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Commission Minutes

November 18, 2016

Present: Robert Liscord, Libby Hite, Celeste Branham, John Portela, Ron Holmes, Ed Barrett, Nicole Pellenz, Joseph Young, Carol Rancourt, Barb Wentworth 

Public Comment Period. (Portela)  Maine Conservation Corps director Jo Orlando reported some of their end-of-year stats: 76 AmeriCorps members; 200 miles of trail built; 748 community volunteers recruited; and community volunteers’ hours totaling 3,289.

Chair John Portela called the meeting to order at 10:07 am. After introductions there were two announcements/reminders. There is no business meeting in December and the January business meeting is a week earlier (January 13, 2017) due to the CNCS grant submission deadline. 

There were no adjustments to the agenda. Correct quiz entries were from Barb Wentworth and Ed Barrett. 

Focus on Mission/Responsibilities  
A. Briefing: Opportunities for AmeriCorps impact on prescription drug and opiod addiction. Alison Webb-Jones and MaryAnne LaMarre briefed the Commissioners on potential roles for AmeriCorps based on their discussions with either law enforcement or treatment professionals. They are helping the Commission develop some expertise in these areas with the goal of providing technical assistance to potential grant applicants. Other state agencies working on these issues are issuing calls for proposals that could complement any AmeriCorps efforts.

B. Commission Operating Budget for 2017. Although the MCCS budget had to be submitted before the meeting, it was presented for discussion. It could be amended if Commissioners desired. In response to a question, it was explained that there is one more source of funding and it is the Training and Program Development allocation to Maine. There is enough money to cover one position in that grant. No requests for changes were made.

Business Reports 
A. October Minutes(Portela) The minutes from September were posted. Moved by Young to approve the minutes as presented. Second by Branham. There was no discussion. Vote on motion: unanimous approval.

B. Executive Committee (Portela) The notes from the November meeting were posted. It was pointed out that Executive Committee reviewed the support grant budget and authorized its submission to CNCS. This funding is allocated to Maine for Commission office operations.

Executive Committee discussed several requests for changes in Task Force assignments. Ross Cunningham will move to PIE only; Libby Hite will move to Excellence and Expertise.

Moved by Holmes to approve the report of Executive Committee. Second by Liscord. Vote on the motion: unanimous in favor.

Portela asked that any Commissioners who want assignments changed make the request now so task forces can be settled before January. Some non-Commissioners will join PIE: Stefanie Mojonnier and Adam Lacher. Others may be joining Grant Selection and Performance.

With regard to appointment recommendations, staff at the Office of Boards and Commissions indicate action will be taken before the end of December. For that reason, the presentation about legal requirements of public boards has been postponed to January 2017 so everyone can be present.                                                              

C. ASC Update (Holmes) Ron sits on the Public Policy committee for ASC as Maine’s representative. The most recent meeting discussed the possibility Congress will pass a series of appropriation bills that bundle several negotiated bills together. These are known as “mini-buses.” The group is also preparing information for the presidential transition team and working on a Governor’s Support letter. They also learned Bill Basl is leaving CNCS. 

It was noted that the Commission needs to renew its work with the state Members of Congress.

D. Grant Selection and Performance(Barrett) David Wihry had offered to step down as chair of the task force because work assignments are going to prevent him from attending a number of the full business meetings. Task force members proposed an alternative and Ed Barrett became vice-chair with the duty of reporting at the Commission business meetings. Barrett reviewed the compliance report and the Commission response. There was a request that the documents be sent in one package to the Commissioners. Presently they are posted across several months of HQ Happenings and bundling them will help Commissioners. MCCS staff are pushing for final resolution because the Commission may not be eligible to apply for supplemental funding if the compliance report is still pending. The task force also reviewed credentials of potential peer reviewers and authorized their participation in that phase of grant review.

E. Excellence and Expertise(Wentworth) Notes from the last task force meeting were posted and reviewed. The members asked to meet briefly with PIE after adjournment today to discuss an area where goals overlap. PIE members will be staying. It was noted there has been a shake up at Points of Light Institute and the last person assigned to support Service Enterprise has been organized out of a job. It is not clear what commitment POLI has to Service Enterprise.

F. Public Information and Education/ Public Policy(Crofton/Brewer) There is still no chair and only one member attended the stated meeting. Commission chair Portela attended as part of a schedule he has to drop in on each task force. Membership is increasing but not until after the start of the year. Kirsten Brewer completes her assignment with MCCS on December 31. At that time she will have completed updating and replacing many outreach tools. 

Kirsten circulated a portfolio of works in progress to members present. She also noted that Ross Cunningham recruited a pro bono voice actor and produced six new radio PSAs for the Commission. These will be used in next year’s outreach campaign. A big “thank you” to Tamara Lily and Ross! 

One outreach tool was distributed to those present to place across their communities. It is a brochure explaining AmeriCorps to organizations that might design programs and submit applications. CNCS stopped producing a similar brochure about six years ago.

G. Blaine House Conference(Crofton for Wihry) The conference evaluation and aggregate evaluation of sessions was distributed. Ratings were better overall for the event but the facility is still problematic. The planners really plunged in on the day of the event and attendees were largely unaware of issues except for lunch. Thanks for organizing the event go to Michaele Bailey, Jared McCannell, Laura Personette, Kerri Keller, David Wihry, Nicki Pellenz, and Mandela Gardner.

H. CNCS Regional Office update (Hite) The field staff are waiting for information on transition plans and what they need to do. They already have been asked to identify programs in their states to highlight for the new presidential team.

I. MCCS Staff(Crofton/Ashmore)
1. New report on Maine civic health and volunteering. The changes were covered earlier under the Commissioner quiz. Essentially the percentage of Maine residents volunteering has held steady but the amount of time people devote has dropped. The two age groups with high rates of volunteering are teens and seniors.

2. Certified Manager of Volunteers course. A new session is underway with 14 students. Michael is the proctor.

3. Hiring for Planning and Research Associate. The job was offered but the person declined. A new civil service roster of eligibles was pulled and interviews are set for December 9.

Planning and Future Initiatives 
A. Rebranding MCCS (Portela, et al) This topic was raised several times during the retreat. To start the process, Commissioners are asked to help find someone who could make a presentation to the Commission in January or February on the factors to consider. Then a task force will investigate and report back 13 weeks later. Please contact John or Maryalice with presenter suggestions.

B. Proposed Memorandum of Agreement between MCCS and United Ways of Maine (Wentworth) The configuration of the platform that is used to recruit and manage volunteers online changed in 2015. Each United Way (10) has their own license and there is one state site that pulls all data in so that visitors to VolunteerMaine.org can still search from there. The MOA deals with the Commission’s need to have a Disaster Response option for managing volunteers in emergencies. The need is part of MCCS’ responsibilities in the State Emergency Response plan. Local United Ways do not want the function so this MOA commits MCCS to paying that license and lays out how local United Ways and MCCS will work together. United Way of York County paid the license fee ($1,000) for the disaster response module through December 2016. MCCS appreciates that very much. 

Moved by Holmes to authorize MCCS Executive Director to sign the Memorandum of Agreement with the United Ways of Maine. Second by Young. Vote on the motion: 8 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstention (Wentworth). Motion passed.

Business Wrap Up      
The chair reminded everyone the next meeting is January 13, 2017. There being no other business, the meeting adjourned at 12:15 pm.