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2006-12-08 Federation Forum

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December 8, 2006
McSwain Extension Education and Agriculture Center, Lee County

Addendum – February 2, 2007

The day began with refreshments and networking. The call to order and welcome was given by Susan Condlin, 2006 NCFCEA President. All present were encouraged to visit the Federation web site at:

Rhonda Sherman, Federation President Elect, introduced Dr. Joe Zublena, Associate Director and Director of County Operations at NCSU; Dr. Ray McKinnie, Administrator and Associate Dean for Extension Administration at NC A & T; Dr. Ed Jones, Associate Director of Agricultural Programs and State Program Leader for ANR CRD; Dr. Marshall Stewart, Department Head and State Program Leader for 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences; and State Advisory Council Leader Ireney Autry.

Pamela Brylowe, Federation Secretary, conducted roll call and attendance. The following were in attendance: NCEAFCS – 9 members; NCAE4H – 10 members; NCACAA – 10 members; NCCESA – 12 members; NCAEPAT – 6 members; NCACES – 5 members; and Federation Executive Board members – 5. In addition, Dr. Joe Zublena, Dr. Ray McKinnie, Dr. Ed Jones, Dr. Marshall Stewart, Jim Flowers, and Ireney Autry were in attendance. The sign in sheets are attached to the official minutes.

Administrative Update and Discussion:

Susan Condlin pointed out the note cards on the tables are there for any question or concerns the members want to ask Administration. These were collected and presented to the Administrators for discussion after their opening updates.

Dr. Ray McKinnie, Administrator & Associate Dean, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Program, North Carolina A&T State University, on behalf of the staff of NC A&T and Cooperative Extension wished everyone a happy holiday season.

There are two items regarding A & T Campus updates: First football season is over, and second is Stanley F. Battle has been named as the new Chancellor of NC A & T effective July 1, 2007. He is currently President of Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD.

Chancellor Hackley will be initiating a search to fill three positions: Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, for Vice Chancellor of Student Development, and Development.

Recruitment and retention continue to be a high priority of Administration.

Cooperative Extension recently hired Dr. Gloria Warren as the new 4-H Specialist and she will begin January 1, 2007. She is a native of Detroit and has extensive experience working with youth.

We are in the process of completing yearend performance reviews with Specialists and Associates which is why Dr. Stovall isn’t here today.

We will be tweaking some of our standard operating procedures for the coming year.

We are also placing more emphasis with our Specialists and Associates on increasing our external funding component at Cooperative Extension. We have reached the 100% state match level. Now as we continue to grow our program will grow through collaborations and new funding initiatives.

Budgets have tightened considerably. New positions will be very limited. We continue to look for strategic opportunities, but they will be very limited.

We look forward to continuing to be a significantly involved entity of North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Dr. Joe Zublena, Associate Director and Director of County Operations, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Program, North Carolina State University, on behalf of Dr. Ort, and the other Associate Directors, Joe sent wishes for a happy holiday.

Dr. Ort could not be here this morning but he asked Joe to share the following updates:

