Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes December 18, 2023

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
Date: December 18, 2023
Time: 8:30-10:30 AM

Facilitator: Ryder Scott
Note taker: Melissa Arndt

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, purposeful 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).




  • The Dean’s group has asked the President and Provost for more detail and more transparent communication about the reality of the University’s budget challenges to better understand what the next two years are going to look like (is the goal to cover the gap in just one year or spread out over 2 or 3 years?)
  • Jess Leahy and Hannah visited Tanglewood to discuss how Extension and CELHS can strengthen our partnership around forestry outreach and education
  • I will be out of the country and not on email from December 20th to 27th. If anything comes up that needs immediate attention, please reach out to Jason from the 20th – 22nd and then Lisa from the 26th – 27th.
  • I reached out to USDA-NIFA last week in regards to our Civil Rights Review report and was told that it would be forthcoming (no timeline).


  • Great conversation with Fran & Alisha as Fran transferred knowledge re: DEI, Civil Rights, etc.
  • Search & Hire Process Guide – updates in progress
  • Positions in progress – EDEO PDQ & JD in HR’s hands for approval; 4-H CEA part-time (Alisha’s backfill); Admin Spec CL3 (Kennebec, Diana retirement); CEA CL2 part-time (Aroostook); 4-H Professional (Sadee)
  • Supervisor conversations needed as supervision changes – support each other
  • Sunbeam / UMEEs update: Realigning UMEEs with Employee Appreciation Day (March 1st 2024), submission form out in Jan/Feb, would like time in the March 4th Extension Connections to share awards?
  • Brian Drisko can join the Jan 16th meeting (via Zoom, he is available 9-3 so we’ll give him a window / items or Qs in advance would be nice)


  • Over 95% of program staff have reported program efforts totaling over 18,000 days.
  • We have many excellent impact narratives that I will use for federal reporting and share with our C&M team for marketing and county annual reporting templates.  I will be streamlining the narrative reporting process for 2024 that captures broader regional and statewide impacts in which staff will be encouraged to create high quality collaborative narratives.
  • Our planning and reporting team will be using our 2023 “phase 1” experience to strengthen our system in 2024.  Also will be strengthening and clarifying our program planning and evaluation, including staff training.
  • Our Salesforce staff – Monica and Whitney – have been extremely helpful in developing and managing the reporting system.  Likewise Mari in developing Brightspace training for the system. The Salesforce case management system has been a wonderful and effective tool.
  • Annual assessments.


  • Piscataquis Budget Situation update:
    • Piscataquis County Budget update-  County Commissioners voted to fund $27,534-  While this was a decrease in the funding asked for, this level of funding does allow for the office being open for 3 days a week. Currently it’s open for 3.5 days a week- The Exec Committee members and staff did an excellent job of advocating for funding. The office will continue to remain open for 3.5 days a week.
  • Performance Evals
  • Check-ins- supervisory transition
  • Waldo County 4-H Professional and Animal Science statewide support
  • Professional Development opportunity December 19th-  “Including Youth on the Autism Spectrum in 4-H- Neurodiversity” presented by Dr. Sarah Howorth from UMaine College of Education and Human Development.
  • Search Committees (4-H Science Professional and Oxford County 4-H Professional)


  • Camps + UMaine Foundation: ADVANCE training and general orientation
  • USDA: “Representation Regarding Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment” (Federally banned Chinese telecoms companies) ~ Updates to this regulation have prompted ORA, Procurement, and Counsel review, per Chris Boynton.
  • October Payments through CourseMerchant: Count: >220 / Amt: >$60,000 (MG)
  • Budget Deadline: Unknown


  • Tanglewood infrastructure allocation from State
  • Meeting with DOE on Friday
  • Renee Kelly & Jason meeting last week
  • 4-H Center budgets – summer camp fees going up
  • Business planning process – 2 day retreat
  • Early College Outdoor Leadership Intensive at TW and GP, summer ‘24
  • Meeting with 4-H Leadership Team + Alisha re: gender inclusivity


