February 20, 2012

February 2012 APAC News Vol. 5, No. 2

Professors Propose Re-Working of SURS; Plan Includes Increased Contributions from All Eligible Employees and New Contributions from Universities

The new IGPA pension proposal is an improvement over Senate Bill 512.

PROFESSORS from the University have proposed a new hybrid retirement system for employees of public colleges and universities that would be partially funded by additional contributions from workers and the universities that employ them. The plan, presented in a paper distributed Feb. 9, concentrates on the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) and is designed to reduce the State government’s payments into the system by billions of dollars over time.

“PENSIONS REPRESENT an important component of the overall compensation package for University employees, and are key for us recruiting top-notch individuals,” said Robert F. Rich, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, who developed the proposal with Jeffrey R. Brown, an IGPA professor and the William G. Karnes Professor of Finance at the U of I’s Urbana-Champaign campus. The plan is intended to stimulate discussion among policymakers and legislators and is not intended to reflect the position of the University of Illinois, the authors said. Although the authors consulted with a large number of experts, they stress that the opinions expressed in the plan are their own.

THE FULL proposal can be found online at http://igpa.uillinois.edu/pensions/SURS-paper. It contains several components that reflect some of the ideas that have been publicly discussed by State leaders in recent weeks.

THE PROPOSAL has four basic components: 1.) Create a new hybrid retirement system for new employees that would combine a scaled-down version of the existing SURS defined benefit plan with a new defined contribution plan that would include contributions from both employee and employer; 2.) Peg the SURS “effective rate of interest” to market rates; 3.) Redistribute the SURS funding burden to include a modest increase in employee contributions and new direct contributions from universities, thereby reducing the burden on State government; and 4.) Align pension vesting rules with the private sector, which would decrease the number of years that new employees hired after January 1, 2011 would need to work for their pension benefit to be vested.

THE PROPOSED reforms assume that all accrued benefits of current employees would remain unchanged up to the point reforms are implemented and that changing from an existing plan to the new hybrid plan would be voluntary for current employees.

“THIS PROPOSAL is designed to reduce costs by approximately as much as Senate Bill 512 (currently before the legislature), but in a manner that does a much better job of providing secure retirement benefits to employees,” Brown said.

THE PROPOSED reforms to SURS reduce costs to State government, provide a better approach to sharing the funding burden, and provide a balanced and attractive approach to retirement security for employees, Brown and Rich said.

THE INSTITUTE of Government and Public Affairs is a public policy research organization based in all three University of Illinois campus cities. IGPA's mission is to improve public policy and government performance by producing and distributing cutting-edge research and analysis, engaging the public in dialogue and education, and providing practical assistance in decision making to government and policymakers. Learn more at www.igpa.uillinois.edu and follow @IllinoisIGPA on Twitter.

Governor Reiterates Desire for Pension Reform

Governor Patrick Quinn called for pension reform in his State of the State address.

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR Patrick Quinn delivered his State of the State Address early in February. The full text of his speech is available here: http://wuisnews.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/text-of-governor-quinns-state-of-the-state-speech/.

IT INCLUDES the following comments on pension reform:

“SUFFICE IT to say, we must have Medicaid reform and public pension reform in the coming year. We took the first step on pension reform in 2010 when we enacted landmark changes that will save taxpayers billions of dollars. But there’s much more to do. Fixing the pension problem will not be easy, but we have no choice. We must do it together in a way that is meaningful, constitutional, and fair to the employees who have faithfully contributed to the system. That’s why I’ve assembled a pension working group to propose a solution that can be enacted this year.”

APAC to Host ‘Workforce Planning’ Town Hall Event

Although happy occasions for retirees, staff retirements can seriously effect departmental operations.

ARE THERE potential staffing changes in your College or Department? How will you minimize the impact? What institutional knowledge do you want to keep and how will you keep it? How will you seamlessly fill vacated positions with capable new hires?

