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 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.


“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 or go to their website at, 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.


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.


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

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.


STATE UNIVERSITIES Civil Service System:


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

PENSION SYSTEM suffers ‘systematic underfunding,’ lobbyists say. See UIC News, Dec. 12, 2012,

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