January 13, 2012
In Attendance: Mary-Anne LaMarre, Ron Holmes, Kristie Littlefield, Lindsey Jean Oliver, and John Portela
Via conference phone: Susan Austin, Debra Eckart, Susan Hammond, Marcia Hartt, Susan Lavigne, Andrew Matlins, Andrew McLean, Eileen Smart, and Barbara Wentworth.
Staff Present: Maryalice Crofton, Meredith Eaton, Katherine Klein, Erin Dunne, Eileen Buzzello and Aline Lachance
Guests: Sara Knowles, Maine Conservation Corps, Mick Rogers, Maine Conservation Corps, and Joely Ross, Goodwill Industries of NNE
Public Comments: None
Although a majority of the Commission members were either in the room or on the phone, the Board meeting could not proceed. The law requires that a quorum be in the room and then others may participate in votes or motions.
The Commission had given the Executive Committee authority to act on behalf of the full board in the event there was business that could not wait for the next full board meeting. The agenda item related to approving submission of the AmeriCorps grants on January 18 needs action and cannot wait.
Chair LaMarre convened the Executive Committee but invited the rest of the board members to participate in discussions. The agenda published for the board meeting would be followed.
Quiz Winners: Ron Holmes and 2 others not present
Additions or Deletions to Agenda: None
November Minutes: A motion was made by Ron Holmes and seconded to accept the November 18, 2011 Minutes of the Meeting. Unanimous approval by Exec members.
December and January Executive Minutes:
While the actions of the Exec Committee could not be affirmed by a board vote, it was pointed out that Exec did approve recommendations to aware the Volunteer Generation continuation grants.
Part FF update:
The report from the Part FF committee was presented to Appropriations in early December. Attached was a draft of the legislation to be introduced shortly. Section J pertains to the Commission and has 2 new elements: statutory prohibition against ever appropriating general funds for MCCS and a change involving the Commission in hiring and supervising the Executive Director. The Dept. of Education will be the new fiscal agent for MCCS.
Mary-Anne reported that she has assurances from Maine Representative Dennis Keschl (Appropriations & Financial Affairs Committee) that the language regarding general fund appropriations will be removed from the final version of Part FF reorganization legislation.
John Portela and others are working on the state funding issue. All conversations are positive. Legislators with whom Commissioners have connected are mostly from Appropriations but do include members of State and Local Government.
There is also discussions regarding 'soft' match (in-kind services) being substituted for a cash allocation.
Mary-Anne LaMarre asked that any Commissioner planning to reach out to legislators about this issue coordinate with her.
February Commission Meeting
The meeting schedule approved in September states there will be a meeting in either February or March. Members were asked whether or not task forces had pressing business for the February 17th Commission meeting. The response was No. Task forces need to meet during February to move their work forward. Grants continues to have a heavy schedule.
The next scheduled full board meeting will be March 16, 2012.
Commissioner Bowen, Department of Education, will be invited to meet with the board in March.
Grants Task Force
Volunteer Generation Grants renewals:
Friends in Action Community Connection. A motion was made by Ron Holmes and seconded by John Portela to accept the GTF recommendation to continue with conditions funding this grant. Vote was unanimous.
United Way of Androscoggin County. A motion was made by Ron Holmes and seconded by John Portela to accept the GTF recommendation to approve year 2 funding request. Vote was unanimous.
AmeriCorps State Competitive:
No applications were received for Planning Grant competition and 1 applicant (Maine Conservation Corps) submitted a proposal for the Competitive Operating grant competition.
Maine Dept of Conservation (Conservation Corps). A motion was made by Ron Holmes and seconded by John Portela to accept the GTF recommendation to move application to CNCS. Vote was unanimous.
Point of iinformation: Linda Shapleigh, the Program Director of Maine Conservation Corps, has retired. Mick Rogers (present) is the interim director.
Thanking Peer Reviewers
We had four volunteer Peer Reviewers for the AmeriCorps* State Competition: Debra Somers (Maine), Gigi Rolfes (Georgia), Jennifer Trowbridge (Maine), and Dorathy Martel (Maine). Barb Wentworth was the Commissioner observing their proceedings.
A motion was made by Ron Holmes and seconded by John Portela that a Resolution thanking them for their hard work be approved. Vote was unanimous.
Public Information and Education
The task force is regrouping after the loss of Krysta as staff support. No meeting today but a teleconference is planned.
Governor's Service Awards:
Members have raised more than 1,000 for GSA. To date the program has received support from Delta Dental, Unum, United Insurance, and Bangor Daily News (they are doing a full page advt recognizing the Roll of Honor members).
