January 12, 2017 Print E-mail



Meeting Minutes of January 12, 2017

I.          Welcome and Introductions

Present: Susan Buckley, Sydney Fisher Larson, Nica Meggerson, Cameron Mull, Dian Pecora, Connie Sundberg, Mike Wilson

Staff: Mary Ann Hansen, Celia Haro

Consultant: Nancy Howatt

Guest: Sheri Graham-Whitt

Absent: Jessica Callahan

Sydney Fisher Larson called the meeting to order at 8:30 am

No Conflict of Interest with any of today’s Agenda Items were announced.

II.         Public Comments and Announcements

Commissioner Buckley announced a research project, which is still in the launching phase and will be conducted by CCRP, about pre- and postnatal alcohol and other drugs uses. She asked Mary Ann to participate in a task force.

Commissioner Buckley also shared that Public Health is still waiting to hear from the State if the Dental Transformation Initiative request for funding has been approved. The Board of Supervisors also is recognizing the National Children’s Dental Health Month at the Jan. 25th meeting.

The Public Health Accreditation recognition and Commissioner Buckley’s retirement party will be held on Jan. 24th from 4-6 pm at the Aquatic Center.

Mary Ann acknowledged Susan Buckley for her service and support of First 5 Humboldt.  Susan has served on the Commission as a County representative since September 2003, making her the longest serving member of the Commission. Susan is retiring at the end of the month.  Commissioners thanked Susan and encouraged her to stay involved and advocate for young children and their families in Humboldt County. Susan announced that Megan Blanchard, Director of Public Health Nursing, will be appointed to replace her on the Commission.

III.        Executive Director Report

  • Mary Ann welcomed incoming Board of Supervisor representative Mike Wilson. She also introduced Sheri Graham-Whitt, who will fill the vacant position left by Ovieda Elliott.  Sheri’s appointment is placed on the Jan. 25th Board of Supervisors Agenda for approval.  Also, both Commissioner Fisher Larson and Commissioner Pecora second term appointments are placed on the Jan. 25th Board of Supervisors Agenda for approval.

  • First 5 Humboldt recently hired a new Program Coordinator, Star Mohatt, who fills the vacant position left by Jennifer Gonzales.  Jennifer now works as the Program Coordinator for the IMPACT grant.  Star’s position is paid by three funding sources – First 5 Humboldt, HCOE funds to support the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative, and HCOE QRIS funds. Mary Ann met with Garry Eagles to discuss future funding for the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative coordinator, the work of the Children & Family Support Specialist, the Inclusion Specialist, and the Nutrition Education Specialist.

  • Star Mohatt and Jennifer Gonzales will be attending the QRIS Hub meeting in Ukiah.  Mary Ann shared that the Hub has invested between $20,000 and $30,000 during the last six months for ECE trainings.  Our partners are being offered to attend these trainings through the IMPACT grant. Jennifer also attended an ASQ training “Train the Trainer” event.

  • The First 5 Association sponsored Advocacy Day with the Legislature is set for Jan. 31st. Mary Ann, along with Commissioners Pecora and Callahan, and Sheri Whitt will attend the Advocacy Day.  Amongst the topics of discussion will be Prop. 56, DentiCal, pediatric dental care/dental health and the reimbursement rates, the State’s Revenue Plan and Budget, and ECE increases and reimbursement rates.

  • The First 5 Association and some First 5 county representatives will meet with representatives from the Mental Health Services Act to advocate for prevention/early intervention mental health services for schools and childcare.

  • The North Coast Grantmaking Partnership is meeting this afternoon and will hear a presentation from Meg Walkley and Beth Heavilin about the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative and ACES. The Partnership awarded the 0-8 Mental Health Collaborative a grant for exploring an upstream infant-family and early childhood mental health approach to preventing and addressing the impact of ACES in Humboldt County.

  • Mary Ann will be participating in a networking meeting with First 5 Association staff, the E.D. of First 5 California, and other county E.D.s about policy work. The title of the meeting is “First 5 Network building meeting to expand the power of First 5 in our policy work.” Commissioner Buckley asked about how the Commission could advocate for Mental Health Services Act funds to be used for infant-family and early childhood mental health. Commissioners briefly discussed the importance of early childhood development and mental health, early intervention and how money could be used for investing “earlier to save later.”

IV.        Approval of Minutes: Commission Meeting Minutes of Dec. 8, 2016
The Meeting Minutes of Dec. 8, 2016 were approved as written.

V.         Consent Calendar:

A.  FUN Play Center In-depth Review

B.  Discovery Museum In-depth Review

C.  November 2016 Postings

ACTION: Commissioners approved all consent calendar items as presented.

VI.        Information Item: Subcommittee & Workgroup Reports

Evaluation: The Evaluation Action Team met on Dec. 13th to review the playgroup survey results, talked about the Program Evaluation Team process, and received an update on IMPACT and e-surveys.  Data entry will be streamlined with the usage of IPads and surveys are done through Survey Monkey.  This will reduce valuable time for the Evaluators to input data.

