January 1, 2011

January 2011 APAC News, Vol. 4, No. 1

Welcome to the January issue of APAC News!

Did you know that you can now click on the "comment" button below each story to post an observation or reaction to the article?

December Town Hall Addressed Civil Service Audit

APAC’s Laura Myers introduces the panel consisting of Anniese Lemond, Maureen Parks, and Tom Morelock at the Civil Service Audit Update for APs Town Hall Meeting Dec. 14.

IN THE face of the planned conversions of Academic Professionals to Civil Service employees at UIC, a crowd of approximately 175 once again was on hand for an APAC Town Hall meeting on Dec. 14 for a session entitled “Civil Service Audit Update for APs.”

TOM MORELOCK, Executive Director of the State Universities Civil Service System of Illinois; Maureen Parks, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, University Administration, and Anniese Lemond, Director of Compensation, UIC, comprised the roster of speakers. Then-Chair of the APAC Building Community and Education Subcommittee Laura Myers welcomed the crowd.

MORELOCK EXPLAINED that the Civil Service system is “decentralized,” and that Civil Service allows the various employers within its system, such as the University of Illinois, to manage its business but within the confines of the Civil Service legislation and the rules established by the System Office.

CIVIL SERVICE, Morelock continued, has “a complex classification plan. We have over 1,200 classifications. The assumption is that every employee should be Civil Service unless exempted. Every two years we go to the campus to see if positions are correctly classified or should be exempt.”

DURING THE 2008 audit, SUCSS examined a number of Academic Professional positions at UIC. The campus received three audit findings related to employment classifications as a result – (1) inadequate position management process for APs, (2) improper exemption for AP jobs that should be classified as Civil Service, and (3) improper exemption for Academic Hourly jobs that should be classified as Civil Service.

“THE CAMPUS has undertaken a major effort to remedy this as a result of our findings,” Morelock said. “They’ve put a system in place that will address the problems.”

“THE CIVIL Service system is a statutory requirement,” Parks noted.

“HOW DID we get to this point?” she continued. “Why this big project? UIC has grown quickly and changed a lot over the last 15 years. There was a lot of decentralization in hiring. Units didn’t know about Civil Service’s procedures and rules that already were in place. I have been working closely with Tom and his staff and have been able to work out many issues.”

“IN 2009, Civil Service looked at us again and still saw some problems, so that’s when UIC really started working on this,” Parks said. “For example, we have completed job analyses of APs at the Medical Center.”

“THE JOB analysis consists of collecting everything we need to know about a job,” Lemond explained. “We purchased a software application that allows us to perform job analyses much more quickly. But it’s still a big, thorough, comprehensive process.”

ANALYSIS SHOWS that there are AP jobs that meet the Civil Service guidelines for being Civil Service. “They have to be converted over,” Parks said. “We are working with Civil Service to convert the right positions and be fair.”

THE JOB review process involves collecting job data from the job holders in various manners (e.g. position questionnaires, interviews, etc.). The process began in January 2010 and will continue throughout 2011.

BASED ON experience to-date with the job analysis process, UIC HR is anticipating that more conversions will occur within the next several months as the campus progresses through the job analysis process. Any current AP job that substantially matches a Civil Service classification must be converted to Civil Service.

THERE IS no specific number or planned amount of conversions.

MANY APs have been concerned about being converted to Civil Service, and do not fully understand the process or the implications. Parks noted that many things will not change for APs who are converted to Civil Service, such as health benefits and the State Universities Retirement System.

“THERE ARE some benefits that are better for Civil Service personnel,” she said. “They can take advantage of a tuition waiver not only at UIC, but at all State universities. APs don’t have that benefit. Some Civil Service personnel earn more vacation time than APs, too.”

“WE’RE NOT here to punish employees,” Morelock asserted. “Our conversion process mentions that we don’t want to harm employees.”

MORELOCK URGED people to give Civil Service a call or an e-mail when they have a question. “We don’t want you to think negatively about the process,” he said. Morelock’s phone number is (217) 278-3150 and his e-mail is tomm@sucss.state.il.us.

CIVIL SERVICE has the “bumping” provision, in which a Civil Service employee with higher seniority may be able to “bump” an employee with lower seniority out of a job. An audience member said, “As a manager my concern is selection and retention of employees.”

