March 22, 2011

March 2011 APAC News, Vol. 4, No. 3

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

Cash Flow, State Structural Deficit Continue to Plague University

Frank Goldberg, UIC vice provost for resource planning and management (right), and Todd Van Neck, UIC director, budgeting and program analysis, gave a budget update.

By William S. Bike

THE UIC BUDGET continues to be a topic of huge interest to Academic Professionals, faculty, and other staff as another near-capacity audience heard Frank Goldberg, UIC Vice Provost for Resource Planning and Management, and Todd Van Neck, UIC Director, Budgeting and Program Analysis, give a budget update at an APAC event for that purpose on March 3.

UIC IS “facing two problems,” Goldberg said. “A cash flow problem and a structural budget problem.”

IN TERMS of cash flow, Goldberg displayed a chart showing that in February 2008, for example, the UIC had billed the State $665 million and had received $542 million for a gap of $123 million. This year, UIC has billed the State $644 million but received only $189 million by February—a gap of $455 million.

IN ADDITION, in the University’s Monetary Award Program (MAP), “we give the money to students and then bill the State,” Goldberg explained. “The State is an additional $44.8 million behind in MAP money.”

ADDING The $455 million and $44.8 million puts the State nearly one-half of a billion dollars behind in payments to UIC.

“IF OUR units hadn’t been very prudent and reserved cash over the last several years, then you and I wouldn’t have been paid,” Goldberg stated.

GOLDBERG RECAPPED recent State legislation that resulted in pension reform affecting new hires, spending caps, Medicaid reform, and tax increases, and said further pension changes may be in the offing.

HE NOTED that Governor Patrick Quinn at the recent University of Illinois Board of Trustees meeting said that with the tax increase and with borrowing to make up shortfalls that he was optimistic that the State would be in decent financial shape by 2016. However, Professor David Merriman of the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs was the next speaker and disagreed. Merriman believes even after the tax increase the State will continue to have a $4.4 billion structural deficit—an ongoing problem in which expenditures exceed revenues (see also APAC News, Feb. 2011).

“SO WHAT do you do about the cash flow deficit?” Goldberg asked. “The Governor’s solution is to pay for it by bonds, but the interest on the bonds adds to the structural deficit. And that doesn’t address the pension deficit.”

THE GOVERNOR’S Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal keeps funding for State universities flat at FY 2011. “This is good news, because the Governor is not looking to cut University funding,” Goldberg said.

VAN NECK noted that in UIC FY 2012 budget plans, “not only do we need to meet our needs, but we have some ‘wants’ we’d like to fund,” he said, and showed a chart showing University goals such as growing the research enterprise, supporting diversity, ensuring the integrity of the physical infrastructure, information technology, and globalization. Moving forward with meeting these goals will require funding.

HE ALSO explained that “we’ve been saved over the past few years by increasing our tuition revenue. That has offset cuts in state appropriations. But as we compare ourselves to other institutions, our tuition is pretty high. So we can’t increase it much more, if at all.”

IN RESPONSE to a questioner who asked about State tax increases, Goldberg said the recent tax increase “was necessary, but it’s not sufficient to balance the budget. The State Legislature isn’t done yet, but they won’t raise taxes more. That means they’ll have to cut expenditures.”

FOR GOLDBERG’S and Van Neck’s PowerPoint presentation, see Presentations. For further information see, Planning & Budgeting, UIC Office of Budgeting and Program Analysis, and The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.

Public Employee Pensions Face the Chopping Block…

Chart courtesy Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis.

By Jean Lachowicz
Special from the Gazette

PHRASES LIKE “ticking time bomb” and “political tsunami” are being used to describe the pension situation for State, City, and County employees, as record-breaking government deficits put longstanding benefits in the cross hairs of budget-cutting proposals.

ACCORDING TO the Civic Federation, Illinois’s pension code allows State and local governments to avoid paying the actuarially required contributions for employees’ retirements. That fundamental flaw has been made worse by staff reductions and early retirement incentives as well as the current recession.

LAURENCE MSALL, president of the Civic Federation, said, “People nationwide are starting to ask why Illinois and Chicago have allowed this fiscal recklessness to happen. That’s not an easy question for politicians to answer. But if we don’t take action soon, we may be beyond the point of fixing these problems.”

ON FEB. 8, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) outlined many of the decisions the Illinois General Assembly must face during the current legislative session. He warned there likely will be proposals to reduce pension benefits for current State employees.

"WE'RE ALL familiar with the inadequate funding of the State pension systems,” Madigan said. “Again, tough decision-making, telling people you’re not going to get everything you thought you were going to get, telling people you may have to pay in more. Not easy stuff. So we all better get ready for it.”

THE GENERAL Assembly passed a measure in spring 2010 that established a new set of pension benefits for State employees hired after January 1, 2011. New employees now receive reduced benefits and, in most cases, must work until age 67 to collect full retirement benefits. Yet some business groups and many members of the legislature still are looking at the immediate and significant savings that would come only from reducing benefits for those working for the State before last year’s reforms went into effect.

