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Commission Minutes

May 20, 2011

(Originally posted June 1, 2011)

Location: 19 Union Street, Augusta, ME

In Attendance: Mary-Anne LaMarre, Gary Dorman, Andrew Matlins, Joan McDonald, Andrew McLean, Brenda Peluso, John Peluso, Shelley Reed, Eileen Smart, Judi Stebbins and Barbara Wentworth

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

GUESTS:  Marcia Hartt, potential candidate to Commission from Gray (originally from Presque Isle), Joeley Ross, Goodwill AmeriCorp


QUIZ :  Three members answered correctly


Meredith announced that the White House Council for Community Solutions will be hosting a meeting on Friday, June 3, 2011.  The meeting will be live for public viewing and a link will be available on the council’s web site.  The purpose of this meeting is to review what the Council has learned about (1) Effective cross-sector collaborative initiatives and what makes best practices and (2) issues facing young Americans who are neither in school nor in the workplace and promising solutions to address this challenge.   

In advance of the meeting there is a call for public input. It is suggested the Commission host a teleconference with Maine parties to develop input from a rural state. The call would have to be next Wednesday to make the input submission deadline. Commissioners endorsed the suggestion.



ASC Annual Meeting in New Orleans (June 2011) 
Susan Hammond will attend as representative of the board.  Maryalice, Pam, and Michael will attend the training for service-learning, AmeriCorps grants, national policy making, and volunteer generation funding.

Final funding for 2011 
After the final budget action on April 8, the funding charts were released by CNCS. Among all the funding streams the Commission handles, the results are a 0.2% (2 tenths of a percent) rescission in all accounts except the administrative grant where the law sets a minimum for small states. Maine is one of the small states so we will get the full $250,000.  Most of the other grants are cut a few hundred dollars except Learn & Serve which was defunded through September 30. That grant means a loss of $82,000. AmeriCorps State Formula dollars also are allocated by a statutory formula that sets a minimum for small states so Maine will have its full $600,000 to award.

In other National Service programs, VISTA was not cut but Senior Corps was. The Senior Corps cut was worded to protect Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions with the result that RSVP has to absorb the full cut. It amounts to 20% reduction of every RSVP program’s grant. Maryalice will ask the Maine programs what the impact is for them.

Amount is down $18.2 billion from the current appropriation. Already work has shifted to the FFY2012 appropriation and budget for the year that will start 10/1/2011. On May 13, the House adopted a budget plan that calls for elimination or significant reform of CNCS. The funding for CNCS is in the section of the budget that also covers veterans, education, special education, cancer research, etc – other high priority activities. The move pits sectors against each other.

ASC Public Policy Report 
Maryalice circulated a summary of the ASC Public Policy call yesterday. The subcommittee mark up for the section of the budget covering CNCS is scheduled for July 26 and the full appropriation committee mark up on August 2. Any educational activities need to come before those dates.

Tom Branen and David Mallory represented state commissions at a White House meeting called to request input on the next CEO of the Corporation. Melody Barnes participated for a significant amount of time – not just a cameo appearance.

An Interim CEO to be named shortly.  Putting a person in place is high priority. Commissions hope that the new CEO will get reform efforts back on track.             

Congressional support letters
First letter in House and second letter in Senate circulating. Referred to as “Dear Colleague” letters, they urge leadership to support National Service and funding for the grant programs. [Post meeting note: Maine Representatives were confirmed as signers of the House letter.]

Mary-Anne and Andrew noted that there is a lot of email coming out of the national coordinating groups (ASC, Save Service). It can be confusing. If the MCCS office forwards any information, Commissioners request that the action deadline be added to the subject line so they can schedule it into their work.

Summer dialogues about service between Elected Officials and programs 
Maryalice looking for folks interested in a summer project that would engage all levels of elected officials in a dialogue about the role of volunteers and national service participants in solving local problems. An Ad-Hoc committee was formed with volunteer board members (Judi, Mary-Anne, Andrew, Brenda, John and Ron). A date for convening by phone next week will be set after today’s meeting adjourns.