PARKS RESPONDED, “I have had employees affected through bumping and layoff, but there are ways you can attach specific requirements and qualifications to a job so a person unqualified for the job cannot bump the current job holder.”

MORELOCK ADDED that there is a misconception that “we give a test irrelevant to the job and come up with three candidates that you don’t want to hire. That’s not us. The Human Resources office will review resumes, and there will be a qualified resume-based hire.”

IN RESPONSE to the Town Hall, APAC Chair Michael Moss stated, “The conversion of Academic Professionals continues to be one of APAC’s chief concerns. We are privileged to be in communication with Maureen Parks and Anniese Lemond on this topic. I’m hopeful other APs realize that it is themselves – individual employees – who are impacted by the conversions, both professionally and personally. I would like to encourage all APs to better understand what is going on and how it may impact them, as well as their colleagues and their department. In my opinion, it is critical that individual APs become informed and get actively involved.”

APAC WILL host another Town Hall meeting on this subject in the near future, hopefully in February or March. To learn more about what is going on, you can review the HR Civil Service Audit and Job Analysis webpage here (it is updated regularly):

Republicans, Democrat Frerichs,
Go to Bat for APs in State Senate

State Senator Mike Frerichs halted legislation that would have transferred power to designate jobs Academic Professional from UIC to the State Universities Civil Service System.

LEGISLATION SPONSORED by Illinois State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) and supported by all other Democrats on the Senate Higher Education Committee except for Senator Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) that would have taken the power to classify jobs at UIC as Academic Professional out of the hands of UIC and other public universities in the State and placed it in the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS) was blocked in that committee.

ALL REPUBLICAN Senators on the committee voted against the legislation, all other Democrats voted for it, but Democrat Frerichs voted “present,” a parliamentary move that kept the bill from moving forward to the full Senate for consideration.

VARIOUS VERSIONS of the proposed legislation focused on two significant issues: first, the potential to remove the exemptions authority from UIC and remand it back to the Merit Board, and second, a change in the composition of the Merit Board.

THE NET result of the two changes is that SUCSS would be responsible for reviewing and approving all new AP positions at UIC, and the State University SUCSS that governs the process would no longer be fully composed of officials appointed by the State Universities.

SPOKESPERSONS FOR the University of Illinois and a number of other public universities testified against the bill.

WITH A new legislative session having started in January, the bill can be brought up again if Senators decide to do so.

Come to APAC Open House

APAC IS actively recruiting new members, and wants to provide APs with information on what we do. Save the date Wednesday, Feb. 9; from 12:30 until 2 p.m., APAC will have an Open House and Membership Drive. Location to be determined. There will be a presentation on APAC and you will have the opportunity to meet current members, ask questions, and learn about ways to become involved. Light refreshments will be served.

TOPICS TO be addressed include: What APAC is, what critical issues currently face APs (including the Civil Service Audit and University Compliance Plan, and State legislation on exemption authority); what APAC does (Town Hall events, APAC News, PACADEMY Listserv, Mentoring Program, Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Award, AP Senators, and the AP Survey); who is on APAC; who should join APAC; who should participate on APAC subcommittees; and how APs can get involved.

IF YOU have questions about APAC or if you would like to get involved, contact Michael Moss at mmoss2@uillinois.edu.

Laura Myers Leaves UIC;
Yair Rodriguez Takes Over Committee

Laura Myers.

LAURA MYERS, chair of the APAC Building Community/Education Committee, has left APAC and the University for a new post at Northwestern University. She had been Assistant Director of the Office of Career Services. “I have learned a lot from my involvement with APAC and I appreciate the experience,” she said.

YAIR RODRIGUEZ, Academic Coordinator, CHANCE Program, is the new chair of the Building Community/Education Committee. He can be contacted at (312) 355-0322 or yair@uic.edu.

Virginia Buglio Takes Care of the Details

Virginia Buglio is treasurer of APAC.

FOR THE past 17 years, Virginia Buglio has been employed by UIC. She has had several positions on campus but since June 2003 she has worked in the College of Dentistry.

