January 12, 2015

Piscataquis County Extension Association
Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
January 12, 2015 


John Rebar, Donna Coffin, Ana Bonstedt, Barb Baker, Sheila Norman, Walter Boomsma, Janet Yelch-Weatherbee, Richard Neal, Tish Dutston, George McKay, Georgia Underwood – Guest, Dotty Hadler – Guest

Meeting called to order at 3:05 PM. Brief introductions were made, including Georgia Underwood, a guest of George who is interested in joining the Committee. Walter advised the group there had been several late additions to the agenda, including an “Executive Session” scheduled to begin at 4:30, urging we make a special effort to stay “on task.”


Secretary’s Report

It was moved and seconded to accept the secretary’s minutes from our Joint Meeting in September.

Budget Report See attached report. Donna explained that we are still not switched to our new telephone provider as Fairpoint has not released our number.


Program Reports

Copies of written reports are being distributed separately. Written reports were received from Donna, Ana, Barb/Sheila, and Hannah (Food Corps).

  • Farming/Horticulture –see attached reports. Ana notes that Master Gardener Program will be starting soon and requested help with publicizing. Richard volunteered to take information to Greenville.
  • 4-H –see attached report. Sheila notes that the Minuteman Club has been disbanded due to leaders leaving the area, but the kids are being absorbed into other clubs.
  • FoodCorps –see attached report. Hannah was unable to attend at the last minute, Walter expanded briefly on her report, noting that the idea for a “Garden and Health Day” would be a great opportunity for us all (staff and executive committee) to collaborate and make a big impact.


Unfinished Business

Budget Strategy

It was noted that the 2016 budget has now been officially approved at $19,500.

Food Corps Position

Walter updated the group on the current funding status. Kate has advised that she would like to seek additional funding from the Maine Community Foundation and has asked if Piscataquis County would support/endorse that effort. Motion made and seconded that PCEC recognizes the value, approves of the effort, and authorizes Walter to write a letter of support if needed. Kate will attend PCEC meeting in February to update and discuss Food Corps Funding Status.

Work Plans and Public Relations

A consensus developed that Program Reports provided an update and we should keep the meeting moving to allow sufficient time for the resource discussion with John Rebar.


New Business

New Executive Committee Members

Walter requested that we postpone voting in additional members until the by-laws can be checked to determine that we do not have a maximum number of members allowed.

GrowME Collaboration

Walter indicated that he expected another successful year by staying with previous year’s activities and grades. The most difficult aspect is scheduling the activities in all of the various schools. A planning meeting will likely be scheduled for early February with activities being conducted during Maine Ag Week in March.

Added to Agenda – Request for Sponsorship

Donna presented a request from Patrick Myers and Center Theatre to sponsor an upcoming screening of a film regarding “growing local” produced by Maine Farmland Trust. George moved that we sponsor the event contingent upon learning what exposure Extension would receive as a sponsor. Suggestions included an expectation that we would be included in media releases and possibly a display table during the film. We agreed to allow Donna to decide if the media benefits would justify the expense.

Sharing Resources Cross County

John Rebar shared updates regarding the current Extension Budget and explained the adjustments being made regarding staffing. He began by reiterating the need to keep County Offices in place and to attempt to serve citizens both efficiently and effectively. This includes applying resources strategically based on needs and opportunities. A noticeable change in Piscataquis County will be that Sheila and Ana will have some added responsibilities in Penobscot County. In discussion, both felt that they would likely continue to consider the Piscataquis County Office as their home office. It was also noted that this is not a “precise” division but a needs based one. There might be weeks when, for example, Sheila works exclusively in Penobscot County and other weeks when she works exclusively in Piscataquis County. Both felt that the challenge was not insurmountable. One additional observation was that the role of the Executive Committee becomes increasing important, particularly as both a voice and ears in our communities with staff not being present as much.

Executive Session

At 4:30 p.m., all staff was thanked for attending and participating, but asked to leave so the committee could meet in Executive Session with John and Donna.

Meeting adjourned at 5:05 p.m.

Next Cooperative Extension Executive Committee meeting planned for February 9, 2015 at 3 p.m.