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Administrative Staff Reports

November 1, 2018

Major projects completed

  • Two request for proposal documents were edited, cleared for issuing by Div of Procurement, and the competition notice was published. The 2018 rural and standard AmeriCorps competitions opened October 26 and submission date is November 30.
  • The second round of advertising for candidates for the secretary specialist position closed. Of 20 eligible candidates, 4 accepted interviews that will occur on November 5.
  • Secured hiring freeze exemption for the Grant Officer but expect it to follow the same multiple rounds of interviewing experienced with the secretary specialist. For that reason, arranged for an acting capacity Grant Office to assist me with a wide variety of year end tasks. Jared McCannell will start work on November 5. Acting capacity positions are temporary and time limited.
  • Updated info graphic for Commission. The changes incorporated feedback from Commissioners. A copy of the revision is posted in the Background section of November’s HQ Happenings.

Issues to be aware of –

  • Secured extension on filing the AmeriCorps annual progress reports. This became necessary when Laurel changed her departure date to mid-month. The reports were due October 30. They are now due November 16. Michael and I have traded tasks so he is filing these. The reports are a “roll up” of data submitted by grantees over the past year in OnCorps (MCCS online grant management system) and analysis of their challenges.
  • Nationally, the commission on national service that is looking at how to increase service by young adults convened a small group of state commission directors for a discussion of issues. The commission is looking at military, public, and CNCS-type national service as one full set of options from which young adults would choose. I was asked to participate in the focus group. The staff who conducted the process put their attention on youth service, funding Serve America Fellows, and what barriers need to be removed to increase participation. Across the country, housing costs are the most frequently mentioned barriers to AmeriCorps service.
  • The group of commissions developing recommendations to CNCS on how to sort out the enrollment and verification process debacle completed its work. Everyone is hopeful the effort will be genuinely considered at CNCS.
  • OIG auditors continue to ask for additional detail. It is taking about two days/week at this point (down from every day).
  • Moving the online volunteer management course to a new platform met a glitch that prompted me to cancel the fall session. Each learning module is working fine but the access interface is built for companies to use with employees and not public enrollment. We think we have a solution but need to test it before involving paying students.
  • The temp service employee who has been helping keep our communications systems going was able to interview some managers of volunteers at the conference. She is working on the 2018 video with the goal of having a draft for PIE review at their first meeting. This is the same person who developed the infographic and helped transfer the CMV learning modules to the new platform. Her graduate degree in interactive media is being put to full use!
  • The Maine Volunteer Foundation met on November 2. Officers elected were Christine Force (president), William Birney (treasurer), and Ron Holmes (secretary). Elected to serve on the board was Orion Breen of MEMIC, a Durham resident and AmeriCorps Alum. The board members also voted to amend their bylaws so there will be 9 voting members. Currently, there are six voting and one ex-officio member (the Executive Director of MCCS).

Major focus of effort in the new month –

  • Bring new staff on board and opening the search for the Grant Officer.
  • Identifying and training external peer reviewers for the AmeriCorps competitions.
  • Grantee close outs for RSU 14, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, United Way of the TriValley Area, and Eastern Maine Development Corporation. All had grants through the 2015-2018 AmeriCorps Formula funding that closed in September 2018.
  • Closing out the records and finances for the 2018 statewide volunteerism conference. The committee debrief meeting is scheduled for November 7 at 9:30 am.
  • Disseminating the findings of the 2018 Volunteering in America report. CNCS is holding a briefing for states on November 6. We will learn what the new format covers and how state profiles will be shared. The report was last done in 2015. In 2016 and 2017, CNCS suspended gathering data in order to revamp the report. This is a big deal – it is the source of Maine’s status report on volunteering: participation by age groups, value of volunteering, increase or decrease in time devoted to volunteering, etc.
  • Helping launch new work of Public Information/Education and launch the new Financial Oversight, Maine Service Fellows, and 25th Anniversary planning committee.
  • Completing transition materials for new administration. Dept of Education is using a common template for its internal teams. They asked us to stick as closely as we could to the format. It is due November 6.
  • Submit the Commission budget and activity plan for 2019 to CNCS. This covers the Commission Support Grant that begins on January 1, 2019 and goes through December 31, 2022. The budget and activity plans are done annually within that three-year time frame.
  • Routine financial tasks, ASC public policy committee meetings, and Grant Officer duties.