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Commission Minutes

November 17, 2017

Present: Commissioners John Portela, Celeste Branham, Ed Barrett, David Wihry, Libby Hite, Brianna Tibbetts, Joe Young, Barbara Wentworth, Jaime Logan, Dave Burns, Nicole Pellenz, Carol Rancourt. 
Staff Members: Maryalice Crofton, Michael Ashmore, Cecily Cook

Public Comment Period: Three members of the public offered brief remarks. They were Joely Ross of Goodwill's Multilingual Leadership Corps; Sara Knowles of Maine Conservation Corps; Jennifer Peters from Sunrise Economic Development Council in Machias. 

Call to Order: Commission Chair John Portela called the meeting to order at 10:04am.

Announcements and Appreciations: 
a. Thomas Pulkkinen, Grand Master, Masons of Maine
Mr. Pulkkinen presented a $5,000 check from the Masons of Maine in support of MCCS's Young Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor initiative. He also provided an overview of the Masons' youth programs and the organization's emphasis on self-improvement as well as service to others.

b. Appreciations to retiring Commissioners
Ron Holmes, who was not present, is retiring from the Commission, but only going as far as the new board for the Maine Volunteer Foundation.
Barb Wentworth has served on the MCCS board for 9 years and is retiring.
John thanked them both for the considerable time and effort they gave to the Commission. Barb not only chaired the Excellence and Expertise Task Force but also led several MCCS planning and retreat sessions. Ron served in every officer position, was an insightful member of the Grant Selection Task Force, and guided the legislative and other work related to setting up the Maine Volunteer Foundation.

Quiz Answer: A "Civic Desert" is a community in which there is little interaction and citizens are not engaging with each other. One consequence of this is that the level of trust, a core component of service, has declined markedly in communities. Nicki and Ed are this month's winners. The quiz this month brought Commissioner attention to a new report issued by NCOC, Tufts, and Civic Enterprises titled "America's Civic Health Challenge."

Focus on Mission/Responsibilities
A. Briefing about Initiative to "Revive Civility and Respect"
(M. Hews)
Mark provided an introduction to the National movement called "Revive Civility and Respect", whose goal is to help people talk and listen to each other while also highlighting that it's ok to disagree. It started on the State and National government level, but has now focused attention on the community level. Maine is 1 of 4 states participating, the others being Ohio, Arizona, and Iowa. The initiative provides tools for individuals and communities to enter dialogue with one another. FMI contact Mark Hews.

Business Reports
A. Minutes
1. June meeting
Minutes have been posted. This is the first meeting since that there's been a quorum in order to approve. 
Rancourt moved to approve the minutes as posted. Second by Young.  Vote on the motion: 10 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstention (Branham).

2. September meeting (Portela)
Approval is not required because there no official business occurred.

B. Executive Committee (Portela)
1. Appointments of task force chairs. 
Carol Rancourt will be the new chair of Public Information and Education.  Melik P Khoury will be the new chair of Excellence & Expertise.

2. Review of support funding
The proposed 2018 commission office operation budget was submitted to CNCS on November 9.

3. Strategic Plan Team Update
The strategic plan has been launched and will be an on-going process over the next few months. Committee members include Commissioners John Portela, Libby Hite, Melik Khoury, Carol Rancourt. Public members are Christine Wolff, Meredith Eaton, Joel Russ, Patricia Foden, Shirar Patterson, and Jo Orlando. The team met twice in October and outlined the information to gather from stakeholders through interviews and surveys. Two surveys are circulating to grantees and contacts in the volunteer sector. Team members are conducting interviews of a limited number of individuals. The next meeting is December 11 and the January 12 meeting will occur immediately after the Commission business meeting so Commissioners can attend if they wish.

4. Recommendations to Governor for appointments 
There has been a list of Commissioners submitted for reappointment, including Ed, Carol, and Melik (who has already been reapproved). Recommendations for new candidates include Jennifer Peters, Jennifer Tilton-Flood, Danielle Hinman, Anita McCafferty, and Jamie Logan (who has already been approved).