Disaster Volunteer Reception exercise with US Coast Guard 
Bar Harbor- In honor of AmeriCorps Week  community volunteers, the Maine Commission for Community Service (MCCS) and VolunteerMaine AmeriCorps VISTA’s participated in a Mass Rescue Exercise that was conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Town of Bar Harbor, Hancock County, Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Celebrity Cruises.

MCCS staff’s role was to run the Volunteer Reception Center (VRC)  that processed 89 volunteers an hour. Rochelle and Eileen were the staff organizers on the MCCS side. There was coverage by Channel 5 and Channel 7 news. It was great to exercise the operation and learn from the experience.

As a result of seeing how a VRC operates, the Coast Guard wants to know how to contact other state’s  service commissions.  A press release going out today; approved by Coast Guard 

Volunteer Generation Fund round two and year 2
MCCS issued a call for proposals to fund two awards in major population areas that had no response in the first round: Kennebec/Somerset and Androscoggin/Oxford regions.  Again there were no applicants which is significant.

Also in the past two months, MCCS staff had to submit the budget application for year two of VGF funding. It follows the original plan for year two with $191,675 in funding for regional volunteer centers and support to add 1 more Peer Network. As planned, the budget covers initiation of the Master Volunteer Advisors Program which would train highly experienced managers of volunteers to be advisors to their peers in whatever region they live/work.

Staff will hear back from the Corporation in August on the award for year 2.

LD 681 - An ACT to Clarify the Operation of the Maine Commission for Community Service 
The House on May 18, 2011 voted OUGHT NOT TO PASS (ONTP) and the Senate on May 19, 2011 also voted ONTP.


Minutes of the March meeting 
A motion was made by John Portela and seconded by Gary Dorman to accept the Commission March 25, 2011 minutes of the meeting.

Executive Committee Minutes
A motion was made by John Portela and seconded by Gary Dorman to accept the April 1, 2011 Executive Committee Minutes of the Meeting.  Vote was unanimous.

A motion was made by Gary Dorman and seconded by John Portela to accept the Executive Committee May 13, 2011 Minutes of the Meeting.  Vote was unanimous.

Grants Task Force 
The Task Force has revised the MCCS set of “Expectations of Grantees” policy related to national sustainability expectations.  These expectations posted on-line for board member review.   Originally designed specifically for AmeriCorps grantees, new revisions will be more inclusive due to new types of grants the Commission is funding: Volunteer Generation and Learn & Serve America.

A motion was made by Gary Dorman and seconded by John Portela to accept the revised expectations policy.  Vote was unanimous

New call for STEM grants.  Five grants will be awarded ($1,000) must be matched by district. These are intended to “seed” service-learning in districts where there is little or no implementation. The Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued on Monday (May 16, 2011). Because the amount is so small, review and selection will be done in house by staff.  Recipients must attend a 3-day training session; KIDS Consortium 4-day Service-Learning Institute for Educators in North Berwick, Maine, July 19-22.

Next month the Commission will be asked to vote on AmeriCorps Formula Continuation applications for year three funding. The task force will be reviewing these over the next few weeks.

The Task Force recommends that Maine AmeriCorps grants continue to use our match schedule and asks the Commission to affirm its use for the major competition this fall. The action is needed now because the RFPs will be written over the summer.

A motion was made by Gary Dorman and seconded by Ron Holmes to accept continuation of match requirement.  Vote was unanimous. 

Public Information and Education 
The meeting was this morning. Largely focused on debrief of Governor’s Service Awards which went very well. There are a few changes to make for next year including the return of lunch for the Roll of Honor. This year the ceremony was later and the format was a tea.

The redesign and launch of a NEW Volunteer Maine web site is nearly complete. The launch will occur during the first week of June. Rochelle will send board members a link to the beta site so people can get a preview.

Excellence & Expertise 
The task force reviewed and selected five applicants to support through Professional Development Fund Awards. So far this year, awards from this fund total $4,600.

Blaine House Conference planners are making progress. The theme for the 25th anniversary is “Imagine Service.” The date is October 11, 2011. The site remains UMaine because the cost there is so reasonable. We can’t find another location that comes close. Priorities now are keynote speaker, sponsors, plenary speaker, and a track for law enforcement.

