Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes April 3, 2023

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
April 3, 2023
Virtual Meeting 8:30-11:30 AM

Facilitator: Melissa Arndt
Note taker: Michael Bailey

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

Meeting Focus

Agenda items relate to one of these three goals with corresponding action items and/or priorities.

Make Extension a sustainable, equitable and enjoyable place to work
– Work on structural, (county offices, staffing patterns), cultural and leadership issues that will lead to this
– 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 (define what this means; not necessarily a piece of everyone’s job, but an organizational priority nevertheless).

Discussion Items

Extension statewide needs assessment

The ELT is exploring the development and implementation of a statewide needs assessment to help the organization understand and prioritize our research and educational activities.

CRM & Salesforce strategy for Extension

The ELT discussed the ongoing Salesforce implementation project, including the transition to a centralized Mailchimp platform. There was strong consensus that, once implementation is complete, all customer touchpoints will be identified and integrated with the outlined platforms. If there is a need for additional platforms, they will be integrated within the overall Extension Platform Strategy. Once the organization has fully transitioned, no client interactions with Extension should be taking place outside of these platforms, as that compromises the integrity of the data and limits the view of the organization and our clients. There will be much more information to come over the next several months as implementation continues.

TOP 10 list of reminders to all staff (twice a year)

We discussed things that we want to be sure remain on the radars of our staff and are developing a list of reminders that we will send to staff at least twice a year.  So far on the list:

  1. Consulting and overload
  2. One time request for funds
  3. System for documenting incident
  4. Salary offset funds (partial) expiry (9/30)
  5. Start-up funds expirations (Professional/Faculty; rolling, based on hire)
  6. Indirect Cost Return Notifications + Fund Balances (these can accumulate year over year)
  7. (other employee orientation topics – HR topics and PA/supervisor roles)

Decision Items

Maine Horticulture Apprenticeship Pilot at Tidewater Farm – One-time funding proposal

The ELT agreed to support a one-time funding request of $7,863 for a Maine Horticulture Apprenticeship Pilot at Tidewater Farm, supporting two 200-hour apprentices for the 2023 growing season (April – September): a Farm Operations Technician who will support the growing operation at Tidewater Farm, and a Community Education Assistant who will support the educational program at the Farm.


Policies on overload, stipends, and additional compensation

The ELT is working on clarifying policies related to how faculty and staff can access overload, stipends, additional compensation, and grant salary recovery and opportunities. Much about these processes are guided by contract and are rights of faculty/staff and our goal is to be sure they know of these opportunities, and that the supervisor is informed.

Protocols for overload and outside consulting approval

The ELT reviewed Extension protocols for staff involved in overload and outside consulting work. Those teaching a course as an overload and have no teaching appointment (faculty or staff) must inform their supervisor about these situations. Staff must notify their supervisor when they are performing consulting.  An updated approval form is being finalized and will be shared with staff.

Protocols for position negotiation following search committee process

The ELT is reviewing our protocols for how candidate negotiations are conducted after the search committee has made a recommendation and HR has approved the committee’s report.

Protocols for documenting incidents with clients or volunteers

We recognize that with the thousands of interactions Extension staff have with clients and volunteers through the course of a year there will be some challenging situations and incidents for which documentation would be an important tool. To that end we have prepared procedures and a standard form for reporting incidents that occur with clients/volunteers. This form will provide documentation and allow supervisors and administrators to support the staff member experiencing incidents that affect their ability to carry out their job and program activities, and to hold clients/volunteers accountable when necessary.  Once it is finalized our new procedures and form will be shared with staff.

Availability of internal one-time funding

We have updated our process and criteria for one-time funding requests and are reminding staff of this internal funding source. The ELT will consider one-time funding proposals from individuals or teams in support of your work related to UMaine Extension’s mission and/or the organization. Proposals should be made for unique, one-time efforts or needs, and should not be developed as a new source of continuous funding or for institutionalizing a program. Proposals are appropriate for educational programs and needs that cannot be funded from the county budget or any other sources. Proposals from a team must be reviewed by a PA involved in the program area and approved by the team.  Independent proposals from individuals need to be reviewed by their supervisor.


