August 24, 2015

Change in SURS ‘Money Purchase’ Formula May Spur 2015 Retirements

IF YOU are planning to retire and the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) “Money Purchase” formula offers you the highest benefit, it may be in your best interest to retire before Jan. 4, 2016.

WHEN SURS calculates a retirement benefit, payments are based on the calculation that provides the highest benefit. For most defined-benefit members, this is a comparison between the “General Formula” and the “Money Purchase” calculation. Approximately 65 percent of SURS retirements are highest using the Money Purchase calculation.

WHILE THE General Formula is based on a member’s age, years of service, and earnings averages, the Money Purchase utilizes the member’s age, normal retirement contributions, interest at retirement, and an actuarial factor based on economic and demographic assumptions to determine the benefit amount.

STATE STATUTES require an “experience study” every three years to examine the factors.

THE NEW factors will result in a lower monthly benefit payment for those retiring on or after Jan. 4, 2016, if their benefit is calculated to be highest using the Money Purchase calculation.

SURS ESTIMATES that the monthly benefit paid using the Money Purchase formula will be reduced on average by six to seven percent on or after Jan. 4. It also estimates that active participants can recover this monthly reduction by delaying retirement for approximately nine months into 2016, due to additional contributions and interest that would be added.

“SURS OFFERS three retirement plans,” explained Beth Spencer, Communications Manager for SURS. Those are “the Traditional Plan, a defined-benefit plan; the Portable Plan, another defined-benefit plan; and the Self-Managed Plan, a defined-contribution plan.”

TO LEARN more about the plans and different methods of calculating benefits, see the Traditional Member Guide (starting on page 16), Portable Member Guide (starting on page 14),  and SMP Member Guide (starting on page 13)

“THE UNIVERSITY of Illinois at Chicago currently has 14,173 members in SURS,” Spencer noted.

FOR MORE information on the Money Purchase Factor change, see To contact SURS, call (800) 275-7877.

—Mary Voelker and William S. Bike

UPPAC Ratifies Council of Senates Statement of Concern Regarding Civil Service Reclassifications

THE UNIVERSITY Professional Personnel Advisory Committee (UPPAC), which consists of the member Academic Professional committees of each University of Illinois campus (Chicago, Springfield, and Urbana-Champaign), on July 28 endorsed the Council of Illinois University Senates Statement of Concern regarding Civil Service reclassifications of Academic Professionals.

THOSE THREE Universities’ committees, including UIC’s Academic Professional Advisory Committee (APAC), previously had individually endorsed the Statement of Concern.

FOR SEVERAL years now, at the request of the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS), the University of Illinois has undergone an assessment process in which many Academic Professional positions and personnel are being converted to Civil Service positions and personnel.

THE STATEMENT reads: “The Council of Illinois University Senates is gravely concerned about the actions of the Executive Director and staff of the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS) toward reclassifying principal Administrative/Academic Professional positions within universities, as well as their adversarial audit activities and threat thereof, without adequate and widespread consultation, including with the Presidents, Chancellors, Faculty leadership, and Human Resource Directors of the respective campuses.

“THESE ACTIONS strike us as both arbitrary and capricious, and lacking in the transparency we expect from our public bodies.”

IN THE audits of UIC jobs conducted in September 2008 and in the spring of 2009, SUCSS determined that some jobs selected for review were inappropriately classified as Academic Professional (AP) positions and therefore had to be converted to an appropriate Civil Service (CS) classification.

UIC AGREED to comply with the recommendations put forth in the audit report by SUCSS, develop processes to ensure tighter position management protocols for APs, transition jobs incorrectly classified as Academic Professional to Civil Service, and evaluate and document each AP job with appropriate job descriptions. This process became known as the Job Analysis. See

THE UPPAC endorsement comes after the resignation of Tom Morelock from his longtime position as Executive Director of SUCSS and his replacement by Bruce A. Finne, now Interim Executive Director.

