July 30, 2014

July 2014 APAC News Vol. 7, No. 6

AP Leaders from Three Campuses
Meet with President Easter

Standing, left to right: Colleen Piersen (Chicago APAC Treasurer), Marilyn Marshall (Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs), Michael Moss (Chicago APAC Chair), Melissa Madsen (UIUC AP representative), Mary Berta (Chicago APAC Secretary), Todd Spinner (UIUC AP representative), Teresa Szabo (UIS APAC), Laura Alexander (UIS Sr. Director Human Resources), and Katie Ross (UA Director, Human Resources Administration). Seated, left to right: Elyne Cole (Associate Provost for Human Resources), UI President Robert Easter, Ahlam Al-Kodmany (Chicago APAC Vice-Chair), and Maureen Parks (UA Executive Director & Associate Vice President for Human Resources).
LEADERS OF the Chicago, Urbana, and Springfield Academic Professional advisory committees met with President Robert Easter in his home in Urbana on July 10. Topics included Job Analysis and the conversion of Academic Professional staff to Civil Service positions; compensation, benefits, and the UIC budget; as well as Easter’s thoughts on the next UI President. Representing Chicago were APAC Chair Michael Moss, APAC Vice-Chair Ahlam Al-Kodmany, APAC Secretary Mary Berta, and APAC Treasurer Colleen Piersen. 

BERTA COMMENTED, “It was great to meet colleagues from Urbana and Springfield in person and to discuss our shared concerns. President Easter provided an overview of the large machinery that UI really is and it gave me a better perspective on how complex an operation University of Illinois really is.” Al-Kodmany added, “Meeting with our UPPAC [University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee] colleagues from Urbana and Springfield is an annual highpoint.”

CHICAGO REPRESENTATIVES shared a number of concerns related to Job Analysis—the delayed timeline, lengthy gaps in communication for those undergoing the process, and concerns related to unintended consequences for APs who have not yet undergone Job Analysis. They also commented that these concerns are likely to be exacerbated in the coming weeks as the largest and most complex college, the College of Medicine, progresses through Job Analysis.

AL-KODMANY NOTED, “This year UPPAC had a very productive discussion around the Job Analysis process at UIC in comparison to the Job Analysis and audit results in Urbana and Springfield. One notable take-away from the meeting is learning that the University’s Board of Trustees and President are actively engaged in addressing the profound impact the audit and conversion process is having on the campuses and employees. If action is to be taken regarding a resolution of the audit findings and pending conversions in Urbana, the question remains, ‘will there be retroactive redress of conversions in Chicago based upon the actions taken in Urbana?’”

MOSS COMMENTED, “Job Analysis was the center of attention and UIC’s experience was the primary focus. It was interesting to hear the varying perspective of the other campus leaders. Our concerns related to unintended consequences for our APs and even APs with faculty titles fell on sympathetic ears. APAC will continue to take what action we can to see that these concerns are thoughtfully communicated to the administration.”

Court Ruling May Foreshadow Overturning
of Pension Reform Law

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled strongly in favor of protection of pension benefits.
IN A surprise to many court watchers and legal experts, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled 6-1 in Kanerva v. Weems that health insurance is indeed a pension benefit protected by the Illinois Constitution’s Pension Protection Clause for retired State employees.

RETIREES BEGAN paying a health insurance premium last year, and the Kanerva suit sought to restore the earlier situation of retirees not having to pay health insurance costs.

THE COURT wrote, “It is clear that if something qualifies as a benefit of the enforceable contractual relationship resulting from membership in one of the State’s pension or retirement systems, it cannot be diminished or impaired.” That protection extends to health insurance promised to retirees, the court ruled.

“WE ARE obliged to resolve that doubt in favor of the members of the State’s public retirement systems,” the court also wrote.

WHILE THE immediate result is that making retirees pay for part of their pension was ruled unconstitutional, the ruling has larger implications. Since the court ruled that health benefits were protected, if it follows its own precedent it also is likely to rule the State’s pension reform legislation, signed into law in December, unconstitutional as well. That law would reduce retirees’ cost-of-living adjustments, increase the retirement age for some employees, and cap pensionable earnings..

A SANGAMON County judge had postponed the pension reform law taking effect until courts make a final ruling on legal challenges to it.

THE STATE Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA) and the other plaintiffs believe that "Kanerva is a huge win in the battle for pension rights and a strong indication that pension rights will in the end be vindicated,” wrote Linda L. Brookhart, Executive Director, SUAA

UIC NEWS on July 8 wrote that the ruling “may foreshadow the success of challenges to pension legislation.”