  1. The Marketing Director position – three interviews have taken place, and we are in the final stages of making an offer. We hope to have someone in place shortly after the beginning of the year.
  2. NCSU has, under Dr. Zuiches, Vice Chancellor for Extension, Engagement and Economic Development, put in a proposal with the Carnegie Foundation. This is the first time there has ever been an honor recognition for Outreach and Engagement. This is a prestigious honor and it’s good that Outreach, and Extension is part of Outreach, is finally on the same level with Academics and Research. The three components in which institutions can be recognized are Curriculum Engagement, Outreach, and Partnership. They can be recognized in one, two or all three components. One hundred and twenty universities were invited to participate in the application process. One hundred submitted. Only 62 received the highest honor of being recognized in all three areas and NCSU is one of those. We are very proud of this honor. Only two other institutions in North Carolina were recognized in this way and they are UNC – Chapel Hill and Elon.
  3. The university will begin new employee background checks in March. If existing employees change into a new position within the university, they too will go through a background check.
  4. BASIC is a new program for new employees. As new employees are hired they have to fill out a paper form known as an I-9, which is a verification of employability. This form will be going electronic. When new employees are hired they will complete this form online using a computer during their benefits package session. If they fail to fill it in correctly (social security number doesn’t match, etc.), the form will automatically be sent to the National Security Council. Then the employee will have to fill it out again. This is part of the enhanced national security.
  5. If an existing employee takes a new position within the university, hopefully it will be an upward move as there is a lot of need for that, but they will also encounter this process.
  6. The South Central District did some statistical research and found that 50 % of our CEDs will retire in the next eight years. Those of you who are not County Extension Directors and are interested we would encourage you to enroll in the Aspiring CED Training to explore if this is something you may or may not want to do.
  7. There is an even more pressing need for District Directors. All the District Directors can retire by 2011. We’ll be looking at mostly County Directors and Specialists who may be interested in becoming a District Director to take part in a program in the next year where they can shadow a District Director and learn what is involved in being a District Director. Of course, participation in the program does not mean they will automatically become a District Director, but potential candidates will have the chance to find out what it takes to fill that position, and we can see what skills they can bring.
  8. President Bowles has started the budget process much earlier this year and I understand that it is already done. While Extension isn’t visible in the recurring budget as “Extension”, we are in it in several different pieces. We are there under Bio Energy in which our research will be involved. Dr. Zuiches has funds in for Community Development and Entrepreneurship and we have both Specialists and Agents positions nested in that budget request. We also have some funds nested in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. In the last few months the dollar amounts have shrunk, but we are still there. The second part is non-recurring budget and I’ll let Marshall Stewart talk about that. For the first time we also have funds for the 4-H Camps. It’s about $9 million.

Dr. Ed Jones, Associate Director and State Program Leader, ANR and CRD, mentioned how vital it is especially during the holidays to take time to be with family. He’s happy to say that we made it through the hurricane season that ended December 1st with only a minor blip until next June 1st when it all starts up again.

Tom Melton and Ed are looking at a couple of items to see how they can change or add a few things to better support the organization and ANR CRD. They hope to have a similar program as the one Joe mentioned earlier about shadowing District Directors, where those in the counties and Specialists who are interested in leadership and interested in being a part of Administration could work with them on different projects. They are also very interested in developing better training than was available in the past few years due to budgetary restraints. They’re working with PODS to help systematize training programs and make them more deliberate and need based. Tom and Ed have seen a number of hires both in the counties and on campus and they see a real need for developing a really good system to orient Specialists so there is a better understanding of Agent expectations and Specialists expectations, and then integrate this with Agents’ Orientation to a much higher degree in order to help everyone do a better job as we move forward.

Even though we don’t have a federal budget yet, there are many programs funded out of their office, and they’re going to put out a call for proposals for The Small and Part Time Farm Grants, Rural Development Grants, and The Renewable Resources Extension Grants. They would like to have the proposals in hand so that if and when the funds become available the money can get out to you right away.

Dr. Marshall Stewart – This last 18 months working with 4-H have been an interesting journey. He loves his job and thinks we do great work. Marshall thinks we have a real opportunity to seize a position in North Carolina for Cooperative Extension that we haven’t taken advantage of in the past. We have a unique infrastructure and his job is how to figure out how we can focus on youth and family to best address the needs and issues affecting peoples lives everyday. The topics of concern we keep hearing about deal with economics, education, and health and wellness. Those themes, no matter where you go, will continue to come up. We need to be relevant. If we’re not relevant, we’re irrelevant to the systems of the state and that leads to a drain on funding and budgeting priorities. So we have been working in 4-H during the past 18 months to be sure we are addressing these needs.

During the last six months he has also been working with Family and Consumer Science colleagues, visiting their counties and seeing what they’re doing. They address the same three issues, but take a slightly different slant at addressing them. We have a great Parenting program for example. Great things are happening in dealing with K-12, preschool, after school, and dealing with those in the later years of life. We have a wonderful opportunity to be a leader in elder care giving in terms of facilitation. There’s going to be a tremendous growth in that arena for those involved in Family and Consumer Sciences.

In terms of our faculty, we are fortunate to have a dedicated faculty and staff of about 65 that work in youth or family programming in FCS and 4-H. We have some wonderfully talented people in those roles, who understand what this state is about and they are trying to do things in either a traditional Extension way or in an academic program. What is important is that they understand that whatever they do needs to be connected to what matters to North Carolina so we function as a team going forward to meet the needs and to help you.

