Executive Committee

PRESENT: Jenni Tilton-Flood, Ed Barrett, Celeste Branham, Pam Proulx-Curry

The members convened at 3pm using the virtual meeting technology.

Board Retreat. The location for the daytime portion of the retreat will be the usual meeting room at the office. Commissioners will get a notice to order lunch and indicate attendance at teambuilding/planning activity in the evening. A concern was expressed regarding integrating all the new board members appointed this summer. This will be their first meeting with other members and they will not have been briefed on the Commission’s DEI activity. Exec members decided to each take a new person as a protege for the meeting. Jenni was asked to make the assignments after RSVPs were received.

Annual work plan. The Commission is required by law to review the strategic plan (state service plan) annually. Customarily, this is part of the retreat but it doesn’t fit into the agenda this year. It also means development of the annual workplan for task forces and staff has no space because it is also usually done in the retreat. Exec committee decided they would draft updates for both and bring to the board for refinement and approval. The October Exec meeting needs to be devoted to this so the time should be extended by 30 min (end at 5pm). 

New Strategic Planning Process. The timeline for the current plan is expiring and the Commission needs to undertake a new planning process. There was discussion of timing to start the process and the pros/cons of the last process and model. The real-time approach suited the environment extremely well so continuing with it has no downside. The decision on launching the process is to wait until the new chair takes over in June so there is continuity in leadership across the planning and other transitions. Securing the facilitator and organizing planning can occur in late spring with work starting in summer 2023.

Legislative issues. 1) Commission move to SOS. The interest in the move quickly turned into a departmental bill proposal in DOE and received initial approval from the Governor’s Office. Subsequently, Secretary Bellows asked for a meeting that included her senior staff who had reservations about executing the move next July. The SOS staff are going to have an in-house conversation and will reach back out in two weeks with questions. The status is “stay tuned.” 2) Rep Reilly has indicated that, if he is re-elected, he intends to submit several bills that would impact the Commission. Rather than react, the Commission public policy task force (now part of communications) needs to reform. Exec members had some ideas but want to get to know the new Commissioners before making a final plan. 3)The biennial budget preparation and deadlines are hitting now. Maryalice submitted a request to increase the office administrator position to full-time with General Funds. It has DOE support. 

Expiring terms and reappointment requests. At least three of the brand-new commissioners were put in seats whose terms expire Sept 1, 2022. The director of Boards and Commissions has stated in an email that those members will be automatically reposted for full terms. Current members with expiring terms are Matt L’Italien, John Portela, Jenni Tilton-Flood. Only Jenni is seeking reappointment. John is identifying a representative of organized labor to succeed him. There is an applicant sitting in Boards and Commissions that qualifies for Matt’s seat but she has been overlooked so far. 

Foundation update. The foundation is still searching to fill vacancies on the board. John Portela will move into one of those but not until he is replaced on Commission. Absolutely need Commission assistance in advancing this work.
Commission Grant competitions. Between now and end of November, there is an unusual number of grant competitions to handle. Active now are the AmeriCorps Formula planning grant and rural state competitions. These are round 2 of the competitions held in spring 2022 and will allocate remaining funds. Climate Corps and Maine Service Fellows will open end of August. The routine fall AmeriCorps Competitive call for proposals has a companion this year – the AmeriCorps Public Health competition funded with CDC monies is running concurrently through states. The federal submission deadline moved up again so we need to get everything done by 11/30. 

The big challenge with this many competitions is peer reviewers. Exec agreed to ask new Commissioners to peer review planning grants and rural applications. For Climate Corps, ask Research and Evaluation Task Force members to volunteer since they’ve been overseeing the creation of that effort. For later competitions, need to do some recruitment.

Commission finances and alternative match. Maryalice reported on the Commission operating finances for the first six months. There is a significant shortage on the office operating grant’s local share because the MAB public education program did not get organized after the death of their exec director. Their board just had too much on its plate. Significant is $150,000. The federal agency just re-wrote the process and criteria for authorizing an alternative match schedule. Maryalice shared what that would look like. There were no objections to submitting the request. It would eliminate match

National issues. Most were pushed to the September agenda. One discussed pertained to the invitation to AmeriCorps’ CEO to visit Maine. DC staff have notified Maryalice that the invitation is being discussed and we will get notification within the next two weeks.

The meeting ended at 4:42 pm.