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May 25, 2017

New SAC Leadership Seeks to Improve Communication, Develop Strategic Plan

Andy Stephany

Andy Stephany

Staff Association Council (SAC) membership has chosen new leadership, effectively electing its top two officers by nominating unopposed candidates for president (Andy Stephany) and executive vice president (Matthew Richardson) at its May 17 meeting.

Elections for all new officers are set for June 1 online, with results announced at SAC’s June meeting. Only SAC members are eligible to vote in elections.

Stephany, pre-award administrator in the School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine and currently SAC’s vice president of public relations, briefly answered member questions about the most important issues Pitt staff members face, and about SAC priorities.

“The most pressing issue right now is communication,” he said. “There are a lot of benefits, a lot of policies the University has, that aren’t currently communicated. That’s going to be fixed for a lot of the issues we have, to make life better for staff.”

Matthew Richardson

Matthew Richardson

As an example, Stephany said communications about the pool for staff and faculty raises was vague because it was not explained how raises will be decided in any particular office, department or school.

Asked what tasks confront SAC for the near future, Stephany replied: “The biggest challenge we face as an organization is having a strategic plan. I’d like us to be more forward thinking.”

SAC members recently created a new strategic plan which has been approved by membership but not yet discussed in a public meeting. It includes everything from rebranding the organization to adopting a fresh mission: “to represent the interests of and advocate for all staff at the University of Pittsburgh as well as providing opportunities for comprehensive professional development.”

Facing off in June for SAC vice president of finance are Tammeka Banks (Office of Research) and Adriana Maguiña-Ugarte (Department of Anthropology, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences); for parliamentarian, Patricia Connell (Office of Institutional Advancement) and Debora Whitfield (Office of Patient Services, School of Dental Medicine); and for vice president of public relations, Alex Toner (University Library Systems’ Archives Service Center) and Clayton Steup (Admissions, School of Medicine).

Current president Rich Colwell is prevented from running for another consecutive term due to SAC rules. He has served almost continuously as vice president and president of SAC for several decades, beginning in 1995, and is eligible to run again in two years.

Earlier this month, Colwell told the University Senate Council that SAC is “content with the current standing of the University budget and salary raise pool, pending the appropriation from the Commonwealth,” for fiscal year 2017–18. He suggested that the University planning and budget committee set an additional meeting “to either confirm the budget plan matches the appropriation or allow for additional discussion if there is a change.”

Colwell reported at the SAC meeting that the .5 percent raise for employees making below $45,000, which had been included as part of last year’s pool, will not be part of this year’s offering. He said he was pleased with the way the University planned to explain the salary pool this year in its annual memo: “It’s going to be very well defined to us how the divisions fare,” he said. “You’ll know where the money is going. This’ll be the first time we’ll know where the money is going and I hope it won’t be the last.”

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