IF YOU are looking for answers to any of these questions, you should attend the “Workforce Planning” town hall meeting on Friday, March 2. This event will provide attendees with an overview of relevant concerns and considerations, a review of campus resources, recommendations for successfully managing staffing changes, real-life campus examples, and a summary of best practices. This town hall meeting is focused on tools and techniques for managers to address changes in their workforce. It is not designed to address benefits, pending legislation, pension reform, SURS changes or retirement planning. Please see the event details, below.

PRESENTERS ARE Gloria Keeley, assistant vice president, Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS) administrative services (UA); Jami Painter, Assistant Vice President, UA employee relations and human resources (UA); Kim Morris Lee, director of organizational effectiveness (UIC); and Wayne Stahl, director of organizational effectiveness (UA).

THE AGENDA includes:

*Knowledge Retention – What’s coming? Why? What’s the impact? What are some solutions we can implement now?

*Talent Management – What is talent management, and how to leverage talent and retain knowledge capital in the current environment.

*Talent Management Tools – An introduction to what is available.

*Succession Planning – Practical examples

*Maximizing the New Hire’s Experience – Effective on-boarding, orientation, and the role of the manager.

THE EVENT will be held Friday, March 2, 9 to 11 a.m. in the Illinois Room, Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted St., and is hosted by the Academic Professional Advisory Committee (APAC). Register at https://illinois.edu/fb/sec/1041738.

APAC’s Jacqueline Berger Runs for SURS Board of Trustees

Jacqueline Berger, the only UIC candidate for SURS Trustee.

THE STATE Universities Retirement System (SURS) will hold an election to fill the expiring terms of two trustee positions.

THREE CANDIDATES qualify for the “Contributing Member Trustee” slot: Jacqueline Berger of UIC, an APAC Member and Academic Professional Senator in the University Senate; Andrew Matthews, Illinois State University; and Dorinda Miller, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

THERE IS one “Annuitant Trustee” candidate: John Engstrom, Northern Illinois University.

ELECTION BALLOTS will be mailed to all contributing members by Friday, March 30, 2012. The voting period runs through Tuesday, May 1, 2012. SURS will announce the results in June 2012.

APAC URGES all UIC APs to participate in the upcoming election.

BERGER IS Director of Communications in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at UIC. She has over 18 years of experience at UIC, 16 as an Academic Professional and two as Civil Service, including five years in Human Resources where she was responsible for planning the annual Retirement Planning Conference and other retirement seminars which involved SURS and 403B vendors.

SHE IS a member of UIC United, the UIC chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association. In her role on APAC she serves as secretary and also serves as one of three Academic Professional members of the UIC Senate. Berger also serves as a member of the University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee (UPPAC), which serves the over 6,000 Academic Professionals working at the University, and provides advice to the University of Illinois President on behalf of all APs.

BERGER SAID she is “committed to preserving the pension benefits of current State employees and to preserving the benefits now received by annuitants. This is essential in order to retain and recruit top employees and faculty. Employees and annuitants must have a voice as the pension debate continues.”

APAC CHAIR Michael Moss said, “Jacquie is uniquely qualified to represent UIC. She is a UI alum, she has been employed at the University for more than 18 years, she has served on APAC since 2006, and she has served on the UIC Senate since APs were first allowed as members. She has an excellent understanding of employee concerns regarding SURS and she has demonstrated long-term dedication to serving the best interests of our campus. As a colleague, I have learned that Jacquie doesn’t give up – she has the tenacity that is needed to weather a bureaucratic system, and the integrity that is needed to fight for us without giving in to special interests or politics.”

FOR MORE information about the election, contact William Mabe, Executive Director, State Universities Retirement System, 1901 Fox Drive, Champaign, IL 61820, (217) 378-8800.