Fiscal: The Fiscal Committee met on January 4th to review the revised budget for the Willow Creek Playgroup. They discussed if it is appropriate to use First 5 funds to pay for lunches for the playgroup. The Fiscal Committee also reviewed the revised FY 16/17 budget, the updated ten-year fiscal forecast, and discussed First 5 revenue, Board of Equalization funds, and the anticipated decrease in Prop.10 funds, due to the increase in tobacco tax and the increase of the smoking age for tobacco products.  The Governor’s budget mentions a drastic reduction of Prop.10 funds. The Fiscal Committee is starting to review how our funding to the core programs matches the new Strategic Plan focus areas.

Parent & Family Support: The Parent & Family Support Committee will meet on January 27th to receive an update on the IMPACT grant, receive an update on the playgroup funding matrix, and discuss how to partner with the ECCE Committee.

ECCE: The Early Childhood Care and Education Committee (ECCE) met on Dec. 12th and on Jan. 9th to receive updates about QRIS and the IMPACT grant. The new Program Coordinator was introduced to the Committee.  The ECCE Committee also reviewed the final draft of the “Recommendations for Quality Early Learning,” which will be introduced to the Commission at a future meeting.

VIII.      Discussion Item: Commission Officers

Per the Commission’s Bylaws, at the January Commission meeting officers for the Commission are proposed, and at a subsequent meeting nominees are selected by Commissioners.  Susan Buckley nominated Sydney Fisher Larson and Dian Pecora to serve as co-chairs, and Megan Blanchard to serve as chair-elect for 2017.

VIII.      Action Item: Revised Fiscal Year 2016-17 Budget

Commissioners reviewed the revised Fiscal Year 2016/17 budget at the last meeting. The Fiscal Committee also reviewed the revised budget at the meeting on Jan. 4th. Mary Ann reviewed the revised budget again with Commissioners, pointing out the increases, decreases, and adjustments in the budget.

Commissioners discussed the County charges, which are consistently increasing. Nancy Howatt explained that the County takes care of a lot of services for us, like payroll, investments, issuing checks, etc.  In addition, the IT Department has been helping us consistently during our move and with computer issues. Nancy pointed out that the Commission could not afford all the services the County offers if we would have to contract with individual entities. Also, we heavily rely on County Counsel for support and advice. Commissioner Sundberg agreed, saying that network management systems are expensive.  Mary Ann shared that the County charges continue to come up as the Prop.10 revenue declines. When the discussion occurs at First 5 Association meetings, it is always pointed out that First 5s that contract with County entities are enrolled in CalPERS, which stand-alone First 5s either need to contract on their own or do not have.

ACTION: Commissioners approved the revised Fiscal Year 2016/17 budget as presented.

IX.        Action Item: First 5 Humboldt Ten Year Forecast

The Commission approves the Ten Year fiscal forecast at their June meeting each year.  With the completion of the annual Audit Report and reconciliation of funds, the Ten Year fiscal forecast also gets updated to reflect the revised fiscal year budget.

Nancy Howatt reviewed the updated Ten Year fiscal forecast with Commissioners. She reminded Commissioners that First 5 Humboldt uses prior year revenue received for the current fiscal year budget. She shared that the interest earned forecast is always conservative. The Commission does receive annual updates from the County Treasurer in regards to interest rates and the Commission’s financial state.

The Sustainability Fund was discussed.  If the Commission continues to draw larger amounts from the Sustainability Fund to support funded programs, the Sustainability Fund will be depleted by the end of Fiscal Year 2025/2026. The Fiscal Committee has been working on revising the Fiscal Policy to recommend that the Sustainability Fund amount does not go below $2 Million, in order to preserve the Commission’s goals.  The cut-off for the Sustainability Fund reaching the $2 Million mark is Fiscal Year 2020/2021. The Fiscal Committee will also do some more in-depth reviews about reductions, including administrative cost, i.e. salaries & benefits.

Currently, the program expenses is set at $1 Million in the Ten Year fiscal forecast to support the Commission’s Core Programs and the Playgroup Initiative.  The Fiscal Committee is also reviewing this and will make some recommendations for funding in the future. One plan is to change the funding model for the Playgroups and for Family Resource Centers.  The Fiscal Committee has been working with a funding matrix to achieve a more equitable way of funding playgroups.

Commissioner Buckley inquired about time study and billing options for certain activities and wondered if other First 5 Commissions are doing this. She suggested to connect with the Maternal Child & Adolescent Health (MCAH) Division to discuss MAA billing options.  MCAH’s goals are closely aligned to the goals of First 5 Humboldt. Mary Ann replied that she is thinking about having a Consultant look at our internal work and how some activities could be billed for reimbursement.

Nancy announced that the Ten Year fiscal forecast will be updated again at the end of the Fiscal Year.  She said the Fiscal Committee is working on how to transition this fiscal forecast to align with the new Strategic Plan.

ACTION: The updated Ten Year Forecast was approved as presented.

