Commission Minutes

March 20, 2015


Present:  [in person] Ed Barrett, Kathy Billings, Gordon Liu, Mark Hews, John Portela, Richard Higgins, Susan Lavigne, Eileen Smart, Barbara Wentworth, David Wihry.

Public Comment Period  
Representatives of Eastern Maine Development Corp. thanked the Commission for consideration as the new operator of the Bangor AmeriCorps Opportunity Collaborative. They reported that several foundations in the Bangor Area along with the United Way and some businesses have provided funds to support the program through the remainder of this year.  

Call to Order
Chair-elect John Portela called the meeting to order at 10:07 AM. After introductions it was noted there were not enough members present to constitute a quorum. Any items requiring immediate action will be taken up by the Executive Committee at the end of the meeting. Today the meeting chair will get a sense of the board members present on actionable items. 

Portela stepped out of his role as chair to act as Dedimus Justice and swear in two re-appointed Commissioners, Barbara Wentworth and Ed Barrett. Two other appointees were sworn in earlier in the week. They are Gordon Liu (reappointment) and Laura Hudson (new appointee). 

Portela returned to chairing the meeting. Barb Wentworth was the only Commissioner to submit a correct quiz answer. The Franklin Ambassadors task will be to convene a community event that engages community members in looking at how to make national service a cultural expectation, common opportunity, and civic rite of passage. The cities invited to host Ambassadors are all in states with presidential primaries. Maine has an applicant (Gordon Liu) even though it does not have a primary. Eileen Smart of CNCS announced that Stanley McCrystal will be in Concord next week to promote the program.

It was noted that the spelling of the last name for the new CNCS representative is Hite, not Hight. 

Focus on Mission/Responsibilities-
A. Renewal of Memorandum of Understanding with Southern Maine Community Organizations Active in Disasters -(Zeutenhorst)

The MOU has one significant change from the prior agreements. SMCOAD will be solely responsible for conducting one training each year and the Commission will take a support role. Previously, the training was a joint activity. Barret recommended the Commissioners support the renewal. The other members present agreed. 

Business Reports
A. January minutes
No corrections were noted. Action on the minutes will be held to the next meeting. 

B. Executive Committee -(Portela)
The minutes were posted for review before the meeting. No clarifications were requested. 

C. Board Development-(Crofton for Branham)
The minutes were posted for review before the meeting. No clarifications were requested. Board Development asked for guidance on the best month for the retreat. July seems to be the preference of Board members. 

D. Resource Development-(Hews)
A request to Maine Community Foundation has been submitted. They announce decisions in early June. The funds would support certifying a dozen Service Enterprise trainers to cover the state. At present there are four trainers. Certification entails completing a 4 day course and leading at least one cohort of agencies through the process. 

In light of the progress on the  private support organization, Resource Development recommends it merge with Executive Committee until October. Both Committees will need to work on supporting establishment of the organization. The suggestion was supported by those present.

E.Grants Task Force -(Wihry)
First item is announcement on a change in submissions to AmeriCorps State Competitive. RSU 14 had a text entry error that caused the narrative to exceed page limits. They opted to withdraw the application because an entire required section was eliminated. 

Second item is announcement that the task force is using the time between competitions to revise MCCS risk-based monitoring tools so they have stronger quantitative criteria. This will bring our approach more in line with CNCS preferences for measurements. 

Third item has two parts. First is the task force recommends transferring the Bangor AmeriCorps Opportunity Collaborative from Eastern Maine Community College to Eastern Maine Development Corp. immediately.

Part two of the action is to approve a year 3 continuation application for the project under EMDC's sponsorship.

The program would be funded at the same level as year 2 ($210,306 ).  

Commissioners present supported the immediate transfer and continuation recommendation. This is an item Executive Committee will address immediately after adjournment today. 

Ed Barrett commended Mike Ashmore and EMDC staff for the hard work to make this viable. There have been many federal complications and a very short time to accomplish it all.

F. ASC Public Policy Committee -(Crofton for Holmes)
Ron attended the ASC public policy teleconference earlier in the week. There is a very important letter to Congress which will circulate in April. All Commissioners are asked to sign on as it is intended to show the solidarity and strong engagement of state service commissions. A copy of the text was shared with those present.

G. Public Information and Education/ Public Policy -(Portela)
 LD 916 - Commission bill. The public hearing is scheduled for March 30 at 1pm in room 214 (committee room for State and Local Government). John will present testimony for the Commission as will the lead sponsor, Representative Andrew McLean. Commissioners are asked to be present.

Spring events needing Commissioner participation. April and May are extraordinarily busy.

April 3 is the Young Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor recognition at the Portland Pirates game. The Commission has two responsibilities as part of the game. Assistance is needed.

April 21 is the Governor's Service Awards in the Hall of Flags. There are lots of rolls for Commissioners. The sign-up is being circulated. Please assist.

May 12 is National Service Day at the Capitol. Commissioners assistance is needed for greeting legislators and shepherding them through the programs. Let Mike know about your attendance.

May 19 is the Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor event at the Sea Dogs. Let Pam know about your attendance. The Bangor Daily News will publish the roll of honor on April 17 which is the middle of National Volunteer Week.

Setting outreach priorities. The survey to inform PIE discussions is still on the active list. It will surface as soon as PIE has an opening to address it.

I. Excellence and Expertise -(Hews)
The task force has decided to form a subcommittee just for Service Enterprise so it can add people from the Maine volunteer sector with an interest in Service Enterprise.

K. MCCS Staff - (Crofton)
Franklin Project activity. Representatives of Franklin's technology platform initiative will meet with Maine National Service programs in early May when they are all at a regional conference. Franklin is going to rely on National Service programs as the first users of the platform.

No clarifictions of staff reports were requested. 

J. CNCS field office -(Smart)
Ms Hite was unable to attend today. This is Eileen Smart's last meeting.

The new VISTA project sponsor is Goodwill Industries of Northern New England. The program managers are Steve Niles and Joely Ross who also manage AmeriCorps State and National programs.

Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service is April 7. All the 2014 participating cities have agreed to join in again but only two have been asked to do events - Portland and Bangor.

The 50th anniversary of VISTA was launched last week. Community solutions summits will be held in key cities like Washington DC and Philadelphia during the year.

John Portela thanked Eileen for her service on the Maine Commission.

Planning and Future Initiatives
A. No business scheduled - 

Business Wrap Up
The next business meeting is April 17, 2015- Klahr Center, UMA. The meeting closed at 11:34 AM.