2009-12-11 Federation Forum
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Johnston County Agricultural Center – Smithfield, NC
Friday, December 11, 2009
The morning began with refreshments and networking.
Janine Rywak, Federation President, welcomed everyone.
Heather Lifsey, President-Elect, introduced special guests.
Vickie Shew, Federation Secretary, gave the association roll call.
The meeting began with a panel discussion on the New Model for Association Meetings.
New model for state association meetings
In Dr. Ort’s opening remarks, he stated that administration gives serious consideration to our associations and for this reason, we are looking at a new policy for reimbursements for association meetings. The new model will include State Program Leaders in the planning of the meetings. The meetings must have educational components relative to area of work in order to be considered eligible for time and travel reimbursements. Implementing this rule should help prevent accusations of shopping, playing golf, etc. with government funding.
Dr. Ort was also joined by: Dr. Marshall Stewart, Dr. Keith Baldwin, Dr Joe Zublena, Dr. Celiva Stovall, Dr. Ed Jones, Dr Claudette Smith and Sherri Schwab.
Questions began as follows:
Q. How will reimbursement for travel affect Secretary’s Association?
A. POD’s must be a part, but don’t know how. Dr. Ort will give final approval.
Q. Will there be reimbursement for going to trainings outside of CES?
A. Not included in this model—would have other funding sources.
Q.  Would travel procedures apply to District and State Association meetings?
A. Yes, both.
Q. When will procedures be implemented?
A. As soon as possible—January 1?
Q. Would programs already planned fall under new procedures of including the State Leader?
A. They would not be penalized—“Grandfathered.”
Q. Can county and state cars be used for these meetings?
Q. Will the canceled Secretary’s Conference be held next year?
A. Probably not—will have regional conferences. May have CED conference that will include admin secretaries.
Q. What is process for planning state and district meetings?
A. The association president would contact Dr. Ort’s office.
Q. Why can’t we do more subject matter training at association meetings?
A. Should explore this possibility (good idea).
Q. The NCAAEPAAT includes grant-funded people…will online registration affect these people?
A. It can be done through a different system. Let CED know when PA cannot register.
Closing comments for this discussion: Dr Ort stated the administration would appreciate input in the future with this new model being a work in progress.
Dr. Zublena stated: The final decision has not been made to go with this new model.
Everything will depend on resources and what is equitable.
General comments made by panel members to begin were as follows.
Dr. Ort stated: I would like to say it is a pleasure for us to be here today. We do not get the chance to meet with field faculty very often. We do not have all the answers. In my
experiences, there are two types of questions – thought provoking and provoking. If however, we do not have the answers, we will attempt to find them.
Dr Zublena stated: We do appreciate you attending the federation meeting. The federation is a very useful tool for the organization. Thank you all for what you do everyday.
Dr Stovall stated: “Thanks for all your dedication and hard work you all have geared up and stepped up during these hard economic times.”
Q. Explain funding structure difference between A&T and NCSU since A&T was still able to hire.
A. 2009 federal funds were cut 7% but a waiver was granted to A&T because their funding dollars from the sate must match federal dollars most programs are federally not state funded. A&T is smaller, travel with A&T was through some special grant funds.
Q. How are NC A&T and NCSU working together on emergency planning? They seem to be working individually not collaborating.
A. A&T received two different grants (Texas A&M & USC) specifically for disaster training. Both universities are looking at more grant opportunities.
Q. What is administration’s advice on maintaining morale with limited staff and funds?
A. These times represent both personal and professional hardships. Remember there will be better times, and remember there are people worse off than we are. Also what better time for extension to help the citizens of NC. What will be written about what we do now or what we don’t do? We have our jobs and we love our work.
Morale is interesting – you always have your optimist and pessimist – such as, mine is good and everyone else is bad, perception is half the battle.
Some people just need to hear you are doing a good job and lots of encouragement while others need to not push themselves too hard and not feel bad if they have to drop a few things. It is important to find a balance.
We do face challenges. The world is in turmoil. Look around you. Everyone is in need of something. Now is the time for extension to seize the moment; to strive for positive goals and objectives so when the budget does come back around, we will be at the front of the line. These times can be seen as threatening or opportunities. We have to be smart and strategic. We must do what we can do!
A lot of different organizations are thankful for what extension does for them. Keep doing the good things you do everyday.
These times remind me of the poem, Still I Rise. We at A&T have lost people and support before and have become a support system within ourselves.
Smiles go a long way.
Q. Would NCSU grant us another 2 days off with pay as incentive?
A. Probably not. There could be some type of incentive but we know nothing for sure.
Q. Can you advise of ways to make sure agents are getting training from specialists?
A. Regional training in progress i.e. 4-H Spring Institutes looking at regional trainings for FCS and AG .
Q. What is the starting point to contact A&T for funds for a new agent?
A. First develop a proposal request for a position and send it to the regional director. A&T no longer funds positions 100%.
Q. What are examples of activities and topics that won’t be approved for association meetings? And can curriculum/educational training be offered at annual conference?
A. Golfing, shopping, non-educational activities. Need to bring back annual CES conference for training starting in 2011.
Q. What is the plan for recruiting/replacing 30 year retirees? Can retirees help aid current staff to serve clients?
A. They will be replaced geographically and by priority of programming area. With 109 vacant positions, it is a challenge We approved two DED’s positions be rehired along with 20 other county positions throughout the state as of January 1 and will fill a few more positions while knowing we are doing this with a lot of unknowns. We will not replace all 109 vacancies. We have discussed using retirees to mentor and will explore using retirees in other areas.
Q. Have you thought of making open positions into regional positions?
A. Yes we have always looked at vacant positions that way to save costs.
Q. Is there any discussion on decreasing the cost of 4-H events such as Congress to make it more affordable for youth to attend?
A. The fee for Congress in 2010 will remain the same with a four-day Congress event. Also looking to compact more programs. We are always exploring ways to fundraise. 4-H reached 241,000 young people across the state this year, and Dr. Stewart is very aware of the economic issues facing young people in order to attend events and is working to address this issue.
Lucy Bradley, Federation Webmaster, led a moment of thanks and lunch was served.
The business meeting of the Federation was called to order by President Janine Rywak.
A quorum was determined and the agenda was approved. Because the 2008 Forum was cancelled there were no minutes to approve.
Tres Magner Federation Treasurer presented the Treasurer’s Report, the 2010 Proposed Budget, and forms for travel reimbursement to the Forum. An update was needed in the Treasurer’s Report, a result of the morning’s audit, and the corrected copy would be submitted later for the record.
Association reports were presented.
Janine Rywak, Federation President, recognized the 2009 Federation Officers and outgoing association representatives.
Christine Barrier, Past resident, installed the 2010 Federation officers.
Heather Lifsey presented the 2009 Federation leadership & Service Recognition Award to Janet Maybry, Administrative Secretary in Stanly County.
Announcements included that the spring board meeting for the Federation will be held via Elluminate on March 26, 2010.
Meeting was adjourned.