December 16, 2012

December 2012 APAC News Vol. 5, No. 11

New Pension Plan Being Considered by General Assembly

State Representatives Elaine Nekritz and Daniel Biss.
SEVERAL STATE lawmakers have proposed a new pension plan, introduced as House Bill 6258.

THE BILL introduced by State Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) and State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook), would:

Create a new 30-year pension payment plan, making the State pay its employer share with a new funding right that can be enforced through court action.
Allow cost-of-living pension increases only for the first $25,000 of an employee's pension.
Increase employees' retirement age from one to five years, depending on their current age.
Increase employees' pension contributions.
Place new hires in a cash balance plan that combines features of defined contribution (or 401(k)) plans and defined benefit plans.
Further limit legislators' pension increases.
Gradually shift teacher pension costs from the State to the school districts that determine salaries.
Further pay down pension debt with revenues freed ups when existing pension obligation notes are paid off.

BISS AND Nekritz are calling for action before the current Legislature's term ends on Wednesday, Jan. 9.

ANOTHER PLAN is Senate Bill 1673, proposed by House Speaker Michael Madigan. The plan offers two retirement options for employees who joined University before January 2011:

• A plan that includes State-sponsored retiree health care and lower annual cost of living increases than those now offered. The COLA would start at age 67 or five years after retirement, whichever occurs first; it would be the lesser of three percent or half the consumer price index, calculated on the original annuity.
• A plan that offers the same annual cost of living increases now available, 3 percent annual COLA on a compound interest basis, without participation in the state-sponsored retiree health care program.

THE PROPOSED legislation would not increase the pension contribution by employees or change the effective retirement age. However, it would essentially force employees to choose between health care benefits or the current COLA.


Decision on Civil Service-Academic Professional Designation Won't Please All

“It’s hard for me to imagine how we're going to please both sides,"
said Karen Hasara, a University of Illinois Trustee.

By Christine Des Garennes

News-Gazette, Nov. 15, 2012

URBANA — No decision has been made yet on whether State universities will continue to have the power to exempt certain employees from the Civil Service system, but a decision is likely to happen in the coming months.

EITHER WAY it's possible neither side will be satisfied with the outcome, whatever that outcome will be, according to one University trustee.

“IT’S HARD for me to imagine how we're going to please both sides," said Karen Hasara, a University of Illinois Trustee who sits on the merit board of the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS). "I'd like to see us retain our authority," she said. But the university needs "to look at our processes and see if we can do it better," Hasara said.

STATE UNIVERSITIES hire their own employees, but the Civil Service system, as outlined in State statutes, helps develop and administer human resources programs for when State universities hire employees other than Presidents and Vice Presidents, faculty, and students. Back in the 1990s, the Civil Service system started allowing universities to decide whether a position is classified as Civil Service or Academic Professional. That is, so long as the system could periodically audit those positions to ensure they were not being classified as Academic Professional when they should be Civil Service.

SEVERAL YEARS of audits — 2008, 2009, and 2010 — of positions on the UIC campus found a high number of employees being classified as AP instead of Civil Service. Unions and some legislators cried foul and several legislative hearings followed. In recent years, UIC has been slowly reclassifying hundreds of positions there to civil service.

AFTER TWO bills that proposed to take away exemption authority from the universities failed to get the needed approval in the General Assembly, Tom Morelock, the Executive Director of SUCSS, proposed a rule change that would essentially accomplish the same thing: Put the exemption authority back in the hands of the State agency.

THE PROPOSED amendment has been filed with the State's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. Because of State deadlines, the merit board will have to decide at its next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, if it wants to move forward with the amendment or not.

AT A Merit Board meeting in November, Hasara suggested a committee that would include employee groups, agency staff, and University Human Resources professionals meet in the coming months to discuss the issues and what is happening on the campuses for the audits to show so many employees are misclassified.

“I DO think we need to get to the bottom of this," before the board considers taking the exemption authority away from the universities, she said.

MAUREEN PARKS, the University’s Executive Director for Human Resources, said she was optimistic a compromise could be reached and she looked forward to meeting with other members of the group. She has said losing the exemption authority would severely hamper the University's ability to recruit employees and remain competitive.

