Section 1.6 County Executive Committees

The county executive committee is the vital link between the county/community and the university. It can function most effectively when its members freely exchange and solicit ideas; develop, implement, and evaluate programs that best meet local needs; and otherwise help people help themselves — the main goals of Cooperative Extension.

Individual Roles and Responsibilities

As members of the county’s representative body, county executive committees and their members have the following responsibilities:

  • Develop good understanding of the organization, financing and program operations of Cooperative Extension.
  • Develop a close working relationship with the state partner, the University of Maine, through contact and communication with Extension administration.
  • Consult regularly with the Director and Extension Leadership Team about the quality of Extension programs, staff and financial support in the county.
  • Develop familiarity with the role of the federal partner, USDA- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
  • Develop connections to state and county groups related to Extension, such as the Maine 4-H Foundation, Maine Rural Development Council, county commissioners and state legislative delegations.
  • Attend regularly scheduled executive committee meetings and an annual meeting of the County Extension Association.
  • Provide orientation for new executive committee members.

Partnership Responsibilities

Cooperative Extension is a partnership of the University of Maine, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the USDA (NIFA) and the several county Extension associations. The county executive committee, representing the legally constituted county Extension association, is the recognized group in the county with which the University of Maine cooperates directly in the development and operation of county Extension programs.

The county executive committee is charged to administer, in cooperation with the Extension administration and county staff, four central functions at the county level. These four are plan of work, staffing, financial responsibilities, and accountability. The roles of each of the partners are indicated below, with activities under each that will guide a committee member’s efforts.

Partnership Matrix

Function County Extension Association (CEA) University of Maine Cooperative Extension
County Executive Committee (CEC) County Staff State Administrators
Educational Programs and Plan of Work Set plan of work programming priorities
Become familiar with the staff and programs of the County Extension office. Coordinate development of statewide plan of work.
Seek stakeholder input and act as the eyes and ears of the communities to bring a grassroots perspective to support program staff in developing and assessing effective educational programs that address community needs to reach statewide plan of work outcomes. Gather relevant information to refine the county’s high priority issues as they relate to the statewide plan of work
Work with Program Administrators and CEA members to translate issues into educational program goals and outcome-based objectives.
County Budget Procurement Annually develop a county Extension budget in consultation with staff. Provide relevant information to CEA and funders. Provide information as requested about sources and levels of state and federal support.
Advocate for County Extension budget at county hearings/meetings. Attend county budget hearings as needed to support CEA members. Answer questions from county officials regarding funding needs and priorities.
Provide funding for support staff services and for county office space and operations. Support staff are employees of Extension.
County Budget Management Treasurer is responsible for County funds oversight and administration using best fiscal management practices. Treasurer works with support staff to maintain appropriate records and process distribution of funds. Regularly monitor budget, expenses and accounting to ensure sound fiscal management. Offer financial management training for University employees.
Treasurer signs checks. Support staff assemble bills and prepare checks for the CEA treasurer’s signature. No University employees are to sign CEA checks. Provide periodic bookkeeping training for support staff.
Executive committee regularly reviews income-expense reports.
Executive committee authorizes expenses of the CEA budget. Provide background information and analysis as needed.
County Budget & Financial Reporting Coordinate year-end audit if required by CEA by-laws and/or county government.
CEA responsible for preparation of financial reports. Assist with providing periodic financial reports to CEA.
CEA responsible for “closing the books” for calendar year and submitting any financial reports required by county commissioners. Support staff assist CEA in preparation of year-end financial reports
Using data in the annual County Report Template, communicate the financial contribution of the University to the operations and staffing of the County office. Prepare County annual report as a reporting document to county government, and for marketing purposes. Prepare an annual County Report Template, including: “For every dollar the County contributes to Cooperative Extension in this County, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension contributes $X.XX”.
County Housing, Equipment, and Work Environment Provide accessible office space and appropriate office furniture and equipment. Authorizes expenses of the CEA budget, including negotiation and signing of rental contracts and leases, where applicable. Articulate office space and equipment needs to ensure a safe and sound environment for all staff, volunteers, and the public. Provide background information and analysis.

Not involved in direct negotiations of rental contracts, leases or other third-party agreements.

Support county efforts to ensure office accessibility for the public, including those with special needs.
Ensure adequate funds are available to meet rental contracts and lease obligations, and mortgage payments where applicable. Provide relevant information to CEA members who are responsible for negotiating rental leases and contracts.
Support accessibility of programming for the public, including those with disabilities who may need accommodation. Ensure accessibility of programming for the public, including those with disabilities who may need accommodation. Communicate UMaine policies complying with Americans with Disabilities Act.
Comply with state, federal, and University equal opportunity and non-discrimination laws and guidelines, and not violate the sexual harassment policy of the University of Maine System. Comply with state, federal, and University equal opportunity and non-discrimination laws and guidelines, and not violate the sexual harassment policy of the University of Maine System. Comply with state, federal, and University equal opportunity and non-discrimination laws and guidelines, and not violate the sexual harassment policy of the University of Maine System.
Office Support Staff Positions CEA provides funds for support staff services. Support staff are employees of UMaine Extension. Submit requests-to-fill and job descriptions to Program Administrators. Act upon requests to fill.
Assist in hiring support staff by giving input into hiring process. May be asked by UMaine Extension to choose a representative to serve on search committees. Coordinate and conduct hiring process at local level. Provide support for hiring related to University policies and processes.
Orient new employees. Provide support for new employee orientation related to University policies and processes
Conduct supervision and performance evaluations. Provide funding and opportunities for professional development.
Faculty and Professional Positions Provide input to local staff and administrators to help prioritize vacancies and respond to staff requests for input as job descriptions are developed With CEA, provide input in requesting vacancies to be filled outlining job description. Submit requests-to-fill and proposed job description to Program Administrator. Act upon requests to fill and develop and approve job descriptions
May be invited to serve on University search committees and be involved in search process for UMaine Extension faculty and professionals. Participate in University search committees as needed. Evaluate candidates and make recommendations as to whether or not candidates are acceptable or unacceptable for hire. Receive input from the search committee and move the search process forward.
Upon request, may provide input into annual performance evaluations. Supervise and conduct annual performance evaluations and act as part of peer evaluations where applicable. Provide supervision and conduct annual performance evaluation.
Complete paperwork for personnel actions. Request input and support from colleagues and CEA members. Make recommendations to UMaine administration and ensure proper documentation regarding personnel actions.
Publicity Assist UMaine Extension employees in publicizing Extension programs to reach diverse audiences. Provide relevant information for county and statewide promotion of all Extension programs, educational resources, and UMaine to diverse audiences.

Report program impact to the public.

Coordinate promotional, marketing, and public relations activities in collaboration with UMaine Extension employees and University Relations.

Rev. January 2019