Announcements & Congratulations

  • Congratulations to Dr. Vanessa Klein for her promotion to Associate Extension Professor with Continuing Contract!


  • Congratulations to Lucy Wess, Maine Agricultural Mediation Program Director, for the award totaling $196,249 from the US Dept of Agriculture for the Maine Agricultural Mediation Program FY23 MAMP’s primary role is to mediate disputes between participating USDA agencies and their program participants.  The MAMP will provide training to aspiring mediators who need a baseline 40-hour mediation training and an additional 16-hours of agriculture-specific training to certify mediators to mediate with the MAMP.
  • Congratulations to Melanie Bryan for the award totaling $977,156 from the Maine Children’s Trust and the ME US Dept of Health & Human Services to support Cooperative Extension’s Maine Families Home Visiting in Waldo County. The Maine Families program provides home-based services to vulnerable pregnant and parenting families. Focused on family strengths, the program is part of Maine’s strategy to ensure healthy futures for children by improving health, economic stability, parent-child attachment, school readiness, and by reducing child abuse and neglect.
  • Congratulations to Ryder Scott for the award totaling $102,976 from the Rural Futures Fund for the Aspirations Incubator Program Year 6 This project provides long-term mentorship and leadership development programming each year.  In year 6, the project will expand by adding a sixth cohort of students (12-14 current seventh graders), providing all six cohorts mentorship and experiential learning opportunities.
  • Congratulations to Gary Proulx for the award totaling $218,200 from the ME Dept of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife for the Moose Lottery Funding 2022-2023 This funding will enable a greater number of Maine youth to enroll in a 1-week Conservation Camp program offered at Bryant Pond, as well as provide virtual sessions and additional programming that complements the conservation education curricula.
  • Congratulations to Mitch Mason (PI), Dr. Kristy Ouellette (Co-PI) and Jen Lobley (Co-PI), (and Co-PI Sarah Kleinman from VT Extension) for the award totaling $1,154,323 from the US Dept of Agriculture for the Oh YEA! 4-H Grows True Leaders The project will provide experiential learning and life skill development, through 4-H, for traditionally underrepresented audiences to engage in food systems through healthy living and civic engagement activities. The YEA FOOD project will fully engage youth and families by strengthening developmental relationships with grassroots community organizations that primarily serve New Americans (refugees, migrants, asylum seekers) and/or youth with low-socioeconomic conditions.
  • Congratulations to Leslie Forstadt for the subaward totaling $49,850 from US Dept of Agriculture for the Farm Coaching for Personal Financial Health project. This project focuses on increasing farm economic viability by educating farm teams about personal financial, emergency, and retirement planning. This project uses a coaching methodology which supports farm teams’ communication, decision making, and implementation actions. The human risks connected to interpersonal, family, and business relationships will also be addressed.
  • Congratulations to Lisa Phelps for the subcontract award totaling $25,000 from the University of Rhode Island and the US Dept of Health & Human Services for the Community First Responder Program project. This project will focus on providing education and resources to rural communities in New England in order to prevent, recognize and respond to an opioid-induced breathing emergency; and to provide information on accessible treatment and recovery options for people struggling with substance use disorder.  UMaine Extension will promote the interactive educational modules created by University of Rhode Island to extension clients and partners in rural communities in Maine.
  • Congratulations to Jason Lilley for the award totaling $5,208 from the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association and the ME Dept of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry for the Maine Soil Health Technical Assistance Project to increase specialty crop farmers’ abilities to build healthy soil by providing direct education and technical assistance. MOFGA will serve as the primary PI and Jason will serve as an advisor on the development of the project, will oversee marketing, outreach, and recruitment of conventional farmers to the project, and will offer direct technical assistance for the conventional producers who enroll in the project.
  • Congratulations to Leslie Forstadt for the subaward totaling $13,306 from USDA/NIFA and the National Young Farmers Coalition to support the Farm and Ranch Assistance Network Year 3 project. Leslie Forstadt will collaborate with Advisory Group members and FRSAN network members and organizations to develop content, participate in professional development, and network development activities.
  • Congratulations to Alicyn Smart for the award totaling $472,400 from the US Dept of Agriculture for the UMaine Northeastern Regional Center NPDN 2022-2026 project. The National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) is a premier diagnostic system with the ability to quickly detect and accurately identify plant pests and pathogens and to communicate timely and accurate information. The Northeast Plant Diagnostic Network (NEPDN) will carry out the three overarching goals of the NPDN: Detection, Diagnosis, and Reporting.
  • Congratulations to Ryder Scott for the $15,000 subaward of a grant held by Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness. The purpose of the project will be to collaborate with WPHW and other organizations to build lasting partnerships between these native-led and native-serving organizations and the UMaine 4-H Centers. The project will involve UMaine professional staff meeting collaboratively with the partner organizations, and then recruiting youth participants to attend gatherings and events designed to elevate youth voice in the programming.
  • Congratulations to Lily Calderwood for the award totaling $63,027 from the ME Dept of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, and the US Dept of Agriculture for the project Drought Stress Management for Wild Blueberry Growers to continue studying amendments to aid in soil moisture retention while expanding research into irrigation timing and soil microbiology in irrigated and non-irrigated soils.

