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March 18, 2010 Volume 31, No. 24

Staff Council gets benefits update


39 percent of staff took benefits survey

At the March 11 Staff Advisory Council meeting, Lisa Wimmenauer briefed the group on recent activities of the University of Missouri retirement and staff benefits committee. Wimmenauer, associate director of business services, represents the MU campus staff on the committee.

The committee’s primary charge is to administer the University retirement program, she told Staff Council. In addition, it serves in an advisory capacity with respect to other benefit programs. Membership is composed of two faculty and one staff member from each of the four campuses, an Extension representative and two retiree representatives. Members are appointed by the UM president.

One recent committee recommendation is to extend the educational fee reduction for dependents to retirees and to employees on long-term disability. “This recommendation would impact a small part of the population, but is still an important message to send to all staff,” Wimmenauer said. If approved by University leadership, this proposed change would need to be presented to the Board of Curators for approval.  

She told the council that in addition to looking at the University’s plans and options, the committee also looks at competitive plans offered by peer institutions “to see how we stack up and what are the latest trends,” she said. “Our goal is for the University’s benefits plans to be in line with or surpass these institutions.”

The committee is awaiting results of the recent UM system online benefits survey. “We had stellar response from staff members, with 39 percent responding,” Wimmenauer said. The purpose of the survey is not to cut benefits but to provide useful data to inform future decisions, she said. “The committee, along with UM Human Resources, really wants to know what our employees want; what people value more.”

Survey results, tabulated by an outside firm, should be available sometime in April and will be reported to employees. “We hope to get some good data,” she said.

In other business, Marijo Dixon, council chair, encouraged each committee chair to develop a manual that consists of the history, purpose, successes, failures and procedures of the committees. The information, to be archived electronically and on paper, will be passed down to new chairs.

Staff Recognition Week is May 17 through 21. More information about events will be published in April in the council’s newsletter and at