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Executive Committee

March 3, 2020

PRESENT: Celeste Branham, John Portela, Jenifer Tilton-Flood, Ed Barrett, Maryalice Crofton

The Executive Committee work session convened by teleconference at 3pm.

Office staffing: proposal to reclass secretary specialist to office specialist.  
Celeste asked Maryalice to explain the proposal. The two classifications are very close in responsibilities, qualifications, and pay scale (30 cent difference). Over the last three years, we have had the secretary position vacant three times and had many candidates decline interviews as well as the job offer. Our impression is the title “secretary” is part of the issue and the hope is a reclass to something with less cultural baggage will cut out one challenge. Members supported the reclass proposal.

Commission participation on Age Friendly State Steering Committee.
Maryalice is representing the Commission in the age-friendly state initiative. There is a steering committee made up of state government agencies and it is advised by a committee of private sector organizations and municipal government agencies. The Commission is part of the steering committee but those members attend the advisory meetings as well.

Jeni informed the Exec members there is a similar effort on the food security side. A report was released last week and lays out plans for developing a strategic plan. She noted that members do not include many of the groups the Commission works with. Celeste asked Jeni to email the report to Exec members and staff to follow-up with the staff lead in DACF.

Appointments.  
Celeste noted she did not receive any suggestions for potential members from Commissioners. We now have 9 vacancies and still no movement in the governor’s office around the candidates for appointments who have been submitted. She proposed to meet with the governor’s staff to see what can be done to move these.

 Maryalice noted that some people thing a board of 24 is unwieldy when, in fact, it is a size that permits 5 or 6 people to have life distractions without the work of the board having to slow or stop. There are task forces now with just one or two commissioners and some commissioners are doing triple duty which is unfair. It is possible there is a perception that the seats do not need to be filled.

Commission legislative agenda.
Jeni gave a summary of the issues Communications will bring to the March board meeting for consideration. There are two proposals that would require legislative action. Both relate to AmeriCorps and having a state incentive for alums to remain in Maine after service. There was a brief discussion of what would need to happen. Jeni pointed out that Communications doesn’t want to move forward unless the full Commission supports the ideas. The task force will need some time on the agenda for discussion with the full board. 

Since there may be legislative items next year, the question of whether the Commission should seek budget authority through legislative action seems to be a timely discussion as well. It was the original recommendation when State Planning Office was closed. Celeste asked that it be added to the March agenda for full board discussion. 

Maine Volunteer Leadership Conference: to do or not to do this year.  
Maryalice explained that, when the new strategic plan did away with a need for the training task force, the core planning group for the conference disappeared. Past practice of having the event chair and one or two committee members be on the Commission is no longer happening. Planning and execution has been largely a one-person activity and the scope of work requires more people if the event is to remain a quality trianing. Celeste pointed out the conference is the Commission’s major training event and a significant source of match ($10,000). After brief discussion, Celeste and Jeni volunteered to work on the event with Maryalice. Maria will be asked if she can assist as well. 

Foundation update.  
The person who applied to be the Volunteer Maine Development Associate withdrew over the weekend so there’s no update. The Foundation board meets on Friday (March 6). 

Proposed CNCS rules for background checks.
CNCS published proposed changes in background check rules in the Federal Register. Comments are due on March 9. There has been a strong reaction across all types of grantees because some of the changes are not workable – in particular, mandating the use of a federal contractor that is not accessible outside of urban areas and that is not able to share the results of background checks. In addition, they propose to require fingerprint FBI checks for everyone receiving grant benefits, even small service project grants like our $750 ones. The problems and concerns are many, so the Committee members received the ASC draft comments in advance of this meeting as a basic primer on major issues. After a discussion of the concerns Maine staff and programs have, members encouraged Commission staff to submit their comments and asked that a copy be shared. 

Task force updates.
Communications – Also working on implementing formal communications plan.  
Grants – will have policies for board consideration.  
Maine Service Fellows – nearly 40 people signed up to participate in “Think Tank” on March 13. This is the final public input on design of policies and procedures for the program.  
Financial Oversight – Luke met with Maryalice and provided a lot of very good feedback on the reports. They have been modified and will be presented at the meeting. 

There being no other business to discuss, the session ended at 4:03 pm.