THE SAME day Madigan made his statements, Governor Patrick Quinn’s office confirmed the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is conducting an inquiry into the State’s financial disclosures about potential savings expected from the pension reforms enacted last spring.

"THIS IS not an investigation, this is an inquiry,” said Kelly Kraft, the governor’s budget spokeswoman. “The SEC has stated this is not an indication of any violation. We feel our disclosures have always been accurate and complete.”

Pension audit
THE SEC is examining whether the State was taking projections of future savings and treating them as reductions in the State’s current pension costs. In response to the SEC inquiry, Representative Dwight Kay (R-112th/Edwardsville) introduced legislation urging the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability to conduct an audit of Illinois’s pension systems.

TO PUT the situation in perspective, the Pew Center on States ranks Illinois as having the most underfunded public pension plans in the nation. At the end of the current fiscal year on June 30, 2011, legislative analysts project the five retirement systems for which State government is responsible will need roughly $131 billion to cover benefits already earned by public workers, with only $46 billion in expected assets to cover the costs, or about 35 cents on the dollar. The other $85 billion represents the unfunded liability, an obligation the State must meet but for which no funding source exists.

WHILE HOUSE Republicans already have their own bill, which would give current State employees three options on changing their benefits, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and many others say they believe reducing benefits to current employees would be unconstitutional.

ARTICLE 13, Section 5 (Pension and Retirement Rights) of the Illinois Constitution states, “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

WHILE IT is believed by most authorities that Illinois State employees currently enrolled in pension plans and Illinois State pension plan recipients (and survivors) cannot have their benefits reduced, based on the Illinois Constitution, legal challenges ultimately could be decided by the Illinois Supreme Court.

MERRILL L. GASSMAN, professor emeritus of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and president of the UIC Chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association, said, “From my perspective, this is a public policy issue that has been building for many years and has been ignored for the most part. Now the State is way behind in pension payments, and the magnitude of the problem, coupled by the current economy, has brought the issue up to the front page of public attention.

"FOR MANY years, the State has neglected to make contributions to the pension fund and sometimes sold bonds instead of making payments,” Gassman continued. “If the State did not have its own public pension funds and instead had to participate in Social Security, it would not have had the flexibility—payments would have been made. The law requires that benefits be paid but says nothing about putting money into the fund, so the State is not legally compelled to do so.”

GASSMAN BELIEVES public employees have become a scapegoat to the larger problem of focusing on the debt. “When a person makes a decision to enter into public service, one of the considerations is that the wages might be lower than what they would earn in the private sector, but the benefit package compensates for the difference. It is a moral issue when current State employees face such a radical shift in their existing benefits package,” he said.

"STATE EMPLOYEES are not paying into the Social Security system as private sector employees do. When private companies go bankrupt, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation steps in to cover most defined benefit pension promises. But the PBGC does not fully cover municipal or State retirement plans,” Gassman noted.

THE STATE'S most troubled pension plans (all having less than 50% funding) are: State Universities Retirement System (SURS), Teachers Retirement System (TRS), State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS), Judges Retirement System (JRS), and General Assembly Retirement System(GARS).The healthiest plan is the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, which ended 2010 at 100%(fully funded).

Create new revenue streams
INSTEAD OF focusing on what should be cut from workers’ pensions, Lou Phillips, business manager of Chicago Laborer’s Local 1001, wants to create new streams of revenue to support pensions.

"WE SHOULD clean up the unemployment rolls and alleviate the pension fund problems at the same time,” Phillips said. “The pension is a promise, and keeping a promise is simply the right thing to do.”

PHILIPS SEES a need for increased education about public employee pensions, since private sector employees have experienced great losses themselves over the past few years and they do not appreciate the fact that public employees have constitutional protections that private sector employees do not have.

"PEOPLE DON'T understand that public employees don’t have Social Security to fall back on,” he said. “People don’t understand that public employees contribute 8-1/2 percent to the pension funds every paycheck, year after year, no matter what. “When we have job cuts, less goes into the pension funds. When we have furlough days, less goes into the pension funds. You can’t just cut cut cut. You’re going to have to feel it somewhere. Put people back to work and the pension funds will recover,” said Phillips.

U OF I President Michael Hogan said, “Our current faculty and staff were hired - and have served our students, patients and the public for many years - on the understanding that these pension benefits were part of our compensation. We are not eligible for Social Security and our salaries often lag far behind those of our counterparts at private institutions of comparable quality. Our people, therefore, have built their financial planning and retirements around these pension benefits, and it is not their fault that the pensions have not been adequately funded. Accordingly, we continue to participate in discussions on this issue in Springfield and to use our good offices to the best advantage of our faculty and staff.”

THE HUMAN Resources office has developed a website that is tracking the various proposed bills that would affect employee pensions; this information is available at State Universities Retirement System (SURS).

