Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes November 15, 2023

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
Date: November 15, 2023
Time: 10:30-2:30
York County Extension Office

Facilitator: Lisa Phelps
Note taker: Ryder Scott

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).



  • Productive meeting with Hancock County Master Gardener group. Group did not necessarily get everything they wanted, but the overall tone was positive.
  • Awaiting budget templates; forthcoming on Friday. Budget shortfall. “Buckle up.”
  • Holiday party: decision was made to forgo a virtual holiday party this year. It is a pandemic holdover that has become a little flat. A time will be set in January during an Extension Connections for awards and recognition since Dec. 4 is right around the corner.


  • Conference wrap-up and debrief with CPC in early December
    • Recordings, resources to be shared, post survey out
    • Employee groups discussion
  • Reviving Lunch & Learns – “Extension Exchange”?
    • Survey to come re: topics, presenters, etc.
  • Other
    • Staff Coordinator, Admin Spec Cumberland, 4-H YDP Oxford: all still have received 3 of 6 approvals
    • New employee training
    • Professional Development opportunities to line up
    • Camps meeting re payroll/hiring as well
    • ORA Time & Efforts Summer 2023 – due to Ella signed by December 4, 2023! Coming out this week or next.


  • Monthly pest management group meeting; annual training complete and up to date.
  • Animal pathology, necropsy and wildlife forensics looking to collaborate with IF&W


  • Supervision changes – Annual assessments
    • In this transition year, some may require contributions from both old and new supervisors for annual assessments
    • Concur approvals and time approvals; during this supervisory transition year we will need to pay attention to this.
  • Reporting 16 of 100 staff have logged onto the reporting system
    • Kudos to Bryant Pond staff – Mary Proulx
  • Worksgiving – Cumberland County


  • 4-H Leadership team is meeting with Laurie Bragg this week (Maine 4-H Foundation)
  • Scheduling check-ins with new supervisees
  • Working on Annual Performance Evals
  • Working on the December 1st in person 4-H Staff meeting in Augusta
  • Eastern States Wrap up meetings for 2023 have gone well- Overall 8% more youth from Maine participated and more first time youth this year.


  • A few recent press releases included quotes that were not attributed correctly. Melissa and the C+M team will evaluate the releases that have gone out in the last few months to identify gaps in our process and opportunities to improve the process in ways that ensure this doesn’t happen in the future. The C+M team’s goal is to maintain trust with staff to ensure effective and meaningful communications.


  • Budget Season: Kick-Off Meeting on Friday (giddy up)
  • Approval Process (Done): Central Finance Office now forwarding all non-Extension employee payments going through Extension chartfields
  • All Federal Award Applications are in (RREA, Smith-Lever, EFNEP)– no changes in amounts over FFY23


  • Financial meetings with Michael yesterday
  • Business/strategic planning process with Jason, Michael, Melissa, and 4-H Center team
  • 4-H SS Talking Points document
  • Micro-credential process for Outdoor Leadership (staff and participants)
  • UMS proposal for microcredential development
  • Outdoor School/Camp (teacher certification pathway)
  • Wabanaki signage for 4-H Centers


  • Idea: Folk School(s) in partnership with Wabanaki craftspeople and other traditional professionals. Help sustain traditional Wabanaki crafts, employ native people, and generate revenue. Could incorporate many of our existing programs. Jon Prichard noted he has been part of a seacoast ME/NH Folk School for 25+ years and would be happy to share his experience and knowledge if Extension wanted to explore this programming/outreach idea.
  • Zoom interviews November 28th for Ornamental Hort Specialist candidates.
  • Annual Aggies Meeting on Friday at Bangor Extension office
  • Home Hort Transition w/ Cumberland & York

Discussion Items

ELT Meeting Dates for 2024

We set our regular meeting dates for 2024, with meetings generally being on the 3rd Wednesday of each month and in person at extension offices and learning centers.

Extension Cost Anal$ys (Analysis) Hub (E-CASH)

The ELT discussed the Cost Analysis Tool, which Jason presented at the Org. Conference. There is a need to roll out this tool with intentionality. Immediate next step is to provide training for PC’s and PL’s.

Challenges with ORA regarding help and support with pre and post-award follow-up. The ELT has been hearing about concerns from staff and have experienced some of their own. We recognize that ORA is short-staffed and seems to be experiencing a backlog with proposals and reviews. The ELT will gather feedback from our organization regarding ORA concerns and challenges. Staff should reach out to an ELT member to be sure their issues/concerns have been documented.

Search & Hire Updates


  • *4-H Youth Development Professional and DEI Coordinator, *Alisha Targonski (all moved forward to HR, start date Jan 1) *Processed as a Reclassification rather than a new position.
  • Community Education Assistant CL2, Washington (part-time)
  • Extension Professor & Aquatic Animal Health Specialist, DRL (all moved forward to HR)


  • Community Education Assistant CL3 Horticulture, Cumberland (Abigail Griffith, 3 of 6 approvals as of 10/27)
  • 4-H Science Professional, Penobscot (replacement: Laura Wilson, 3 of 6 approvals as of 10/27)
  • Staff Coordinator (3 of 6 approvals 10/27)
  • 4-H Youth Development Professional, Oxford (3 of 6 approvals 10/27)
  • Administrative Specialist CL3, Agriculture / Horticulture, Cumberland (3 of 6 approvals as of 10/27)
  • Extension Professional in Farm Business Transition, Penobscot (approved, staggering posting)


  • Assistant Extension Professor of Horticulture and Ornamental Horticulture Specialist (reviewing applicants)


  • Labor Education Professional, Penobscot (CE/BLE) (interviewing)
  • Research Assistant, Veterinary Histology Professional, Penobscot / DRL (interviewing)
  • Parent Education Professional, Maine Families, Knox/Lincoln (offering)
  • Assistant/Associate Professor, Seafood Technology, Food Safety Specialist, Penobscot (offered…)


  • **AgrAbility Coordinator – Bella Russo, Jan 8th
  • Admin Specialist CL3 4-H, Cumberland – Suzan Nelson, Oct 17
  • Assistant Professor Sustainable Agriculture and Ornamental Horticulture Educator, Faculty, York County / Southern ME – Ankit Singh, Jan 15

2023-2024 ELT Meeting Dates

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
December 18 Scott Jackson Virtual
January 16 Arndt Bailey TBD
February 21 Bailey Bolton TBD
March 20 Bolton Carter TBD
April 17 Carter Dill TBD
May 15 Dill Hawkyard TBD