System News

Friends and co-workers gathered in the BOR conference room to wish farewell to Lacy Mitchell and Steve Smith as they head to Hawaii. Steve Smith, former CITO, has accepted a similar position at the University of Hawaii. Photo by Monique Musick

President Gamble approves additional annual leave cash-in

President Gamble has approved an additional annual leave cash-in opportunity for up to 20 hours for FY12, the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011.

With the exception of executive officers, all employees who earn annual leave and are not in a bargaining unit will be eligible to participate in the one-year test program.

Currently, employees may cash-in up to 40 hours of annual leave once per fiscal year if they meet the eligibility requirements. The additional cash-in opportunity is in response to a request from Staff Alliance, which requested an additional 40 hours.

President Gamble decided on a more cautious approach with the 20 hours on a one-year basis so the university can analyze the impact of the cash-in on individual departmental budgets.  The cash-in option costs departments more than if employees take actual annual leave;  annual leave is paid through staff benefit funds rather than being charged to departments’ salary accounts.

President Gamble also wants to encourage employees to continue taking real time off for refreshment, relaxation and rejuvenation, while being responsive to employee desires for additional leave cash-in.  The additional 20 hours for a one-year period strikes that balance, and allows the university to analyze the budget impacts to departments in the meantime.

For more information and background on the additional annual leave cash-in, please go to:

To review the memo from President Gamble to Staff Alliance click HERE.

Karl Kowalski assumes CITO duties

Steve Smith, Chief Information Technology Officer for the University for many years, has left UA for a similar job at the University of Hawaii. Steve’s last day in the office was May 20.

Karl Kowalski, executive director of User Services for OIT, will assume the responsibilities and authority of the Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO) for the UA System until further notice.

The CITO duties were to be assumed by Fred Smits. It was a shock to all of us when Fred passed away unexpectedly on April 30. This has been a very difficult time for OIT and many others at Statewide who knew Fred and who interact with the department on a regular basis.

We are very pleased that Karl is willing to step in and lend stability during this upsetting transition period.

Prior to coming to UA in 2007, Karl served for 20 years in public education and technology integration in rural Alaska schools. Karl first came to UAF as a student in 1981, earning undergraduate degrees in Education and Biology. He later earned a master’s degree in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University.

Congratulations,  Karl!

Legislative Session Final Update

The special session ended May 14, 2011, with the Senate accepting the House version of the capital budget bill (SB46).

The bill will now be transmitted to Gov. Sean Parnell. The governor has 20 working days (excluding Sundays) to review the bill after he receives it to either approve it or exercise his line-item veto power, if he wishes to do so.

The capital bill includes the following general fund (GF) from the state treasury, as well as receipt authority (which allows the university to accept money from other sources): changes from the Senate version related to UA are included in bold:

  •  $37.5 million GF for deferred maintenance
  •  $2 million GF for annual renewal and repurposing (R&R)
  •  $204,000 GF for Juneau Campus Mining Workforce Development (Senate version included $154,000)
  • $34 million GF for the UAA Sports Arena (Senate version included $17
  • million)
  • $4 million GF for UAS Banfield Hall Dormitory Addition
  •  $200,000 for University Honors College Student Support
  • $1.8 million for Kenai Peninsula College Student Housing
  • $2.5 million for UAA Shootout Partnership
  • And $30 million in federal receipt authority for capital projects.

 In addition, $100 million is included in revenue bond authority for the University of Alaska to issue bonds for deferred maintenance.

Use this link to view the latest version of the capital budget. The university’s portion begins on page 117.

The Legislature had approved the operating budget earlier in the special session.

Academic Master Plan

The Academic Master Plan for the University of Alaska is now complete. Many key players came together to create this plan for the UA System. Copies of the printed version will be distributed to deans, directors, regents, chancellors and other leaders systemwide. A digital verson may be downloaded from the Public Affairs website HERE.

SAA Highlights

The Statewide Administration Assembly last met on May 11 in the Sherman Carter Conference Room.  The next SAA meeting is the special all-day annual meeting on June 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In the morning, SAA will be meeting with a variety of managers, directors, and executives to get an overview of issues that affect Statewide staff. Later in the day is the SAA business portion of the meeting, which will include officer elections for FY12.

All meetings are open to the public, and Statewide employees are encouraged to contact their governance group to address workplace concerns, policies and other matters affecting Statewide staff.

May 11 meeting overview:

  • Skillsoft upgrade & demonstrations
  • Performance evaluation pilot
  • Electronic timesheets
  • Overview of open enrollment & dependent audit
  • Annual leave cash-in
  • Tuition waivers
  • Union update
  • Butrovich vegetable garden
  • Awards events
  • CPR training request

For information please read the overview HERE.


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