“THE WAY to move forward," said University of Illinois Professor Roy Campbell, "is not removing the exemption authority." Campbell said he had confidence in the University's ability to improve the processes and address issues raised in the audit.

“HIRING DECISIONS should be done at the local level," he said.

A PUBLIC hearing will be held on Thursday, Jan. 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the State Universities Civil Service System, 1717 Philo Road, Suite 24, Urbana, IL 61802. No oral testimony should exceed 15 minutes; each person presenting oral testimony must provide to SUCCS a typewritten copy of the testimony at the time.

FOR QUESTIONS or information, contact Abby Daniels, Manager, Legal Services and Legal Counsel, State Universities Civil Service System, at the address above or at abbyd@sucss.illlinois.gov or (217) 278-3150, ext. 226.

We Are One Illinois Coalition Responds to Governor’s Call for Pension Reform

THE WE Are One Illinois coalition issued the following statement in response to Governor Pat Quinn's continued push to reform pensions earned by public employees and retirees:

“NO ONE doubts the need for pension reform. The question is whether it will be real reform that is fair to workers and upholds our State's constitution while fixing the real problem: The past failure of politicians to pay their share. That is not what Governor Quinn has proposed,” the coalition stated.

“POLITICIANS GOT our State into this fiscal hole by skipping payments, then using the money to pay for other vital services. Blaming workers or their unions won't fix the mess. And polls have shown that an overwhelming majority of Illinois voters rightly agree with us on these points.

“IT IS important to understand that nearly 80% of State pension participants--including all Illinois teachers, police, fire fighters, and City of Chicago, Cook County and State university employees--do not receive Social Security. For these, their modest pension is their primary and often sole source of support in retirement,” the coalition noted.

“THE FORCED-CHOICE plan pushed by the Governor and legislative leaders is a coercive diminishment of these modest benefits. Thus it is not a real solution to the pension problem, as the Governor himself acknowledged in 2010 when he said such cuts would violate the Constitution. Like the proposed Constitutional Amendment that Illinois voters recently rejected, this is a phony plan posing as reform. It will lead to costly litigation while the pension debt grows," the Coalition concluded.

WE ARE One Illinois is a labor coalition working on behalf of over 1 million statewide members to protect public employee pensions. For information, go to

APAC Meetings Scheduled; New Members Named

ALL APs are invited to the monthly APAC meeting at 12:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month. Meetings are held either in Room 5175 of the College of Medicine Research Building, 909 S. Wolcott, or Room 2750 of University Hall on the East Campus. Next meeting is Jan. 9 in Room 2750 UH. For information, call (312) 996-0306.

TWO NEW members have joined APAC. Uma Sriram is an Accounting Consultant in the Office of Business and Financial Services, University Accounting and Financial Reporting. 

Mary Berta is Assistant to the Head, Department of Occupational Therapy, Applied Health Sciences. Berta will serve as Secretary of APAC.

MEET THE CHANCELLOR’S COMMITTEES

“All the work we do on campus is meant to improve the conditions and empower the employees, faculty, and students on our campus,” Stephanie J. Whitaker, Co-Chair of the CCSB, explained.
CCSB Works Towards Empowering Employees

By Lucia Gonzalez

THE CHANCELLOR’S Committee on the Status of Blacks (CCSB) serves as an advisory body to Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares and the UIC Office of Access and Equity on finding resolutions to situations that create campus climate disparity. These issues can be social, academic, or professional. For example, the CCSB will concern itself with campus governance, employment practices, policy processes, public relations, student affairs, and anything else that affects the well-being of Blacks on the UIC campus.

THE CCSB consists of 14 officially appointed members, who are nominated by the CCSB campus community at large, and approved by the Chancellor, as well as an extended group of members who attend the meetings regularly and work within the sub-committees. General business meetings are held monthly and the sub-committees that represent students, faculty, or staff also host a regular meeting schedule.

