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Commission Minutes

June 21, 2013

Present: [in person] Susan Austin, Celeste Branham, Bonnie Bagley, Kathy Billings, Scott Blake, Mary Kate Bromberg, Janice Daku, Betsy Fitzgerald, Ron Holmes, Mark Hews, Kristie Littlefield, Dwane Hubert, John Portela, Eileen Smart, Barbara Wentworth, [by phone] Drew Matlins.

Public Comment Period.  None offered.

Convene. Meeting was called at 10:03 am to order by Ron Holmes, MCCS Chair-elect, who was acting on behalf of MCCS Chair Matlins who needed to attend by phone.

Welcome, Announcements, Agenda Adjustments.  (Holmes)
After introductions of those present, the Commissioner Quiz was answered. Three board members submitted correct answers.

Announcements included plans for Eastern Maine Community College's press release about new AmeriCorps program award; assurance that congratulations letter will be sent from MCCS to EMCC by the MCCS chair; and overview of impact of state shutdown on Maine VISTA project and Maine Conservation Corps if the shutdown occurs. It was also noted that staff were notified this morning that CNCS needed clarifications of the AmeriCorps School Turnaround proposal which is continuing through the national competitive review.

Additions or Deletions to Agenda. None requested.

Business Reports
A. Minutes of May Board Meeting. (Holmes)
The draft minutes were posted with the agenda. Moved by Portella to approve the minutes as posted; second by Branham. No corrections or discussion. 14 votes in favor; 0 against; 2 abstentions (Hubert, Blake).

B. Executive Committee (Holmes)
No clarifications of the posted minutes were requested.

C. Board Development (Holmes)
The task force recommended board support of requests for reappointment by John Portela, Susan Austin, Nancy McKechnie, Casey Bromberg, and David Wihry. Dwane Hubert announced he is not seeking reappointment. Motion to recommend reappointments by Fitzgerald; second by Branham. 15 votes in favor; 0 against; 1 abstention (Bromberg)

A candidate has been recruited for the vacant youth commissioner seat. The task force recommended Camille Cramer be recommended to Governor LePage for appointment to the Commission. Ms Cramer's resume and application were summarized. Motion by Fitzgerald to recommend as a new member appointment, Camille Cramer of Milo. Second by Bagley. Unanimous in favor.

With Hubert's decision to not seek reappointment, there is now a vacancy for a representative of public safety. Commissioners were asked to submit potential candidate names after determining the person's level of interest. In order to have the seat filled by October, the Executive Committee would need to review any candidates recruited by Board Development. Motion by Portela to authorize Executive Committee to screen recruits and select a candidate to recommend for gubernatorial appointment. Second by Hews. Unanimous in favor.

D. Grants Task Force (Branham)
The task force has completed a very long season of grant reviews. The final set awards AmeriCorps Formula funds to grantees eligible for year 2 funding of the 3-year grant award. The continuation assessments were done by the task force members. Micheal Ashmore was asked to give a brief summary of each program's work and size as each motion was read.

>REAL School Continuation
Task Force recommends funding pending correction of errors to budget and narrative. Recruitment and performance evaluation are the program's strongest points. AmeriCorps members serve in a school with 60 students at high risk of leaving school. Service-learning is the teaching method used to engage and retain these students involvement in their education.

Motion by Branham on behalf of the task force:
Regional School Unit 14, REAL School AmeriCorps Program be funded at the requested level of not more than $133,000 Federal Share, to be matched by at least $178,096 in local funds, supporting 10 member service years distributed over 13 slots pending correction of all narrative and budget errors.

Second by Fitzgerald. Discussion involved a request for clarification of when corrections would have to be made (before or after the contract issued). It was explained that, if year 2 funding was approved, the grantee would have to make corrections before the grant document was executed. Motion passed unanimously.

>Multilingual Leadership Corps Continuation
Task Force recommends funding pending correction of errors to budget and set a condition related to the membership of the advisory committee. Compliance is the strength of this program. They have a cohesive set of partners and recruited 100% of the AmeriCorps members needed. The Advisory Committee does not include beneficiaries of service.

Motion by Branham on behalf of the task force: 
Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, Multilingual Leadership Corps, be funded at the requested level of not more than $260,000 Federal Share, to be matched by at least $359,766 in local funds, supporting 20.03 member service years distributed over 37 slots pending correction of all budget errors and diversification of Advisory Committee membership within 90 days of funding. Membership of advisory council will be reported to Commission staff before the deadline.

Second by Wentworth. Motion passed - 15 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstention (Bagley).

(note: Fixed price grants do not require evidence of local match nor budgets) 
>Island Institute Island Fellows AmeriCorps Program 
Task Force recommends funding with the condition that the newly hired program coordinator participate in new grantee trainings provided by the Commission. The program staff are good at managing the AmeriCorps members and program evaluation has improved. There is an issue with a change in program director - the long term leader took a job with another organization and there is confusion among the interim leaders which is being addressed. Selection of the new program director has just been finalized. In this 3-year grant, the program is moving away from doing only community economic development to implementing service-learning in island schools.

Motion by Branham on behalf of the task force:
Island Institute, Island Fellows AmeriCorps Program, be funded at the requested level of $130,000 Federal Share, under Fixed Price reimbursement rules, supporting 10 member service years distributed over 10 slots with the condition that the newly hired program coordinator participate in all 2013 new grantee trainings provided by the Commission. The Task Force also directs the program to carefully review its member activities to ensure that they are congruent with those described in the funded proposal

Second by Daku. Motion passed - 15 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstention (Branham).

