Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes February 15, 2023

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
February 15, 2023
Kennebec County Office 10 AM to 3:00 PM

Facilitator: Ryder Scott
Note taker: Fran Sulinski

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

Guests: Kennebec County Extension staff joined us informally for the first 15 minutes.


DLL and Extension C&M Partnering

The Extension and Division of Lifelong Learning Communication and Marketing teams recently met to get to know each other and learn the work that each group does.

Discussion Items

Hall of Flags

The ELT made plans related to Extension displays at Hall of Flags in the State House in Augusta. Extension and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture will have a combined space to highlight the work that we share. Extension will also have displays highlighting workforce development. We appreciate the staff who agreed to participate.

Organizational Check-Ins

Many staff have already participated in the “Four Questions” check-in with supervisors, the questions being:

  1. In the upcoming year, what are you most excited about in regards to your job?
  2. From a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being “my job is completely manageable and I am seeking new projects” to 10 being “my life is out of control and I am completely burned out” how would you rate your job with Extension?  What do you think it would take to move down 1 point if you are higher than 1?
  3. What are your biggest challenges and what do you need for support and/or guidance?
  4. In the upcoming year, what are your greatest concerns in regards to your job?
  5. Is there anything else you would like to share?

The ELT discussed the information supervisors are hearing from staff and what themes are emerging so far. We will be developing a table for requests that are coming through the check-ins.  An example of a theme we’ve heard: Staff are seeking to work with their supervisors for assistance to “say no” appropriately, including the ability to turn down “one off” presentation requests. These programs could possibly be covered by volunteers or the Speakers Bureau or by providing other resources. Another theme is the expression of staff that they are motivated by the mission and work of Extension. This exercise will be completed in April and we look forward to sharing our findings with all staff.

Remote Work Policy and Practice Reminder

Staff members who have or would like to have a regular hybrid schedule should formalize that arrangement if they haven’t done so. When creating new job descriptions, please include the fact that hybrid or fully remote work is possible. The remote work request form should still be used by a staff member to request approval of hybrid or fully remote work. Staff who are approved for remote work should also complete the Telecommute Policy. Once approved for remote work, the approval stands until the staff member or manager would like to make a change. Fran will send an email reminder to staff.

  • UMS site that discusses remote work
  • Link to the online form for a formal remote work request

Process for Extension Overload Teaching and Outside Consulting Work Form

This is no formal system for documenting when staff are teaching for an overload and/or performing outside employment/consulting.  The purpose of collecting this information collection is to better understand document the partnerships and collaborations occurring between Extension staff, and UMaine, and UMS academic units, and external organizations. Jason will create an overload and outside consulting work form and communicate this new process to all staff.

Position Negotiation Process (Faculty)

The ELT is clarifying and making consistent our processes for moving forward hiring and negotiations processes once a search committee process has concluded and been approved by HR. Jason will prepare a draft for our next meeting and work with Beth Hawkyard to develop a one-page checklist.

CPR Training

The ELT is exploring offering First aid or CPR training for all staff online or in-person in some locations. Our camp and learning centers already offer this training to camp staff. The camps are willing to include Extension staff in their June training and Ella Glatter will work with Beth Hawkyard to coordinate this training in other locations.

Decision Items

CEA Request for a June 2023 Retreat

The CEAs are planning to host a retreat with professional development opportunities in June 2023. The ELT reviewed the agenda and budget and is supportive of this event.

ELT Goals for 2023

Our ELT meetings can be wide-ranging in topics and at the same time we want to be addressing overarching goals each year. Our goals for 2023 are:

  • Make Extension a sustainable, equitable and enjoyable place to work 
  • Work on structural (county offices, staffing patterns), cultural and leadership  issues in support of this goal
  • Focus on employee experience
  • Restructure Extension  
  • Right size based on budget
  • Mission delivery that is current, and responsive to changing demographics/community needs
  • Overall efficiency and effectiveness
  • Define Focus Areas
  • Make PFAS a priority for Extension

Roadmap Committees Summary

The ELT Continues to use the Roadmaps report and conclusions as a guide and operating manual for our organization’s future.  Specifically we are exploring:

  • Consider How We Operate 
      • Organizational Structure
      • County Offices – County Coordinator and PA county responsibilities
      • Remote Work – consistent work hours and expectations
  • Programming of the Future
      • Driven by a Statewide organizational needs assessment in which outcomes will drive educational programs and hiring priorities, and with a reassessment of  priorities every five years.
      • Develop a rubric or checklist to evaluate how new programs align with UMaine Extension mission and goals.
      • Develop a process to eliminate programs.
      • Organizational structure
      • Regarding needs assessments, we are exploring the most efficacious way to undertake it.  Needs assessments – ELT needs to discuss their involvement in the process as it is time consuming to direct the process. We need to pay attention to how the needs assessment process and follow-up align with and/or interact with our POW (current and future) as approved by NIFA (Jon and all).  Jason Bolton will chair a Needs Assessment Committee that may include ELT members: Ryder, Tori, Melissa, Jon, Hannah, Lisa, and other staff TBD.
  • Enhancing Our Financial Future
    • Program support and sustainability Extension will foster creativity and entrepreneurship
    • Each program area should make the true cost of programming transparent to participants. Offer fee reductions/scholarships to ensure equity.
  • Increase awareness of organizational finances by adopting an open-book budget concept. Create an easy-to-use tool to help calculate the cost of programs and services(expenses, etc.). Discuss this tool in onboard training for ALL
  • Provide a clear incentive pathway and recognition for entrepreneurship, creativity
  • Designate a person/position to aid in grant submissions within Extension
  • Extension fee for centralized services.
  • Extension is not a fully funded state agency; we should shift our mindset to be that we are more like a blend of non-profit and business.
  • Enhancing Collaborations
      • Organizational structure
      • Communication – Internal and external to Extension
      • Training and Resources – New Staff Orientation; continues to evolve
      • Incentives (Internal grants and awards)
  • Successful Communications and Marketing
    • Hire Director
    • Marketing strategy with alignment to UMaine Extension Mission and Goals
    • Marketing team structure and operations
    • Brand Culture
    • Digital presence
    • Internal structure


