Executive Committee

Meeting notes.

PRESENT: Luke Shorty, Diane Lebson, Pam Proulx-Curry, Bill Guindon, Celeste Branham, Jenni Tilton-Flood, Julia Van Steenberghe, Maryalice Crofton.

The members convened at 3:00 p.m. using the virtual meeting technology. 

There are three significant items to discuss. Chair Shorty stated he would like to reorder them by expected time needed to address the item.

Recruitment of Board Candidates.  A chart of vacancies and assigned recruiters was reviewed. Since the May 17 board meeting, two Commissioners have indicated they will not seek reappointment so there are now 7 vacancies. The seats are

  • Seat 13: A representative of a community-based agency or organization
  • Seat 6: An individual who is at least 16 years of age but no more than 25 years of age and who is a participant in or a supervisor of a service program for youth or a campus-based or national service program
  • Seat 9: Expert in the delivery of environmental services to communities and persons
  • Seat 10: An individual with expertise in the education, training and development needs of disadvantaged youth;
  • Seat 12: An individual with expertise in the education, training and development needs of disadvantaged youth;
  • Seat 14: An expert in delivery of human services in communities
  • Seat 17: An expert in the delivery of human services in communities

Tom Meuser and Becky Hayes Boober are recruiting along with Exec Committee members. All candidates need to submit application materials to Maryalice by June 28 so they can be bundled and sent to the Director of Boards and Commissions before the holiday week.

[Note: reappointment applications are due on the same timeline.]

Staff Reorganization and Shifting Responsibilities. Maryalice had shared three things before the meeting.

1) Nathan McIvor has resigned. He is taking a position in another state agency. 
2) The staff team met and, within the scope of each person’s job, redistributed work for the near term. With some items, the person will actually have a better ability to work with constituents. 
3) Two budget scenarios were shared. 
One shows immediate impacts and some ability to redefine the vacant Senior Planner as a Financial Assistant and fill it part-time. The other presumes it will be possible to find someone to take the PIO position. It was offered for the third time and declined for the third time.

The second shows what the Commission needs for financial resource in the next biennial budget if all positions are retained and the admin is again filled. With the finance director as a dedicated position, the office admin could take on more of the clerical duties that the staff have dispersed amongst themselves. 

Exec Committee members expressed support for the near-term plans but didn’t discuss the future budget scenario.

Board Reorganization. To start the discussion, Shorty asked each person to identify the 3 task forces they felt would be most critical in the next 12-18 months. There was considerable consensus: Public Policy and Grants had 5 mentions, Communications had 4, and DEI had 2. This exercise led to a lengthy and frank discussion of both why these would be critical and what happens to other task forces. It was acknowledged that there is a little potential for consolidation and that the 2025-2026 strategic planning process would end up in reform based on the direction the Commission would go next. Another point of conversation was DEI and whether now was the time to embed it in every task force. There would need to be an accountability process to ensure it didn’t fade into the background. Another opinion was DEI needed to stay as a task force because the knowledge and practices are not universally understood and integration is too new. 

There is potential for consolidation. Three current task forces have missions that strongly overlap. If a Program Task Force was created to consolidate Maine Service Fellows, Climate Corps, and Commission work on training/professional development for managers of volunteers, the policies, procedures, training and technical assistance issues could be addressed in ways that ensure equity across programs and tighter alignment, less redundancy. Merging these three would reduce the number of task forces from 10 to 7 and mean that, after new members join in September, there would be 3-4 Commissioners on each. The concept was discussed but no decision reached.

As conversation continued, there was some agreement that until July 2025, there are 5 task forces that need to be strong and very active. Shorty noted this board style is a working board and the task forces need to be adequately staffed with Commissioners. The critical ones are

  • Transitions – oversee move to MOCA and hiring new Exec
  • Communications – ensure Commission identity isn’t lost or faded in public and legislative arenas.
  • Grants – can’t lose sight of core work
  • Public Policy – consider what impact legislation and legislature actions have on us, advocating for best options

Exec members agreed they were not ready to propose a motion for reorganization to the full board. They would like the full board to have a similar discussion in June and then Exec revisit the issue at its July meeting. This will be on the June agenda with a significant block of time.

A note was made that any changes should be considered temporary. If it doesn’t seem the strategic planning process will reform task forces, there should be a specific date for sunsetting or reconsidering the changes made this year.

Other items. DEI Task Force was asked to consider adding “belonging” as an element of its work. Recent literature has highlighted the fact a place or organization can be diverse and inclusive but if a person doesn’t feel a member or doesn’t feel they belong, the goal is not achieved. 

It was noted that the Board Development Task Force was moved into Exec Committee duties because of the overlap in membership. It still exists.

The board retreat will be in September. Commissioners need to hold both September 19 and 20 for the annual meeting and retreat. Celeste will schedule Wabanaki REACH for part of the retreat and their availability will shape how the two days unfold.

Exec members needed to leave for other commitments so the meeting ended at 4:42 pm.