Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes February 13, 2020

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
February 13, 2020
Orono – 102B Libby Hall

Facilitator: Hannah Carter
Note taker: Jon Prichard

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

UMaine Budget Model Transformation

Senior Advisor to the President Jeff Hecker met with the ELT to discuss the budget transformation initiative and the goals and principles that will guide this work. The Strategic Vision and Values Framework calls for a transformation of the university’s budgeting processes. Goal 2.2.3 – “We will develop a budgeting process that is responsive and transparent, aligns resources with strategic priorities, and creates incentives/reward structures that support advancement toward the university goals.”   The new draft model will not create new money, but will increase efficiency.  Jeff is chairing a 16-member team (including Extension’s Jim McConnon) that is preparing a draft revised budget model to present to President Ferrini-Mundy in May. Jeff will revisit the ELT and other departments with budget numbers prior to that time, likely in April.

The new draft model’s goals are to:

  • Incentivize mission- and vision-driven decision making.
  • Promote and support entrepreneurship.
  • Create funds for strategic investments.
  • Build resilience of revenue and expense flux.
  • Enhance quality of education, research, public service and workplace.
  • Enhance collaboration.

The new draft model’s principles are:

  • Revenues and costs are distributed via predictable, transparent, understandable, and time-efficient processes.
  • Decision-making authority is aligned with implementation responsibility.
  • Quality and efficiency of services are supported at every level of university operations.
  • Budget-related administrative costs, including people and time, are minimized.
  • Faculty and staff are engaged in annual and long-term budget planning process.
  • Accountability is enhanced.

The new draft model will focus on revenue sources that support responsibility and support centers, and use revenue distribution and expense formulas in distributing funds.

Revenue Sources   →

  • State Appropriation
  • MEIF
  • Tuition
  • Unified fee
  • F&A recovery
  • Sales and service
  • Federal funds
  • Other student fees

Responsibility Centers  →

  • Colleges
  • Maine Bus. School
  • Honors College
  • Research Centers
  • DLL
  • Cooperative Extension
  • Athletics
  • OID

Support Centers

  • Academic Affairs
  • Student Affairs
  • Facilities and Services
  • Enrollment Mgt
  • Library
  • Graduate School
  • Research Administration
  • UMS Shared Services


Statewide Master Gardener Program Coordinator

Representing the Home Hort Program Leadership Team (HHPLT), Kate Garland, Caragh Fitzgerald, and Pamela Hargest last met with the ELT on this topic in December, and returned for further discussions. The focus of the conversation is the funding for a statewide Master Gardener Volunteer Program Coordinator.  They understand that the ELT is not in a position to provide full funding for the position. The Home Hort Team is open to doing their own fundraising, and is asking at what level, if any, the ELT could provide financial support for the position. Given the recent budget cuts from the University, the ELT cannot use base funding, however there is the possibility that we could, on a limited basis, use one time funds in partnership HHPLT fundraising.

Our Membership in eXtension

Given the limited value we receive from eXtension, and the $10,880 annual membership cost, the ELT has decided not to renew our membership for the coming year.

 FLIP Computer Share Program Eligibility

The ELT reminds all full-time Extension faculty and professionals to be on the lookout for the FLIP Computer Share program, and that eligibility includes all who are supported primarily with base funds or revenue.

County-funded, office-based cell phones

The ELT understands that some county offices purchase and pay for costs of field cell phones, and that is a local choice that the ELT accepts as long as the costs are covered entirely by county funding.

Clarifying Policy on Probationary Evaluations

In 2017, UMPSA contract changed the timing of the probationary evaluation for professional employees from a one-year probationary period to a six-month probationary evaluation. For a period of time, Extension was routinely requesting an extension of the probationary period for our county based professional program staff. However now, after review, the ELT has decided supervisors may choose to extend the standard 6-month probationary period on a case-by-case basis for county based program professionals and all professionals as is available procedurally at UMaine and via the UMPSA contract. An extension of the probationary period is warranted when the supervisor has not had adequate opportunity to evaluate the professional staff member’s performance, or has concerns about performance where additional observation will be useful to make a decision to retain the person or not.

Flexible Staff Development Expanded to include Revenue-funded Staff

The ELT affirms that Flexible Staff Development funds continue to be available to all base-funded staff. Effective immediately, FSD funds are being expanded to staff who are revenue-funded (example: 4-H camp staff). However, FSD funds are not available to staff who are fully grant-funded, as those grants typically provide professional development support. If grant funds cannot be used for professional development, staff are welcome to submit an independent proposal to the ELT for funding.


EPC Question on Clarification of Professional Compensation Discretionary Stipends

The EPC sub-committee has asked if awarding an additional amount above and beyond the minimum $2,600 annually – noted in the professional promotion process section ‘Rank Increases in Financial Terms’ – is still valid? And if not, why not? It doesn’t look like this section has been revised since 2007.

The ELT discussed this question, and we affirm that the process is still accurately described in the referenced section. The reality is that given budgetary constraints, we are not able to increase the minimum above $2,600, and we have not often or recently used the “above and beyond” provision. At this time, we have no choice but to leave this language on the books, because this language was approved by HR and the union, and they subsequently said we couldn’t remove this language.

Important Change to Concur (and other) Chartfields

Consistent with new Federal funds management guidance, we began recently managing our Federal funds (Smith-Lever, RREA, & EFNEP) in unique chartfields for each given five-year award. Once a specific award is spent we need to close the chartfield forever, and move on to the next award. February 2020 marks the first transition since our oldest SL funds will be spent out by the end of the month. Effective immediately, we will no longer be charging travel or other expenses to project 5600050, as we have been doing for the past 20 years.  Any expenses, especially travel with 5600050 as the chartfield will need to be returned to the submitter and corrected. The new Chartfield is 5400983-22-5600801. It will change again next year.

Stop using: 5400983-22-5600050

Start using: 5400983-22-5600801

Dennis will send out an email to all staff clarifying this and asking staff to pay attention to it, especially when completing CONCUR reports.

Announcements & Congratulations


As part of our Cooperative Extension work our statewide staff drives nearly one million miles each year. The ELT acknowledges that driving is the riskiest thing we do in the course of our jobs, and even more risky during the Maine winter. We encourage everyone to drive carefully and make good decisions about when to drive or not. Please be careful about driving during challenging weather and DON’T GO when it might be too dangerous – if it means an extra night in a hotel DO IT. We’ve got you covered.

Search Updates

Administrative Specialist CL3 – Highmoor Farm – Caitlin Ramsay hired
Assistant Financial and Operations Manager – Advertising
4-H Youth Development Professional – Washington County – Interviewing
4-H Youth Development Professional (Community Central) Advertising
Crops Entomology Educator – Advertising
EFNEP Regional Supervisor – Advertising
Extension Crops Specialist – Advertising
Sustainable Agriculture Professional – Aroostook County – Preparing to advertise

2020 ELT Meeting Dates

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

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
March 9 Prichard Harrington UMA: 111 Robinson Hall
April 2 Harrington Brzozowski Orono: 102B Libby Hall
April 29 Brzozowski Sulinski Orono: 102B Libby Hall
May 11 Sulinski Phelps UMA: 111 Robinson Hall
June 4 Phelps Carter Orono: 102B Libby Hall