>FoodCorps Inc., FoodCorps Maine 
Task Force recommends funding with the request that all reports be submitted in a timely manner. This program is the only one funded to address the Commission priority of obesity prevention. It places AmeriCorps members with 10 sites to increase the amount of locally grown food in school meals. In its first year, the program recruited and filled 100% of its slots. The advisory group of stakeholders is strong but the program is not always timely in reporting on performance and finances.

Motion by Branham on behalf of the task force: 
FoodCorps, FoodCorps Maine Program, be funded at the requested level of $78,000 Federal Share, under Fixed Price reimbursement rules, supporting 10 member service years distributed over 10 slots. The Task Force also asks that the program carefully observe due dates and submit required reports in a timely manner.

Second by Fitzgerald. Motion passed unanimously.

Three of the four applicants submitted requests for supplemental funding and/or positions.  The Task Force prioritized the requests based on need and Commission priorities of geographic distribution and cost per member. The Task Force recommends that requests for supplemental positions be ordered and prioritized to ensure that positions are apportioned based on priority if less funding than requested is available.

Motion by Branham on behalf of the task force: 
The staff is directed to prioritize supplemental requests as follows:
1.      Funding to support continuation of the Four positions FoodCorps received this year
2.      Supplemental Ed Award Only positions for REAL School
3.      Additional full price positions for FoodCorps
4.      Full price positions for GINNE

Second by Fitzgerald. Motion passed unanimously.

The task force members were thanked for the enormous amount of work they accomplished this year.

E. Strategic Plan. (Holmes)
The retreat session yesterday will be reviewed by the task force. In addition to assessing the volunteer sector, the task force needs to organize public input sessions. Commissioners were asked to volunteer as hosts - the goal is to have 5-7 locations across the state. These will take place between October 16 and December 1.

Hosts for public input sessions are Billings for Aroostook County; Fitzgerald for Washington County; Austin for Cumberland/Portland; Daku for Franklin/Androscoggin/Oxford; Matlins for Penobscot/Bangor. Need a host for Rockland/Midcoast - possibly Island Institute.

F. Public Information and Education/ Public Policy (Portela)
The Congressional delegation site visits for National Service program updates. John has asked the schedulers when each would be available. CNCS grantees should make initial plans based on the locations for each visit. Senator King will be invited to meet programs in the Bangor area; Senator Collins, programs in the Rockland area; Representative Michaud, programs in the Lewiston/Auburn area; and Representative Pingree, programs in the Waterville/Augusta area.

Ideas about marking the 20th anniversary were reviewed. PIE is in search of an organization that can help create a visual map or representation of the towns where National Service programs have been. UNUM and UMF may have that ability. The task force also wants to redesign the card with the MCCS key message so it can be distributed.

G. Excellence and Expertise (Hews)
The task force has not met. MCCS and United Way of York County did receive notice the Maine application to participate in the  Service Enterprise program was selected. The task force has a full agenda for summer (confidentiality policy, professional development).

H. Blaine House Conference on Service/Volunteerism (Daku)
The keynote speaker is Kristen Cambell of the National Conference on Citizenship. Obtaining sponsors is a challenge - need $10,000 if the conference registration fee is going to stay reasonable. The foundation that was asked is not ready to enter new partnerships at this time. Susan Austin offered to help Janice and David on that. MCCS staff are looking for a trainer who can help National Service programs address the new criteria in grants that asks for a cost benefit analysis of using volunteers to do the work proposed. Scott thought he might have a lead and will get back to Maryalice.

I. CNCS field office update (Smart) 
CNCS has opened a major competition for RSVP programs. Existing Maine programs are effected as they must compete for their grant for the first time in decades. The field office also devoted a lot of time to supporting Wendy Spencer's visit to New Hampshire. Her focus was summer jobs for youth and the event brought together municipal officials. CNCS will be adding a member to the Maine VISTA project in November to fulfill a federal initiative around the Affordable Health Care Act. The work plan will focus on connecting uninsured people to health care. The host site has not been identified but is likely to be in Portland. It was noted that applications for VISTA positions have dropped everywhere in the country as unemployment rates drop.

J. MCCS Staff (Crofton)
The status of hiring process for Planning Research Associate is there is a freeze and MCCS will have to reapply to fill the position. As an interim measure, Brianne Hasty has joined the staff in an acting-capacity appointment. Brianne was scheduled for layoff in another department so this was not considered a new hire.

No clarifications of staff reports were requested by Commissioners however a text from Pam Zeutenhorst who is at the national conference was received a few minutes ago. Maine's First Lady was asked to be part of a panel at the conference and MCCS staff along with program representatives briefed her at breakfast three days ago. Pam's text says Mrs. LePage made a wonderful presentation and used an example of RSVP program need that was offered by Aroostook RSVP.

Planning and Future Initiatives 
A. Regional conference in October/November - CNCS awarded five grants to support regional training conferences for Commissioners, National Service Program grantees, and VGF grantees. The awards all went to state service commissions that acted on behalf of the states in their regions (i.e., everyone agreed who should take the lead). For the Atlantic region, New Jersey was the applicant and now is the lead organizer. Maryalice is serving on the planning committee. Everyone should watch for the invitation to attend and it will be held near Trenton, NJ. 

B. White paper on relationship between State Commissions and CNCS - there is a small working group of state commission leaders working on this white paper. The impetus was a very difficult and contentious set of circumstances this spring that demonstrated the state-federal partnership is not working well.

C. Summer web meetings with other commissions - Staff are going to organize a series of webinar meetings with other Commissions regarding their mechanisms for obtaining funding. These are in response to MCCS board member requests for opportunities to explore options developed by counterparts around the country. Commissioners will see the announcements as staff are able to get commitments.

Focus on Mission/Responsibilities 
A. No known business this month

Business Wrap Up 
Next business meeting is September 13, 2013 
Portella made motion to adjourn; second by Bagley. Meeting adjourned at 11:31 am.