There are a few specific things he mentioned about 4-H that Joe asked him to address. Information will be released right after the first of the year. We have had many volunteers working very hard this last year helping us to get more legislative dollars for the 4-H Camps. We have six properties with 2800 acres that are a real treasure. We have been working to elevate the entire system so that it’s not just a 4-H camping system, but also an entire university Outreach opportunity. This concept has helped Jim Zuiches and Erskine Bowles to understand this, which has helped us to lift it up and move it up on the prioritization list. In November we were asked to draft a plan for Erskine Bowles that would lay out what it will take to upgrade and build out the entire 4-H camping system. It will take $34 million. We sent that report up the chain of command to the Board of Governors. They have approved us to take the first step towards getting the $34 million. They have approved the total concept in the budget, but approved us specifically to go forward to get $9 million in this first biennium. The goal is to have premier 4-H camping facilities throughout North Carolina with a broader reach than just 4-H. This coming year we are one of five capital priorities coming from within NCSU as a part of the UNC system.

In the budget is also a program called STEM (Joe alluded to it earlier). It is designed to help us produce more engineers in the university system within the U.S. to keep us globally competitive. We have positioned 4-H as a way to help the NC university system get more students enrolled who are interested in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We currently reach 208,000 young people through 4-H and those numbers continue to climb. Roughly fifty percent of the $1 million dollars in the proposed budget for STEM would come to 4-H. Those are programmatic dollars and are recurring. So we would get an infusion of dollars to help more young people think about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math by putting more tools in the hands of our agents and professionals across the state that will draw more kids in.

There are a few FCS items he also mentioned. We have a tremendous start on the graduate program that will lend itself very well to a partnership with UNC-Greensboro. The area of energy and energy consumption is another opportunity for us to be relevant. Care giving and end of life are huge issues in this state. Parenting and K-12 education are also important areas for us to work on.

Dr. Ort has asked how we can work across all these program platforms. There’s a great opportunity to work across these platforms. Ed and Marshall will be showing you examples of how they lead together even though they are experts in different areas. They will talk about how to do this at this coming year’s Extension Conference.

Dr. Zublena opened the floor to questions from the floor.