IN ADDITION, there have been some changes in Human Resources (HR) at UIC. As described in an email from Mark Donovan, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services, the UIC Human Resources reporting structure was moved from the Office of the President and returned to UIC campus leadership. HR now reports to Donovan’s office.

“THE CHANCELLOR has asked that I begin a thorough examination of our HR practices,” Donovan wrote. “We must identify opportunities to improve HR service delivery to the campus by working with stakeholders and campus leadership.”

DR. MICHAEL Ginsburg, a 37-year veteran of UIC, is Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, succeeding Robert Crouch, who has left the University.

UPPAC HAS opened a dialogue with the new SUCSS leadership, and APAC has done the same with the new UIC HR leadership.

“CHANGE PROVIDES an opportunity for a fresh look at issues, and UPPAC and APAC look forward to working with the new leadership of SUCSS and HR,” said Colleen Piersen, Chair of APAC and outgoing Chair of UPPAC.

FOR MORE about UPPAC, log on to or call (217) 333-3079.


APAC HAS two open seats, and Academic Professionals are invited to apply to fill them. For more information, contact Ahlam Al-Kodmany at (312) 996-7458 or For  a nomination form, contact William S. Bike, editor of APAC News, at

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 Room 4175 of the College of Medicine Research Building, 909 S. Wolcott, or Room 2750 of University Hall on the East Campus. Next meeting is Sept. 9 in Room 2750 of UH. For information, call (312) 996-0306.

Michael Moss Directing Office of Budget Operations and Financial Analysis

Michael Moss, former longtime Chair of APAC.
MICHAEL MOSS, former APAC Chair and current APAC member, has been promoted to Director of the Office of Budget Operations and Financial Analysis.

In 2003, Moss joined the Office of Student Financial Aid, focusing on institutional grant program budgets and federal work study programs. In 2006, he moved to the Office of Administrative Planning and Support within the Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS) and later into the Office of Grants and Contracts where he was responsible for federal costing including the development and negotiation of the indirect (F&A) rates.

In 2013, Moss was promoted to Associate Director in the Office of Budget and Operations and Financial Analysis. There, he led several improvement initiatives including the restructuring of the office’s reporting and operational activities. During his tenure, he has supported the campus’ Indirect Cost Recovery through work on Facilities & Administrative (F&A) rates, played key roles in various policy initiatives, and provided financial and analytical support to campus and University Administration leadership.

“MICHAEL’S OUTSTANDING work has been duly recognized as the recipient of the UIC’s Award of Merit and as the past Chair of the Academic Professional Advisory Committee,” said Vanessa Peoples, Interim Assistant Vice President and Chief Business Office, Office of Business and Financial Services. “Michael assumed responsibility for the Office of Budget Operations and Financial Analysis and all related functions. Michael brings to this new position a proven dedication to customer service, a proactive leadership style, and a strong analytical background.” 

MOSS HAS been on APAC since 2007 and served as Chair of APAC from 2010 to 2015. He has served on the University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee (UPPAC) since 2010, and formerly was a Board Member for the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA).

I WANT to thank Michael for all of his valuable contributions to APAC over the years,” said Colleen Piersen, APAC Chair. “He made the Chairship look easy.  He will continue to help guide us in the upcoming years.”

TO CONTACT Moss, email


Lynn Schneider.
Lynn Schneider is APAC’s new Graduate Assistant

By Susan S. Stevens

A NEW go-to person at UIC’s Academic Professional Advisory Committee is Lynn Schneider, hired in June as the committee’s Graduate Assistant.

“I BECAME interested in APAC because I kept hearing about the interesting, positive, and impactful things the committee was doing on campus,” she said. “The major one I heard about was the Town Hall with the chancellor and then I had heard a little bit about the job survey and what they are trying to do with that.” APAC is conducting a survey about Academic Professionals’ response to a University audit and the conversion of some of their positions to Civil Service.

