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Commission Minutes

January 12, 2018

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

Public Comment Period: Three members of the public offered brief remarks. They were Lauren Ouellette and Hailey Hu Kinney from LearningWorks, Joely Ross from Goodwill's Multilingual Leadership Corps, Sara Knowles of Maine Conservation Corps, and Nichole Ernest and Abigail Howell representing the United Way of Tri-Valley

Call to Order: Commission Chair John Portela called the meeting to order at 10:03am.

Quiz Answer: The Quiz this month referenced a report of 12 recommended actions funders can take to strengthen volunteer investment. There were no Commissioners who submitted answers this month.

Business Reports
A. Minutes
1. November meeting
 (Portela)
Minutes have been posted. Moved by Whiry to approve; seconds by Barrett. Vote on motion: unanimous in favor.

B. Executive Committee (Portela)
1. Three-month extension of officer terms
For medical reasons the Executive task force requests a 3 month extension of officer terms, which would mean that the current officers stay in place until September 2018. Moved by Rancourt to approve three month extension of terms; second by Pellenz. There was discussion about the process for selecting officers and the succession. Vote on the motion: 9 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstention (Branham).

2. Consideration of updated motion authorizing action by Exec. Committee on behalf of the Commission
This continues the discussion from the previous meeting concerning more precise language to vote on for approving the authorization. Celeste read the language that was developed and presents a motion to approve. David B. seconds it. Discussion follows, which highlights a flaw in the language with regards to the 7-day requirement and other legal requirements involving public access. Celeste withdraws her previous motion and David B. withdraws his second. The motion is tabled until the next meeting, before which the legal requirements will be investigated and the language will be amended. Ed seconds this decision and all of the Commissioners vote to approve.

3. Approving November Minutes
Libby has a question regarding #6 and who the individuals are who will be representing Maine in the States for Service initiative. After her question is answered, Moved by Rancourt to approve the November minutes; second by Barrett. Vote on the motion: unanimouse in favor.

C. Grant Selection and Performance (Wihry)
1. Report and Commission action on AmeriCorps Competitive Grant applications 
Four grant summaries and scores have been posted on the hub and HQ happenings.

2. Continuations
David Wihry presented the recommendations of the Task Force.
 
a. Maine Campus Compact/USM - Maine Partnership for Environmental Stewardship
As this is a new program there is not a lot of data on performance goals yet. Ed summarizes the feedback given to the applicant, including complete performance measures, meeting deadlines to enroll members, and working on recruitment. The Grant Task Force recommends approving the continuation of funding at requested levels dependent upon fixing minor budget errors.

Moved by Wihry that the Maine Campus Compact AmeriCorps program be submitted to the Corporation for National and Community Service with a recommendation it be funded at the requested level of not more than $177,893 Federal Share, to be matched by at least $98,851 in local funds, supporting 13.09 member service years distributed over 38 slots. The proposed cost per member service year is $13,590. Second by Young. Vote on the motion: 8 in favor; 0 opposed; 2 abstentions (Branham and Wihry).

b. LearningWorks - AIMS High
The Grant Task Force recommends approving the submission contingent on three areas of improvement: correcting minor budget errors, adding performance measures, and improving recruitment.  

Moved by Wihry that the LearningWorks AmeriCorps program be submitted to the Corporation for National and Community Service with a recommendation it be funded at the requested level of not more than $497,646 Federal Share, to be matched by at least $401,522 in local funds, supporting 36.28 member service years distributed over 101 slots. The proposed cost per member service year is $13,717. Second by Young. There was discussion of the geographic focus of the program. There was also a question about the budget and if roll-over is allowed. It is not. Vote on the motion: unanimous in favor.

In addition to the motion to approve funding, the Grant Task Force also presents a recommendation for a 6 month performance review in April to review enrollment and to possibly adjust funding depending on results. This process is called "right-sizing". Moved by Wihry that the task force be authorized to recommend to CNCS reduced funding and slot allocations during pre-award negotiations if, at six months, the program is not meeting enrollment, retention, and performance measure targets. Second by Young. Vote on the motion: 8 in favor; 0 opposed; 2 abstentions (Branham and Wihry).