  1. The first question pertains to county travel allocations. After July 1st we have travel needs and expenditure needs. Why does it take four months before the counties receive their state allocations? Administration doesn’t get our budget until four months later. But we don’t prevent you from traveling, and we allow you to spend. We usually allocate 50% of the budget to the counties up front even though we don’t have the funds.
  2. The Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) – Why is there a push for counties to go to Send-In and what happens if a county refuses to go to Send-In? We have an extremely complex payroll system with the counties because the employees in the counties are cost shared with the local governments. In North Carolina we have four different pay combinations. The big ones are either Send-In which means the university bills the county for their portion of your pay, or Regular which means the county gives you a paycheck for their portion of your salary and we give you a paycheck for the university’s portion. If the county matches what we agree to pay our county employees, no matter what that is, that is called Lock-In. They can be Lock-In or not. To help us prevent encountering the same problems in the future that have come up in the past caused by the split Regular system, we had a partnership group that met for nearly two years. This group was composed of seven county managers, some of our Personnel people, our lawyers, and their people, and we discussed this situation and agreed that we needed to resolve this so that our county employees are not disadvantaged at retirement time with their benefits. So once the MOU is signed it will mean that all new employees will be Send-In. They will get one check from the university, they will have the university benefits and the university retirement and the counties will be billed for their share. Counties can still be Regular in so far as they do not need to be Lock-In. This allows them to control their portion of the salary, or they can Lock-In. To date, 55 of the 101 centers have signed. All the counties in the Southeast District have been Send-In for over a year.
  3. What is the plan to maintain salary equity for EPA and SPA employees? Regarding the salary equity, for agents in particular that we received the year before last, we looked at your salary compared to your peers’ within the system. What we did with the equity two years ago was to determine that we needed to establish a norm for agents across the entire state. This was the first time we were able to do this. We determined a formula so we could calculate everyone across the whole state and bring them to an equitable, a similar level of salary. For the first time we do have internal equity across the state for agents. External equity is different. That’s market equity and it is more difficult to control than internal equity. The same thing is with secretaries. The step grade system is an equity system within the state system. We actually had equity internally for the secretaries about five years ago. We had hired a consultant to look at your positions and who worked with several SPA secretaries across the state on job descriptions. We came out with three categories: Administrative Secretary, Secretary I and Secretary II. Then we changed everyone’s title and the Council of County Governments looked at what your local comparable position was and adjustments were made to attain parity with the local job market. Two years ago we were going to take another look at the secretaries’ equity positions but thats when the university started talking about “Banding”. We will be meeting with our county partners in January to discuss banding of the county secretaries. We also found out recently that Banding is not mandatory for the county secretaries. The secretary positions were set up many years ago under Cooperative Extension and are a little off the State Office of Personnel mandate. We will involve the association as we learn more about this. If we do not go with Banding, we will reinstitute a review of our system to make sure you are equitable with your peers.
  4. What can be done to make the county and state raises transition smoother? This is caused again by the dual payroll or dual employee salary sources. By July 1st the county budgets are completed. At the state level we’re hedging because we don’t know what percentage increase we will be given officially. Regular employees received their check from the county, but for those that are Send-In the university would not let us enter that money in, so we had to hold it until the state raises were received.
  5. What happens if a county does not sign the MOU? The MOU is the official, legal document that allows us to operate in the counties and have co-shared employees. If a county doesn’t sign it, there are some possible ways to handle the situation. But for those counties that haven’t signed the MOU yet, please remember that how we present it to the county is important. Three of the seven county managers that helped develop the MOU did not know they could influence the programming that you are doing in the county. We have to make sure they value what is being done. Be aware that counties are tired of the state mandating to them. Start referring to us as the university when talking with local partners, not as the state.
  6. Will any of the 4-H funds go towards scholarships for limited resource youth to attend 4-H camps? Marshall Stewart explained that the 4-H funds that he referred to earlier are specifically targeted as capital funds and cannot be used for camp scholarships. But he has challenged our 4-H Development Fund to increase the 4-H camp scholarships available.
  7. Do you think 4-H and FFA will ever combine programming for K-12? Marshall Stewart answered, “I do not.” They are two very special national entities that are very different. Both are very good programs. But Extension is community based and FFA is school based. Each has it’s own identity that can work together but because of their structures he doesn’t think they will ever be combined. Great partnerships and opportunities to collaborate, but there are barriers to combining these two programs.
  8. Ed Jones responded to the question about when the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the IIID funds will come out. It is ready to go out and will probably go out next week through County Extension Directors and other partners. Tom and Ed are trying to encourage everyone to use the email responsibilities list. It would enhance communications and eliminate CEDs from having to forward so many emails to staff members. ANR CRD will have a web site and grant opportunities will be available on that web site. In the future you will be able to apply on line. It will be an electronic based system.
  9. What will the focus of Extension Conference be? Joe asked how many present were serving on the Extension Conference Planning Committee. The theme is “Bridges” – bridging the different Extension groups and bridging it to the people in the communities. We have multiple outreach groups participating, with Extension being the largest, and includes Sea Grant, Science House, McKimmon Center, Industrial Extension, Small Business, and Technology Development Centers. This conference will be turning more to the university level and we’re going to be looking at ways to engage our employees more than in the past. We are sensing that this is how we can bring more resources to the counties.
  10. Marshall answered a question about how the funds for STEM will be used. The funds will be divided three ways. Roughly half of the funds we receive, whatever that may be, will be used for curriculum development. We will put together a team to work with experts across campus to put together the best ideas and package them. Then we will help to fast track this information to classroom teachers across the state for school enrichment for 4-H. Currently the lag time for getting information into the classrooms especially in the rural areas can be up to 12 years. This again will make 4-H relevant and will draw more budget money. Teacher supplies is another big issue. There’s a huge deficit of teachers that will be needed especially in the STEM areas. About 25% of the funds will go to Teens Teaching Youth. Through Teens Teaching Youth programs we are working with the College of Education and we hope to reach those teens with a propensity for speaking in front of others, teach them facilitation skills, and then give them opportunities to teach healthy lifestyles and other relevant topics to younger youth. As 4-H grows this pool of youth facilitators, we will become the gateway for these youth when they reach college and we can then draw them into science and education. We have a tremendous need in some of our camps for upgrading. About 25% of these funds will be invested in new science labs, new teaching facilities, and new equipment. We plan to upgrade current labs and programming materials.

Susan Condlin thanked the Administrators for their time and answers.

Following a brief break, the members of the Latino Initiative Group did a Power Point presentation called “Doors of Opportunity – Educating & Engaging North Carolina’s Growing Latino Population” which presented many statistics to support the need to incorporate Hispanic Outreach programming in the counties as we try to reach the growing Latino population in North Carolina and their needs. If you have any questions about this initiative or what resources might be available, or would like a copy of the Power Point slides, please email ¡Gracias y Buena suerte!

