Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

June 10, 2010 Volume 31, No. 31

Forsee: UM searching for money to fund for 2011-12 fiscal year

Morale building

President Forsee describes Shared Services Initiative

With some luck in finding money, University employees may see an increase in their salaries a year from now. That was part of the message University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee delivered to the Staff Advisory Council.

Along with MU Chancellor Brady Deaton; Jackie Jones, vice chancellor for administrative services; and Betsy Rodriguez, vice president for human resources, Forsee met with the group May 13.

They fielded questions compiled from concerns of staff at large. Top on the agenda was salary and wages. While staff members say they understand the economic situation in the state and nation, as well as at the university, they wanted to know how long the administrators think it is possible to retain productive staff members without providing at least cost-of-living salary increases.

Forsee said that he is mindful that employees have gone two consecutive years without raises and, because of this, even morale-boosting activities lose their benefit. He said he knows MU needs to take care of its own people, but resources, which have been tied to state appropriations in the past, need to be found for salary adjustments.

He said the budget is set for a 5.2 percent reduction and perhaps a 2 percent to 3 percent fixed cost for maintenance. Some of the reduction will be covered with increased fees, but other areas will have to be cut in order to cover the loss.

One solution could be found in the Shared Services Initiative, a customer-focused organizational model that consolidates operations in order to reduce inefficiencies and duplicative costs, and increase customer service. This Systemwide project got under way in March. Along with savings from procurement consolidations, it is estimated to save the University $50 million.

Forsee said MU is looking at all divisions to come up with ways of doing things more efficiently. For example, University Bookstore has centralized the management of all the campus bookstores in the UM System.

If employees aren’t needed for their specific roles after the Shared Services Initiative is in place, Forsee said the best practice would be to offer training opportunities to retain those staff members. Employees are encouraged to submit suggestions for this initiative at

Vice Chancellor Jones said that the whole campus has done an excellent job to maximize every asset and resource it has. “MU’s greatest strength is Staff Council, which offers ideas and asks what can be done to move forward,” she said.

Chancellor Deaton told the group that the administration is looking into ways of boosting morale other than salary increases, including administrative transparency because there is a security in knowing what is going on and in believing that the administration isn’t trying to do anything without sharing those actions with faculty, staff and students.

“We are all part of this university,” Deaton said. “While someone has to be the leader, we all have a part in what is going on.” If staff is made to feel like they have a role to play and are listened to, they are going to feel better, he said. “A simple thank-you from day to day is a big morale booster.”

Amy Lana, the council’s vice chair, said the organization appreciated the administrators’ visit. “We are pleased to hear that the president is mindful of the needs of staff, both in terms of salary increases and morale, and the need for the administration to communicate to us about what is going on,” she said. “We also were encouraged to hear that the administration would be supportive of retraining programs should any changing in staffing be made as a result of the Shared Services Initiative, and we hope that a mentoring program can be put in place for all University employees regardless of changes made.”