3. New Applications
a. Healthy Acadia - Maine Recovery Program, new applicant
The Grant Task Force recommends approving the application on 2 conditions: fixing minor budget errors and addressing support for AmeriCorps members in such a disperse/wide geographic area.

Wihry moved that the Healthy Acadia AmeriCorps proposal be submitted to the Corporation for National and Community Service’s national AmeriCorps competition with a Commission recommendation for funding of not more than $283,768 Federal Share, to be matched by at least $369,907 in local funds, supporting 20.54 member service years distributed over 30 slots. The proposed cost per member service year is $13,815. Second by Young. There was a request for explanation on what constitutes local share, or match. It is in-kind services and also cash contributions, some from host sites. Vote on the motion: unanimous in favor.

b. ME Dept. of Agriculture - Maine Conservation Corps, re-compete
This program has strong prior performance, however the review panel noted some narrative deficiencies in the application. The Grant Task Force recommends approving their submission if the following issues are addressed: clarifying the need and impact, emphasizing the soft skill development of members, and adding missing performance measure targets. There will be a follow up review by the Grant Task Force.

Moved by Wihry that the Maine Conservation Corps proposal be submitted to the Corporation for National and Community Service’s national AmeriCorps competition with a Commission recommendation for funding of not more than $660,224,768 Federal Share supporting 49.16 member service years distributed over 109 slots. The proposed cost per member service year is $13,430. Second by Young. Vote on the motion: Unanimous in favor.

D. Excellence and Expertise (Ashmore)
1. Review of proposed MOA with affiliate Service Enterprise Hubs 
There was no meeting in January, so the last minutes posted are from December. there were 2 topics covered in the meeting: 1) the selection of a contracted service provider to provide SE training as part of VGF. There were two solid applicants, but ultimately the task force decided upon Pam Zeutenhorst. 2) Review of the draft MOA for Service Enterprise hubs. There is one that already exists between MCCS and trainers, but there hadn't been one for agencies who act as affiliate hubs and MCCS. The Task Force has created one.

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

The December meeting was cancelled and the January meeting happened directly following the business meeting, so nothing big to report. The general activities of the PIE task force are focusing on creating marketing material for Senior Corps programs in Maine.

F. CNCS Regional Office update (Hite)
Barbara Stewart is the newest CNCS nominee and she is to serve as the Chief Executive Officer.

Update on VISTA: Goodwill is looking for additional rural sponsors. It is possible to host just 1-2 members.

National Service Recognition Day: 1st Tuesday of April. It is a call for elected officials to recognize National Service members and programs.

G. MCCS Staff
1. Service Enterprise Update.
 (Ashmore)
The 2018 Cohort started with their orientation on Jan. 11. There are 3 groups participating and the training runs until mid-March. There are 2 organizations that are still working on certification from the previous cohort.

2. Staff changes and plans
Laurel Bernier was introduced as the new Grants Officer.

3. ASC Update
National Leadership Convening is in February. Executive Committee sends 1 person with Maryalice every year. 

4. Other
The RFPs for both Formula and Rural AmeriCorps grants will be released in March. Formula grants support 10 or more members and Rural grants support 2-5.

The Maine Volunteer Foundation board meets Jan. 17 and will review a proposal to contract with someone as Executive Director.

Planning and Future Initiatives
A. Strategic Planning Team progress and February/March conference
There has been a report distributed summarizing the activities and accomplishments of the planning team thus far. As part of gathering information, the team did two surveys that, over 14 days, garnered 153 responses. Members also did interviews with 18 key representatives of potential partners and current stakeholders. One of the major outcomes is that there is a clear need for Senior Corps marketing in the State. Very few people recognize or are familiar with it. AmeriCorps and VolunteerMaine has strong recognition. Work continues to highlight MCCS's competitive advantages, which will continue through the Vision Conference in April. This will involve 50-60 people in a structured process to identify our next goals .

Business Wrap Up
Celeste provides an informational addendum in the effort to maintain transparency. Two experienced Commissioners have not received reappointment. Celeste submitted a request for reconsideration to the Governor's Office, which also included important highlights about MCCS. It is important to create and maintain open communication between the Commissioners, Executive Committee, and the Governor's Office.

Next business meeting is March 16, 2018 - no meeting in February.
If any Commissioners want to participate in grant reviews contact David Wihry.
Meeting adjourned at 12:03.