Earmarks – PFAS, DRL, Food Innovation and Ag Roadmap

We are still awaiting word on how the money for these projects will be coming to UMaine and when to expect it. The ELT discussed the projects and is gauging interest in participating, not only from members of the ELT but from Extension as well.  We learned that Cooperative Extension received the lion’s share of the Maine earmarks (these are one-time funds)

  • $8M for PFAS ($3M for research support)
  • $6M for DRL (ticks)
  • $5M for Food Innovation (2.5 from earmark, matched by 2.5 from MJRP)
  • $1 M for Ag Road Map

Procurement Challenges

Dennis recently met with Kevin Carr, Procurement Service Senior Director, to discuss ongoing challenges that Extension’s various vendors are having with timely payments of invoices. This situation has at times resulted in complaints from vendors, suspension of services, and a significant extra burden for Extensions staff in seeking solutions. Mr. Carr explained that Procurement is chronically short staffed for processing the high volume of invoices that are paid each year (between 95,000-110,000). He and the new Director of Procurement Rachael Piper are advocating for additional positions that he believes will mitigate their challenges. He emphasized that he and his team are willing to help in any situation and that they track issues that are submitted through their service desk. He encourages anyone to use the service desk email, phone line, or to contact him or Rachael Piper with issues (see below).

Please also feel free to contact Dennis Harrington, Michael Bailey, or Amanda Miles.

  • Service desk email: procurementservices@maine.edu  Service Desk phone: 207-581-9101.
  • Kevin Carr email: kevin.carr@maine.edu
  • Rachael Piper email: rachael.piper@maine.edu

Innovation Engineering Professional Development Training Opportunity

  • May 12 (8 am – ~6 pm) and June 2 (8 am – ~6 pm)
  • Blue Belt training for IE system overview

Search Updates


  • AgrAbility Coordinator
  • Asst Extension Professor, Maine Sustainable Agriculture and Livestock Educator
  • Asst Professor, Maine Sustainable Agriculture and Farm Business Management Educator
  • Admin Specialist CL2, 4-H, Cumberland (with Melissa for HireTouch)
  • Smart Agriculture Professional
  • Urban Agriculture Professional
  • Assist. Professor Sustainable Agriculture and Ornamental Horticulture Educator (York/southern ME)


  • Communications Professional (Penobscot/remote) 


  • Parent Education Supervisor – Maine Families (Waldoboro) 
  • Parent Education Professional – Maine Families (Knox/Lincoln) Assistant/Associate Professor, Seafood Technology, Food Safety Specialist (Orono) 
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Horticulture Professional (Aroostook)
  • Admin Specialist CL3 (And/Sag) 
  • Community Education Assistant, CL1 EFNEP (And/Sag) Failed 1/19
  • Admin Specialist CL3 (DRL) Failed
  • Director Bryant Pond/Greenland Point 4-H Centers (BP/GP)


  • 4-H Youth Development Professional (Oxford)
  • Admin Specialist CL3 (Tanglewood/Blueberry Cove)
  • Admin Specialist CL2 (Somerset) 
  • Veterinarian Specialist & Assistant Extension Professor (VDL) 
  • 4-H Community Education Assistant (Waldo) Declined, interviewing
  • Postdoctoral Extension Associate in PFAS Research and Outreach (Orono/Statewide) Offering


  • Community Education Assistant, CL1 EFNEP (Franklin) Accepted
  • Potato Plant Pathologist, Faculty (Aroostook/Presque Isle) Accepted
  • 4-H Community Education Assistant CL2 (Pen/Pisc) Accepted
  • Admin Specialist CL2 (Cumberland) Ali Mediate, February 1 or 6
  • Community Education Assistant, CL1 EFNEP (York) Mikaela Greenwald, Jan 9
  • Community Education Assistant, CL1 EFNEP (Washington) Karen Corbett, Jan 9
  • Web Professional (Orono/remote) Matt Thomas, Jan 2
  • CRM System Support Professional (Orono/remote) Whitney Yorston, Jan 2


  • Manager of Operations and Finance (TWBBC)
  • 4-H Community Education Assistant (Washington, Brittany Foster replacement

    2023 ELT In-Person Meeting Dates

    Dates Facilitator Notes Location
    March 15 Sulinski Arndt Virtual
    April 19 Arndt Bailey Somerset
    May 17 Bailey Bolton Cumberland
    June 21 Bolton Carter Andro/Sag
    July 19 Carter Dill Aroostook
    August 16 Dill Harrington Oxford
    September 20 Harrington Jackson Hancock
    October 18 Jackson Prichard Knox/Lincoln
    November 15 Prichard Phelps York
    December 20 Phelps Scott Virtual