In this issue, I want to update you on the Board meeting last Friday, the new policy on cellular/wireless service and the budget for fiscal year 2013.
December Board of Governors meeting
The Dec. 16 Board of Governors meeting was the first for our three new Board members: Steve Bough, Peter Hofherr, and Steve Hoven. We were able to spend a full day Thursday with the new members for orientation. All three have strong feelings for the University, are honored to be on the Board and will do an excellent job on the Board. All of us will enjoy working with them.
At the meeting, the Board had several actions of note:
- The Board named and honored the six Citizen Scholars for 2011. These are outstanding students who make us proud to be at Missouri State.
- The Board gave final approval to the mid-year salary increase. As you know, the increase is effective Jan. 1 for staff and Feb. 1 for faculty.
- The Board approved the Faculty Senate recommendation to award the University’s 14th honorary doctorate to Shawn Askinosie, JD, founder of Askinosie Chocolate. Mr. Askinosie will receive the Doctor of Public Affairs degree during the spring commencement in May.
The Board agenda, minutes and other materials are located online in case you are interested.
Cellular/Wireless Service Policy
During the first week of my new job, I promised we would eliminate cell phone allowances. We have now revised the University’s Cellular/Wireless Service Policy and Procedures to do just that and to reduce the number of cell phones funded by the University. There are still a few departments that need cell phones to complete mission-critical responsibilities (public safety, mechanical, Bull Shoals Field Station, KSMU, Bookstore, etc.). With these few exceptions, I am pleased to report the University is out of the cell phone business.
Fiscal year 2013 budget
As you may have heard or seen in media reports, late last week we were informed that the reduction in state appropriations will very likely be higher than the 5 percent we had assumed for our budget preparation. I wanted to provide the most recent information.
It is clear that the state budget situation, and therefore the higher education appropriation, is “fluid” at this point. We have been in constant discussions with the governor’s office, other institutions, our legislative delegation and others to explore any and all options for addressing the budget crunch.
Here is the bottom line: We will have a clearer picture once the governor presents his budget proposal in late January.
Once we have his budget recommendation, we will reconvene the Executive Budget Committee. Based on new information, we will re-evaluate our assumptions and begin our work in all committees with revised guidelines.
There is no reason to panic, but just to be safe Provost Einhellig and I will not give final approval to any additional hiring out of the general operating budget until we know the governor’s budget recommendation. We can make a longer term decision once we have more details on the budget. This should occur by the end of January.
All of you should be congratulated on your stewardship during the past several years. Because of your attention to the budget, we have a reserve that can help us get through this reduction in state appropriations. Not every institution in the state is as financially sound as Missouri State.
As always, I will keep you informed. For now, we need to wait for the governor’s budget in late January and then proceed accordingly.
Gail and I wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday. We hope you take time to be with family and friends and get some much-deserved rest. If you travel, please travel safely.
Finally, I want to thank all of you for what you do for Missouri State University. Together we have done good work in the past six months, and together we can do more good things in the spring semester.
Happy New Year.