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Communications Task Force

November 10, 2015

Present: John Portela, Richard Higgins, Libby Hite, Ed Barrett, Maryalice Crofton 

The task force convened for a work session by teleconfeence. John opened the meeting at 3:05 pm. It was noted that Maryalice was substituting for Michael today. 

1. Review of recent events:

  • Sept. 30th Stand-down day. It was noted that this is not a public education event so much as a time for programs to check on emergency communications and operations plans/systems. There was no information about actions in Maine programs. The task force recommends that Grant Selection and Performance be aware of this rather than PIE.
  • Blaine House Conference. A report had already been made at the Commission meeting but, of note, is that the planning committee is increasingly not able to engage the media on the day of the event. There was great coverage from WABI but nothing from radio or print. In the past, the planners have relied on Commission staff to do the outreach and organize radio interviews of special speakers as well as press interviews at the event. Next year need to have PIE involvement to reinstate this.
  • National Swearing-in ceremony - Oct. 16th. Again, WABI coverage was the only press coverage. The presider, Justice Jabar, was quite engaged and pleased. Other Justices called to personally express their regrets at not being available. The implication is they'd like to be asked again. Participation this year was limited because several national direct programs pulled their members out of state and Alumni didn't respond as strongly as they did at the anniversary. Need to give thought on how to build out to community for 2016.
  • Veterans Pinning Ceremonies. The Maine Conservation Corps got coverage for their Bangor ceremony. Libby summarized the Senior Corps ceremonies that are happening today and tomorrow. 

2. Development of over-arching outreach plan

  • The full marketing plan for MCCS has not been refreshed since 2008. There was a start at doing so in 2010 when Krysta Lilly was on staff but the work stopped when she returned to the legislature. PIE was asked if it could spend the next year working on this by securing pro bono services and providing direction. The tools MCCS uses are worn and radio/tv pieces are very dated. There was discussion of a marketing firm that might be approached but no one has current ties. 

3. New Media resources for AmeriCorps Programs

  • TF members were given access to the AmeriCorps TA part of the hub before the meeting. A new set of Maine AmeriCorps outreach materials had been posted for program feedback and TF review. In particular, there is a 3-year marketing plan for programs to follow. The goal of a single plan is to increase public recognition of messages and language by unifying what is used across programs. TF members expressed concern the marketing plan might be more than grantees could manage and, since it is a factor in grant continuation or recompetition, there should be closer review. TF members agreed the plan should have requirements each year and recommendations. Recommendations could be considered as signs of better capacity. John asked TF members to review the plan, provide feedback on items to be required/recommended, and comment on proposed policy to present to the Commission in January. Feedback to be provided by 11/20. 

3. Congressional visit with Rep. Poliquin

  • There is initial interest from the state director who MCCS staff know. After discussion, the goal would be to have the visit in Bangor and do it soon to avoid all the risks winter weather poses. Contact to organize details will happen next week. 

John informed committee members he will not be at the November 20 meeting. Another member of the task force will need to report. 

There being no other items for discussion, the meeting ended at 3:55 pm.