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Commission Minutes

January 21, 2011

TELEPHONE GUEST:  Joely Ross and Linda Shapleigh

STAFF PRESENT:  Maryalice Crofton, Michael Ashmore, Rochelle Runge, Pam Zeutenhorst, Brad Hunter,  Erin Dunne, Eileen Buzzello, and Aline Lachance.


WORK SESSION:   Chairman LaMarre noted there wasn’t a quorum so a business meeting could not be held. To clarify, the MCCS policy does allow members to attend electronically but a quorum has to be in the room published as the official meeting place in order to hold a business meeting.  Mary-Anne thanked those in attendance for coming in and braving the snow storm. 

A question was asked about proxy voting and it was noted this is not permitted for public boards such as this one.

Today’s discussion will follow the agenda but no official actions can be taken.

QUIZ:  Everyone who responded got the quiz correct.

Today discussion will center on 4 items only; grants, CNCS update, proposed LD “clarifying MCCS operation,” and Governor’s Service Awards.

Given the weather experience of the last two months, it seems prudent to add discussion of Executive Committee authority during months meetings are cancelled to next month’s agenda.  

Without a quorum, members suggested the staff go forward with the Grants Task Force recommendations.  A formal vote will be taken at the February Commission meeting. 

Gary Dorman stated that the Task Force had an extremely busy December and January.

He further stated that we had a great team of reviewers, good feedback, and had an ‘out-of-state’ perspective (District of Columbia, Virginia, and Georgia).  He thanked all peer reviewers for their service. Letters of appreciation will be sent to all the reviewers.

The Grants Task Force approved the AmeriCorps State Competitive continuation application by Maine Conservation Corps.

Approved two Service-Learning awards:  Oxford Hills School District and Sanford School Department

In response to an inquiry as to why only 2 applicants, Maryalice stated that a district must be ready to implement service-learning thus limiting candidates.  These were not awards to individual teachers. (Those mini-grants are next.) Also the size of available funds (in this case $30,000) restricts how many grants can be awarded.    

It was reported that Dorman and Wentworth identified a conflict of interest related to the Volunteer Generation Fund competition. Therefore, neither of them participated in that process and both will abstain in any future vote.

Approved 6 applicants for full funding for Volunteer Generations Fund awards:

  • Maine Sea Coast Mission                                            
  • United Way of Eastern Maine
  • United Way of Greater Portland
  • United Way of Mid-Coast Maine
  • United Way of Tri-Valley Area                                    
  • United Way of York County

 Approved was 1 applicant for partial funding for Volunteer Generations Funds:

  • Faith in Action Community Connection

 A Press Conference will be held (United Way of Eastern Maine) next Friday (January 28) at the United Way in Bangor to announce the grant awards. All Commissioners are invited to participate as they are able.     

CNCS Update  
Yesterday, Eileen attended an update session on the CNCS Strategic Plan. There are no dramatic changes from the distributed last month at Commission meeting. The federal agency’s board will vote on adoption at the February meeting. The plan highlights rigorous evaluation in addition to performance measures.

Plus-Time, a non-profit in New Hampshire with very large VISTA and AmeriCorps*State projects closed their doors with no notice. As a result there are 13 VISTA slots to move to Maine. The focus for work is pre-determined by the federal field office’s work plan so these slots will have to be largely tied to education performance measures. MCCS staff asked for advice from the Commissioners on how best to target the efforts.

Discussion recommendations:

  • activity be focused on schools with district wide Title I approaches be combined with after school programs dealing that incorporate a health component.
  • some assignments relate to veterans & military families – perhaps consider Operation Military Kids

State Legislative Bill  
It has been confirmed that Representative Moulton (Cape Neddick) has reserved a bill title that reads “An Act to Clarify the Operation of the Maine Commission for Community Service.” There is no LD text yet. The legislation would go to the Joint Committee on State and Local Government for consideration. The text will be circulated as soon as it comes out of the Revisor’s Office and is posted.

 As points of information, it was noted that state employees who are going to monitor legislation have to have registered by last fall.  None of the MCCS staff are registered but will work through and with the State Planning Office legislative contacts, Sue Inches & Tony Van Den Bossche.  Maryalice can respond to any questions asked by a legislator and this does open the opportunity to provide additional information. 

Briefing Governor’s Office  
Maryalice will be part of a small group of State Planning Office staff who will meet next Monday with Stephen Bowen, Senior Policy Advisor, Governor’s Office. Two of the informational pieces to be shared with him were distributed. For those not present, these were sent electronically earlier today. One indicates the amount of AmeriCorps Education Award payments to Maine institutions. To date, the total payments are just under $6.8 million dollars. The list of institutions receiving tuition or loan payments is attached to the handout.

Governor Awards for Service and Volunteerism  
The push is on for financial sponsors and 75 letters have been sent out.  An e-mail from Andrew has gone out to Commissioners explaining the tasks needed to secure sponsorship for the GSA.  The committee is working on many of the contacts.  However, we are asking members to identify one or more folks that might consider becoming a sponsor of the GASV.

Session ended at 11:15 a.m.