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Financial Oversight

December 6, 2018

PRESENT: David Burns, Luke Shorty, Maryalice Crofton 

The meeting opened at 1:10 pm in the conference room of Eastern Maine Area Agency on Aging, Essex St., Bangor. 

Discussion  
This meeting is the organizational meeting for a revived task force. The primary goal was for task force members to gain an initial understanding of the funding that supports Commission operations.

Maryalice walked members through the sources of funds, how they are obtained, the timeframes for each federal source, and requirements associated with each source.

Because none of the federal funding awards for Commission operation have the same start/stop dates, the declared fiscal year for the Commission is the calendar year. That coincides with the award dates for the oldest Commission operating grant – the Commission Support Grant (federal designation = CSG). At this point in time, the CSG requires a $1:$1 local share which is generated largely by the Public Education Program of the Maine Association of Broadcasters. Other match sources include funds from partners who underwrite events, cost sharing of training by participants, and in-kind services from trainers, peer reviewers, and others.

The other federal sources are the training and program development award (federal designation=CIF for Commission Investment Fund), the Commission 1% share of AmeriCorps grantees’ indirect, and the Volunteer Generation Fund. Only the CIF award does not require a local share.

Of note, the Commission operating funds come from discreet awards for the use of the Commission. Unlike other federal programs, the Commission does not retain a percent of the program funding for use as operating monies.

The consolidated budget for 2019 was then reviewed. It shows how operating expenses are distributed across funding awards according to what expenses are allowed under those awards. Examples include legal notices of grant competitions which are only allowed under CSG and VGF. The staff positions are allocated across funds according to the tasks each person is assigned. All the MCCS staff positions are authorized as federally funded in the state budget with two having permission to be supported by other funds if those monies come to fruition. The allocation of time and associated expense for staff mirrors the billable hours system found in private sector operations.

As a state agency, the Commission operates under the state government rules/policies and procedures for financial transactions, accounting, and procurement. The General Government Service Center, a unit within the Dept of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS), handles all accounting and payroll for the Commission as well as a set of other state agencies. Commission staff submit invoices – including grantee requests for reimbursement – with backup documentation to the service center. Payroll is biweekly and staff time is accounted for through the statewide Time and Attendance Management System (TAMS). Review and approval of timesheets is done at several levels and hours are coded to the fund awards associated with work accomplished.

Woven into the financial, personnel, and procurement rules/policies the Commission must abide by are the federal rules and policies. For the most part, the two sets are congruent with the exception of some of the rules around the pass-through grant funds for AmeriCorps.

The task force discussed the Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) that applies to the Commission. This document is common across government and the nonprofit sector. It sets the percentage each year that a recipient of federal funds can claim for costs that are essential but not directly attributable to federally funded activity (e.g., accounting, insurance, maintenance). Because the Commission has a fiscal agent, the Dept. of Education, the indirect rate is the rate set through negotiations between the Maine Dept of Education and the US Dept of Education (Maine DOE’s most significant federal partner). The rate for the coming year is 9%. 

The meeting included an extensive question and answer period that helped task force members better understand the financial aspects of MCCS operations. Maryalice shared an example of the monthly report staff get from the General Government Service Center. It shows the budget, period expenses, and year to date by account codes from the chart of accounts. The task force members decided they would review the report at least quarterly.

The final discussion item was the mission of the task force. The Commission chair asked the group to draft its own mission and present it to full board at the January 2019 meeting.

After some initial thoughts, Luke Shorty was charged with drafting the statement and submitted the following after the meeting:

The finance committee's mission is to educate and communicate to the commissioners the financial mechanisms and happenings of MCCS, as well as the financial needs to meet our mission.

The final discussion item was establishing regular meeting dates. The decision was to set the second Thursday of each month at 3pm as the regular time. The meetings will be virtual and published on the calendar at the Commission business website.

There being no other items on the agenda, the meeting closed at 3:02 pm.