Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes April 17, 2024

Extension Leadership Team Meeting Minutes
Date: April 17, 2024
Time: 12:15 PM to 2:45 PM
Via Zoom

Facilitator: Hannah Carter
Note taker: Jim Dill

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).



  • Hannah
    • Next week – 3 days of annual leave
    • Alumni Awards dinner on 4/26 – 7 tickets available
    • Civil Rights Review Update
  • Jason
    • Needs Assessment reports have been drafted; Monday ELT review
    • (4) EPA Earmarks for PFAS $3MM Total / $1.65MM net to Extension
      • $5MM Food Innovation Center
      • Comprehensive communication to come…
    • eCash Tool: 1-Year & 5-Year rollout with educational tools
    • Extension Contribution: Implications of the unpredictability of program fees (e.g., discounts, sliding scale, etc.)
    • Research Farms: Ownership, maintenance, etc.


  • Serving as co-chair on NAEPSDP’s Professional Development Committee; hosting PD Café 3x this year; first one is April 26th – Networking with other staff development professionals.
  • Rejoining EFAC and NEED DEIJ Cohort monthly meetings – really looking forward to the conversations and action.
  • May 1st New Employees on Campus – please share! All are welcome.
  • Melissa G on 2 week vacation starting April 19th – moving searches etc. along as much as possible, but Brian D will be able to support search progress as well.
  • Ella is working on an org chart with all employees based on our new org structure.


  • UMaine Marketing would like to be added to everyone’s email newsletter distribution lists to gain an understanding of university-wide communications; Monica and Whitney will add it to all lists in MailChimp and Constant Contact.


  • USDA “Treasury Authorization Expiration”: What it means and how it impacts us
  • ORA Communication: All grant expenses (no encumbrances) finalized 60-days before end date – Potentially a significant problem for some
  • Extension Finance Training: Finance.edu
    • Going Live: “Who do I contact?” Pending final edits by Mari.
    • In the Works: Video Transcripts for Grants Management (highest priority); Revenue-Funded Projects (June 1 Deadline in preparation for Fiscal Year End); and Federal Fiscal Year Projects (September 1 Deadline in preparation for Fiscal Year End)
  • Vet Diagnostic Lab: Business planning next week
  • Gloria Menchaca: NERAOC debrief one-pager – Information to be shared next Monday


  • Liz Stanley has been awarded CEAC Outstanding Classified Employee for 2024!
  • Home Horticulture Regional Reorganization will be implemented on Jul 1, 2024
  • Seafood Technology & Food Safety Specialist Application Screening tomorrow
  • Rachel White is defending her dissertation as we speak
  • Ankit Singh’s listening session for York County farmers tomorrow
  • New Ag Faculty Cohort meeting

Discussion Items

ELT/Organizational Communication
1) Internal ELT Communications: How can we best communicate items that ELT members should know and also how can we best broadly communicate items to the organization?

2) How can we be sure the organization as a whole is kept up to date on things.  For example how little control the ELT has to make change (we have to go to upper administration). We send out the ELT minutes with a new summary – should we do that with different elements? Who does it impact? What’s the timeline?  Could we develop a helpful format for our agenda minutes? Send out a weekly email? Create a page on Plugged-In? What check in items from Monday should be shared with the organization? Possibly in an email on Wednesday? During Monday’s check-in, we add the bullets that we want to go into the email?

Extension’s Emergency Response Plan and Committee

To follow up from Bob Norman’s presentation during our February meeting, a small group will be meeting on May 2nd from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. to move forward some of his recommendations. Others are welcome to join if you would like. We’ll be discussing the formation of an Emergency Response Committee and several of his recommendations.

All Organization Conference

The conference has traditionally been held every other year. The excitement around the needs assessment, momentum from last year’s conference and our new associate dean encouraged us to host consecutively for 2022 and 2023. For 2024, we’ve discussed a virtual conference (could be done with a few speakers, speed sharing, breakout rooms, spread over 3 or so afternoons? *note: connection and networking were key highlights from conference attendees, can this be done well virtually?) OR return to every other year and host in-person in 2025? Also, timing – 2 holidays and 2(?) conferences in the same month. Is there a better time in the year that the majority of Extension can gather? No holidays in March.  We will survey the organization to get a sense of our staff.


The May ELT meeting will be on May 16th in Farmington, this will coincide with the Franklin County Annual meeting that will take place on May 16th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The June meeting will now be held on June 20th at the Waldo County office (this was changed to Blueberry Cove).

May Meeting

  • Pamela Hargest to join us in the morning to provide an update of the Tidewater Gardens. (Before 11am)
  • Alisha – DEI updates
  • Extension “fee” discussion – develop a multi-tier approach; have a minimum (as opposed to a percentage).
  • Snow gauge

Search & Hire Updates

*accurate as of 4/24/2024


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


  • Extension Agricultural Engineer Professional


  • 4-H Community Education Assistant CL2 (part-time), York
  • Staff Coordinator (3 of 6 approvals)
  • Extension Professional in Farm Business Transition, Penobscot (approved, staggering posting)


  • *Assistant Extension Professor of Horticulture and Ornamental Horticulture Specialist (*declined, salary updated, approved)
  • Executive Director of Extension Operations
  • *Community Education Assistant CL2 4-H, Kennebec (part-time, partial backfill Alisha Targonski’s work, identified candidate declined, *revision to external posting in progress)
  • Administrative Specialist CL3, Kennebec (declined, reposted)


  • Assistant/Associate Extension Professor and Seafood technology and Food Safety Specialist, Penobscot
  • Community Education Specialist CL2 4-H, Hancock
  • Summer Camp Director, Bryant Pond 4-H
  • Youth Development Professional 4-H, Waldo
  • Community Education Specialist CL2 4-H, Aroostook (extending posting)


  • Science Professional 4-H, Penobscot, Megan Begley-Irish (5.1)
  • Lead Facilities Maintenance Worker, CL2, Blueberry Cove, Mitchel Gagne (4.16)
  • Extension Professor & Aquatic Animal Health Specialist, Sarah Barker (7.1)

2024 ELT Meeting Dates

Dates Facilitator Notes Location
May 16 Dill Hawkyard Ed Center Room 112 UMF
June 20 Hawkyard Jackson Blueberry Cove
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