Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes March 20, 2024

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
Date: March 20, 2024
Time: 9 AM to 3:00 PM
Via Zoom

Facilitator: Jason Bolton
Note taker: Hannah Carter

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).

Guests: Alisha Targonski joined us for a regular DEI update.



  • Hannah
    • Budget Updates
      • UMaine’s budget presented today
      • Budget Town Hall tomorrow
      • Meeting with John Volin, Kelly Sparks and the ELT to discuss budgets moving forward.
    • Eclipse email to organization on Tuesday – seems to be favorable.
    • BOA meeting today
  • Jason
    • PFAS Center Analytical Center in the cost analysis process and next steps will be competitive bids for contractors.
    • Food Innovation Center in the cost analysis process
    • PFAS Research funds were approved by the EPA, and the interdisciplinary research committee will meet in April to discuss and design the RFP, proposal evaluation, and the PFAS research and program coordinator job description.
    • Needs Assessment final draft reports will be shared with ELT in early April.
    • Kate Yerxa – Faculty development
      • Spring and Fall program
      • Working on basics of program needs assessment training and associated materials for new faculty


  • New Position / Vacancy to Fill Request form in action (Google form coming)
  • The Staff Development Committee has drafted a framework with an updated mission and goals, etc.
  • Concern and Conflict Resolution Process Plugged In content updated (reviewed by Leslie, Lucy, Matt, Bob…)
  • New Employees: Great HR Things to Know session earlier this month – good attendance, engagement, new content. Save the Date: May 1st New Employees on Campus
  • UMS Mental Health Task Force – proposal due end of April
  • EFAC and NEED DEIJ – intend to return to these groups in April or so
  • In discussion: Supervisor Training with Amie Parker (UMS HR) and EO Office (see agenda item below)


  • Somerset County Maintenance Update – We’ve received bids for the flooring project. UMaine Facilities Env Specialist visiting office Mar 22 to conduct an Env. Assessment. Hope to complete the project and reopen the office by April 15 or so.  The $16K cost is being borne by the County government.  Until the project is complete the office remains temporarily closed with staffing working remotely.  Julie Lajoie is a superstar in managing this effort locally.
  • NIFA reporting – I am coordinating our reporting and involving ELHS involvement through George Criner; it’s a 3 step process with deadlines.
    • Mar 1 – All program narratives submitted (done)
    • May 1 – Combined Extension/Experiment Station annual report – In process
    • Jun 1 – Annual POW submitted – In process
  • PRS Upgrade – Jason and I meeting with a focus team for input from a cross-section of reporting staff.
  • Extension office AEDs – See agenda item below.


  • Doing multiple check-ins with staff
  • Eclipse mania with 4-H lots going on including workshops and disseminating eclipse glasses
  • Maine 4-H had more than 30 youth participate in the recent Ignite 4-H Summit experience in DC March 13-17. At ignite 4-H teens explored and learned across the three pillars of Healthy Living, Agriscience and STEM. They participated in workshops, speakers, hands-on activities, career readiness, and made connections. Huge thanks to all of our staff and community partner volunteers that chaperoned this amazing group of youth.
  • 4-H Science Professional position in person interviews
  • 4-H Professional Waldo County zoom interviews
  • Diana Hartley’s new retirement party date is Friday, March 29th
  • And/Sag emergency preparedness meeting/training on March 25th


  • Finalizing updated template for press releases; developing distribution lists for media across the state; will share in all-staff email this month
  • Kickoff meeting with website consultants, Flyte New Media. Will be developing a survey for internal staff and would also like to find 5 external stakeholders willing to participate in one-on-one conversation with the consultant. Now accepting recommendations!
  • Tentative plans for C+M Staff retreat to develop updated Communications strategy; excited to incorporate new messaging from UMaine
  • Volunteer management microcredential promotion in April; 2-3 more this year


  • Finance Training Project (Codename: finance.edu): Deliverables Timeline
  • 5-Year Financial Lookback (+2024): Changes in funding sources versus compensation expenses
  • Fall 2023 Time & Effort Reporting: Please ask if correct before correcting (e-mail me)
  • On the Horizon: April 8-11 National Extension Administrators/Officers Conference


  • Bryant Pond Summer Camp Director position being advertised; first round interviews happening in the first week of April
  • LEAD 21 – Penn State
  • Megan Moroney exit interview
    • Issue for further discussion – Comp time for salaried staff who work extremely long hours seasonally
  • Mental Health First Aid course April 5, UMA have 5-7 slots available
  • Development Committee meeting TW/BBC
  • Climate Ed Advisory Council DOE


  • Lots of check-ins & Professional performance evaluations
  • Currently scheduling meetings with Angela Hart for all of our faculty who are in various stages of the US Immigration process to make sure we are aware of what is needed and nothing falls through the cracks
  • The Vegetable & Fruit School is coming up next Tuesday in Augusta
  • Recommend that any internal training that staff may register for as professional development are proactively made available via IDO vs Corporate Card- maybe a separate registration button?
  • Asking folks developing new programs to incorporate e-CAST into their planning process now
  • Re-evaluating statewide coverage for commercial ag & home horticulture, creating multi-county regions that can remain the same for the foreseeable future

Discussion Items

Review of practices and consistency in supervision

It’s important that our supervisors use common practices and consistency in meeting HR and Extension practices through check-ins, performance assessments, etc.  We are exploring ways to support/train supervisors for staff in our 3 employee groups (classified, professional, faculty).

