Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes December 13, 2019

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
December 13, 2019
Augusta – 111 Robinson Hall

Facilitator: Richard Brzozowski
Note taker: Fran Sulinski
Nina Lavoie, 1-2  pm, to discuss County Extension Act and volunteers.

Please note: Due to the confidentiality and sensitivity of some agenda items, these ELT minutes do not represent the full content of each meeting.

Admissions Presence at Extension Events

If you have events that you’d like a UMaine Admissions presence at please contact Angela Hart.

Innovation and Economic Prosperity (IEP) Designation

The University of Maine is seeking IEP designation from Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU).  Hannah Carter and Renee Kelly (UMaine Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development) are co-chairing the committee working through this process.

10 Year Economic Development Plan

Governor Mills released her 10 year economic development plan. The ELT discussed the plan and brainstormed ways Extension can complement its goals. We decided to block out the January 30 ELT meeting to do some “visioning and valuing” work based on the plan and the UMaine strategic vision and values.


UMaine Extension Reporting Culture, and Accountability

We cannot say enough about the importance and benefits of quality reporting by every programming staff member. Quality reporting of accomplishments ensures we continue to receive our federal funding and provides us with an opportunity to be more visible and valuable to our county funders, UMaine, and UMS. More training may be needed to help staff understand the full capabilities of the reporting system, including how to extract reports. It may be useful to conduct success story writing trainings annually, perhaps by program area. The ELT may explore creating a few graphically appealing success stories that could serve as examples for our staff to follow. We are still left with the question of accountability. One step can be to address reporting in the annual performance evaluations of professional staff members. For faculty it can be documented during their reappointment and post tenure review procedures. Hannah is also considering making contact with those who have not reported to understand and discuss their circumstances. She is also considering sponsoring awards for those who report well.

County Extension Act and Status of County Extension Association Volunteers

The ELT met with UMS Senior Associate Counsel Nina Lavoie to revisit County Extension Act, in particular as it relates to the interpretation of the Act and the status of County Extension Association members. Nina helped us to understand that within the County Extension Act, we can identify CEA members as part of county government, and ALSO as Extension volunteers. In order to clarify this with all parties, we will take the following steps:

  • In our CEA “roles and responsibilities” list, we will define what activities are part of the CEA Extension volunteer role (they are covered by insurance in these areas), and be aware of things we DON’T want to include on that list.
  • We will have CEA volunteers sign an updated Standards of Behavior, similar to the one signed by all Extension volunteers. If they violate these standards, we can enforce consequences up to and including terminating them from their volunteer role. In the updated Standards, we will be sure to include some language about expectations for treating staff with respect.
  • This doesn’t absolve the county’s responsibility. However, both the county and UMaine Extension are protected by the Maine Tort Claims Act.
  • Hannah will send a message to the organization confirming that County Executive Association members are Cooperative Extension volunteers.
  • We will build/improve our relationships with County Commissioners boards, so we can work together when there is a problem with a CEA member. Hannah will send a friendly letter to each CC board, saying we value the longstanding relationship with them, and reminding them of the language in the County Extension Act that shows county government has a role with CEAs. Note that this is a “cooperative relationship”, as our name implies, and will disclose that we occasionally have had issues in some counties with some CEA members. “There may be situations where we will seek the assistance of (work together with) the county government with problem solving, especially when there are problems between the leadership of the CEA and Extension.”


We discussed the many national meetings staff attend regularly or periodically and what support is provided by UMaine Extension.  

 There are many national conferences that staff would benefit from attending. ELT members will promote these conferences, as appropriate, and seek organizational support when necessary.

  • NACAA (National Association of County Agricultural Agents
  • NAE4-HA (National Association of Extension 4-H Agents)
  • NACDEP (National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals) – June 2020
  • NEED (Northeast Extension Directors) – Portland, June 2020
  • PILD (Public Issues Leadership Development
  • APLU (Association of Public and Land-grant Universities)
  • Outlook
  • National Extension Support Staff Association
  • LEAD21 (Leadership for the 21st Century)
  • ACE/NETC (Association for Community Excellence/National Extension Technology Community)
  • National Association of Extension Program & Staff Development Professionals
  • National Extension & Research Administrative Officers
  • National Extension Master Gardener Coordinator Conference
  • National Extension Conference on Volunteerism (biennial)


Congratulations to Principal Investigator Dr. David Handley and Co-Investigators Dr. Mark Hutton and Dr. James Dill on a USDA Specialty Block Grant award of $19,600 to engage in variety trials of new small fruit varieties. These trials will be used to determine the adaptability and performance of new varieties that will provide farmers with the critical information they need to select the best performing plants, and could result in significant improvements for present fruit quality and yield standards. This will allow Maine farmers to successfully expand fresh berry production to meet the growing demand for locally produced fruit.

Search Updates

Administrative Specialist CL2 – Cumberland County – Interviewing
Administrative Specialist CL3 – Highmoor Farm – Interviewing
Administrative Specialist CL3 – Bryant Pond – Joan Davis-Dunn hired
AgrAbility Outreach to Veterans Professional – Anne Devin hired
4-H Youth Development Professional – Washington County – Advertising
4-H Youth Development Professional (Community Central) Preparing to advertise
4-H Youth Development Professional – York County –  Erin McDonald hired
Community Education Assistant CL2 (Horticulture) – Cumberland – Screening applicants
Crops Entomology Educator – Preparing to advertise
EFNEP Regional Supervisor – Preparing to advertise
Extension Crops Specialist – Preparing to advertise
Scientific Research Specialist CL2 – Advertising
Sustainable Agriculture Professional – Aroostook County – assembling search committee

2019 – 2020 ELT Meeting Dates

Meetings are from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm, unless otherwise noted

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
January 2 Sulinski Phelps UMA: 111 Robinson Hall
January 30 Phelps Carter Orono: 102B Libby Hall
February 13 Carter Prichard Orono: 102B Libby Hall
March 9 Prichard Harrington UMA: 111 Robinson Hall
April 2 Harrington Brzozowski Orono: 102B Libby Hall
April 30 Brzozowski Sulinski Orono: 102B Libby Hall
May 15 Sulinski Phelps UMA: 111 Robinson Hall
June 4 Phelps Carter Orono: 102B Libby Hall