…However, Cullerton Legal Counsel Says Pensions Can’t Be Unilaterally Cut

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton has said cutting pension benefits for current state employees is “clearly unconstitutional.”

By Micah Maidenberg
Special from the Progress Report

IN 1905, Franklin MacVeagh, then the head of the Commercial Club of Chicago, addressed his colleagues in Cincinnati on the topic of contracts. A person's character, he insisted to the Ohio business leaders, can be measured by whether or not they stick to such agreements. "There is no moral exemption for any man or body of men that breaks contracts," MacVeagh said. "Nor is there any hope of public or private respect for a contract breaker. A contract breaker is an utter misfit as a citizen or a business man."

THE QUOTE is included at the very beginning of "Is Welching On Public Pension Promises An Option For Illinois?," a new legal analysis written by Eric Madiar, Senate President John Cullerton's chief legal counsel,

IT IS a cheeky way to begin, given that the Commercial Club of Chicago has been at the forefront in pushing State government to renege on the retirement commitments it has made to public employees across Illinois and slash their pension benefits. The spirit of Franklin MacVeagh apparently does not animate the current crop of leaders at that organization.

BUT MADIAR’S report isn't meant to merely tweak the interests demanding benefit cuts. The 76-page document, studded with 630 footnotes, is a dense legal analysis that powerfully argues that the state constitution's pension clause creates a set of guarantees public-sector workers can count on. The clause states the following: “Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired."

DEBATES ABOUT the State's pension funds are starting to intensify. The five funds for teachers, State employees, University employees, judges, and legislators are challenged, to say the least. A March 3 report (PDF) from the state's auditor general puts total pension liabilities at nearly $139 billion as of June 30, 2010. The five retirement programs have approximately $63 billion in assets, the auditor general says. The funding issue has already meant big changes to how the state compensates its workforce: new employees are now excluded from the traditional pension option.

THE QUESTION floating now is whether Governor Pat Quinn and the legislature will seek cuts to current employees' benefits. House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), one of the most powerful actors in Springfield, raised eyebrows last month when he broached the idea of lower pensions for present state workers. "What we’re saying is that there’s a benefit plan up in place up until today, but starting tomorrow, there’s going to be a new benefit plan that’s not going to be as rich as the old," the speaker said. The state's supreme court, he said, ultimately will make that call.

SHOULD PENSION cuts pass the legislature and win Quinn's signature, Madiar's analysis serves as something of a preview of how public employees would likely defend their rights in the court system. Here's how Madiar describes what the pension clause means for state government and its current employees:

“THE PENSION Clause not only makes a public employee’s participation in a pension system an enforceable contractual relationship, but also constitutionally protects the pension benefit rights contained in the Pension Code when an employee joins a pension system, including employee contribution rates. The Clause also safeguards pension benefit enhancements that are later added during employment. Further, the Clause bars the General Assembly from adversely changing the benefit rights of current employees via unilateral action. And, the Clause ensures that pensions will be paid even if a pension system defaults or is on the verge of default.”

MADIAR’S REPORT also takes on a dissenting legal opinion from the law firm Sidley Austin from last spring that argues that the governor and legislature can reduce benefits for current employees. Madiar writes that the law firm's interpretation of the clause "ignores the Pension Clause’s plain language, defies common sense and logic, and adds limitations where none exist." He supports his analysis with long discussions of related case law.

“IN SUM,” Madiar writes, "welching is not a legal option available to the State."

THERE IS only way pension levels can be changed. And that's through "mutual assent via contract principles." Which is to say collective bargaining with the labor organizations that represent many state employees. Union members, however, will be loathe to see what are relatively modest benefits rolled back, especially when every one of them has paid into the pension systems with each paycheck over the course of their careers.

THE VAST majority of State pensioners -- nearly 82 percent, according to one of Progress Report’s previous calulations-- earn less than $50,000 annual in pension benefits.

JUDGES RECIEVE the best benefits, the numbers show, but keep in mind that only about one percent of all State pensioners get more than $100,000 annually.

WHILE EMPLOYEES contributed their share the five pension funds, State government repeatedly chose to take a pass. Pension liabilities "principally stem from the State’s decades-long failure to make its required contributions to the five pension systems," Madiar writes. He goes on thusly:

“THOSE CONTRIBUTIONS were not forthcoming because the State’s fiscal system failed to generate sufficient revenue to both maintain public services, such as education, healthcare, and public safety, as well as cover the State’s actuarially required contributions to the systems. As a result, the legislature and various governors chose for decades to use the pension system as a credit card to fund public services and stave off the need for tax increases or service cuts.”

SOME OF the most fascinating discussions in Madiar's report are historical ones. He notes, for example, that in 1970, the five State pension systems had an aggregate funding level of just 41.8 percent, so underfunded pension funds are unfortunately nothing new in Illinois.