“I THINK it’s very likely that the [pension reform] law is going to be massively overturned by the court,” said David Merriman, Professor of Economics and Public Administration, in that UIC News article.

“I BELIEVE this bodes very well for overturning most of the new pension law because this health insurance ruling will be used to argue in favor of not cutting the benefits,” said Brenda Russell, President of the UIC SUAA, in that UIC News article.

THE ARTICLE went on to note that Merriman said the recent ruling signals that the Supreme Court is unlikely to accept the State’s argument that changing the pension system is necessary because of financial emergency.

THE CHICAGO TEACHERS Union blog of July 3 said, “The law in Illinois is now crystal clear: Politicians cannot break the promises made…concerning retirement benefits,” and that legislators “cannot fix the past failures of politicians to fund adequately our retirement benefits by cutting those benefits…”

“THIS IS a major victory for members of State retirement systems,” said John Fitzgerald, a partner at Chicago law firm Tabet DiVito & Rothstein LLC, who represents retired State teachers and school administrators, in a July 3 article in Crain’s Chicago Business.

Presidential Search Speeded Up
Because of Chancellor Search

President Robert Easter and Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares meet with faculty.
SELECTION OF a new University President has sped up, with hopes that President Robert Easter’s successor will be chosen before Thanksgiving. The administration wants the next President to participate in the search for a new UIC Chancellor to succeed Dr. Paula Allen-Meares, who plans on leaving her post in January of 2015.

UNIVERSITY TRUSTEE Pam Strobel, who co-chairs the University of Illinois Presidential Search Committee, told the News-Gazette of Springfield, IL, on July 12 that the University Board of Trustees decided the President’s search should be “on a parallel path” so the President can be involved with picking the Chancellor.

URBANA PHYSICS Professor Doug Beck is the other Co-Chair. Kostas Yfantis, Manager of Teaching and Learning Services with Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services at the Urbana campus, is the Academic Professional on the committee.

THE NEWS-GAZETTE article also reported that President Easter said that the growth of UIC will be a major factor for the next President, and he mentioned a possible move to make UIC a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

THE PRESIDENTIAL search committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, Aug. 20, and Wednesday, Sept. 17.

THE PRESIDENTIAL search informational website is at http://www.bot.uillinois.edu/presidentialsearch. It provides links to the position announcement, information on job duties and qualifications, background on the 19-member search committee, news releases and media coverage, the committee’s meeting schedule, and more.

MRINALINI RAO, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics and former Vice President for Academic Affairs, chairs the UIC Chancellor’s Search Committee.

STEPHANIE WHITAKER, Research Program Coordinator in the Department of Political Science of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the Academic Professional on the Chancellor’s Search Committee.

AP Conversions Still a Hot Topic
at Cool Ice Cream Social

By APAC Building Community and Education Subcommittee

APAC’s MEET, Greet, & Treats ice cream social event, held on a humid June 24, yielded a modest turnout with interesting conversations about the ongoing concerns about AP conversions. Several people said they attended to meet fellow APs and learn about the campus from the veterans in the group.

THERE WAS a good assortment of individuals, from those who work in the hospital to the library, to the newly created Office of Procurement Diversity in the Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS), and others.

APAC MEMBER Marelet Kirda pointed out, “It was well worth it to stop in, especially since folks were able to bring some ice cream treats back to their respective offices since we had so much!”

LOOK FOR the notice for a similar event on the East Campus to start off the 2014-2015 Academic Year! We hope to see you there!

APAC Election Results

After the recent APAC balloting, Kate Pravera, Academic Director, School of Continuing Studies, was elected to APAC. Marelet Kirda, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research, was re-elected to the University Senate for a three-year term. Jennifer Rowan, Executive Director, Research Administration and Operations, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, and Diedre Rush, Associate Director, Financial Aid Office, have decided to step down from APAC.

APAC Meetings Scheduled

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 the College of Medicine Research Building (CMRB), 909 S. Wolcott, or Room 2750 of University Hall on the East Campus. Next meeting is Aug. 13 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in CMRB 4175. For information, call (312) 996-0306.


APAC member Nester Komolafe.
Nester Komolafe Works to Shape Policies via APAC
By Susan S. Stevens

NESTER KOMOLAFE joined UIC in 2008 as a Contracts Coordinator in the Purchasing Division, UIC Office of Business and Financial Services. He has also worked in the UIC Office of Business Development Services.

