards using the updated measures. 

-- The deadline for submitting applications to Personnel for the open Grants Officer position was November 13. We look forward to sorting through them and identifying potential candidates! 

Major focus of effort for the next month  
- Completion of Maine Conservation Corps monitoring review and report

- Risk assessment of current/continuing grantees

- Process AmeriCorps proposals submitted and facilitate grant assessment by peer reviewers and task force

- Update progress report instructions to make better use of OnCorps functions and distribute before January. First report is due January 20.

- Motivate programs to complete start up tasks for current year. Only half the tasks were done by October 20 deadline. These include entering approved budget, performance measures, member position descriptions, sites, supervisors and members.

- Hire the new Grant Officer