March 6, 2017
PRESENT: Celeste Branham, John Portela, David Wihry, Maryalice Crofton
The meeting convened at 3 pm by teleconference.
* Governor’s Office update and changes in Dept of Education representation
Officers discussed their meetings and staff meetings with the Governor’s representative. Two updates were covered: Beth Lambert will be the designee for the Commissioner of Education replacing Deb Plowman; the recommendations of candidates for appointment are still pending; the Governor’s staff has invited someone who is a former state trooper and legislator from Washington County to sit on the Commission.
* The Commission’s ratings of National Direct AmeriCorps proposals are due March 8. The information was provided to states after the last Commission business meeting. These are national nonprofits who propose to place AmeriCorps members with affiliates in Maine. By policy, the Commission
- supports applicants whose goals fit under state funding priorities,
- is neutral on applicants that complied with the consultation regulation but whose proposals are outside state funding priorities, and
- does not support proposals from organizations that did not follow the consultation regulation.
The Grants TF reviewed the consultation forms supplied and recommends the following ratings:
- The Corps Network -- Support
- FoodCorps, Inc. -- Support
- University of Maryland -- Support
- Catholic Charities -- Support
- Student Conservation Association -- Support
- Share Our Strength -- Support
David moved to submit the ratings as recommended. Second by John. Votes in favor: John, Celeste, David. Motion passed.
* AmeriCorps affiliate update. The new outreach position did result in new applications from Maine. The affiliate program is a new form of award that only provides education awards (no funding). It is different also in that the minimum age is 14 and the minimum term of service is 100 hours. The positions also differ from the typical AmeriCorps program in that the special status under labor laws does not apply and other benefits are not provided. It is also noncompetitive.
The sad part is that CNCS used their “clarification” process to try and extract more detail as well as requirements than were originally requested. One of the two applicants notified CNCS it would withdraw from the process as a result. Maryalice and Michael are registering objections with CNCS.
* 2017 spring meeting of State Service Commissions. John attended with Maryalice and was one of about 38 commission chairs present. The agenda was very dense but three things are worth Commissioner follow up: supporting the public policy coalition which will be a subsidiary of ASC supported by unrestricted funds (about $500/yr for Commissions, $50/year for individual members); discussing with the Maine Volunteer Foundation the Michigan approach to Governor’s Service Awards which their foundation uses as a fund-raiser; and exploring Utah’s approach to volunteer sector capacity building to see if it could be the basis of Maine’s next Volunteer Generation application.
John also reported that all Maine’s Members of Congress were visited as part of the ASC hill day. It was an aggressive schedule but helped connect with new staff in each office.
* Strategic planning. Exec asked to meet with a potential consultant. The person is checking his schedule to see if he can meet with Exec on 3/17. Officers requested a 9 am meeting.
* PIE requests some time on the March 17 agenda. They want to begin the exploration of rebranding by having Commissioners work on initial questions. Exec agreed the time should be included.
On a related note, John has reached out to both of his marketing contacts. Coordinating schedules for meetings is proving to be difficult.
* ASC request for Commissioner sign-on letter. Ron forwarded the text of a letter is proposes to submit to Congressional leadership asking for support of National Service (Senior Corps and AmeriCorps). The letter would have signatures from as many state service commissioners as possible. Ron was unable to be at this meeting but asked that Exec decide if Maine’s commissioners would be asked. Everyone was agreeable. We had a draft but the request will be made when the final text is sent.
The meeting adjourned at 4:05 pm.