HIS KEY responsibilities are drafting, reviewing, and negotiating complex University contracts in accordance with State of Illinois statutes, and University policy and requirements.

IN 2011, Komolafe received the UIC WOW Award in recognition of his outstanding service which reflects UIC’s core values. He served as an executive member of UIC Senate Committee on Academic Services during the 2013-2014 academic year. The panel reviewed policies regarding, and the performance of, units which provide support for UIC academic programs.

HE JOINED APAC in 2013. “APAC has done many great things for UIC Academic Professionals,” he said. “I was motivated to join APAC in 2013 in order to apply systemic thinking and pragmatic solutions to shape policies that deliver positive impacts.”

“I AM looking forward to making my contributions to APAC to be an affirmation that dynamism and good leadership can give muscular expression to Academic Professionals’ legitimate yearnings and aspirations for good governance and accountability.” Komolafe is a member of APAC’s Subcommittee on Bylaws.

AN EXPERT in contracting, procurement, and supply chain management, he has more than 20 years of professional experience in both private and public sectors. He has worked for private corporations in the fields of publishing, garments, transport, real estate management, building construction, manufacturing, cable telecommunication, and satellite and broadband telecommunications.

“I AM distinctively privileged to have worked and obtained academic degrees and professional qualifications in contracting, procurement and supply chain management on three continents – each in Africa, Europe, and North America,” Komolafe said.

KOMOLAFE has several academic degrees and professional qualifications: a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, a Master’s degree in Procurement and Acquisitions Management from Webster University in St. Louis, MO. and a second Master’s degree in Law and Public Policy from the University of Illinois at Springfield, IL.

HE OBTAINED a Certificate of Completion in Sustainable Global Supply Chain Management from the University of San Diego, CA. He also has a Royal Charter Certification in Purchasing and Supply (MCIPS) from studies in the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, Stamford, England. Some certifications obtained in the United States include Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) and Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM).

“I AM a research-minded person, driven by very passionate quest at finding solutions to complex problems,” Komolafe said.

KOMOLAFE’S PHILOSOPHY is simple, he said. “One thing I have learned is that I have not learned anything -- the pursuit of knowledge is endless; the more I know, the more there is to know.”

HE IS a family man who has clear faith in Jesus Christ. He enjoys spending time with his lovely wife, Dr. Lois Komolafe, a pharmacist, and three cheerful children; Virtuous, Valor, and Victorious.

HIS ONLY hobby is photography. “I am a photo-happy guy!” he said.


Mentorship Program Returns
UNDER THE direction of the Office for Access and Equity (OAE), members of a volunteer committee with members from APAC and the Chancellor's Status Committees are pleased to announce the Fall 2014 Academic Professional Mentorship Program (APMP), a mentoring program for all staff at UIC including Academic Professionals and Civil Service employees. Civil Service employees must have their supervisor’s approval before joining the program.

THE MENTORING program allows UIC staff members the opportunity for professional development, advancement, leadership development, and skill building in their careers. The program will run from the beginning of September 2014 through May 2015. A kick-off event for all participants will be held in mid-September. The date is to be determined.

IF YOU are interested in becoming a mentor and/or a protégé for the first time or participating in program again, visit the APMP website and complete an application: http://www.uic.edu/depts/oae/Forms/APMP.htm.

IF YOU have questions, please contact the committee at apmp_committee@uic.edu


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.
UNIVERSITY TO ask for 3.8% boost in State funding, News-Gazette, July 15, 2014. http://www.news-gazette.com/print/1281539
CITIGROUP SETTLEMENT will put $84 million in Illinois pension coffers, Chicago Tribune, July 15, 2014. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-citibank-0715-biz-20140715,0,1520978.story

IS AMERICA’S GREAT UNIVERSITY SYSTEM BEING DESTROYED? AlterNet, Feb. 28, 2014. http://www.alternet.org/corporate-accountability-and-workplace/chomsky-how-americas-great-university-system-getting?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

Vol. 7, No. 6, July 2014

ISSN 1946-1860
Editor: William S. Bike
Staff: Neal Lorenzi, Gail Mansfield, Susan S. Stevens, Katherine Vega, Monica M. Walk
Chair: Michael Moss
Vice Chair: Ahlam Al-Kodmany
Secretary: Mary Berta
Treasurer: Colleen Piersen
Web Chair: Jeff Alcantar