AT THE time of the 1970 constitution convention, the underfunding issues and loose laws on the books lit a fire under public employees -- especially people who worked for Illinois' universities, the report says -- pushing them to advocate for including the pension clause in the constitution. They feared a capricious legislature and governor would simply strip their benefits away, with no recourse.

A SNAPSHOT from the convention finds members of the convention "inundated with communications" from public-sector workers worried about their retirements. "Public employees believed their pension benefits were imperiled due to underfunding and required constitutional protection," Madiar writes. "John Parkhurst, chairperson of the Local Government Committee, received similar correspondence from police and firemen concerned that granting municipalities 'home rule' authority would permit them to abandon their pension obligations to employees."

PUBLIC EMPLOYEES won a major victory in 1970 in securing the pension clause's place in the state constitution. There's no question that the state's pension system needs improvement, but Madiar lays out the case that it cannot be done by unilaterally, on the backs of state workers who have contributed so much to the system.

MADIAR REITERATES that point near the end of his legal brief, switching into something of a moral argument. "The Pension Clause will become a 'suicide pact' only if individual citizens are purely self-interested and admit no obligation to the common good," he writes. "By adopting the Clause, the drafters and voters weighed, measured, and found wanting the current claim that it is unfair to pay these pension obligations. Public employees have paid their required fair share of pension costs; it is incumbent on the State to meet its end of the bargain."

TO SEE Madiar’s report, see Is Welching On Public Pension Promises An Option For Illinois? An Analysis Of Article Xiii, Section 5 Of The Illinois Constitution.

Conversion to Civil Service Classifications is Underway

UICHR PUBLISHED on the Human Resources (HR) website new information on the job analysis process and compulsory Civil Service conversions currently underway.

THE JOB analysis (JA) process is a result of recent audits conducted by the State Universities Civil Service System that determined inappropriate exemption of positions from Civil Service. Through job analysis, we are able to determine the appropriate employment category for positions

SO FAR, close to 600 interviews (Chancellor’s and Provost’s Offices, Academic Computing and Communications Center, Honors College, Athletics, and contested exemptions from the audit) have been held with the interview process just concluding at the Medical Center. At the Medical Center, many of the jobs reviewed (approximately 70%) will be converted.

ACADEMIC PROFESSIONAL positions (approximately 3,200) in the Specialist, Assistant to, Coordinator, Director, Assistant Director, Associate Director, and Executive Director categories will be reviewed as part of the job analysis process.

THE PROCESS, as stated above, began in January of 2010 and is tentatively scheduled to conclude in January of 2012. The intent is to analyze jobs in the following sequence in the coming months:
  • Administrative units and disputed exemptions
  • Medical Center
  • East Side colleges
  • West Side colleges
  • University Administration positions

THE PRESENTATION details the overall process, but from the perspective of employees undergoing analysis the JA process has three major steps. First, the jobholder/AP will provide information on his or her current job—what he or she does via an online questionnaire followed by a face-to-face interview. The face-to-face interview will focus on how the person does the job. Supervisors will be present for the face-to-face interviews.

IF THE results of the interview process indicate that the position matches an already existing Civil Service classification, the employee will be transitioned via the “conversions” process. The conversions process is separate from job analysis and focuses on ensuring the employee is transitioned into the appropriate job titles.

CONVERSIONS FROM AP to CS will have no impact on employees’ assignments, responsibilities, tasks, or duties. It may or may not impact Fair Labor Standards Act status (salary exempt status versus hourly status), union representation, and vacation and sick leave. Conversions will eliminate notice rights and converted will enter a seniority-based system with “bumping” rights. Seniority is defined by (110 ILCS 70/36i) as follows:

Sec. 36.i. Seniority. After the completion of the probationary period, the employee's seniority shall date from the day of original employment. Employees seniority shall be by institution or campus at which he is employed, unless a lesser unit shall be determined by the Merit Board in an agreement with the employees involved. Whenever it is necessary to reduce the number of employees those with the least seniority shall first be laid off, and their names placed on a reemployment register which shall take precedence over any other register. Reemployment shall be made in the order required to preserve the seniority rights.

THE FULL presentation is available at:

APAC ALSO has received a number of questions related to the Civil Service conversions. In an effort to address some of those questions, we have compiled a series of Questions and Answers from the HR Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Given the importance of communications and in an effort to ensure that employees have as much information as possible, APAC is planning a fourth Town-Hall event to address the conversions specifically. The HR FAQ will be expanded to include questions that are raised in the Town-Hall meeting and will be made available at the UIC Human Resources website, FAQs.

Select questions and answers

This feels like an attack on Academic Professionals. Why can’t current Academic Professional jobs be grandfathered and the new ones get converted to Civil Service? Academic Professionals represent a critical employee group to the University overall and are necessary for the University to achieve its mission. However, the University must also ensure that it is compliant with all applicable Federal, State, and Municipal laws. Ensuring that the position management process at UIC is compliant, a thorough review of all AP jobs is being conducted. The outcome of this review, including conversion of some jobs to Civil Service, must be approached seriously and applied fairly and equitably across the Campus.