ADDITIONALLY, THE CCSB has a Strategic Planning Committee that works with each of the constituency groups on planning activities, workshops, and providing information to the campus at large. The meetings, workshops, and events are meant to stimulate discussion, provide information, and allow involvement opportunities.

A VERY successful recent workshop CCSB hosted here on campus was a panel discussion and Q&A session on the Civil Service Job Analyses and Conversions that are currently happening on campus. This workshop was open to all and the audience represented a very diverse population of University staff.  The panel included UIC Human Resources, the Executive Director of the State Universities Civil Service System, the Chair of the Academic Professional Advisory Committee, and the President of the UIC Staff Advisory Council.

THE CCSB is making plans to host an on-campus workshop or Brown Bag information sessions in Spring 2013 on career development and job planning for staff-- both Civil Service and Academic Professionals.

“ALL THE work we do on campus is meant to improve the conditions and empower the employees, faculty, and students on our campus,” Stephanie J. Whitaker, Co-Chair of the CCSB, explained. “One of the many issues that CCSB discusses concerns career development and compensation equity.” Whitaker has been an Academic Professional at the University since 1993.

TO FURTHER its goal to get its message to the campus, CCSB this year is inviting the College Deans to the monthly meetings. Whitaker stated, “We have made it a priority to put a face on our Colleges. What we have discovered is that the meetings that include Deans increase our attendance. More staff and faculty from the colleges attend our meetings when the Dean is present. This also happens when we have meetings with the Chancellor. Our annual meeting with the Chancellor will take place, Tuesday, March 12, 2013, for those that want to attend.”

TO CONTACT the CCSB, send email to CCSB@uic.edu or go to their website at http://www.uic.edu/depts/ccsb/, which is in the process of being upgraded. The new website will go live in January 2013 thanks to the efforts of Portia White and Jason Richards.

BENEFIT BEAT

Discount Long-Term Care Insurance

THE STATE University Annuitants Association (SUAA) is offering a discounted Long Term Care Insurance Program provided by LTC Global Inc., which represents various top insurance carriers. Its goal is to find the best program available for each individual at the lowest price.

CONSIDERING THE high cost for Long Term Care, this program is designed to help protect you, your family, and your retirement security. Protection is available should you need care at home or in assisted living or nursing home facilities.

THIS DISCOUNTED program now is being made available to all SUAA members under the age of 80. 

TO REQUEST information on this program click TO REQUEST information on this program click here or call 1 (888) 305-4582. The program offers special discounts not available to the general public.

AP RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT


Drug and Alcohol Policy

THE UNIVERSITY of Illinois at Chicago seeks to maintain a campus environment that is free of the illegal use of alcohol and other drugs (AOD). TO MEET this goal, the University promotes and practices the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 through its Alcohol and Other Drugs policy (see http://www.uic.edu/depts/wellctr/docs/AOD%20Policy.pdf).

THOSE WHO violate Federal, State, or local laws concerning drugs or alcohol are subject to criminal prosecution; those who violate University policies may also be subject to institutional sanctions or dismissal.

THE UNLAWFUL or unauthorized possession, use, distribution, dispensation, sale, or manufacture of controlled substances or alcohol is prohibited on University property or as part of any University activity. Those who violate this policy may be disciplined in accordance with University policies, statutes, rules, and regulations up to and including dismissal and referral for prosecution.

UNDER EXISTING policies and in compliance with Federal and State laws, employees are subject to disciplinary action, including discharge, for unauthorized consumption of intoxicating liquors on institutional time or property; inability to satisfactorily perform their assigned duties as a result of drinking alcoholic beverages; illegal use of drugs, narcotics, or intoxicants; unauthorized sale or distribution of drugs, narcotics, or intoxicants; or otherwise unfit to perform job duties due to use of alcohol or illegal drugs. If you have a problem with controlled substances or alcohol, please seek professional advice and treatment. You may seek help for a problem or obtain a list of counseling, rehabilitation, and assistance programs confidentially by calling the campus Employee Assistance Service staff at (312) 996-3588. In some cases, your supervisor may direct you to request this information.