X.         Information Item: HCOE Nutrition Partnership

This information item will be deferred to the next meeting.

XI.        Discussion Item: Fiscal Policy

The Fiscal Committee has been working on revising the Fiscal Policy.  The revisions were then put on hold until the approval of the new Strategic Plan, and then further updates occurred.

Commissioners reviewed the Draft Fiscal Policy. The charge of the Fiscal Committee has been strengthened under the Fiscal Oversight section of the Policy, and the Sustainability Fund language was re-written. As part of the language of the Sustainability Fund, it states that the minimum amount maintained in the Sustainability Fund shall not be lower than $2 Million in order to continue supporting the identified goals in the Commission’s Strategic Plan.  The Commission will annually determine, with the development of the annual budget, the amount of revenue to be placed in or withdrawn from the Sustainability Fund for the next fiscal year.  The Commission will also annually determine, with the development of the annual budget and the revised budget process that occurs after the annual audit is completed, the amount of any previous-year unexpended funds from the Commission budgets to be placed in the Sustainability Fund.  In regards to cash flow requirements, it states that the Sustainability Fund withdrawals may be used to cover annual administrative cost, if prior year revenues are not sufficient and other funding sources are not available.  If the withdrawal causes the fund to drop below $2 Million, a plan must be in place to return the fund balance to $2 Million in the following fiscal year.  This plan must include a provision to restore the fund, and prevent the administrative cost from drawing down the fund in subsequent years.

The Fiscal Policy also describes seeking funding opportunities to leverage funds for programs and services. Commissioners reviewed the language for the First 5 Humboldt Fund at Humboldt Area Foundation section, the language for the Commission funded programs section, stating that Commission funded programs should be paid with Prop.10 funds. Commissioners also reviewed the language of the Investment Guidelines, Fiscal Services and the Reporting and Monitoring Requirements section of the Fiscal Policy.

The revised Fiscal Policy will be an Action Item at the next meeting.

XII.       Information Item: Fiscal Management Guide:  Internal Controls

Commissioners reviewed the Internal Controls section of the Fiscal Management Guide with Nancy Howatt.  Well-designed internal control elements allow for Commissions to fulfill their purpose by promoting efficient operations, safeguarding against waste and fraud, ensuring adherence to regulations, and developing reliable financial and management data.

The Internal Control Framework is broken out by five areas:  An effective control environment, continual risk assessment, effective control-related policies and procedures, effective communication of information, and internal control monitoring. Nancy explained the five areas.

Effective control environment:  The management sets the tone, i.e. full disclosure, review of the budget, the Program Evaluation Team process, Commission review of expenses.

Continual risk assessment:  First 5 Humboldt is at very low risk due to very little cash handling.  With our agreement with the County, some levels of controls are added to assure more strategies are in place to minimize risk. For instance, our expenses go through the County Auditor’s office, and the County processes payroll for us.  The Commission does not have any property or buildings, which minimizes continual risk, and is undergoing an audit on an annual basis.

Effective control-related policies and procedures: The Commission is reviewing policies on a regular basis, is being audited every year, has subcommittees to give input to policies and procedures, and has contracts in place with consultants and funded programs. The Commission receives the budgets and revised budgets for approval and reviews expenses on a regular basis during the Commission meeting.

Effective communication of information:  We have developed simplified documents that are tied directly to detailed accounting and auditing procedures.  We post Agendas and Minutes online and they are posted in a timely matter.  Policies and Procedures are in place to strengthen effective communication of information.

Internal control monitoring:  Subcommittees and the Commission review and update policies on a regular basis, and have complete documentation of proceedings and/or discrepancies on file. The Commission has procedures in place about required signatures for invoices and reimbursements. All payment claims require two signatures.

Mary Ann and Nancy said, in reviewing the Internal Controls, they noticed that a policy/procedure needs to be in place for the Executive Director to be authorized to sign letters of support and letters of recommendations. Mary Ann also shared that with a new way of posting the agenda and associated documents, the transparency will be increasing.  With the revised Fiscal Policy, the Fiscal Subcommittee also has increased oversight capacity to monitor internal controls.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 am.

Next Meeting:

Thursday, February 9, 2017

8:30 – 10:30 am

First 5 Humboldt Conference Room

525 Second Street, Room 203, Eureka

Chair:  Dian Pecora

Future Meetings:

Thursday, March 23, 2017 from 5 – 7 pm

Thursday, April 13, 2017 from 8:30 – 11 am

Thursday, May 11, 2017 from 8:30 – 11 am

Thursday, June 22, 2017 from 5 – 7 pm

Commission Retreat in July – date and location TBD

Thursday, August 10, 2017 from 8:30 – 10:30 am

Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 from 5 – 7 pm

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 from 5 – 7 pm

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 from 8:30 – 10:30 am

Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 from 8:30 – 10:30 am

Minutes compiled by Celia Haro, Program Coordinator, and transcribed by Andrea Sousa, Executive Secretary, First 5 Humboldt, 525 - 2nd Street, Suite 201, Eureka, 95501