I want to use this issue of Clif’s Notes to update you on the budget process for fiscal year 2013, revisions to the travel policy and the plan for a shared leave pool for staff.
Today, we are posting information for the fiscal year 2013 budget preparation. By visiting the Financial Outlook website, you can see the overarching goals, the budget assumptions and the committee structure. All committee members have been selected and posted to this website.
All committees will begin meeting in the near future. For example, the Executive Budget Committee will have its first meeting on Sept. 29. Dr. Eric Bosch has agreed to chair the Executive Budget Committee again this year. One of the first agenda items will be a discussion of a mid-year salary increase for faculty and staff. My plan is to have a recommendation to take to the Board of Governors at the Oct. 28 meeting, with implementation on Jan. 1, 2012.
We are using an improved version of the process we used last year. We have made three notable changes for this year:
- Faculty have selected their own representatives to the college committees, as well as the Academic Affairs Budget Committee and the Executive Budget Committee
- The provost will chair the Academic Affairs Budget Committee
- A Personnel Reallocation Task Force has been formed and will report its findings and recommendations to the Administrative Budget Committee for consideration
While the overarching goals are listed on the website, they are worth repeating here. There are four:
- Create a pool of resources to fund an across-the-board salary increase for faculty and staff.
- Determine criteria for allocating one-time funding.
- Develop a strategy for funding new initiatives.
- Begin to develop plans that will incentivize and reward colleges and other units to increase enrollments and revenues, without compromising academic quality, with such plans to be implemented in the fiscal year 2014 budget.
As was the case last year, minutes from the committee meetings and other updates will be posted to the Financial Outlook website throughout the budget process. There is an easy mechanism for you to submit your comments, and I invite you to do so.
Revised travel policy
I am pleased to report that we have revised, streamlined and improved the travel policy. The revised travel policy is effective today (Sept. 21).
Most of the changes make it easier for you to be reimbursed for travel expenses. For example, the “zero balance” hotel receipt requirement has been eliminated; exceptions to meal maximums may be approved; and one employee may turn in meal receipts for a group of employees. So that fewer expenses have to be paid by you personally, the revised policy allows procurement cards (P-cards) to be used to pay more expenses.
Some benefits also have been changed. For example, the daily meal maximum has been increased from $50 to $57, and foreign travelers may upgrade their flight class to economy plus.
One reduced benefit is the elimination of meal reimbursement for single-day trips. Such meals must be reported as taxable income, according to 2011 IRS guidelines, and the office of financial services simply does not have the manpower to track this activity. As a result, these expenses will no longer be reimbursed.
Our goal was both to improve the travel policy and to clarify all key issues. I think we have accomplished those goals, and I want to thank the committee members who reviewed this for their good work. We anticipate scheduling at least one implementation session for those staff members who work most with the travel forms, approval, etc.
Shared leave pool
For several years, the Staff Senate has advocated for a shared leave pool. Late last academic year, a specific proposal was drafted. We have now reviewed that draft and made some minor changes. It is my plan to take this proposal to the Board of Governors for approval sometime this calendar year. Implementation would be for fiscal year 2013 (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013).
The shared leave pool would apply to eligible staff (i.e., at least 9-month employees) as well as 12-month academic administrators.
The purpose is to provide a safety net against salary interruption for employees who have a qualifying event causing them to be unable to perform their assigned job duties. Some examples include major surgical procedures, cancer treatments, stroke or other serious health conditions. Donations of leave hours by employees provide income to an affected employee who would otherwise be on unpaid leave.
Participation in the program is voluntary, but you must donate at least 24 hours (3 days) to be eligible to benefit from the shared leave pool. A committee composed of representatives from Staff Senate, human resources and the administration will review the requests.
As you can imagine, the plan has other details. Once it is finalized and ready to send to the Board of Governors, I will alert you so you can review it online.
We are very pleased to be taking action on this long-awaited program. I know many of our colleagues will benefit from it in the years to come. Again, once the policy has been posted and the Board of Governors has taken action, we anticipate having an implementation session to answer your questions about the program.
I hope these updates are timely and helpful. Thanks for all you do for Missouri State University.
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