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Commission Minutes

March 25, 2011

Location: 19 union Street, Augusta, ME

In Attendance: Mary-Anne LaMarre, Gary Dorman, Debra Eckart, Susan Hammond, Ron Holmes, Stephen Letourneau, Andrew Matlins, John Portela, Shelley Reed, Eileen Smart, and Judi Stebbins

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

GUESTS:  Jonathan Nass, Janice Lachance, Linda Shapleigh, Heather Stott, and David Van Twistern.

Discussion with Jonathan Nass 
Jonathan Nass is a Senior Policy Advisor to the LePage Administration.   He advises the Governor on government reform and oversight, education and cultural affairs, state and local government, and transportation policy.

Prior to joining the Administration, he worked for seven and half years in the U.S. Congress ending as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He was deployed to Iraq through March 2010.

The goal of this administration is to make government operation more effective and efficient. The administration believes a lot of the work in State Planning Office would be better managed by other, more appropriate agencies. The proposal in Part FF of the Budget lays out a process for dismantling SPO and other legislative bills to achieve similar goals should not displace it.

Part of this will be to find a suitable location for MCCS. It is possible the location would be the Secretary of State’s office as described in LD 681 (An ACT to Clarify the Operation of the Maine Commission for Community Service Sponsored by Representative Bradley Moulton). The location is not the focus now but the process. Nass is interested in getting feedback from the Commission; has an open door.

Commissioners expressed their concerns about potential new homes for the Commission as well as their pride in the national reputation of the Maine Commission. Eileen Smart from the CNCS field office gave a strong and positive review of MCCS from the federal perspective.

Mr. Nass was invited to attend upcoming Governor’s Service Award on April 14th and National Service Day in the State House on April 6. 

Mr. Nass commented on the Commissions hard work, great governance, impressed but the attendance, the level of involvement, and that a good Board is important to government.   Lots of details to absorb and is cognizance of that.  He will seek input from Maryalice at the appropriate time.  Great information and timely due to March 30 work session.

Reorganization bills. 
Mary-Anne and Maryalice attended the hearing on LD681. The hearing on Budget Part FF was monitored over the internet. The meeting with Representative Moulton earlier in the month went well and, as he had indicated, he did submit an amendment to LD681 which would strip all the language except moving the Commission to Secretary of State.

The work session for Part FF is on Monday, March 28. The work session on LD681 is Wednesday, Mary 30 at 1pm.

It was noted that former Commission member, Rep. Sara Stevens of Bangor is serving on the Appropriations & Finance Committee.

Public Comment(s) 
None.

Quiz 
Four members answered correctly: Gary Dorman, Judi Stebbins, Barb Wentworth, and Mary-Anne LaMarre. 

Additions or Deletions to Agenda 
None.

Announcements
Meredith Eaton noted that 100 + AmeriCorps members have registered for the March 31st  Maine AmeriCorps Member Conference at Thomas College in Waterville.  Finalizing logistical details and will be the information out.  Commission members are encouraged to attend. 

Volunteer Generation Fund – Park 2 RFP 
RFP recently went out Volunteer Generation Fund – Part 2

The proposal (RFP) is seeking qualified organizations or partnerships that will:

  • conduct outreach and increase use of the statewide volunteer recruitment and management web platform associated with VolunteerMaine.org in four counties not covered by volunteer centers;
  • serve as the administrator/technical support for programs using VolunteerMaine.org’s agency functions; and 
  • establish or strengthen peer networks of volunteer managers in each of the four counties.

The Commission anticipates making two awards: one for coverage of the Kennebec/Somerset region; one for coverage of the Androscoggin/Oxford region. The typical first award is expected to be $6,500-$8,500.

Report on Managing Volunteers from a Legal Perspective 
VISTA Eileen Buzzello researched and wrote this report. She is an attorney in Nebraska so she had the Maine AG Office review the publication. MCCS has been trying to get this work done for six years and is grateful for Eileen’s expertise. This report covers important topics like federal the Volunteer Protection Act, state volunteer protection laws, non-profit volunteer immunity, the Good Samaritan Law, and specific provisions that apply to health care volunteers. It is available on MCCS website. Copies of the report distributed to members.

Webinar Schedule 
The spring schedule of educational webinars was distributed. Commissioners were encouraged to spread the word in networks where we may have only limited contact. The schedule is set through July. Information and registration are on the MCCS website or VolunteerMaine.org.

Update from ASC Public Policy Committee (national actions) 
Activity on national level has been shared through emails. Funding is still through short-term Continuing Resolutions. Supporters of service should still make phone calls or write letters to the editor. Andrew’s letter was published. He agreed to send the rest of the board a template they could customize.

Meeting of State Commission in Washington (March 29-31) 
Mary-Anne LaMarre and Pam Zeutenhorst will be attending. Maryalice Crofton was going until work sessions were scheduled in the same period.

