June 4, 2019
Members of the Executive Committee met by teleconference at 3pm.
PRESENT: Nicole Pellenz, Celeste Branham, Ed Barrett, Jenifer Tilton-Flood, David Burns
Report from meeting with CNCS leadership. Jenifer summarized the meeting with Barbara Stewart and Chester Spellman at the New England regional conference. Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts commission directors attended along with Commissioners from New Hampshire and Maine. The discussion was focused on two issues, primarily: a CNCS change in criminal history background checks that involves using a prescribed vendor who does not have the local presence they claim; and, the CNCS reorganization plan. Responses to questions about the reorganization indicate the driving force for the unusual implementation speed is mandatory costs that are beyond the budget. Another response to a question about criteria to gauge success/progress of the reorganization seemed to indicate criteria existed but would not be shared. The third topic focused on the need for communication between the new regional directors and Commissions. The directors will be responsible for program development in the assigned states. Commission experience has been that, when that has happened, Commissions are not consulted beforehand and such activity has several times caused confusion among Commission partners and government officials. CNCS officials acknowledged the concern.
Filling Commission vacancies. There is movement on filling existing vacancies. Two applications are at Boards and Commissions: Madelyn Hennessey from West Bath to take Seat 19 for small local government; Ben Cooke from Warren to take Seat 10 for an individual with expertise in education, training, and developmental needs of disadvantaged youth. One interested person had to withdraw because the employer was not supportive. Lisa Phelps, the recent interim director of Cooperative Extension, is compiling her application. If she is appointed to Seat 14 for an expert in delivery of educational and human services to communities, the link to Extension would be reestablished after seven years. That leaves two vacancies that make us out of compliance with federal regulation – youth commissioners. Nicole agreed to reach out to Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (she is a board member) for a potential candidate.
Report from meeting with Maine Volunteer Foundation on May 17. Ed gave a summary of the meeting with representatives of the foundation. (See notes from meeting.) Celeste asked that the report be given at the full Commission meeting so all can concur with the recommendations.
Commission state budget request for General Funds. There is no change. The budget work is still under way in Appropriations and Financial Affairs.
Task force updates. David indicated that Financial Oversight is waiting for some members to return from travel so there is no update. Communications and Maine Service Fellows task forces will meet in coming days so no updates. Grant Selection and Performance is deep into continuation reviews and assessment of new applications. The recommendations will be presented at the June meeting for Commission action.
Commission retreat. The planning needs to start now. Nicole will chair the planning group and ask for volunteers from the Commission to serve over the summer. Proposed dates are September 26 and September 27 with the September commission meeting being on one of those days. While it is possible to have just an eight-hour retreat, Commission experience is that it is not effective given the purpose. The agenda that works best is one built around four elements: reviewing accomplishments, strengthening member connections, education/training on a topic essential to current work, and planning for the next year.
Exec Committee members inventoried items for June 21 meeting agenda. Celeste shared that she will be out of the country on the day of the meeting so Nicole, as chair-elect, will lead the meeting. Also, there was a discussion about the date of the July Exec Committee meeting. It is scheduled for July 2 but a poll of members revealed most will be away. The group decided to move the meeting to July 9, same time.
There being no other discussion items, the meeting ended at 3:56 pm.