Search Updates


  • Oh YEA! 4-H Youth Development Professional (Androscoggin County) 4/6
  • Oh YEA! 4-H Youth Development Professional (Cumberland County) 4/6
  • Oh YEA! 4-H Youth Development Professional (Washington County) 4/6
  • Admin Specialist CL3, Online Learning Assistant (Orono) 4/6
  • AgrAbility Coordinator (statewide) 7/7 as of 4/11
  • Parent Education Professional, Maine Families (Waldo) 3/6
  • Professor, Maine Sustainable Agriculture and Livestock Educator (Hancock/Washington) 5/7
  • Professor, Maine Sustainable Agriculture and Farm Business Management Educator (Knox/Lincoln/Waldo) 3/7
  • Professor Sustainable Agriculture and Ornamental Horticulture Educator (York/southern ME) 7/7
  • Communications Professional (Penobscot/remote) 3/6


  • Climate Smart Agriculture Professional (TBD – NRCS office)
  • Urban Agriculture Professional (TBD – NRCS office)
  • Admin Specialist CL2, 4-H, Cumberland
  • 4-H Community Education Assistant (Waldo) Declined, extended posting
  • Community Education Assistant, CL1 EFNEP (And/Sag) Failed 1/19
  • Parent Education Professional – Maine Families (Knox/Lincoln)


  • Assistant/Associate Professor, Seafood Technology, Food Safety Specialist (Orono)
  • Postdoctoral Extension Associate in PFAS Research and Outreach (Orono/Statewide)


  • Sustainable Agriculture and Horticulture Professional (Aroostook) David Lowe, June 1
  • Parent Education Supervisor – Maine Families (Waldoboro) Claudia Williamson, April 18
  • 4-H Youth Development Professional (Oxford) Margaruette Seguin, April 10
  • Veterinarian Specialist & Assistant Extension Professor (VDL) Dana Hill, April 3


  • Professor Sustainable Agriculture and Food Insecurity Educator (Hancock/Washington) In review, JD / focus may be revised
  • Manager of Operations and Finance (TWBBC)
  • Director Bryant Pond/Greenland Point 4-H Centers (BP/GP)
  • 4-H Community Education Assistant (Washington, Brittany Foster replacement)

2023 ELT In-Person Meeting Dates

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
April 19 (Org. structure,
needs assessment)
Bolton Somerset
May TBD Bailey Bolton TBD
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