March 5, 2019
Present: Celeste Branham, Ed Barrett, Nicole Pellenz, John Portela, Michael Ashmore is filling in for Maryalice Crofton, and Marilyn Ware as the scriber.
The Commission met by teleconference.
The meeting was called to order at 3:00 pm by Commission Chair, Celeste Branham. After introductions, the first item on the agenda was developing candidates for empty seats on the Commission. The thought is to alter the process to include a pre-application interview for people who are recommended in large measure. This would supplement what the Governor’s office will receive in terms of application materials. It doesn’t have to be a formal process, but a conversation to exchange information and get a sense of what the individual is able to commit to our work.
The next item of discussion was strengthening Commission understanding of National Service programs and increasing MCCS members’ ability to discuss what they do in the public arena. The goal is to help Commissioners learn elevator speech. It becomes part of the language the Commissioners use when they are out promoting the work of the Commission. This language can be in a business card format to have readily on hand. It would be also useful to have an identity statement poster hanging up in the room, to provide in the meeting packet for every meeting, and to have it at the top of the agenda for each meeting.
Grants task force review of funds returned to CNCS was the next subject of discussion. Two grants were cancelled this year due to poor performance. As a result, there is an unusual amount of funds uncommitted. we had a large amount of funds uncommitted, which need to be returned. Even after funding four new rural grants, a significant amount of funding is still available. To allocate fund for 2019-2020, there will be a formula competition this spring.
The next item on the agenda was task force reports and items for the March agenda, but this was put on hold for the next meeting.
Scheduling National Service program meetings with Members of Congress was next on the agenda. During the last Public Information and Education Conference (PIE) call, John Portela volunteered to reach out to all four members of our Congressional delegation to schedule some meetings and site visits during the April recess, which runs from the 15th to the 26th. He sent an email to the schedulers for all four members. To date, he heard back from all but one, he will reach out and give them a call in the next day or so. Of the three who responded, all were interested in doing an event or a site visit, they just need to firm up their schedules. The model is to have all the programs available at one site to have a detail discussion with the members of Congress about their programs, why funding for CNCS is important, and the value their programs add to communities.
The last item of discussion was the financial oversight report on the commission support grant shortfall at the end of the three-year grant. In December 2018, MCCS finished a 3-year cycle with less match than originally budgeted for. Maryalice and Financial Oversight have a plan for resolving if CNCS doesn’t grant a waiver. The amount is 0.9% of required.
Business Wrap-up: The MCCS budget request for a general fund appropriation will be heard at 10 am on March 11. Because our fiscal agent is Dept. of Education, it is not going through our oversight committee but through Education and Cultural Affairs. Education will be presenting on its entire budget to joint meeting of Ed/Cultural Affairs and Appropriations/Financial Affairs.
Michael Ashmore also added that every year MCCS hosts a National Service Day in the Hall of Flags. All programs are present to meet with their legislators. This is the first year of their legislative cycle, so we ask them to bring their volunteers to talk about the impact they are having in their communities. It is a way of raising awareness among national service members as well as an opportunity for us to share the depth of national service in the state. All Commissioners are welcome to come and speak with programs. The event is tomorrow, March 6, 2019 from 8am to 12:30pm.
Meeting adjourned. The Commission Chair thanked everyone for their participation.