If the employee refuses to convert, what is the outcome for the employee? The position will be converted and the person will not be reappointed in the same AP job.

How many AP jobs must be converted to Civil Service classifications? There is no specific number or planned amount of conversions. Jobs currently classified as Academic Professional that substantially mirror jobs in the Civil Service Class Plan must be converted.

Will additional conversions take place? Yes. Based on experience to date with the job analysis process, the University is anticipating that more conversions will occur within the next several months and as the University progresses through the job analysis process. There are more than 1,000 classifications embedded with the Civil Service Class Plan. For more information, refer to the SUCSS website.

Will my pay rate be affected as a result of being converted from AP to Civil Service? Pay rate will not likely decrease as a result of a conversion to Civil Service classification.

Does this change impact the frequency with which I’m paid? Yes, Civil Service employees are paid on a bi-weekly basis. The University bi-weekly payroll schedule can be viewed on the OBFS website, Payroll Schedule.

Will benefits - pension, vacation, and sick time, health care - be impacted? Health insurance benefits for Civil Service and Academic Professional employees are the same. Retirement (pension) benefits for Civil Service and Academic Professional employees are the same. Paid time off (e.g. vacation and sick leave) benefits are provided for eligible Civil Service and Academic Professional employees. However, the accrual methodologies differ slightly.

What methodology will be used to conduct the job analysis? Each AP job will be reviewed against a common set of factors approved by UIC’s senior management. The factors are autonomy, expertise, thinking skills, planning and development, responsibility for resources (physical and financial), responsibility for staff, relationships with others, communications and interpersonal skills, working conditions, and physical environment.

EACH INCUMBENT will be interviewed about his/her job duties with his/her manager present (the manager will provide context and ensure fairness and consistency between job holders).

Study of State Retiree Benefits and Premiums Forthcoming, Raises Concerns

By Monica M. Walk

A CALL for proposals for an outside independent consultant to review the cost of healthcare coverage currently provided to State of Illinois retirees has raised some concerns for both retirees and current State employees.

THE CALL for proposals comes from the State of Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), and was initiated by Illinois State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg (D-9th, Evanston).

“THE FUNDAMENTAL idea is to start charging State annuitants—teachers, professors, judges—who received public pensions to impose premiums,” explained Merrill Gassman, PhD, Professor Emeritus of biological sciences, and President and Webmaster of the UIC Chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA). “It is still in the early stages, but it is a concern to SUAA.”

THAT CONCERN was articulated in a “Call to Action” alert issued by SUAA (, which noted two main issues:
1. The Request for Proposal (RFP) from outside independent consultants was not subject to the Illinois Procurement Code.
2. The RFP states: “The premium contribution should be means tested and based on the retiree’s overall annual household income.”
The action alert urged employees covered by the State health care plan to contact the CGFA commission members, including Schoenberg, about these issues.

AN ADDITIONAL e-mail document from SUAA noted concern that the contract could be awarded to an entity that is biased, if the RFP is allowed to bypass the procurement code.

AT A time when transparency in government has become a much-heralded theme, Gassman said, “The contract code should be abided by. We have a right to know.”

CGFA REVENUE Analyst Anthony Bolton responded to a query about adherence to the procurement code by sharing a link to the Illinois Procurement Code and the specific section (30 ILCS 500/1-30) applicable in this situation.

“BASICALLY, THE legislative branch is exempt from the procurement code and is instead directed to make rules to govern their needs that may incorporate parts of the Code,” Bolton said via e-mail, noting that the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules is the key office for explaining how procurement works for the legislature and organizations covered under it, such as CGFA. “CGFA is a part of the legislative branch under law,” Bolton said

THE ISSUE of household income being used to decide premium contributions is of personal concern for both current retirees and current employees, Gassman said.

“THE ISSUE has been raised if it is fair to take the entire household income into account in such a proposal or just the individual retiree; there is some controversy,” Gassman confirmed. He noted that employees pay insurance premiums based only on their own incomes and not on their spouses’ incomes. “So, if they take the entire household, that doesn’t seem fair for the retiree….Whose means are being tested? It doesn’t seem fair to test the whole household when it [the benefit] is just on the retiree. For employees, it is just their salary and their payment.”

CITING FROM a document from SUAA, Gassman explained that “household income” means the combined income of the members of the household, including the applicant, the spouse of the applicant, and all persons using the residence as their principal place of residence. The SUAA document noted that households including such members as a mentally challenged adult child, an ailing parent, teenagers with income, or a wealthy spouse have attached incomes that may include Social Security Disability, Social Security, another pension, and an inheritance.