IF CONVICTED of a drug or alcohol offense that took place at work, you must notify your supervisor within five days. If you are an employee working on a Federal contract or grant and you are convicted of a drug or alcohol offense occurring in the workplace, the University will notify the granting or contracting Federal agency within ten days of receiving notice of your conviction. Employees convicted of a drug or alcohol offence involving the workplace may be disciplined or discharged under existing laws, policies, and rules, or may be required to complete a drug rehabilitation program in order to continue employment at the University.

THE UNIVERSITY provides educational programs and counseling to those who are substance users or who are affected by the substance abuse of others. For confidential help with these problems, contact the Counseling Center at (312) 996-3490.

WEBSITES TO KNOW

STATE UNIVERSITIES Civil Service System: http://www.sucss.illinois.gov/default.aspx?osm=c1.

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 and other financial matters as they affect the University and Academic Professionals. These news outlets are not affiliated with or endorsed by APAC. 

SURS ANALYSIS of the recent proposal to reform the pension system, Dec. 10, 2012. See http://uicretirement.blogspot.com/2012/12/surs-analysis-of-recent-proposal-to.html.

PENSION SYSTEM suffers ‘systematic underfunding,’ lobbyists say. See UIC News, Dec. 12, 2012, http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/uicnews/articledetail.cgi?id=16925.

Vol. 5, No. 11 December 2012

ISSN 1946-1860
Editor: William S. Bike
Staff: Ivone De Jesus, Lucia Gonzalez, Monica M. Walk
Vice Chair: Ahlam Al-Kodmany
Chair: Michael Moss
Secretary: Mary Berta
Treasurer: Virginia Buglio
Web Chair: Jeff Alcantar

November 18, 2012

November 2012 APAC News Vol. 5, No. 10


Pension Amendment Defeated

VOTERS REJECTED Constitutional Amendment #49 on the Nov. 6, ballot, which could have eliminated the State of Illinois’ Constitutional protection of the pension benefits of University and other public employees.

ALTHOUGH ABOUT 56% of Illinois voters who weighed in on the measure on their ballots cast a “yes” vote for the amendment, the law required either a yes vote from 3/5 (60%) of the people voting on it, or 50% plus one of the total number of votes cast in the election. The amendment received neither.

IF PASSED, the amendment would have required a 3/5 majority of a legislative body to increase benefits, but only a simple majority to reduce benefits that currently are protected from reduction by the State Constitution.

“ARTICLE XXX, Section 5 of our State Constitution (adopted in 1970) had as its purpose the safeguarding of the pensions of public employees,” said Ann Lousin, a faculty member at the John Marshall Law School and outspoken opponent of the amendment. She added that the change that was “proposed by this Amendment appears to be an attempt to circumvent or abolish those protections. For example, it is possible that a cost-of-living adjustment could be eliminated if this Amendment” passed.

SHE NOTED the amendment would have done “nothing for the State's pension-funding problem,” and, if approved, would have been “a catastrophe for Illinois.”

“THE OVERT and covert danger of this proposal may be over but we should expect more attacks on our pension benefits when the Illinois General Assembly reconvenes for the veto session in late November and early December, as well as in the opening days of the next regular legislative session in January,” said Merrill L. Gassman, President of UIC United, the UIC chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association. “The legislature will be filled with a significant percentage of ‘lame ducks’ who have nothing to gain or lose by supporting ‘pension reform.’”

Six CAPE Awards Presented at Employee Recognition Awards Program and Ceremony

David Taeyaerts, Director, Campus Learning Environments, was congratulated
by Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares for receiving a CAPE Award.
THE ACADEMIC Professional Advisory Committee, through its Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Awards Subcommittee, is directly charged by Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares with the task of coordinating the nomination process. The CAPE Subcommittee reviews all nominations submitted, and provides the Chancellor with recommendations to help inform her choice of recipients. However, each CAPE winner is personally selected by the Chancellor herself.

THIS YEAR, the Chancellor decided to award six CAPEs, instead of the customary four. The awards were presented at the Employee Recognition Awards Program and Ceremony on Nov. 1. William S. Bike, CAPE Awards Subcommittee Chair, read the citations.