This meeting of all states and federal partners is to discuss the impact on rural states, the funding priorities of the feds as they pertain to rural states and interagency collaborations at the federal level that impact states’ grant making. 

Minutes of the Meetings 
A motion was made by Ron Holmes and seconded by Gary Dorman to accept the February 18, 2011 Commission Minutes of the Meeting. Vote was unanimous.

A motion was made by Judi Stebbins and seconded by Ron Holmes to accept the March 4, 2011 Executive Committee Minutes of the Meeting. 

Professional Development Fund 
This fund is for Managers of Volunteers, Service-Learning Practitioners, and MCCS Grantee Staff.  In 1999, the Commission adopted a policy that used Program Development & Training dollars to support the training and professional development plans of Maine Staff in AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn & Service programs funded by grants from the CNCS.  The policy has been updated and distributed to the board this month after being reviewed by Excellence and Expertise then authorized by Executive Committee.

The application and guidelines for distribution of funds will be posted on MCCS website. Review of applications and selection will be made jointly by staff and the Excellence and Expertise Task Force.

Letters and Brochure for Maine’s Congressional Delegation 
Letters requesting the report of Maine’s Senators Snowe and Collins were delivered last month along with fact sheets and a brochure. Today, the letter to Representatives Michaud and Pingree are circulating for board members’ signatures. The letters with attachments will be delivered today or tomorrow.

Grants Task Force 
Gearing up for a busy spring. Service-learning contracts, AmeriCorps Formula continuations, and VGF Part 2 comprise the agenda.

Public Information and Education 
Governor’s Service Awards are the major focus of task work. Commission members are asked to volunteer for support roles that day. There are two ceremonies. Deb Eckhart has made sure all the appropriate legislators are invited.

National Service Awareness Day will be April 6 in the Hall of Flags 
This is the first combined awareness day for all the programs (Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, Learn & Serve). There is no legislation related to National Service in the state legislature so this is truly an awareness and education event for legislators. Commissioners are welcome to attend and help with the education.

Service Learning 
Will be meet this afternoon.  Looking to create a ‘roadmap’ for moving forward; identify priorities and outcomes that we are looking for. Task for today is develop plan for contacting potential stakeholders and members .

Board Development 
It is time to start recruitment for appointment recommendations. Current status is this:

2010 appointments still pending:  3 reappointments -- Crowell, Littlefield, and Portela; 1 new appointment -- Sandy Schneipp. Other new people have withdrawn given long process. This leaves board with 3 vacant positions from 2010.

2011 terms ending are Dorman, Hammond, Holmes, McDonald, Poulin, Stebbins, and Wentworth. These members are asked to notify Gary or Maryalice about their willingness to serve another term. Some people have only been on one year because they were appointed to complete terms of people who resigned.

Want to make the board aware of a proposal in the legislature that would impact us. LD 904 is An Act to Make Changes to Boards and Commissions concerning Membership, Appointments and Terms.  Main elements of bill are:
·        Repeal any board that has had vacancies in 2/3 or more of its membership for more than one year;
·         any member whose appointed term has expired and for whom no replacement has been appointed may serve no more than an additional 12 months without formal reappointment
·        A member may serve no more than 4 terms on that board or the number of terms as provided by statute governing the board; whichever is less; and
·        The clerk of the Board shall notify the Secretary of State of vacancies who shall post all vacancies on a publicly accessible website 

Commission members expressed concern about the first two points because the appointment process is not timely as evidenced by current situation. Appointments have lingered in Governor’s Office for nine months. If MCCS offers testimony on bill it required approval of Governor’s Office and must read Neither For or Against. Testimony will be drafted for approval.

Retreat Update 
Results of board member survey show 99% favored a week day. Week of June 14, 15, and 16 is the best although only half the board is available on any of those days. 91% favored doing an evening and an 8 hr day. Possible location -  Winter Harbor’s Schoodic Education facility.

CNCS field office update 
Because of the Continuing Resolution, there is not much to say at the moment. The CR expires April 8, 2011. Of interest to Maine is that next Wednesday will be the training for VISTA supervisors covered by the new project MCCS will manage for CNCS as part of a larger Maine project. The competition for placements was conducted by the CNCS field office last October.

Planning & Future Initiatives
Featured grantee: Teen Leadership and Career Corps (Maine Parent Federation)

Janice Lachance, Executive Director, Maine Parent Federation briefly described the non-profit organization that provides information, advocacy, education, and training to parents and professionals to benefit all children. The organization promotes individual aspirations and community inclusion for people with disabilities. In existence since 1984, MPF is physically located in Augusta Maine, but assistance is available on a statewide basis.

She introduced David Van Twistem who briefed the Commission on the AmeriCorps*State program’s activities. The Teen Leadership and Career Corps (TLC Corps) works with all students but focuses on those with identified disabilities and needing a transition plan to move from the K-12 education system and its supports to living independently as a young adult.

TLCC is looking to reverse the trend of higher rates of unemployment of students with disabilities.

Motion to Adjourn passed: 12:20