THE REQUEST for proposal calls for a study of healthcare costs around the country and how they are covered for retirees and their dependents, CGFA’s Bolton said. The intent, he said, is to “find out what the options are and how other states handle it. Based on what is found around the country, they [the consultant] will be asked to mock up how that could look in Illinois…a general synopsis of the more popular programs around the country and how they would look in Illinois. It’s really just purely research to see what the options are in Illinois.”

ACCORDING TO Bolton, $473 million is spent annually on retirees in Illinois, with $12 million contributed by retirees. Another $150 million is currently spent each year for retirees’ dependents, with $40 million contributed by retirees.

BOLTON REPORTS a contract will be ready by May 2, 2011, or sooner. He does not have a timeline for announcements about the study.

GROSSMAN EXPLAINED how the situation affects current employees who anticipate a future as retirees and annuitants. “People take jobs for many reasons, including the benefits anticipated when they retire. You make financial decisions in life for family and self while employed based on these considerations.

“IT IS unfair for the state to turn around and make changes in the benefit structure that is not a two-party agreement,” Grossman continued, stating that the process has been done without direct consultation of the parties involved.

ERIC MADIAR, chief legal counsel in State Senator John Cullerton’s office, recently composed a defense of the Illinois Sate Constitution’s pension clause. He states that the clause “….makes a public employee’s participation in a pension system an enforceable contractual relationship, but also constitutionally protects the pension benefit rights contained in the Pension Code when an employee joins a pension system, including employee contribution rates.” (For detail, see Madiar’s full document Is Welching On Public Pension Promises An Option For Illinois?.)

Senator Schoenberg’s office did not respond to queries from APAC News prior to deadline.

APAC Profile

Margaret Moser.

Margaret Moser Looks to Increase AP Representation on Committees

By Ivone De Jesus

MARGARET MOSER is the Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research. Serving in that post since November of 2006 and at UIC for a total of six years, Moser thinks the best part of her job is that she has the opportunity to see “the impact that our institution, the work that all of do each day, benefits our city, state, nation and world. We have an exciting, successful, impactful research enterprise at UIC.”

BEFORE UIC, Moser worked for Coca-Cola Enterprises for seven years in sales and management.

WHILE THIS is her first term as an APAC member, her involvement comes from an interest in networking and learning more about UIC. “Now I understand how important APAC is to our community,” she said. For Moser, this is evident through the event series that APAC hosts such as town halls, where APs can get current and accurate information on important issues. She is proud to have AP representation on important University search committees and that representatives are elected by the AP base on campus.

COMMUNICATION TO the AP community also is a very important function of APAC, and Moser is enthusiastic about the Communications team, noting, “this newsletter is award-winning." She is very pleased with the work the APAC Chair, Michael Moss, has done of advocating for several years the need to survey APs. Moser also thinks the weekly blast to the PACADEMY listserv on UIC-related news articles is a great tool for APs across campus.

THERE ARE many things about APAC that inspire Moser, and she would like to see APAC push for the representation of Academic Professionals on important campus committees, such as the Administrative Review and Restructuring Committees and the Implementation committees. “I am convinced that AP representatives--not just representatives who happen to be APs, but an individual positioned to represent APs--will enrich the discussion, improve communication with campus, and aid in the ultimate implementation of the recommendations,” Moser said.

SHE AND her husband, Charlie, are parents of the “coolest three-year-old on the planet.” The trio love Lincoln Park Zoo and the Nature Museum. In her spare time, she likes to make puzzles with her son, read books, and cover her home in “brightly colored and obnoxious-sounding little vehicles from the Disney Cars Movie”. Come out to the next APAC event, the April 13 APAC meeting in room 1152 of the Molecular Biology Research Building (MBRB) at 12:30 p.m. to learn more about Margaret Moser.

Marietta Giovannelli, Long-Time Member, Leaves APAC

Marietta Giovannelli (Center) with APAC Colleagues.

By Lucia Gonzalez

MARIETTA GIOVANNELLI, a long-time member of the Academic Professional Advisory Committee (APAC), has decided to retire from the committee. She had been a member of APAC for over 12 years.

EARLIER IN her career with APAC, Giovannelli had served as a member of the Building Community Committee. Later, she co-chaired that committee with her colleague Cathy Foley-DiVittorio and eventually, Giovannelli became chair of that committee. Most recently, Giovannelli served as a member of the Building Community and Education Committee, as it is now called.

WHEN ASKED about APAC in her earlier days, she stated that the major problem she experienced was the lack of visibility for APAC in the past. Giovannelli explained, “When I joined APAC, I do not believe we had the visibility we now have. The present committee has worked hard to increase visibility.”

SHE ALSO was a driving force behind APAC earning University Senate representation. “During my early years while serving on APAC, having been a Graduate Student Senator, I thought it was important that APs have a voice on the Senate,” she said. “Together with Judy Cohen and Booker Suggs, I helped present our case to the Senate. The rest is history.” APAC was eventually awarded three Senate seats.