  • Continued disgruntlement amongst (some) Hancock/Washington MGVs

Discussion Items

Shared Calendar for Extension

The ELT discussed creating a shared calendar for both standing organization committee meetings and happenings and “external” / significant / widely-attended conferences / extended meetings. There is so much happening and looking to 2024 and standing meetings and events, it would be helpful to have these things shared in one place for those planning Extension-wide events / committee meetings, etc. 4-H has a statewide calendar – is there a way to easily pull from that calendar for a centralized calendar? There is also a spreadsheet for aggies and horticulture. Looking for events that involve large groups of staff people. Beth will ask Ella to send out an email to get the project started.

Extension Employee Group feedback Discussion

The ELT reviewed and discussed feedback from the Faculty and the Professionals groups that met at the end of the November Annual Conference.

Program Coordinator Role rollout

Program Coordinators (PC) Position Description –

  • Program Coordinators will facilitate regular team meetings with programming staff, the program leaders, and other program coordinators to improve communication and understanding of the programmatic work. They will provide a team approach to communication and professional development. Although they will not be responsible for supervising staff, they will provide input on evaluation where appropriate.
  • 16 PCs have been identified in 10 areas. Orientation for all PCs – JB will offer a 30-minute session
  • What will be the new norm/expectation for regular PL meetings with supervisees?
  • Evaluation frequency 3-4 months PL will check in with staff.

eCash Rollout 

The Extension Cost Analysis Hub (eCASH)
Suggestions for how we roll out the use of this tool in program planning and with Needs Assessment data.
Separate training for 4-H and Aggies. Online training.

Marketing and Communication Press release systems

  • UMaine Marketing handles the distribution – just media not org. groups
  • C+M team will send out an email reviewing the press release process
  • Need to create a system for marketing programs outside of the media (org groups, etc)

Process Check In

For future agendas, the submitter will include a timeframe needed for the discussion

Search & Hire Updates


  • Community Education Assistant CL2, Waldo (replacement Nita Frederick)
  • Community Education Specialist CL2, Aroostook (part-time)
  • Administrative Specialist CL3, Kennebec (replacement Diana Hartley)
  • 4-H Community Education Assistant (part-time, partial replacement Alisha Targonski)


  • Staff Coordinator (3 of 6 approvals)
  • Extension Professional in Farm Business Transition, Penobscot (approved, staggering posting)


  • Community Education Assistant CL2, Washington (part-time)
  • 4-H Youth Development Professional, Oxford
  • Administrative Specialist CL3, Agriculture / Horticulture, Cumberland


  • Extension Professor & Aquatic Animal Health Specialist, DRL (interviewing/presentation 1/8/23)
  • 4-H Science Professional, Penobscot (replacement: Laura Wilson, interviewing 1/4/23)
  • Assistant Extension Professor of Horticulture and Ornamental Horticulture Specialist (interviewing mid-Jan-Feb)
  • Labor Education Professional, Penobscot (CE/BLE) (negotiation process initiated)


  • Assistant/Associate Professor, Seafood Technology, Food Safety Specialist, Penobscot – Samuel Akomea-Frempong, March 11
  • *AgrAbility Coordinator – Bella Russo, Jan 8th
  • Assistant Professor Sustainable Agriculture and Ornamental Horticulture Educator, Faculty, York County / Southern ME Ankit Singh, Jan 15

2024 ELT Meeting Dates

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
January 16 Arndt Bailey Virtual
February 21 Bailey Bolton TBD
March 20 Bolton Carter TBD
April 17 Carter Dill TBD
May 16 Dill Hawkyard UMF
June 19 Hawkyard Jackson TBD
July 17 Jackson Phelps TBD
August 21 Phelps Prichard TBD
September 18 Prichard Scott TBD
October 16 Scott Arndt TBD
November 20 Arndt Bailey TBD
December 18 Bailey Bolton TBD