Discussion of Extension Faculty Changes to allow salary from grants

Faculty in academic units have 9-month appointments that allow them to include summer salary in grants and contracts. Extension faculty have 12-month (1 FTE) appointments that precluded them from this benefit, which has caused some equality issues.  Associate Dean Bolton has researched this issue and has developed several solutions that will be communicated to the HR and the faculty.

Common Ground Country Fair (September 20-22)

We discussed the idea of creating a larger presence for Extension at the Common Ground Fair.   So far, we have Waldo County, New Farmers and 4-H Camp and Learning Centers, Vegetable judges are typically our staff.  Melissa will email “All staff” on who wants to be involved.

Follow-up Emergency Management with Bob Norman – Follow up from February Meeting We continued our review of the resources Bob has put together for us.

Extension Office Automatic Electronic Defibrillators (AEDs)

In 2019, the ELT was part of a university-wide AED purchase/upgrade effort funded by UMaine.  We purchased AED units for many/most of our county offices (some offices did not opt in).

As part of his recent county office safety visits Bob Norman took note of the presence (or lack) of AEDs and some issues around them. He found that most county offices have AEDs, a few do not, and with staff turnover many staff are not trained in how to use them.  In some offices the units are still in their original packing and staff had to rummage around to find them tucked away in closets, etc.  Some AEDs have passed their expiration dates on bring checked or updated.

Bob’s visits have stirred up interest in AEDs among our offices and some are asking for support in obtaining or bringing their existing units up to date.  An AED unit costs approximately $1500-$2200 and training can typically be obtained at no charge from local fire or police departments.

Jon will conduct a survey of county offices–who has them, what state they are in, also could ask about first aid kits, etc. (A few offices have requested to have Narcan in offices due to the participation in the “Community First Responder” program).

Reminder of Opportunity for ELT Funding for over $5,000

We recently received and reviewed 2 such requests and are reminding all staff of the form for making such requests.  There is also a form for conference participation/professional development.

Supervisor Development/Training

NOTES: Supervisor training and support is something that Beth has wanted to develop for Extension employees. She checked in with Amie Parker (UMS HR) about the status of the Supervisor Development Institute. This program was not sustainable. She has taken it in a different direction, new training with a variety of topics. She started out with these basic supervisor skills. She’s willing to do any of these “on demand”. Some will be on Brightspace eventually. She is willing to create something if we see a gap.

The ELT discussed Extension-specific training, and formalizing the performance evaluation on both sides so everyone is clear on the expectations of employees and supervisors. Basics of supervision/Supervising 101. Beth will be exploring this more deeply.

Extension Fund Development

We discussed the ongoing critical need for fundraising support for Camp and Learning Centers’ capital needs, mission support (scholarships, operating needs, etc.) as well as county 4-H and other Extension program areas. Hannah will ask the other deans what they are doing for additional fundraising support, and will share issues/concerns again with the President and Provost; she may also reach out, through our Northeast Extension Directors (NEED), to see what our colleagues are doing in other states.

April Meeting

Feedback on Org. Structure PCs and PL

Other Announcements

Time & Effort forms are out – please encourage your folks to sign and return to Ella asap (April 12th), check in with Michael B first if corrections are needed.

Search & Hire Updates


  • Early Childhood Program Professional, Blueberry Cove
  • Administrative Specialist CL3, Cumberland
  • Wild Blueberry Extension and Research Professional, Penobscot (Orono)
  • Administrative Specialist CL2, Aroostook (Fort Kent)


  • *Community Education Assistant CL2 4-H, Kennebec (part-time, partial backfill Alisha Targonski’s work, identified candidate declined, *revision to external posting in progress)


  • *Assistant Extension Professor of Horticulture and Ornamental Horticulture Specialist (*declined, update to salary in progress)
  • Staff Coordinator (3 of 6 approvals)
  • Executive Director of Extension Operations (2 of 6 approvals)
  • Extension Professional in Farm Business Transition, Penobscot (approved, staggering posting)


  • Youth Development Professional 4-H, Waldo
  • Community Education Specialist CL2 4-H, Aroostook
  • Community Education Specialist CL2 4-H, Hancock
  • Administrative Specialist CL3, Kennebec
  • Summer Camp Director, Bryant Pond 4-H
  • Lead Facilities Maintenance Worker CL2, Blueberry Cove
  • Assistant/Associate Extension Professor and Seafood technology and Food Safety Specialist, Penobscot


  • Science Professional 4-H, Penobscot (ongoing)


  • Administrative Specialist CL3, Agriculture / Horticulture, Cumberland; Jennifer Cappello-Ruggiero (2.29)
  • Community Education Assistant CL2, Washington (part-time); Rebecca Whitney (TBD 3.25?)
  • Youth Development Professional 4-H, Oxford; Cathy Gray (4.1)

2024 ELT Meeting Dates

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
April 17 Carter Dill Zoom
May 16 Dill Hawkyard Ed Center Room 112 UMF
June 20 Hawkyard Jackson Waldo
July 17 Jackson Phelps Cumberland
August 21 Phelps Prichard Aroostook – PI Office
September 18 Prichard Scott Zoom
October 16 Scott Arndt Oxford
November 20 Arndt Bailey Washington
December 18 Bailey Bolton Orono