Present: Celeste Branham, Ed Barrett, Jenni Tilton-Flood, Luke Shorty, Maryalice Crofton, Stacie Haines
The members convened at 3:30 pm using the virtual meeting technology.
SISGI JEDI report review and next steps. The report of recommendations from Thenera arrived end of December and was previously sent to Exec Committee and DEI subcommittee members. Discussion today related to recommendations, particularly the one highlighting importance of accountability plan and the one suggesting a learning budget. The latter prompted a further discussion about measuring change in knowledge and whether there is an assessment of baseline JEDI knowledge that could be used as a guide to learning and growth. Celeste will inquire of Thenera whether there is such an assessment.
Actions and plans in response to the recommendations are the domain of the DEI subcommittee and thoughts from today will be further discussed. Exec members decided to send an invitation to join the DEI group to all commissioners so anyone interested can participate. The retreat action item of lunch and learn meetings centered around the book will also be scheduled by this committee.
Transition scope of work with SISGI. The proposed support outline from SISGI was reviewed and it was noted the contract has been extended. Luke Shorty will lead the Transition Task Force. Discussion began with membership and whose perspectives would be very useful. Luke will reach out to the suggested list which included Jess Nixon from Dept of Education. Although she is no longer the designee in the ex-officio seat, she is the Chief of Operations for DOE and would be very helpful. Maryalice reported she met with the CFO of the Secretary of State and the legislative liaison to start exploring transition issues. The meeting was very fundamental, and no schedule is set. The expected legislative bill directing there be a study to change the Commission’s fiscal agent has not appeared, but it has been confirmed it is in the revisor’s office for drafting.
Financial challenges. Maryalice reported on the challenges that are multiplying around tracking finances. The accounting office at DAFS has huge delays in processing even routine payments and it is clear that, when there are any issues, those problems are not being raised for p to 60 days after an invoice is submitted. She has asked state OIT for assistance in getting an off-the-shelf software like Quickbooks that the office could use locally to keep an up-to-date accounting of grant expenses and match. Exec members asked to be kept apprised of the issue and proposed resolution.
Legislative issues. Maryalice has been in touch with the analyst for the Commission’s oversight committee. Typically, in the first month of each new legislature includes orientations for each committee with presentations by the agencies they oversee. The analyst for State and Local Government expects these to be scheduled for last week of January or first week of February. The Commission Chair usually makes the presentation and Jenni confirmed she will make herself available to do this.
Two of Representative Rielly’s proposals are out as bills. LD142 proposes funding for Climate Corps and LD143 proposes funding for Maine Service Fellows. The surprise is they are referred to Education and Cultural Affairs but the logic is probably following where the Commission budget appears. (DOE, our fiscal agent.) Rep Rielly said he submitted two other bills for drafting. One requires a study to move the Commission’s fiscal agent from Dept of Education to the Secretary of State. The other will address state taxation of AmeriCorps Education Award but we don’t know more about it.
This discussion transitioned to who would be asked to serve on the Public Policy Task Force. Luke will chair and Jenni will serve but need other members. Suggestions were reviewed and Luke will send an email to people asking for their participation. The committee will handle both state and federal issues.
Federal appropriation results. Unexpectedly, the federal 2023 budget was passed. A chart of the final appropriations was reviewed by the committee. There is a slight increase for commissions.
There being no other discussion items, the members dispersed at 4:36 pm.