HER INVOLVEMENT with APAC has never been a burden, she noted. “I have never experienced problems with APAC. Recently, not being able to devote the time required to be an active and effective member has caused a problem,” noting that is why she decided to retire from APAC.

GIOVANNELLI SAID she hopes that APAC will be capable of gaining further outreach. “I would hope that the committee continues to work towards a recognition of APAC that reaches far and wide,” Giovannelli said.

GIOVANNELLI continues to serve UIC as Assistant to the Executive Director of the Council for Teacher Education and as Certification Officer for the University.


AN APAC Brown Bag on Civil Service conversions, featuring Executive Director for Human Resources Maureen Parks and Executive Director of the State Universities Civil Service System Tom Morelock, will be held soon. Information on time and location to be announced.

THE MONTHLY APAC meeting will be held Wednesday, April 13, in Room 1152 of the Molecular Biology Research Building, 900 S. Ashland Ave., West Campus, at 12:30 p.m.

ALL ARE invited. For more information, contact Yair Rodriguez at or call (312) 355-0322.

Learn How to Fight Bullying

By William S. Bike

“ENOUGH IS Enough: Taking a Stand Against Bullying" will be the subject when all interested APs join Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares, Dr. Stacey Horn, students, faculty, and other employees as they reconfirm UIC's tolerance for diversity and share information about how to respond to and prevent bullying.

THE EVENT will be held Wednesday, April 6, from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m., Room 302, Student Center East, during the University’s Wellness Center’s “Enough is Enough” week. Free pizza and t-shirts will be available. It is being coordinated by the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Issues.

“THE COMMITTEE is acting in a response to a string of suicides in the US last fall that were the result of bullying,” said R. Scott Boots, co-chair of the committee. “The purpose is to share information and promote affinity among different people and tolerance at the University.”

COMMITEE MEMBERS designed and created a t-shirt “that affirms UIC’s commitment to tolerance and diversity,” Boots said. About 800 shirts will be available the day of the event.

THE FRONT of the shirt says “Take a stand against….,” leading reader to the back which contains terms such as “intolerance,” “oppression,” “ethnocentrism,” and many more.

“WE’VE RECEIVED encouragement and financial support from the Chancellor and other Chancellor’s committees,” Boots said.

COMMMITTEE MEMBERS are hoping for a large turnout from Academic Professionals, faculty, students, and other employees. Volunteers are needed to greet attendees and hand out t-shirts. “Everyone is invited,” Boots said.

CHANCELLOR ALLEN-MEARES will make opening remarks, and then a panel of people who have suffered from bullying will speak. “One person was cyber-bullied; another was bullied as a youngster because she had braces on her legs,” Boots said.

MODERATING THE panel will be Dr. Horn, Associate Professor, Educational Psychology, who has a Federal grant to study bullying in school.

“EVEN THOUGH the LGBT Chancellor’s Committee is taking the lead with this, actually, that the number one reason for bullying is documented to be due to physical appearance,” Boots noted. “So anyone and everyone can be affected by bullying.”

STUDENTS FROM the College of Education also will participate. “They are our future teachers, and this event will help remind them about resources and ways to identify and respond to bullying, and that they have resources and can prevent bullying,” Boots said. “Illinois has an anti-bullying law of which teachers and the public should be aware.”

FOR MORE information, contact the Wellness Center at (312) 413-2120.

How Secure Are Our Pensions?

UIC UNITED, the UIC chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA) will host its spring membership meeting with Bukola Bello, Director, Illinois Retirement Security Initiative, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, speaking on “How Secure are Our Pensions” Thursday, April 14. Coffee and rolls 9:30 a.m., business meeting 10 a.m., Bello talk 11 a.m., buffet luncheon noon, Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted St., Illinois Room B. Cost of luncheon is $15. RSVP required. Contact Donna Knutson at (630) 579-6134, or Rose Kirk at (630) 852-7316.

Pension Panel

“THE ONGOING discussion in Illinois regarding pension plans for University and other public employees is of high import to every one of us,” said Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares. The Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) will present an informational panel discussion on pensions on the UIC campus on Tuesday, April 12, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Rooms D and E at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd. For more information, call (312) 996-6188.

Benefit Beat

Some LLEAP courses are available online. (Photo courtesy AADE)

Take a LLEAP to Advance Your Career

By William S. Bike

THE LIFELONG Learning and Education Access Program (LLEAP) is designed to provide permanent, non-faculty academic and open-range civil service support staff employed at UIC for at least one year with release time, flex time, and/or funds for development opportunities focused on enhancing a career at UIC.

EMPLOYEES can utilize the following benefits on an annual basis: Up to $200 and up to eight hours of release time for professional development activities; up to $200 for coursework not covered under a university tuition waiver; continuous flex time of four hours per week while enrolled in or actively pursuing an educational development activity; and release time of up to 16 hours per year for professional development activities.