“I THINK APAC is doing an amazing job,” Schneider said. “I really hope that I can assist APAC so that it continues to run efficiently and effectively and continues to make constructive and lasting impacts on campus,” Schneider said. “I will be taking the minutes at the meetings and sending out the agenda and reminders about the meetings and setting up spaces. I also am going to be doing some work to update the website.”

SHE IS working on a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy. “With this degree there are truly many different career routes that can be pursued, so my ideal job is continually changing,” Schneider said. “However, I am still always leaning toward my original plan, which is to work on small-scale neighborhood revitalization efforts in economically distressed communities.”

SHE GRADUATED from Indiana University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish and International Studies. After graduation, she moved to China for a year and worked as an English teacher in Changsha with students who would not have had access to English classes otherwise.

“COMING BACK was an adjustment, and I worked for a software firm in Indianapolis for a few months before moving back to China once more, to a small town outside Jinan,” Schneider said. “The second time I led seminars for doctors and nurses who planned to come to the U.S. to get additional training.”

SCHNEIDER HOPES to move to Hong Kong and work, live, and travel around there for a few years in the near future. Hong Kong has a fascinating aspect of China with a mix of Western culture, she said.

TO CONTACT her: or (317) 509-8424.


The Staff Leadership Mentoring program
helps employees develop their careers.
Staff Mentoring Program

THE STAFF Leadership Mentoring Program develops employees’ individual careers and supports UIC’s supervisory, departmental, and institutional advancement. This is a structured mentorship program that matches mentors and protégés and provides guidance and support over the course of a year.

THE PROGRAM is open to both Academic Professionals and Civil Service employees. Individuals are encouraged to participate as mentors, protégés, or both. Ideal participants are those who demonstrate an interest in developing their own careers or in helping to foster the careers of others.

TO LEARN more about the program and apply, please visit


Adoption Assistance Available

ASSISTANCE IS available for employees adding to their families through adoption. All regular full-time employees and part-time employees with a 50% or greater appointment are eligible for the State of Illinois Adoption Assistance program.

THE PROGRAM will reimburse your eligible expenses up to a maximum of $1,500 for a Waiting Child, and up to $1,000 for any other eligible child. Your adoption must be final before expenses are eligible for this benefit. The request for reimbursement must be submitted within one year from the end of the plan year in which the adoption became final. See NESSIE at for a definition of a Waiting Child, a list of eligible and ineligible expenses, a list of required reimbursement documentation, and information on health insurance coverage for your adopted child.

FOR MORE information about the Adoption Assistance program, contact the Central Management Services/Group Insurance Division at (217) 782- 2548 or (800) 442-1300. For questions about adoption in general, contact the Adoption Information Center of Illinois at (800) 572-2390.


Governor Wants Money-Saving Suggestions

GOVERNOR BRUCE Rauner wants to hear from State employees who have ideas that will make State government more efficient and effective. If your suggestion results in financial savings to the state and taxpayers, you could receive between $50 and $5,000. See


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.
ILLINOIS LOSING Migration Battles with Every Midwestern State, Aug. 3, 2015, Illinois Policy,

THE ILLINOIS Pension Disaster: What Went Wrong?, Aug. 7, 2015, Crain’s Chicago Business,

US SUPREME Court clears the way for Attorney General Lisa Madigan to appeal Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling protecting State employees’ pensions, Aug. 4, 2015, Crain’s Chicago Business,

UNIVERSITY OF Illinois job cuts coming, President Killeen says, June 3, 2015, Chicago Sun-Times,

GOVERNOR SAYS Revise Benefits for Workers, Not Retirees, May 9, 2015, News-Gazette:

FEW LEGISLATORS Stayed at Capitol to Hear From University Officials, May 8, 2015, News-Gazette:
ISSN 1946-1860
Editor: William S. Bike
Staff: Gail Mansfield, Susan S. Stevens, Mary Voelker, Monica M. Walk
Chair: Colleen Piersen
Vice Chair: Ahlam Al-Kodmany
Secretary: Mary Berta
Treasurer: Michael Moss
Web Chair: Jeff Alcantar