SHE SERVED as the college's grants manager and became a Certified Research Administrator just a couple years ago. Most recently, Buglio was promoted to Associate Director of Research Services for the college. Her role in the Office of Research in Dentistry is to support the faculty and business managers through the grant process - from finding funding sources, submitting grants, negotiating contracts, receiving awards, to final reporting.

AS BUGLIO said, “There are a lot of nuts and bolts that fall under that summary and it is an ever-changing environment with federal guidelines and funding levels constantly changing, but it makes life fun and interesting.” The most gratifying part of her job is the satisfaction she receives from working with different people and helping them to achieve a finished product. Of course, the biggest reward is when they receive funding and Buglio knows that she helped play a role.

I LIKE the details, and the research business is all about the details,” Buglio said. This detail-orientation comes in handy in her role with APAC.

THIS IS Buglio’s second year on APAC, and she serves as Treasurer. Before joining APAC, she noted she had been aware of APAC for some time and was very interested in becoming involved to learn more about the campus and campus activities in general. “I was looking for an avenue to get involved in a bigger way,” she said. Additionally, she wanted the opportunity to meet other APs from units outside her college.

IN HER time serving on APAC she has seen, she said, “tremendous strides in many areas” of APAC including having a “great newsletter” as well as regular communication sent to APs, events and, one of the more recent accomplishments, the APAC survey. While the creation of the survey began before Buglio was on the committee, she recognizes that a great amount of work went into this effort by many of the APAC members. The survey queried APs on their opinions in many areas related to their jobs. The results of the survey will serve the campus and APAC in providing information for improvements in supporting the AP community on campus.

BUGLIO IS most proud of being involved in APAC because of the “dedication of the individuals who serve and give of their personal time to help fellow colleagues on campus.” She would like to see more APs becoming involved, noting that APAC has reached many by communication efforts and events but “strives to get more APs involved by volunteering for events and subcommittees.” She encourages APs to become involved, reiterating what other previously profiled APAC members have stated: “You do not have to be an APAC member to get involved.”

BEING ON APAC has allowed Buglio to be a voice to and for colleagues within her college. She hopes to continue serving, learning, meeting new people, and contributing more to activities sponsored by APAC.

--Ivone De Jesus

House to Repeal Health Care Reform

Yohannes Abraham, political director of Organizing for America, is concerned about Republican attempts to repeal healthcare reform.

THE U.S. House of Representatives’ Republican majority has vowed to repeal all provisions of federal health reform.

IF THEY get their way, insurance companies will once again have the right to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, drop or limit coverage if you become sick, and charge women higher premiums than men,” said Yohannes Abraham, political director of Organizing for America, a grassroots organization supportive of President Barack Obama. “Seniors will lose critical prescription drug savings and free preventive care under Medicare.”

OF THE Affordable Care Act signed into law last year, Abraham said, “Its provisions are fair; it will reduce the deficit by more than $230 billion over the next ten years, cut costs, and protect all Americans from the worst insurance industry abuses. The law is already making a difference in people's lives.”

THE AFFORDABLE Care Act prevents insurers from raising premiums by double digits with no recourse or accountability; requires insurers to spend 80% to 85% of premium dollars on health care, not CEO bonuses -- and if they don't, they have to provide policyholders with a rebate; frees families from the fear of losing their insurance, or having it capped unexpectedly, after an injury or illness; and prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against pregnant women or denying coverage to children born with disabilities.

THE LAW remains in effect and would not be changed unless the U.S. Senate went along with the House bill and the President signed it.

Quick Takes

W-2s Available for Download
EMPLOYEES’ W-2 Tax forms are available online at Nessie at: https://nessie.uihr.uillinois.edu/cf/comp/index.cfm.

Increase in Illinois Income Tax Withholding
ON JANUARY 12, 2011, the Illinois legislature approved an increase in the state individual income tax rate from 3% to 5%, which Governor Quinn signed on January 13, 2011.  As a result of this increase, the University must change the withholding rate on employee wages from 3% to 5%. Visit http://apps.obfs.uillinois.edu/news/dsp_news.cfm?TS=20110119155237423 for complete information.

PACADEMY IS a listserv moderated by APAC. The purpose of PACADEMY is to communicate information related to the interests and concerns of UIC's Academic Professional staff. We encourage all UIC Academic Professionals to join PACADEMY, which now has more than 4,500 subscribers. If you want to post to PACADEMY, go to http://www.uic.edu/orgs/apac/pacademy.html.

