October 22, 2019
PRESENT: Celeste Branham, Nicole Pellenz, David Burns, Jeni Tilton-Flood, Ed Barrett
The members convened by teleconference at 3:00 pm.
Recap of October 11 event. Celeste noted the evening went very well and complimented staff who led the planning team. She noted Bryan did an outstanding job on all the outreach and videos. Between AmeriCorps Alums, new AmeriCorps members and Commission friends, there were just over 200 people in attendance.
Board Retreat Follow-up. The retreat notes were distributed with the discussion items for today. Celeste noted there are some additions from pages she had. Those were reviewed. Next steps are to compile the list of topics to cover at Commission meetings and edit the strategic plan to reflect the items eliminated by consensus (i.e., all the subgroups identified the same items for elimination) as well as the items pushed to 2020 for completion. The edits will be distributed to the board for consideration at the November 1 meeting.
The Commission Support Grant (CSG) application for funding was distributed with discussion items for today. Celeste asked if there were questions about the funding plan. It was noted this is one of the federal funds allotted to states and the amount is determined by population size. Thus, Maine always gets the minimum amount ($265,000 currently) which means the plan for spending is fairly static from year to year. Maryalice noted the greatest change was including the new general fund appropriation which counts as match and decreases our dependence on in-kind. There were no questions about the plan but it was noted the Finance Task Force also will discuss it at the next meeting. The other two grants that cover Commission activities are the Training/Technical Assistance (TTA or CIF) grant and Volunteer Generation (VGF). The latter does not expire until 2021 and the TTA plan is not due until later this year. As previously discussed, nothing cycles on the same timeframe.
Commission staffing discussion. The secretary specialist position is vacant again. Marilyn Ware left on October 10. The remaining staff are discussing what functions are truly useful for the position to cover. There is a possibility the position could be shared with a division in the Dept of Education but that option is not confirmed. Maryalice is inclined to leave the position vacant until January so all options can be explored fully. The last search lasted 11 months because no suitable candidates were applying and those offered interviews turned them down.
Board Development. The changes in Commission membership were reviewed. Orientation for new Commissioners was discussed with particular attention on how to present the information at a pace that does not overwhelm new members. In the end, the decision is to have orientation last six months rather than four and start in November with the three new people. Exec Committee members also determined the practice of assigning mentors to new commissioners should be reactivated. Celeste will send an email asking for volunteers for this role and Maryalice will locate the written expectations of mentors so volunteers can be clear on commitment.
Task force updates and November agenda items. Ed reported that Grants Task Force has been informed of MSAD 70’s decision to not continue the AmeriCorps program. The district has struggled to integrate AmeriCorps administrative requirements into its operation. Jeni noted that Communications Task Force will likely have updates, particularly after she meets with Bryan to plan out the next year and direction.
Retreat items for the agenda are the strategic plan revisions/updates, distribution and acknowledgements of conflict of interest as well as code of ethics, full commission involvement in grant review process, and regular reports.
There being no other discussion items to cover, the meeting concluded at 3:54 pm.
[Post meeting note: items on September agenda that were held over to November will be pushed to December.]