Service-Learning Update 
As noted earlier, there are no more federal dollars which means a loss of $82,000. Staff and the task force chair met with representatives of KIDS Consortium to discuss potential technical assistance or training by KIDS.

Work is underway with Time Warner Cable to develop a 30-second public service announcement aimed at helping the public understand service-learning in schools. It will be part of Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Mind initiative in partnership with MCCS.

Mary-Anne LaMarre noted her position as chair of the task force was supposed to be temporary. Especially during the legislative season, she cannot devote much time; need a new permanent chair.

Board Development 
> Status of recruitment for nomination recommendations to the Governor 
Between last year’s unfilled positions and resignations in the past few months, there are 9 openings for new people. Five people have submitted candidate forms although others have stated they want to serve also.

The five to present today are

  • Susan Lavigne, National Service Program
  • Alicia Targonski , Youth representative
  • Susan Austin, Business Community
  • Marcia Hartt, State Volunteer Community
  • Casey Bromberg, community based agency or organization

A motion was made by Joan McDonald and seconded by Judi Stebbins to recommend these people to the Governor for appointment.  Vote was unanimous.

> Status of Reappointments  
From the 2010 class of reappointments that were not acted upon, Phil Crowell and John Portella are still pending. A change in jobs has prompted Dawn Littlefield to withdraw her name.

Board members who would like reappointment when their terms expire September 2011 are  is Susan Hammond, Ron Holmes, Joan McDonald, and Barbara Wentworth.  Retirees not seeking reappointment are Gary Dorman, Kathleen Poulin, and Judi Stebbins.

A motion was made by Judi Stebbins and seconded by Ron Holmes to accept the reappointments.  Vote was unanimous.

> Completing the slate of appointment recommendations 
Seats on the Commission which are not matched with potential nominees are these:

  • Expert in the delivery of environmental services (including housing) to communities and people
  • Educators, including representatives from institutions of higher education and local education agencies
  • Local Government
  • Someone at least 16 but no more than 25 for Youth Commissioner

There are at least two individuals who are completing the paperwork for consideration but were not able to submit it on time for today.

A motion was made by Judi Stebbins and seconded by Ron Holmes to authorize the Executive Committee to complete handling selection of candidates for appointment.  Vote was unanimous

> Retreat update
In light of the results of the Commissioner survey discussed in March, the retreat will not be held in conjunction with the June meeting. It is now scheduled for July 14/15 at Sunday River in Newry. It will run from noon to noon. Please save the dates.

CNCS Update 
From field office perspective the 20% cut to RSVP is very challenging because some programs are half way through their grants. The cut is being implemented by requiring them to have a three month no-cost-extension.

One piece of great news  is that a new Director of AmeriCorps*VISTA has finally been appointed. As reported, VISTA did not get a hit. A new element for VISTA positions are performance measures tied to the national performance measures.

The field office is hosting a meeting of the three state commissions and Campus Compact next week. Maine staff will attend by teleconference.

New MCCS VISTA project 
The Commission staff are totally immersed in preparing to start a new VISTA project on July 1. MCCS will manage the project for the CNCS field office which selected about half the sites in an open competition last fall. The other half of the sites will be attached to the MCCS service-learning goals in the strategic plan.

16 new VISTAs and a new VISTA leader will start in August. Six additional members focused on the federal Veterans priority will start in November 2011. Sites for the November starts are not identified yet.

Brad and Katie have been handling the VISTA member applications. So far, 202 applications were received and processed. From that pool, they have done 30 interviews and identified 25 candidates qualified to move on to host site interviews. They are to be commended for doing all this since March.

This is Brad Hunter’s last Commission meeting. He started service in February 2010 and has extended his term twice to help MCCS wrap up the old project and prepare for the new. He was recognized for all he has done.

Task Force Assignment for June 
Each task force should review their assignments under the strategic plan and submit a report to be shared with the rest of the board. Identify accomplishments and any problems that may need peer advice to resolve.  

Adjourned:  Noon
A motion was made by Ron Holmes and seconded by John Portela to adjourn.  Vote was unanimous.