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. Scheduled meetings are March 14 in Room 2750 UH, April 11 in Room 5175 CMRB, May 9 in Room 2750 UH, June 13 in Room 5175 CMRB, July 11 in Room 2750 UH, Aug. 8 in Room 5175 CMRB, Sept 12 in Room 2750 UH, Oct. 10 in Room 5175 CMRB, Nov. 14 in Room 2750 UH, Dec. 12 in Room 5175 CMRB. For information, call (312) 996-0306.

APAC PROFILE: Deidre Rush Serves as AP Resource

By Ivone De Jesus

DEIDRE RUSH is the associate director in the Office of Student Financial Aid. Having worked in the department for 13 years, she must stay current with ever-changing institutional, federal, and state policies and regulations – which, she admits, can be challenging at times. “One must be flexible and have an eye for detail,” Rush said. “I definitely have to be on my toes since the policies and procedures sometimes change overnight.” But, she said she welcomes the challenge and ensures that procedures are followed by enforcing them.

RUSH IS able to balance her role as a financial aid administrator by maintaining a sense of service, and by putting herself in the “student’s shoes when finding solutions to assist them,” she said. Rush takes pride in seeing the students she has helped succeed academically and enjoy their UIC experience.

RUSH BECAME involved with APAC because she wanted to be informed regarding decisions and processes that affect APs on campus. She has been a member of APAC since 2010. The most notable APAC accomplishment for her thus far has been “uniting so many people to provide their feedback regarding the pension petition.” She hopes to serve as a resource to fellow colleagues and recruit more members.

GET TO know more about Rush and APAC by attending the next APAC meeting scheduled on Wednesday, March 14.


Safe Zone Training Set

ALL UIC staff are invited to participate in Safe Zone training from the Gender & Sexuality Center.

SAFE ZONE training provides factual information and terminology related to topics of sexual and gender identity; identifies issues and policies that affect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals; introduces strategies for creating inclusive environments; provides guidance for making appropriate referrals; and raises awareness of the negative impact of homophobia and sexism on all people.

ALL UIC staff are encouraged to attend this University-sanctioned training. Release time is generally granted according to the Attendance at University Events policy.

ALL SAFE Zone trainings are open to everyone and reflect UIC’s attention to multiple and intersecting identities. The trainings were developed in partnership with campus partners.

REGISTER AT www.gsc.uic.edu.

CLASSES ARE: Safe Zone 101, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 9 to 10:50 a.m., Room 385, Behavioral Science Building (BSB), 1007 W. Harrison St.; Transgender Safe Zone 101, Wednesday, March 14, 2:30 to 4:50 p.m.,

Room 385 BSB; and Asian American Safe Zone 101, Thursday, April 5, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Room 119 BSB, in collaboration with the UIC Counseling Center.

FOR ADDITIONAL information about these events or for requests related to accessibility/accommodations, contact Liz Thomson at lthomson@uic.edu or (312) 413-8619.

THE GENDER & Sexuality Center is one of the six Centers for Diversity at UIC reporting to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs in Academic Affairs. The Centers include the African-American Cultural Center, Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, Disability Resource Center, Gender & Sexuality Center, Rafael CintrĂ³n Ortiz Latino Cultural Center, and Women's Leadership and Resource Center.

THE GSC is located at 1007 W. Harrison St. (M/C 369), 1180 Behavioral Sciences Building, Chicago, IL 60607.


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.

CORPORATE TAX breaks are detrimental to State, says Stand Up! Chicago leader. See Progress Report, Jan. 26, at http://www.progressillinois.com/quick-hits/content/2012/01/26/taxpayers-send-cme-group-golden-gift-video?utm_source=PI+Extra+1.26.12&utm_campaign=PI+email+1.26.12&utm_medium=email.

Vol. 5, No. 2 February 2012

ISSN 1946-1860
Editor: William S. Bike
Writing Staff: Jennifer Costanzo, Ivone De Jesus, Tomeiko Sewell

Chair: Michael Moss
Vice Chair: Jennifer Rowan
Secretary: Jacqueline M. Berger
Treasurer: Virginia Buglio
Webmaster: Jeff Alcantar