Maine Service Fellows Advisory Committee

The members convened at 4:00 pm using the virtual meeting technology.

PRESENT: Tom Judge, Betsy Fitzgerald, Jennifer Christian, Donna Zadis, Maggie Lynn, Maryalice Crofton, Jake Hurner

Maryalice explained that Celeste was not joining due to illness.

A new task force member, Stephen Bunker - Farmington selectman and firefighter, was set to join but was unable due to unforeseen circumstances.

Maryalice reported no change on the status of LD143 to fund Service Fellows, It passed, went to Appropriations and was held over to second session. The Commission Public Policy Task Force will begin its advocacy in September after legislators have a summer break. Maryalice noted Commission staff are waiting to to get the final decision on the USDA application. Approval is highly likely but the timeline for the announcement is unclear. This would fund the third MSF position.

There is a call out to regional and local organizations, inviting submission of letters of intent for MSF projects. These are due September 8th. Maryalice outlined how the Committee may review submissions received, and that there may be options in the future to expand the methods of application to support equity. Betsy asked if expanding avenues of application would create difficulty in ability to consistently review. Soliciting letters only was decided for the current application cycle. Maryalice shared that current call was listed in a press release that went out in all dailies. Committee members were asked to submit local dailies that could be advertised in or networks that could share the information. 

Committee members were asked to comment on the current webpage. Tom suggested the current information was sufficient, Betsy agreed. Other members had not had time to review the information. They were asked to send their comments and suggestions by email.

Maryalice clarified the goal of the expense reimbursement policy as it pertains to reimbursement for events held by MSF. The policy would pertain to guests as they are invited to MSF events looking at the equity of including communities. Committee members concluded reimbursement by the program should be only to fellows for required events. The current policy includes supervisors for required events. The Committee indicated the director should exercise discretion for unusual circumstances but generally the cost should be part of the local share. The existing polity will be revised for re-review next month. 

The Maine Service Fellows handbook was distributed with the agenda beforehand. Maryalice explained that only one person on the advisory committee had served on the design task force so most were seeing this for the first time. The design team had developed quite a few policies that are in the Service Fellows handbook and will be pulled into the supervisor handbook which is under development. (A draft had also been circulated.) Sharing the member handbook is intended to bring current members up-to-date on work already done. Any new policies will fill gaps or revise to fit lessons learned during implementation.
NEXT MEETING: September 19, 2023 at 4:00 pm

Carried over: rereview of updated reimbursement policy, review submitted letters of intent. Other to be added. 

There being no other business, the members dispersed at 4:46 pm

NB: Donna asked about the goal of the advisory committee and Maryalice had summarized. Here is the formal mission statement for this committee, adopted in January 2023.

The Maine Service Fellows Advisory Committee

  • designs the Maine Service Fellows program within the parameters of the program's purpose
  • sets the policies and procedures for program operation
  • oversees implementation 
  • supports public awareness of program