RECIPIENTS WERE Monica L. Carney, Director of Human Resources, Office of the Dean, College of Pharmacy; Jackie L. Finch, Interim Associate Dean for Finance and Administration, Office of the Dean, School of Public Health; Mark R. Martell, Assistant Director, Office of Career Services; Sharon Ann Sanders, Assistant to the Head, Department of Public Administration; David Taeyaerts, Director, Campus Learning Environments; and Susan Teggatz, Director, Campus Housing.

ESTABLISHED in 1988, the CAPE Award recognizes the demonstrated excellence of Academic Professional staff, encourages their professional development, and indicates the institution’s high regard for the contributions of this key segment of the academic community.

Two From APAC Earn Awards of Merit

Provost Lon Kaufman (left) and Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares (right) congratulate
former APAC Member Catherine Foley-DiVittorio on her Award of Merit.
CURRENT APAC member Jacqueline M. Berger (below, center), and former longtime member Catherine Foley-DiVittorio (above, center), both earned Awards of Merit at the Employee Recognition Awards Program and Ceremony Nov. 1.
Current APAC member Jacqueline Berger (center) also earned an Award of Merit. She was congratulated by Vice Chancellor for Research Mitra Dutta (left) and Chancellor Allen-Meares.
BERGER IS Director of Communications, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Foley-DiVittorio is Director of Human Resources for the College of Education.

THE AWARD of Merit recognizes outstanding Academic Professionals and support staff employees for sustained excellence in performance and commitment to their jobs.

President to Speak to Senate; All Invited

President Robert Easter.
PRESIDENT ROBERT Easter will address the University Senate on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 3:15 p.m. The Senate will meet in the Student Services Building, 1200 W. Harrison St. Senate meetings are open to the public, so all UIC employees and students are invited.

APAC Meetings Scheduled; All Invited

ALL APs are invited to the monthly APAC meeting at 12:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month. Meetings are held either in Room 5175 of the College of Medicine Research Building, 909 S. Wolcott, or Room 2750 of University Hall on the East Campus.

NEXT MEETING is Dec. 12 in Room 5175 CMRB. For information, call (312) 996-0306.

APAC PROFILE

Jennifer Anderson.
Jennifer Anderson First Graduate Assistant for APAC

By Lucia Gonzalez

JENNIFER ANDERSON is the first Graduate Assistant that APAC has ever hired. Her new position will allow her to help organize the monthly APAC meetings, as well as the APAC subcommittee meetings. She is also available to the APAC board members for special projects, website updates, and anything that can relieve them from some of the administrative duties resulting from their volunteer positions.

ANDERSON IS fascinated by the work that APAC does. “I am learning so much about the public higher ed system and I feel this education will be vastly useful for me in my future endeavors,” she explained. For example, Anderson is learning about the intricacies of State and University policy; every day, they become less foreign to her.

HER GOAL is to organize the new Graduate Assistant post to the point that APAC can run as efficiently as possible. She wants to establish an easy-to-follow protocol for the monthly tasks so that APAC board members can transition smoothly to utilizing her assistance.

“SINCE THIS is a new role,” Anderson said, “I hope APAC members will feel comfortable reaching out to me if they need help with something they are working on. I am at your service ten hours a week, so please, utilize me as needed.”

OUTSIDE OF her work APAC work, Anderson is in her first year of the Master’s of Public Health degree program, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. She currently also works as a lactation consultant. Prior to that, she worked in non-profit administration.

ANDERSON’S WISH is to leverage her MPH degree and return to non-profit administration with a focus on maternal and infant nutrition. She currently is working with a team to establish a donor human milk bank in the Chicagoland area to serve local neonatal care units.

“I RUN the local chapter of my International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners professional association,” Anderson noted. “It is really quite comforting to see that many of our concerns overlap with those of APAC members, despite it being a very different industry.”

ANDERSON DOES not have a lot of spare time because she has two young children, work, and school. However, she particularly enjoys running and cooking. She has a passion for many food-related activities, such as gardening, trying new types of foods, herbs, spices, and learning more about cooking.

CONTACT ANDERSON at jander72@uic.edu.