Send Your News
APAC NEWS is distributed to more than 7,300 UIC APs, other staff, and faculty. If you want to put a news item or photo in APAC News, or if you’d like to become a writer for the e-publication, e-mail billbike@uic.edu.

AP Resource Spotlight

HUMAN RESOURCES has announced the training schedule for a new course in the Core Professional Development Program: Business Writing Fundamentals. This two-hour instructor-led interactive discussion and practice will provide tools and techniques to improved business writing and will take place at Westside Office Research Building, 1747 W. Roosevelt Road, Room 361.

SCHEDULE: Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2-4 p.m.; Tuesday, March 22, 29-11 a.m.; Wednesday, April 27, 1-3 p.m.; Wednesday, May 25, 10 a.m.-noon; and Tuesday, June 28, 1-3 p.m.

REGISTRATION NOW available: https://hrnet.uihr.uillinois.edu/dart-cf/sessions/index.cfm. Questions may be directed to: oe@uillinois.edu or (312) 413-9168.

The Continuing Crisis

Citizens demanded Illinois State Legislators find a solution for the State’s budget crisis, so they had the courage to pass a tax

A 60 MINUTES segment entitled State Budgets: The Day of Reckoning aired on Dec. 19. In it, 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft interviewed then-Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on their states' fiscal crises. 60 Minutes referred to the "University of Illinois" as one of the State's creditors while showing video of UIC. The focus of the interviews appeared to spin it that public employee pensions are to blame for the states' fiscal crises. While Hynes appeared more circumspect, Christie bared no holds and was very blunt and direct in his position, throwing down the gauntlet to public employees and telling one if she didn’t like the changes coming, she could quit her job.

AS A result, House Republicans in Washington are talking about using a Christie-type model to break State employees around the country. See In Christie We Trust.

THE SHAMEFUL attack on public employees. See Huffington Post, Jan. 4, The Shameful Attack on Public Employees.

TAX INCREASE monumental first step to fix State budget crisis. See Progress Illinois, Jan. 12, Democrats Take "Monumental First Step" To Fix State Budget Crisis.

TAX INCREASE needed in Illinois, says Chicago Tribune on Jan. 8. See
Time for Illinois to behave like an adult.

Variety of Retirement Investment Options Offered

BESIDES THE University retirement plan, the State Universities Retirement System (SURS), employees also can do salary deferrals into two different deferred compensation plans. “They used to have a really small list of things we could invest in, but now the list is quite extensive,” reports Mary Jo Kuffner, director of human resources and finance for the UIC School of Public Health Center for the Advancement of Distance Education (CADE).

EMPLOYEES CAN contribute the maximum into both of the plans below [one 403 (b) plan and one 457 plan]. All three vendors (TIAA-CREF, Fidelity, and T Rowe Price) had some funds that had outstanding performance.

THERE IS a 403 (b) plan that has investment choices from both TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments. This plan has the largest group of investment choices. Information about this plan (and these two choices) is available at Nessie: Retirement & Investment Plans 403(b) Plan and 403(b) Plan Enrollment Guide .

INCLUDED WITH this article is a list of Fidelity investments: Fidelity Investment Comparison. Kuffner sorted it by type of fund followed by performance (sorted by one-year, then three-year, then five year). “The three-year performance is critical because you can see how the fund performed during the crash of 2008,” Kuffner said. “So if the fund did not lose too much money, neither would you.”

EMPLOYEES ALSO can contribute to the University’s 457 plan via a salary deferral. This plan is managed by T Rowe Price. Information about this plan is available from Nessie: Retirement & Investment Plans, 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan.

IF ONE only has money to put into one of these, there is a comparison chart that compares and contrasts the 403b and 457 plans available from Nessie: Supplemental Retirement Plan Comparison Chart.

Vol. 4, No. 1, January 2011

ISSN 1946-1860

Editor: William S. Bike
Writing Staff: Ivone De Jesus, Monica Walk
Web Publishing: Jeff Alcantar

Chair: Michael Moss
Vice Chair: Jennifer Rowan
Secretary: Jill Davis
Treasurer: Virginia Buglio