ACCORDING TO Kim Morris Lee, Director of Organizational Effectiveness for UIC Human Resources (HR), LLEAP “is a policy that has been in place many years to encourage lifelong learning for our employees. Through completion of the appropriate form, employees may request an opportunity to participate in professional development programs. Employees can select training courses and programs that are provided by University of Illinois or an external professional organization to continue building competence in a specific professional area.”

THE BENEFIT for employees “is that they start developing skills and gaining additional knowledge to do their current job well at UIC; and it’s an opportunity to get skills for roles at the university that an individual might want in the future,” Morris Lee said. “If someone wants to develop a career at UIC, the goal would be to start thinking about, ‘What skills do I have currently that I need to enhance to get to the next level or the next position?’ or ‘What skills or knowledge do I need to acquire?’”

EVERY EMPLOYEE can benefit from LLEAP, said Morris Lee, “from those who just started to those who have been around for ten-to-15 years or more. This is a policy that allows employees the opportunity to develop as a professional and engage in the process of Lifelong Learning. There is always more to learn if you have interest in developing a career and becoming a workplace high performer.”

“LEADERSHIP ESSENTIALS” is an example of the type of program offered by Organizational Effectiveness for which LLEAP funds may be used, Morris Lee said.

“IT’S A two-day program for new supervisors and managers who are interested in learning more about some of the key responsibilities associated with their new role,” she noted.”

“DURING THE first day of the leadership essentials training there is significant conversation about communication and working with team members to accomplish goals.

The second day focuses on HR policies and procedures rather than day-to-day operations and skills needed to guide a team. On day two, experts from the Office of Access and Equity and across UIC HR present various topics such as Civil Service disciplinary procedures, performance review process, and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).”

AN AP interested in requesting LLEAP funds or time for professional development may view LLEAP information and download the form at Lifelong Learning and Education Access Program (LLEAP).

THE EMPLOYEE should give the completed LLEAP form to his/her manager for review and approval. According to Morris Lee, “After the employee receives the signed form from the manager, it is sent to Organizational Effectiveness. When the employee receives the signed form from Organizational Effectiveness, a copy is provided to the manager. At this point, the manager takes necessary steps to secure department funds (up to $200) and/or confirm release time for requested development opportunity.”

INSTRUCTOR-LED courses are during work hours. Those run by OE are offered on the West Side of campus. Other training courses and development opportunities are offered by various colleges and administrative units campus-wide. The MyCareer website provides information about many of these career development opportunities. Access the MyCareer website to view campus-wide offerings.

ONLINE COURSES may be completed during work hours, before or after work---24/7. These courses can be accessed via the MyCareer website. SkillSoft a provider of online training has partnered with OE to offer more than 100 online courses to UIC APs.

FOR MORE information about LLEAP or Career Development at UIC, contact Kim Morris Lee.


“MEN AND WOMEN who retire after decades spent in the workforce are entitled to the pensions they and their employers have contributed to throughout their careers.” --2004 Republican platform.


Illinois Budget

News Articles Archive

Office of the Chancellor

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

Pension Legislation

The Continuing Crisis

Editor’s Note: “The Continuing Crisis” is a section of APAC News which links to news pertinent to the State budget crisis as it affects the University and Academic Professionals.

In a February interview with Politico, Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) said that it's wrong for politicians to blame public workers for their states' budget deficits. The governor said politicians who "aren't any good with money" shouldn't “demagogue and blame the people that actually do the work.” See POLITICO interview: Gov.

EXPECT MORE patients at the Medical Center: A new study shows the potentially devastating effect that the budget proposed by the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, would have on the neediest in Illinois. See the March 1 Progress Report Illinois' Sick, Poor, And Children Get Hit In House GOP Budget.

BUSTED BUDGETS used as excuse for class war. See March 4 Gazette Busted budgets used as excuse for class war.

ILLINOIS’ LONG-TERM pension debt experienced a sharp increase last year. See Progress Report, March 4: State's Pension Debt Jumps.

U OF I Board of Trustees Chairman Christopher Kennedy delivered compelling remarks to a packed audience at the City Club of Chicago, a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose members include prominent business, civic and government leaders in the city. Kennedy highlighted the University’s unique role in Chicago and in the State as a proven, sustainable economic engine. Kennedy argued that perhaps "the only perpetual job creation activity a government can engage in is funding academic research institutions ... like the University of Illinois." To see Kennedy's address, go to Chris Kennedy - President, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. 03-01-11.

PRESIDENT MICHAEL Hogan made a strong case for University support when he appeared before the State Senate Appropriations Committee. A summary of his testimony appears on the President's website, Legislative Testimony Update.

ECONOMY BAD to both public- and private-sector workers, says March 15 Washington Post. See The economy has been bad to both public and private-sector workers.

ILLINOIS PENSION crisis eludes easy solutions, said the Wall Street Journal on March 16. See Illinois Pension Crisis Eludes Easy Solutions.

Vol. 4, No. 3, March 2011

ISSN 1946-1860

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

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