Susan Condlin thanked the Latino Initiative Group for their presentation, then announced that lunch was ready and invited Dan Campeau, Area Poultry Agent, to give us directions for lunch.

Susan Condlin, Federation President, called the business session to order at 1:00 p.m.

Pamela Brylowe, Federation Secretary determined there was a quorum present.

There was a motion and a second to approve the agenda. The agenda was approved.

Susan invited Irenie Autry, Treasurer of the state Advisory Leadership Council, if she would like to make any comments about her impressions of the Federation Forum. Ms. Irenie shared that she works with the South Central District and how she was going to go back and brag on how professional this group was and praise for all. As a member of the Advisory Council she promised to do whatever she can to help Extension efforts.

Pam Brylowe asked the members to review and approve the Minutes from the previous Forum, as they were posted on the Federation web site. A motion was made by Ray Harris to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded. A vote was taken and the minutes were approved as posted on the Federation web site.

Natalie Rountree gave the Federation Treasurer’s report. A copy is attached to the official minutes. Danelle Barco moved to accept the report and Barb Swanson seconded. The question was raised if the Federation board had discussed how the to spend the $5,302.68 in the Money Market. Susan replied that the board had not, but that Rhonda Sherman, next year’s Federation President, can bring up this question to next year’s board. The motion passed and the Treasurer’s report was accepted.

Susan Condlin explained that the Federation Forum is funded by a donation from the North Carolina Soybean Association. This past year they gave $1,000. The $50 associations pay for dues are used for other Federation activities during the year.

Natalie presented the proposed budget for 2007. A motion was made and seconded. During the discussion Susan was asked how Federation members might submit suggestions about how to spend Federation funds and she answered that Association members can make suggestions to the Federation Board through their association president, or email Rhonda directly. Pam Brylowe suggested the board include funds to purchase headphones and a supply of batteries to be used with the Federation Secretary’s digital recorder. The motion to accept the 2007 proposed budget was passed.

Association reports were given by: NCACAA – Ray Harris; NCEAFCS – Peggie Garner; NCAE4HA – Crystal Smith; NCCESA – Donna Fulp; NCAEPAT – Sandra Conner; and NCACES – Rhonda Sherman. Written reports that were submitted to the Secretary are filed with the official minutes.

Susan Condlin recognized the outgoing 2006 Federation officers with a certificate of appreciation. Those receiving certificates were: President Elect – Rhonda Sherman, NCACES; Secretary – Pamela Brylowe, NCCESA; Treasurer – Natalie Rountree, NCAE4HA; Webmaster – John Dorner, NCACAA; Past President – Aggie Rogers, NCAEPAT.

Susan then presented certificates of appreciation to the 2006 Federation Board of Directors: NCACAA – Lenny Rogers and Ray Harris; NCCESA – Chris Austin and Donna Fulp; NCEAFCS – Dee Furlough and Peggie Garner; NCAE4HA – Spring Williams and Crystal Smith; NCAEPAT – Kay Bridges and Sandra Conner; NCACES – Mike Yoder.

Susan made a few closing comments as the outgoing Federation President, reminding us that the value of Federation is being the Extension associations’ means of expressing our interests, our issues, and our concerns to Administration.

Ray Harris installed the 2007 Federation officers instead of Aggie Rogers, Past President. Aggie was unable to attend the Forum due to an emergency. The 2007 Federation executive board officers are:

President – Rhonda Sherman, NCACES
President Elect – Christine Barrier, NCCESA
Secretary – Cathy Brown, NCAE4HA
Treasurer – Bill Ellers – NCACAA
Webmaster – Marshia Ward, NCAEPAT
Past President – Susan Condlin, NCEAFCS

Susan Condlin turned over the Federation gavel to Rhonda Sherman.


Following the close of this business session, the 2007 Federation board of Directors will have a brief meeting with Rhonda Sherman.

Karen DeBord, Specialist, 4-H and Youth Development and FCS, is also an author. She shared one of her holiday poems, “Surrounding Dreams By Life,” from her book, Love to Share, published under the name of Karen Phillips.

Meeting was adjourned at 2:00 p.m.

These minutes prepared and submitted by
Pamela Brylowe, 2006 Federation Secretary

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