June 2, 2020
PRESENT: Celeste Branham, John Portela, David Burns, Jeni Tilton-Flood, Ed Barrett, Maryalice Crofton
The Executive Committee members met for a work session at 3pm via telemeeting (zoom).
Celeste opened with a question of whether to hold the June business meeting as in-person or virtual. There is still some risk and the room we use for meeting would not accommodate social distancing for both the Commission members and the public. After a short discussion, the decision of the group is to hold the meeting virtually following the special guidelines for public meetings.
Two US Senators (Coons and Wickers) are drafting a bill to increase National Service resources and tie them to the COVID19 response as well as recovery. Recovery encompasses both the public health issues and economic recovery issues. The known provisions of the bill were reviewed by Exec members. It was noted that the ASC Public Policy committee is tracking its evolution so Maryalice gets any updates. Because the current sponsors are working on making it strongly bipartisan, there will be more adjustments before it is introduced. Senator King is already a co-sponsor and Senator Collins staff contacted Maryalice for information on how the provisions might benefit Maine. According to ASC, the bill is expected to be introduced the week of June 8 and move quickly through consideration.
There was a discussion of the best format to present research results to the full Commission over the summer. It was decided to have Dr. Zollitsch present her findings directly to the Grant Selection and Performance Task Force. That group can decide the best use of the findings and incorporate them into a future report to the Commission. Patrick Bloniasz’ reports are complete and have gone to Communications Task Force. They will do the same – decide what highlights to share with the full Commission. The work underway by Tony Inhorn may need to be presented as a workshop before the September meeting because he is expecting to return to Northwestern University at the end of August.
Members had expressed a concern about the availability of the new General Fund support for the Commission. At the moment, the approach to financial saving by state government is to reclaim unspent quarterly allotment at the end of each quarter. Allotment is the amount of its budget an agency or sub unit of an agency has to spend in a quarter according to its cash needs (think allowance). If costs shift across quarter lines, the practice has been to roll unused allotment forward and make it available in a subsequent quarter. This is the practice that is being curtailed.
Three task forces were represented and reported. Financial Oversight met the week prior and will recommend there be no action taken on changing fiscal agent status. They also reviewed the distribution of personnel costs across all grants and revenue sources. Communications task force is still focused on the legislative items and rebrand. Grant Selection and Performance is overwhelmed with reviews that need to be completed by June 26 for full Commission action.
Executive Committee members compiled a list of items for the June 26 agenda.
There being no other business, the committee ended its discussion at 3:57 pm.