Federal and CNCS issues:
Congress passed the final budget appropriation on December 16th for the federal fiscal year that started October 1, 2011. In response to conference committee reductions of support for states, the Maine Commission has already lost one staff position (Krysta) and may eliminate 40% of staff. ASC has confirmed that the reductions were made as a result of erroneous information about how state commissions are funded.
Senator Susan Collins responded to Inspector General (CNCS) regarding budget cuts. She signed on to a letter asking that OIG funding be restored. An effort has been made to use the same tactic for states but too much education needs to be done.
State have presented CNCS with options for mitigating the reductions. CNCS will not announce the results of their deliberations until mid-February so all the state commissions are in a kind of limbo.
Overall, State Service Commissions will have a 20 percent reduction from FY 2011 but that doesn't reflect how the population-based allocation will impact states. The ASC would like to see that any cuts to all administrative funding shared equally between states and CNCS as permitted in federal law.
Excellence & Expertise
There is still only one member of this task force. Priority issue is to find a chair for the Blaine House Conference, someone suggested Barbara Wentworth. Meredith will be the staff assigned to support planning for the conference.
2012-2013 Training Plan Framework:
Meredith Eaton distributed an outline of the Training Objectives and Outcome for 2012-13 which seeks to increase competencies for CNCS-funded program staff, site supervisors, and potential CNCS grantees in the following areas: 1) Performance Management, 2) Process for Evaluating program, 3) Federal Funds Management & Contract Management, 4) National Service Volunteer Management, and 5) Understanding CNCS Program types.
Due to weather, complications, etc. this morning's orientation was cancelled. The new Commissioners at this meeting were asked how best to proceed. It was agreed to hold a session via teleconference in order to stay on schedule. Maryalice will poll the people involved to get a date and time.
Joel was not present so Maryalice made the report.
Commissioners were asked to comment on the idea of a joint retreat in June with the New Hampshire state service commission. It would be an opportunity to exchange expertise and explore common interests as well as training. In response to a question, the financial advantage would only be related to the facilitator which would be a shared expense.
Commissioners weighed in on both sides. Some felt it would be useful to connect with a commission that has other viewpoints, responsibilities. Others felt that MCCS is experiencing so much change this year it will have a lot to consider at a retreat. The possibility of a retreat format that allowed for both joint sessions and local sessions was floated and met with some approval.
In response to some comments, it was pointed out that Part FF (as proposed) will change the fiscal agent of MCCS, the board authority with regard to the Executive Director, and state financial support for MCCS. However, in the sections of the law that spell out Commission membership and duties, there are no changes.
Executive Committee and Board Development were charged with polling the board members and pursuing this discussion.
Staff Assignments in light of federal and state changes:
Meredith - VISTA project coordination, training activities, Maine National Service Council meetings, liaison to Maine NSSC (Senior Corps), Blaine House Conference, blog for managers of volunteers, whatever we can salvage of the training goals/plan for 2012-13 and more.
Mike - AmeriCorps grants, service-learning grants, next generation of State service-learning VISTA work, fiscal and program performance, and more.
Pam - Volunteer Generation Fund director, emergency management lead for spontaneous and other volunteers, disability officer for CNCS grantees, Volunteer Fare newsletter author, Governor's Service Awards event6, staff to Excellence and Expertise Task Force, and more.
Maryalice - liaison between Dept. of Education and Governor's Office, staff to Board of Directors as well as three task forces, liaison to ASC committees, web master, social media manager, facilitator for selection of Governor's Service Award recipients, communications manager, bid process manager, and more.
MCCS role as co-chair with MEMA: MEMA and the Commission for Community Service co-chair the State Donations Coordination Team which is activated during emergencies and disasters. Together the two agencies help with donations of supplies, cash, talent and time. Pam and Mike are co-chairs. While not part of our Strategic Plan we will assist with managing the spontaneous volunteer reception center.
AmeriCorps Experience Findings:
Planning & Future Initiatives
Review & Discussion of Strategic Plan in light of changes:
One year is completed with two remaining but staff, fiscal agent, and budget has changed. Not likely we can have same outcome we planned. Commission needs to reassess what 2012 priorities will be. Need to revise the timelines and work to be more realistic. The plan for today was a work session but that isn't feasible. Postpone it until March.
Business Wrap Up
Service-learning task force will not meet today. Stay tuned for new date.
Next Meeting: March 16, 2012
A motion was made by Ron Holmes and seconded by John Portela to adjourn at 11:15 a.m. Vote unanimous.