C. Excellence and Expertise (Ashmore)
1. Respond to clarification requests related to October reports. 
Topic of discussion focused mainly on Blaine House Conference and updates/changes for next year based on conference attendees feedback. 

D. ASC update (Wihry)
1. Public Policy Update 
David Wihry is the new ASC liaison from the Commission upon Ron Holmes retiring.
The National Service budget is currently operating under continuing resolutions that go through December 8.  As part of the current tax reform legislation proceeding through Congress there is a proposed amendment to exclude Education Awards as taxable income.

E. Public Information and Education/Public Policy (Rancourt)
1. Report on Nov. 13 meeting

Cecily  Cook will begin to transition into the role of staff support for the task force. The members are concentrating on developing radio spots for Senior Corps and beginning the work by interviewing Senior Corps directors in Maine. Each member has two people to interview. The goal is to determine how to best market/create messaging Senior Corps programs.

It was noted that Commission resignations have meant the loss of  3 task force members are no longer: Mandela, Rob, and Ross. This leaves KSA holes involving media and marketing. The new chair of the task force is Carol Rancourt.

F. Grant Selection and Performance Task Force (Wihry)
1. October and November meeting notes posted. 
Wihry provided overview of upcoming grant competition. The task force is planning the AmeriCorps grant competition and continuations. Peer reviewers have been certified. New task force members will be trained on the task force portion of the grant review process. At the January business meeting the full Commission will act on the task force's recommendations for new and continuation proposals. Because of the grant submission deadline the next business meeting is 1 week earlier than usual, on Jan. 12.

The task force reviewed the annual progress reports from current grantees. Key takeaways from performance reports were challenges with recruitment and retention (common on a National level, not just Maine).

G. CNCS Regional Office update (Hite)
Review of important dates: April 3, National Service Recognition Day (formerly Mayor and County Day)
Demographic numbers that measure National Service in States will be release soon.
There is no budget update and currently no new appointees.

H. MCCS Staff
1. Program development plans for AmeriCorps targeting child abuse and youth transitioning out of foster care.
CNCS extends grant deadlines for focus areas; previously MCCS has applied under opioid initiative. This year turning attention to the other 3 areas: infrastructure, child abuse/neglect and provision of services, and youth aging out of foster care. Working with individuals and organizations involved in these sectors to learn where volunteers/AmeriCorps members could be the most useful. Forward any contact to Mike.

3. Staff changes and plans (Crofton)
Cecily is moving to full time and also becoming the PIE liaison.
Grant Officer position application period closed on the 15th.

4. State Conference Results
Blaine House Conference feedback discussed in earlier section.
Regional New England National Service Conference is scheduled in New Hampshire on May 21 and 22.

Planning and Future Initiatives
A. Renew authorization for Exec Committee to act on behalf of board if needed between meetings
Moved by Barrett to authorize the Executive Committee to act on behalf of the board if needed between meetings. Seoconded by Rancourt. Discussion proceeded with questions of what kind of decisions might be made, under what circumstances, and whether the full Commission would have the opportunity to contribute input. Members made requests for clear and up-to-date communications. Also, Commissioners requested a short paragraph describing the issue being voted on in more precise and official language in the future. A new motion was suggested with more specific language. Yet, because Executive Committee may need to act on behalf of the full Commission in the event the January meeting is cancelled, the Commission agreed to vote on the original motion. Vote on the motion: 10 in favor; 0 opposed; and 1 abstention (Logan).

A weekly or bi-weekly bulletin to provide the full Commission with updates in the form of bullet points was also suggested. Maryalice will reinstate the practice.

B. Strategic Plan Team meeting and update:
An update was provided earlier in the meeting.

C. Maine Volunteer Foundation
The MVF was created 1.5 years ago and the new board is now full. Ron Holmes was the Commission liaison to the foundation. Ron is no longer a commissioner and, as discussed before, is going from the MCCS board to the MVF board. Commissioners present asked John Portela to be the new liaison. He accepted.

Business Wrap Up
Next business meeting is January 12, 2018 - one week earlier than usual due to grant decision deadlines.
If any Commissioners want to participate in grant reviewing contact David Wihry.
Meeting adjourned at 12:07.