Commission Minutes

September 18, 2015


Present[in person] Ed Barrett, Celeste Branham, Laura Hudson, Janice Daku, Gordon Liu, Ron Holmes, Mark Hews, Susan Lavigne, John Portela, Elizabeth Hite, Barbara Wentworth, David Wihry

Public Comment. Sam McKenzie of the Baltimore campus of AmeriCorps NCCC explained why he was in Maine. The AmeriCorps program representatives gave short updates on their status. Joel Russ noted that over the summer he helped the Executive Commission research private support organizations.

The meeting was called to order by Chair Ron Holmes at 10:08 am. After introductions, the Commissioner quiz results were announced. Three Commissioners submitted answers. There were no changes to the agenda and no announcements.

Business Reports  
A. Minutes (Holmes)  
Draft of the June minutes were posted. Moved by Wentworth to approve the minutes. Second by Hews. Vote in favor - 11; against - 0; abstain - 1 (Daku). 

B. Executive Committee (Holmes)  
1. The July and September meeting notes posted. Executive Committee did not take any actions on behalf of the board at these meetings. No one asked for clarification of the discussions.  
2. August minutes posted. The Executive Committee did need to act on behalf of the board at this meeting and award the AmeriCorps Formula grants. The awards authorized in June were cancelled by ME Division of Purchases when it identified a scoring error. The August minutes contain all the details and new award information. At this meeting, the board needs to confirm the actions taken. Moved by Portela to confirm the actions taken by Executive Committee, specifically the grant awards. Second by Wentworth. Vote in favor - unanimous.  
3. Private support organization. Commission members were provided draft copies of corporate documents for the private support organization. The legislation permitting establishment of the organization is not effective until October 15. The months between enactment and effective date were used to research set up and corporate by-laws, conflict of interest, ethics, and more. Because the Maine Volunteer Foundation will be an independent organization, the Commission does not vote on these documents. It can provide advice and feedback which will be noted in materials passed to the incorporators. Comments offered included a need for clarity that Commissioners actively serving may never sit on the foundation board. Also, recommendation made for greater distinction between Finance and Treasure duties/positions especially when it comes to signing checks. Two signatures are recommended. In the code of conduct, there should be guidance on who a report should be made to and an alternate identified. The incorporators expect to meet at the end of October.

C. Board Development (Branham)
The August meeting notes with information on open seats were posted. It was noted that Lindsey Oliver changed jobs and, because she now works for the Governor, she can no longer sit on the Commission. Members not seeking reappointment are Bonnie Bagley, MaryAnne LaMarre, Scott Blake, Camille Cramer, and Colleen Smith. Requesting reappointment are Janice Daku and Celeste Branham. One new candidate has already submitted a full application. The person would move into Lindsey's seat. Moved by Daku to recommend Kevin Bois for appointment. Second by Hews. Vote in favor - unanimous.

D.Grants Task Force  (Wihry)
The task force is requesting the Commission approve taking on oversight of an AmeriCorps grant selected for funding at the federal level. The competition was run under special circumstances by Washington CNCS using funding from another federal agency. The timeline was too compressed for Maine to run a local competition. Goodwill Industries of Northern New England was selected for funding and CNCS has asked MCCS to take on oversight since the program will operate only in Maine.

Moved by Wihry that oversight and management of the Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, Take 2 AmeriCorps Program, be assumed by the Commission from the Corporation for National & Community Service upon final award.  The Take 2 program is funded at $298,000, Federal Share, matched by at least $145,391 in local funds, supporting 22.2 member service years distributed over 76 slots. Second by Branham. Vote in favor - unanimous.

Related to other work, the Task Force will oversee an AmeriCorps State Competitive process this winter. It has also started work on an orientation for new members of the task force. In a final update, the task force is going to move its meeting date so the calendar distributed is not accurate for this group.

E. Excellence and Expertise (Hews)  
The meeting was immediately prior to this business meeting. The members debriefed the Service Enterprise training of trainers. Development of the municipal model is delayed at United Way of TriValley Area. The next meeting will be devoted to the future responsibilities of affiliate hubs.

F. ASC Public Policy Committee (Holmes)  
There is a lot of activity at the national level on the part of states. The work with Congress is not only on the budget but other issues of concern to states.

G. Blaine House Conference (Liu/Wihry/Crofton)  
The conference agenda is solid and a video of Maine volunteer program leaders has been shot. MCCS Staff made a pitch for assistance with editing. There is not enough time to learn the software needed to do this. Registration is well below the norm. While some drop was expected with the move, there has not bee a change in participation from the southern Maine organizations that advocated for a different venue.

H. Public Information and Education/ Public Policy (Portela)  
There is no report because the task force did not meet this month.

I. Resource Development (Hews)
The request for Commissioners to financially support the Commission is usually made this month. There was discussion of whether the donations should go to the Maine Volunteer Foundation to support filing fees. It was pointed out that the new foundation board should make the request of Commissioners. In the end, there will be two requests and Commissioners can decide which organization to contribute to.

I. MCCS Staff (Crofton/Ashmore)  
Michael Ashmore and Pelin Fitzpatrick returned last night from the annual meeting of states and CNCS related to AmeriCorps grants. Ashmore reported on a few key topics:  
1. CNCS is working on having a national channeler to handle the required FBI fingerprint checks. This might resolve a conflict in the federal laws applying to CNCS and FBI.  
2. CNCS has initiated a large modernization of their web data platform which has been plagued with problems. The first phase of implementation will be Spring 2016. Second phase will migrate participant sections and data. Third phase will implement data analytics and manipulation features. This is welcome but concerning.

J. CNCS field office (Hite)
There was a Maine celebration of VISTA's 50th anniversary earlier in the week. The New Americans Corps was awarded to Catholic Charities USA.

Focus on Mission/Responsibilities 
A. Organizing for Sept 2015 through June 2016

The proposed schedule of meetings for the time period was distributed. The business meeting schedule needs formal adoption. Moved by Hudson to adopt the business meeting schedule. Second by Portela. Vote to approve - unanimous.

On a related issue, the Commissioners need to renew authority for Executive Committee to act on behalf of full Commission between meetings when matters must be resolved before the next meeting. Moved by Portela to renew the authority of Executive Committee. Second by Barrett. Vote to approve - unanimous.

 Planning and Future Initiatives  
The Commission recessed to hold a work session on current status of the Strategic Plan. The session was an assessment of progress and review of priorities in light of current events. The work session lasted approximately 30 minutes. A summary report will be issued with the agenda of the next meeting. The Commission reconvened at 12:15 pm.

Business Wrap Up  
Final announcement was a reminder the October 16 meeting will again be in the Cross Office Building. Moved to adjourn by Wentworth. Second by Portela. Vote in favor - unanimous.