Executive Committee

The members convened at 3:30 p.m. using the virtual meeting technology. Through prior agreement, the meeting scheduled added 30 min.

PRESENT: Luke Shorty, Ed Barrett, Pam Proulx-Curry, Diane Lebson, Celeste Branham, Julia VanSteenberghe, Jenni Tilton-Flood, Jeff McCabe, Maryalice Crofton

Retreat Planners. The group met last week (Aug. 30) and Celeste summarized their work. 
1.    Definitively holding the retreat on Thursday, October 19th, and the Commission business meeting on Friday morning, October 20th. 
2.    In addition to Commissioners, will invite to the retreat Volunteer Maine Foundation Board members and members of the public who serve on our Task Forces. 
3.    The day of the retreat will be entirely devoted to strategic planning, each stage of which Kaira will develop. 
4.    Discussion of the Transition Committee work/progress will take place at the September Commission meeting. 
5.    The scope of upcoming legislative work will take place at the October 20th business meeting.
6.    Also at the October 20th business meeting, we will invite the Executive Director and the leadership of the Permanent Commission on Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations to speak about their work.  I will draft an invitation for Luke to send to Ariel Ricci, the Executive Director of the Permanent Commission.

Luke confirmed that he had received the draft from Celeste and would issue the invitation.

Consideration of Strategic Planning Proposal from Esgate. Kaira sent the revised proposal on Friday, in time for Maryalice to run a comparison that showed Exec members where the changes occurred. The biggest change was a reduction in focus groups from 10 to 6 and changing an in-person review of potential goals to a virtual meeting with the board. The current operating budget has $10,000 in it from a revision last spring. The $7,000 balance did fit into the CSG 2024 budget. Executive committee unanimously supported entering into the contract.

Lunch Seminar with Mass Service Alliance. As the Grant Task Force continues to assess what changes would make the application and selection process more equitable and inclusive, staff learned that the Massachusetts commission (Mass Service Alliance) is furthest along among Commissions. It is suggested the Grant Task Force, DEI Task Force, and Exec Committee ask MSA to present their work and learning on October 13 as a lunch seminar. After discussion, the entire board will be invited so anyone else interested can attend.

Commission Assessment Tool. ASC has developed a commission assessment and invited all Commissions to complete it. Participants need to be familiar with Commission operations and policy. Staff will complete and the discussion was whether Exec Committee members or only officers should fill it out. Exec decided that all committee members will be expected to complete it but the whole board should be invited. It was acknowledged that newer members may not be able to reply. Responses are due the end of September and the analysis would be back to the Commission a month later.

Recruited candidates for board. Recommendations for all vacancies were sent to the Office of Boards and Commissions. Maryalice met with the Assistant Director, Joe Boucher, and he expected reappointments would go smoothly. He will meet with the Governor soon to discuss the recommendations.

Public Policy strategizing. As reported earlier, the full board discussion of future legislation will be part of the Oct 20 meeting. Immediate state legislative work is to start advocating for funding of items left on the table. Best move is to get priority items into the supplemental. At the federal level, staff of Maine’s Members of Congress want to meet to discuss the potential impact of mark ups. It was noted that the federal House strategy of not funding the National Service Trust means no AmeriCorps member can be enrolled since each enrollment must correspond to an education award. This double-bind and the reduction in funding to 1997 levels makes this budget higher stakes than others.

Plan for meeting on 9/11 with Dept of Ed leadership. Luke, Pam and Jenny will participate. Bill does not return from vacation until later in the week. All members of Exec Committee discussed what should be priorities for the meeting and Luke noted the budget for 2024 makes some of them obvious.

Proposed budget for 18 mos covering Jan 2024 to June 2025. Exec asked to review the proposed budget before it is presented to the full Commission on 9/15/23. It has some unique features this time because the federal agency is going to extend both the Commission Support Grant and the TTA Commission Investment Fund grant by 6 months. The goal is to move both from the historic Jan-Dec cycle to a July-June cycle. The funds for Jan-June 2025 in CSG will be awarded under TTA so they will not require match. That said, the approval of activities will be in CSG, a situation which could make a future audit interesting.

In this presentation, each extension (TTA and CSG) is shown separately. The Commission will need to do GF and special revenue acct updates at end of 2024 to show the same 6mos. Too far ahead to show now - they are just 12 mos of 2024 here.

There are some “Budget Headlines” that are context for changes, especially staff shrinkage.

  • 2 layoffs in December unavoidable - no money in budget for MSF Program Director and Program Officer for Volunteer Initiatives. 
  • General Government Service Center charge for accounting and HR increased 314% over last year. Commission was not notified, learned when invoice was sent. This cost is paid from DI-CAP. To cover, had to move $16,000 general expenses from DI-CAP onto General Fund and Fed accts. 
  • Personnel related increases are moderate -- 8.3% inc in health ins
  • OIT has significant increases -- per person workstation bundle up 13%, charge per printer connected to network up 25%, and we are charged $13.88 ea/mo for 5 security cameras in common areas.
  • There are no funds to cover a CT with MAB so no match generation. May be able to garner some from a tracking of federal PSA but, given that stations broadcast under MAB partnership the federal PSA campaign is not likely to generate much in Maine.
  • Total of all sources is on far left; distribution of staff is under each source.

Exec members were very concerned with the loss of personnel which, to some degree, is linked with bills and budget requests that were not funded in the session. There was a discussion of capacity to continue existing work and Maryalice shared options but they would only carry things for another 12 months. It is lucky that some match has built up; however, the fact this is the first time we won’t have funds for the Public Education Program with MAB is long-term really problematic. Exec members did not request any modifications and the budget will be on the business meeting agenda next week.

There being no other items to discuss, members dispersed at 5:15pm.