Executive Committee

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

The members convened at 3:34 p.m. using the virtual meeting technology.

I. Urgent and timely matters from Volunteer Maine staff
A. Status of process for hiring PIO.
The one viable candidate decided to withdraw from consideration. After discussion of several options, members supported reopening the search. If the option to do an acting appointment does materialize in the next few weeks, that would get us through April 2025 and all the transitions. There is concern among board members about searching their networks and having HR take 100 days again to send the list of applicants to Maryalice. We may just have to see what occurs and hope for better response internally so people don’t think we are uninterested.

B. Status of financial reporting and grant conditions. Maryalice was asked for an update. The Dept of Education CFO, Nicole Denis, had to step in and drive the VGF closeout process, directing the GGSC every step including how to correct multiple errors they made. Grantees are still owed over $225,000 from invoices submitted between September 2023 and January 2024. Commission office operating grants are still not seeing $53,000+ in expenses posted so balances are unclear. The bright spot is that some key GGSC people are on vacation and the temp covering their work is very competent so there is a push to sort out as much as possible in this window. After extended discussion, Exec members decided there is reason to move ahead with the letter of concern and expand the people copied. They had previously held the letter to see if DAFS promise to fix things panned out.

C. Federal AmeriCorps change in availability of funds (rolled out 3/1). The federal agency previously issued a memo assuring states that ARP funds would be available for the 2025-2026 program year. That memo was rescinded. Commission staff had been holding onto some ARP funds to offset any reductions and fund at least year 2 of programs selected this spring. Now all ARP monies must be committed by September 2024. The Grants task force will get a full briefing on unexpended funds this Friday but this policy change alters options significantly.

D. Summer interns. The Margaret Chase Smith summer intern program has been asked to locate 2 people for Commission projects. One will continue and expand outreach/recruitment while the other will rework the CMV 101 online course which was last updated in 2015.

II. General updates and planning 
A.    Meeting of state commission leaders last week
. Pam represented the board at this meeting. She provided an overview for those present. An observation from the meeting with federal agency leadership was that the CEO is not apprised of all the internal decisions that are making things difficult for states. One example concerns the new federal grant management system which end users are not allowed to test before roll out. The stated reason is security but, as Wisconsin pointed out, the agency doesn’t have the clearance that would lock it down so end user testing isn’t really an issue. That said, the Commissions will not be entering Formula AmeriCorps grants in the system so it’s a whole new world. On another topic, Commission reps who made Hill visits earlier in the week clearly heard from multiple and diverse sources, that AmeriCorps reauthorization is being drafted. Federal agency leadership reframed it as appropriation language but that is not what Congressional staff and Members of Congress were saying. In a session with the NGA, there was a good presentation about an ‘action lab” the NGA’s research section led with 10 states. The 10 state teams were comprised of reps from each State Commission, state Dept of Labor, and Governor policy staff. The discussions and planning was focused on service as a workforce development pathway. Maine had applied but was not accepted. There were hints that a second “action lab” may be pulled together for another set of states. Meanwhile, Michigan’s Commission ED is polling states that applied to see if they would like to do this independently since the format of the work was shared by the NGA. Pam indicated the meeting is very, very useful for putting everything in context.

B.    Actions by board to support funding LD666 and making Climate Coordinator permanent. Jenni will have a letter for signatures shortly. Rep Rielly is going to bat with Appropriations to make the Climate Corps Coordinator position permanent. Support is very appreciated.

C.    Plan/progress on recommending labor seat candidate so board complies with law. Governor’s Office for Boards and Commissions has a candidate proposed by the AFL/CIO but no movement to appoint has occurred. 

D.    Gov Service Awards: overview. Diane had to leave the meeting early so this will occur at full board meeting. Event details are May 5 from 1pm-3pm, Children’s Discovery Museum, Waterville. All board members are asked to attend. 

III.  Volunteer Maine Commission Meeting and Agenda review 
March agenda
so far -- recognize Maine Service Fellow end of service (yes, it's been a year!), work session on Commission strengths report (held over from Feb), 

IV. Task Force Updates 
A. Excellence and Expertise:
Julia noted that she and Tom will be chairing the planning committee for the Maine Volunteer Leadership Conference. They are going to inch forward while Michael is overseas.

There being no further items to discuss, members dispersed at 4:45 pm.