MEET THE CHANCELLOR’S COMMITTEES

CCSPD Gives More Accessibility to People with Disabilities

By Lucia Gonzalez

THE MEMBERS of the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (CCSPD)realize that there is a diverse community at UIC that includes individuals withboth visible and non-visible disabilities. Their mission is to include and empower these individuals at the University. Their work is fueled by the belief that people with disabilities are assets to the University and in no way are liabilities.

STAFF AND faculty at UIC are encouraged to become members of the CCSPD. Co-chair Lisa Cushing said, “We try to stay abreast of issues that directly or indirectly relate to us and advise the Chancellor to the best of our ability.”

THE CCSPDis constantly attempting to be a visible and welcoming presence on campus. Employees of the University are invited to attend any of the events and functions that are held or co-sponsored by the CCSPD.

FOR EXAMPLE, in April 2012 the CCSPD co-sponsored the Digital Accessibility Expo, which focused on improving the access to digital materials for everyone, including those with disabilities. During this expo, the UIC campus showcased current resources that it has available to promote accessible information technology and assistive technology.

TO LEARN more about CCSPD or its events, e-mail ccspd@uic.edu, or Cushing at lcushing@uic.edu or Mark Goedert at mgoedert@uic.edu. For more information,visit the CCSPD website at www.uic.edu/orgs/ccspd/index.htm.

AP RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT

UIC Offers Red Car Service, Off-Hour Paratransit Service

THE UIC Red Car/Off-Hour Paratransit Service is an escort service that provides transportation to University employees, students, visitors, and other authorized individuals between University facilities and from University facilities to points of public transportation, or to private residences within a designated area.

THE VEHICLE used for this purpose is popularly known as the "Red Car" and operates within the following general boundaries:
  • Halsted Street on the east
  • Western Avenue on the west
  • Eisenhower Expressway on the north
  • Roosevelt Road on the south
SERVICES ALSO are extended to include the Chemical Engineering Building and the Access Living location at 614 W. Roosevelt Road.

TO REQUEST service call (312) 996-6800.
  • Red Car Service hours of operation:  11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Red Car Service operates seven days per week, including holidays.
  • In order to provide prompt and efficient service a one-hour lead-time is requested (but not mandatory) for customers requiring Paratransit Service.
  • Proof of residency may be requested when providing service to private residence.
  • UIC identification (i-Card) must be presented to driver when boarding.
GENERAL INQUIRIES may be submitted via e-mail to Rides@uic.edu.
.

BENEFIT BEAT

College Illinois Returns

THE ILLINOIS Student Assistance Commission (ISAC)  has reopened the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition plan, a way for families to avoid tuition inflation and increasing student loan debt by prepaying for college. College Illinois! will offer Illinois families contracts at 2011 rates until Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. This extension is a result of Governor Patrick Quinn‘s action on House Bill 3923, which requires transparency in ISAC investment decision-making. For more information about ISAC’s College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program, visit www.529prepaidtuition.org or call (877) 877-3724.

WEBSITES TO KNOW

THE UIC Staff Advisory Council, which represents Civil Service employees, has a new website at http://www.uic.edu/orgs/sac/.

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 and other financial matters as they affect the University and Academic Professionals. These news outlets are not affiliated with or endorsed by APAC.

GOVERNOR QUINN wants pension deal during lame-duck session. See Progress Report, Nov. 12: http://tinyurl.com/coowu3g.

Vol. 5, No. 10, November 2012

ISSN 1946-1860
Editor: William S. Bike
Staff: Ivone De Jesus, Lucia Gonzalez, Monica M. Walk
Vice Chair: Ahlam Al-Kodmany
Chair: Michael Moss
Secretary: Kathleen Engstrom
Treasurer: Virginia Buglio
Web Chair: Jeff Alcantar

October 15, 2012

October 2012 APAC News Vol. 5, No. 9

Proposal to Strip University of Position Exemption Authority Moves Forward

Is her job AP or Civil Service? Right now, the University decides, but SUCCS is trying to get
the State to change the rules. (Photo courtesy American Association of Dental Editors.)
A PROPOSAL that would strip the University of its position exemption authority—its ability to create Academic Professional positions exempt from being Civil Service without outside approval—is winding its way through the State administrative rules process.

