Executive Committee

PRESENT: Celeste Branham, Jenni Tilton-Flood, Pam Proulx-Curry, Luke Shorty, Diane Lebson, Julia Van Steenberghe

The members convened at 3:35 p.m. using the virtual meeting technology. The chair noted this meeting is scheduled for 2 hours to give plenty of time for the anticipated discussions.

AGENDA (modified from standing agenda)
I. Urgent and timely matters from Volunteer Maine staff.
A. Status update with General Govt Service Center.  No invoices have been paid since 9/15 on office operating grants. For subgrantees, $ is owed with some invoices dating back to early October. The service center has been unable to access the federal cash draw system to pull funds to cover payments. The money is there. Federal agency people have been involved in troubleshooting the issue which is on the state end of the process. The HR side is now a factor, too. The Public Information Officer position was advertised and applications closed 11/28. The list of applicants to interview has not been forwarded which means we’ve likely lost a chunk of people to other employment offers. Executive committee members agreed that Luke should write a letter to senior staff in Governor’s Office about the issue.

II. Urgent and timely matters from Volunteer Maine board
A. Develop recommendation to board on destination through transition. Executive Committee had a lengthy discussion of the two viable options (new community service office or Secretary of State). In the process, members asked if other states or independent Maine state commissions were doing. Interviews and lessons to be learned from those two groups were part of the summer work of the Transition Task Force consultant. The findings pointed out that the Commission doesn’t have the staff capacity to be independent and the lessons from other states reinforced the Commission’s desire to have a different fiscal agent. The findings are appendices in the draft report but were not shared widely because the draft is not updated to reflect Secretary of State and Dept of Ed comments. **The Executive Committee consensus recommendation to the full board is to support the LD1934 proposal to move the Commission to the new community service office. The stated mission of that office and the proposed org chart placement of the Commission is a closer alignment with Volunteer Maine’s mission and work. If the legislature does not endorse the proposal, the Secretary of State would certainly be a welcome partner.**

B. Strategic planning. The board focus group met with the ASC consultant on December 4. The discussion was heavily focused on new events and an assessment of what decisions were the most pressing. Three priorities emerged: Settling the issue of transition and moving to the new fiscal agent; planning, launching, and hiring the next executive director; and strengthening the Maine Volunteer Foundation to the extent laws and tax considerations will allow. Initially the consultant was asked to modify the type of constituent input that would be the next step. In a subsequent conversation, the consultant recommended hitting pause on outreach and strategic planning until the transition and executive director issues were settled. She also advised the Commission could remain compliant with legal requirements for a strategic state service plan by voting to extend the current one through the end of 2024. Exec members discussed both suggestions and agreed. The recommendation to the full board will be to extend the current strategic plan and pause new planning activity until critical issues about the future are more definite.

C. Board membership. Jeff McCabe is no longer able to serve so a new labor rep must be found. There is a candidate for the business seat and the person submitted required paperwork at the end of September. She is interested in serving on public policy as a community member now.

D. Plan for consideration of strengths assessment. The results of the ASC strengths assessment were to be discussed with staff at a work session after the December meeting. Exec members agreed the discussion should be postponed to January 19 and, at the next Exec meeting, determine the time. It would be best as an in-person session but could occur as virtual.

III. Task Force Updates
A. Communications. Diane noted the joint Foundation/Commission committee to plan for the Governor’s Service Awards has met once. There was a very productive discussion and Communications Task Force will be briefed at their meeting on 12/18 at 9am.
B. Grant Selection and Performance. They will have two items for action. One will pertain to a new grant application under AmeriCorps Competitive; the second will be action on a continuation request.
IV. Volunteer Maine Commission Meeting and Agenda review. The agenda had to be posted before Exec met. Members reviewed the agenda and did not request any edits.

V. Once around the table for any feedback to improve the Executive Committee or the Commissions work. Members present expressed satisfaction with the process and approach taken today. The chair and several members thanked colleagues for their candor and openness to different views.

There being no other items to discuss, the members dispersed at 5:13 pm.