September 15, 2017
Present: John Portela, David Wihry, Libby Hite, Ed Barrett, Joe Young, Brianna Tibbetts, David Burns, Carole Rancourt; Staff: Maryalice Crofton, Michael Ashmore, Cecily Cook
Public Comment Period: Joely Ross of Goodwill's Multilingual Leadership Corps, A new service year is about to kick off with 33 out of 40 VISTA positions filled. Recruitment will continue for a November start date.
Call to Order: Commission Chair John Portela called the meeting to order at 10:11am.
Quiz Answer: In Texas it is the OneStar Foundation and in Florida VolunteerFlordia who are responsible for coordinating the volunteer response to hurricane destruction.
Announcements. There is not a quorum present so no voting can be conducted.
1. June meeting (Portela)
John calls for questions and discussion, but minutes cannot be approved due to lack of quorum. There were no questions.
B. Executive Committee (Portela)
1. August minutes.
Respond to request for clarifications. Report cannot be accepted due to lack of quorum.
2. Sept 11 meeting report:
a. Strategic plan will be launched at end of September. Feedback and suggestions are welcomed. There are 4 Commissioners who have been asked to serve on the task force including Libby. Awaiting replies from Ross and Melik.
b. Submitting reappointments and new recommendations
c. Changes in task force assignments. Barb is not seeking re-nomination, so a new chair of E&E will be needed. Melik has been contacted.
C. Excellence and Expertise (Crofton)
1. Volunteer Generation application results (see summary posted under Background Documents)
Maryalice outlined the work to accomplish. There is a focus on knowledge/skills/abilities in the agencies who will be receiving money. They will need to demonstrate that they are more capable by increasing the number of volunteers. Training will be provided through Service Enterprise and the Certificate in Management of Volunteers Course
2. Completed Service Enterprise outreach tools
One is a handout/rack card to be distributed. It outlines the options for training. The second new tool is a video with representatives of Maine organizations discussing their experiences around Service Enterprise.
3. New areas of program development.
CNCS made a supplemental award of program development funds to Maine. It supports development of AmeriCorps programming to address prevention of child abuse, the needs of youth aging out of foster care, and municipal infrastructure. MCCS will use the same tactic used with the opiod project development. Work will start in January.
D. ASC update (Ashmore)
Michael attended the ASC annual meeting that was held in Washington this week. It was scheduled to take advantage of the fact states were in DC for required AmeriCorps grantee meeting.
- Federal budget: Both the House and Senate have approved a continuing resolution through December 8. The Senate included all policy additions requested by ASC on the budget.
- There has been an increase in supplemental funds for National Service Reserve Corps - NCCC alums trained for disaster response.
- Expanding VGF funds via increase disaster volunteers
2. Public policy update
The state service public policy coalition, which would be an arm of ASC just for advocacy, has been launched. It segregates these activities from the training and technical assistance activities which sometimes are publicly funded.
3. Annual Assembly results
The Annual Assembly is the meeting of all member states to act on board members and other business. There have been 4 new appointments to the ASC board.
An update on the 20 member minimum issue for State/National AmeriCorps programs: For now it is staying, but may change for the Spring competition.
E. Public Information and Education/Public Policy
1. Meeting notes for August and September are posted. Clarifications as requested.
During the August meeting, it was agreed that changes in VolunteerMaine partnership now make it possible for the Commission to fully associate its VolunteerMaine brand with MCCS. There is no need to share it with others going forward. This would be consistent with other state service commissions. One example cited was "SerVermont: The Vermont Commission on National and Community Service." Tennesse, Colorado, Mississippi and many others do the same.
F. Grant Selection and Performance Task Force (Whiry)
1. September meeting notes posted. No clarifications were requested and no comments offered.
2. Recruitment of external peer reviewers. Request for outreach by Commissioners.
- Peer reviewers precede Grants Taskforce in reviewing grant applications. AmeriCorps state competition will be ongoing during the next 3 months. First the applications come to the State level and then go one to the Federal level. In early January the final choices will come to the full Commission for review/approval before moving forward.