LAST YEAR, the proposal was in a bill passed by the Illinois State Senate, but it was tabled in the House and did not take effect. The State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS) then took the proposal, which would move position exemption authority from the University to SUCSS, to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), a committee featuring Senate and House members that reviews administrative rules of State agencies.
HERE ARE several serious negative implications should this rule go into effect:
  • If the University loses its exemption authority, it would cause significant delays in hiring processes. Any new AP position would have to be approved by SUCSS.
  • UIC has a network of Human Resources (HR) professionals who are able to efficiently and accurately process these transactions. If the change is implemented, the process would be managed by an external agency that is disconnected from the University’s day-to-day HR operations and UIC’s campus-specific HR needs.
  • SUCSS has only about 13 staff. If this change is implemented, the work currently supported by dedicated UIC HR staff will have to be absorbed by these 13 SUCSS staff members who already have full-time job responsibilities. SUCSS does not have the capacity to absorb the HR transactions from the entire UIC campus, much less all 13 State Universities that they support.
IN THE Oct. 6 issue of the News-Gazette of Champaign-Urbana, Maureen Parks, Executive Director and Associate Vice President of Human Resources for the University, was quoted as saying losing the exemption authority would be “very, very negative in terms of our ability to quickly hire the employees we need to fill critical positions.”

THE PROPOSED rule was published in the Illinois Register, the rulebook for Illinois governmental agencies, on March 9, and the public was given 45 days to comment. A second comment period will be held at an unspecified time in the future. SUCSS is considering revising the language in the proposed rule change to include more specific guidelines on the review process.

TO CONTACT JCAR, e-mail jcar@ilga.gov or call (217) 785-2254.

New Education Modules Aim to Reduce Myths about Civil Service

By Monica M. Walk
          
AS ACADEMIC Professional positions are reviewed and some reclassified as Civil Service, new education modules will help employees better understand the purpose of the Civil Service system on the UIC campus.

“CIVIL SERVICE is a type of objective personnel management system. It is designed to ensure fairness and equity,” said Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Robert Crouch. Civil Service provides that the employment process is fair so that individuals have an equal opportunity to compete for job openings.” Employees in the Civil Service classification run the gamut from entry level to the most professional, from clerical to managerial.

“THE MAJORITY of my career has been in a Civil Service environment, where people were very professional and conscientious,” Crouch said. “My experience within a Civil Service environment has been great. Everyone worked side-by-side and you couldn’t tell the difference between Academic Professional and Civil Service: work standards and benefits were the same. To me, Civil Service has always been an honorable employment classification.”

THE CAMPUS has established a meaningful partnership with the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS), to create awareness about what Civil Service means as a personnel management system at UIC. “As part of a continuous learning process, it is critically important to increase awareness of what Civil Service is,” Crouch said.

A SERIES of educational modules are being developed to help inform the campus about the structure and guidelines within the Civil Service system. More than 50 employees in the UIC HR unit were the first to experience a customer service module recently presented jointly by UIC HR and SUCSS. A future module is targeted at college and departmental level HR. Another module under development is geared toward senior level managers.

“IN ACADEMIA we understand the importance of education,” Crouch said. “We want to eliminate misunderstandings about Civil Service. We are working collaboratively with the SUCSS office to provide opportunities to better understand Civil Service on the UIC campus. The strong partnership we have developed with SUCSS will help us to more effectively acquire the best talent.”

Flexible System
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the State Universities Civil Service System Tom Morelock has been working directly with UIC HR staff, and is scheduled to present in the upcoming training modules.

“FIRST AND foremost, it is important to understand that every large organization needs a personnel management system,” Morelock said. “In these modules, we want to demonstrate how delivery of this comprehensive personnel plan incorporates state-of-the-art management of personnel and human capital. Our end goal is to demonstrate there is a lot of flexibility in this system.”