- Commissioners should recommend peers to act on panels. In particular, with regards to the applications targeting substance abuse and recovery, it is very likely for there to be a conflict of interest among individuals in Maine who would qualify to be a reviewer. Ideally someone from just over the border might be able to participate.
G. CNCS Regional Office update (Hite)
1. Overview of new appointments, including JP Fish, Chester Spellman, and Carl Higbie
2. Disaster Response: Over 175 SeniorCorps and 575 AmeriCorps members deployed to Texas; there were 157 AmeriCorps member pre-positioned for deployment to Florida in advance of Irma. There is a call for trained volunteers through the Red Cross.
3. VISTA Update: Summary of 2017 summer associates, first time running this program in Maine. Full-time VISTA recruitment is low nationwide, as it is in Maine. Therefore recruiting efforts will continue through November.
4. SeniorCorps Update: There have been 2 evidence-based awards in Maine out of 13 nationwide; 1) Aroostook RSVP for Matter of Balance; 2) Southern Maine Area Agency on Aging RSVP for a 3 year Health Futures program focusing on living with and managing arthritis
5. Others: UMaine research grant awarded for national service among seniors. A geographic expansion application was not awarded.
H. MCCS Staff
1. Report from annual policy meeting with CNCS (9/12-9/14) (Ashmore)
- There was a last minute request for a meeting with state commissions and a a new independent federal agency: Commission for Military, National, and Public Service. Goals will be to recruit more combat troops, foster an ethos of service, possibly establish a draft for service in the 3 areas, and will include a process of federal benefits.
- The new General Counsel for CNCS will be the agency's White House Liaison. This is a change from having someone in the Chief Executive's office as the liaison.
- The State Commission liaison position will be filled by Chester Spellman, the new Director of AmeriCorps
- CNCS is streamlining processes and that will mean no reviews of continuation applications at their level
- The Disaster Services Unit has moved into NCCC
- The demonstration of the new Grants Management system (replacement for E-Grants) was postponed. The system will not go live this fall so E-Grants will be used to the current competition.
2. Blaine House Conference on Service and Volunteerism (Oct 10) (Crofton)
Commissioners are encouraged to attend and to invite others. There is a special discount code.
3. Staff changes and plans (Crofton)
Pelin has resigned, an application for a hiring freeze exemption has already been submitted.
4. Regional conference, Service Enterprise and CMV course dates (Crofton)
- Regional Conference planned for May 21+22 in Concord, New Hampshire, will include commissions from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. If commissioners would like an opportunity to meet with each other for training and networking, that can be scheduled.
- Service Enterprise: For the fall focus on Portland-Brunswick area. Kickoff will be early October. Winter/Spring will focus on Kennebec/MidCoast area.
- CMV Course: Enrollment is open and will close first week of October
Planning and Future Initiatives
A. AmeriCorps Opening Day/Swearing In (Portela)
The AmeriCorps Launch Ceremony will be held on Friday, October 6 at 10am in the Hall of Flags. All are encouraged to attend.
B. 2017-2018 meeting schedule and event dates
There is no quorum to approved the proposed schedule. It will be revisited next month.
C. Renew authorization for Exec Committee to act on behalf of board if needed between meetings
Will also have to be approved next month with a quorum
Focus on Mission/Responsibilities
A. Proposed schedule for Task Force briefings Jan-April 2016 (Portela)
To be revisited next month with a quorum
Concerns were expressed by present Commissioners about persistent lack of a quorum due to poor attendance. Questions were raised about the possibility of developing an attendance policy.
Business Wrap Up
A. Reminder: Next business meeting is October 20, 2017- Conference Room 2, MaineGeneral Medical Center, I-95 exit 113, Augusta
B. Meeting adjourned at 11:48am