MORELOCK STATED that while the law is built on regulations and statutes, these do not govern every step in the Civil Service hiring process. “Only one or two rules and regulations are involved, and the rest of the process revolves around local policies and procedures,” he said. “You can get through [the hiring process] more quickly if you manage these other steps. It simply takes too long to hire someone now, but the vast majority of that timeframe is from local policies and not statewide regulations. They can be changed or upgraded.  These modules are intended to give a common foundation about the system and local policy.”

HE NOTED that the veterinary school is changing its job classification structure to assist the delivery of their customer service module.  “The system allows for relatively quick changes like this,” Morelock said.  “It is reactive to operational needs.”

CURRENTLY, MISPERCEPTIONS about Civil Service hiring do exist, acknowledged Director of Organizational Effectiveness for UIC HR Kim Morris-Lee.  “Hiring managers have a sense that hiring Civil Service takes forever,” she said.  “And, if they don’t work out, it takes forever to remove them.”

THREE MORE planned education modules will show how this isn’t the case.

“THERE ARE lots of positives of Civil Service,” Morris-Lee said.

Additional Modules Slated
THE MODULE planned for November roll-out is aimed at campus employees who function as conduits between a unit or college and the university Human Resources office, such as the human resources coordinator in an administrative unit or college who processes hiring forms and related tasks.

“THIS MODULE explains the kinds of things they need to know to get talent in their unit or college, what actions they need to take,” Morris-Lee said. “Things that allow them to be flexible, but guided by certain policies and procedures to move the process forward. We want our customers to understand that the actions for the requisition process work well and get talent in place quickly.”

A THIRD module created for Vice Presidents, Deans, and Directors is slated for late January 2013 and will explain how Civil Service gets needed talent efficiently and without service gaps.

A FOURTH module, planned for March 2013, will be for individuals functioning in Civil Service roles on campus. Content will include how to move a career forward at UIC.  It will be scheduled on a monthly basis.

FOR MORE information, call (312) 355-5230.

Learn About Constitutional Amendment That Could Strip Away Pension Protection

APAC AND UIC UNITED, the UIC chapter of SUAA, invites you to a SURS/Pension town hall event, “Understanding the Constitutional Amendment on the November 6th Ballot,” Monday, Oct. 22, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the College of Medicine West Tower Auditorium, 2nd Floor, Room 221, 1853 W. Polk St.

IF PASSED, Constitutional Amendment #49 would require three-fifths votes in the House and Senate to enhance retirement benefits for public employees—but only a simple majority to reduce benefits. Coming in at over 700 words, the amendment is longer than the entire first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (the Bill of Rights). Please join our presenters, who will help you untangle the complicated language and share their perspectives on the potential implications if passed. You will have an opportunity to submit questions during your registration, which will be addressed at the close of the presentation.

PRESENTERS ARE John Kindt, Professor Emeritus of Business and Legal Policy, UIUC, and Dick Lockhart, Lobbyist for the State University Annuitants Association (SUAA).

ACCORDING TO Kindt, “The Constitutional Amendment question on the November ballot, if passed, would probably eliminate the current Illinois Constitutional clause protecting benefits from being diminished or impaired.”

LOCKHART ADDED, “Constitutional Amendment #49 creates very special problems for State Universities, and for those who are committed to their improvement. As we know, a Constitutional Amendment would last beyond our lifetime.”

REGISTRATION IS required. You can register at:

Employee Recognition Awards Program Set

Onintze Zenarutzabeitia Pikatza (left), of Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services, pictured with chancellor Paula Allen-Meares, Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services, was a previous UIC Award of Merit recipient recognized for sustained excellence
in performance and commitment to her job.
THIS YEAR’S Employee Recognition Awards Program will be held on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the UIC Forum at Roosevelt and Halsted Streets. This campus-wide event honors the 2012 recipients of the Award of Merit, CAPE Award, Wow, INSPIRE, and Luminary Awards; the individuals who have achieved 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45 years of service; and other campus award winners. Everyone is welcome to attend as the University congratulates and honors the awardees for their outstanding achievements.

CEREMONY BEGINS at 11 a.m., with formal reception immediately following. For questions, contact Rebecca Fortier at rfortier@uic.edu