Stop By for the First Ever Drive-Thru Appreciation Lunch

Due to current health & safety guidelines, we are unable to host our Public Employee Appreciation Days as we have in the past – but we still want to show our appreciation and support for public employees! Swing by the UPEA office on Tuesday, July 14 anytime from 11:00am-1:00pm to grab a boxed lunch at our first ever Public Employee Appreciation Day Drive-Thru!

Members and non-members are welcome! All attendees must stay in their cars. In order to keep the flow of traffic, please follow the posted signs for directions upon arrival.

Legislators Hear Reports and Debate Telework for State Employees Going Forward

During a June 15 meeting of the Legislature’s Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee, legislators heard reports on the status of teleworking from Senior Consultant, Jeff Mottishaw of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB). Mr. Mottishaw discussed data collected on teleworking by the Department of Human Resources (DHRM).

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, some agencies had already implemented telework. Some agencies had plans in place they had yet to implement, and others were studying telework for the future. Once the pandemic arrived in Utah these efforts were accelerated, DHRM reported.

The shutdown forced some public services to be suspended for a short period of time, but almost all other services were automated and moved online to limit face-to-face contact.

Going forward, agencies anticipate a new normal. Agency heads have informed DHRM that they intend to increase teleworking activities, especially for administrative staff. Services are continuing to be expanded online and virtual meetings are being integrated with customer interfaces. At agencies where employees are needed in the office, efforts are being made to stagger their workdays. The state will be on par if not ahead of the private sector in implemented telework if efforts continue as they have.

Mr. Mottishaw and his team received feedback from employees in the Department of Human Services through an anonymous survey. “Our employees are happier with the flexible schedules and work environment, which leads to less stress and higher morale…We have helped with less pollution and congestion on the roads.”

Communication with both supervisors and coworkers among those who are teleworking is reported to be 96% effective. Long-term telework interest is high for 86% of those surveyed. DHRM also reported to Mr. Mottishaw that while most of the telework outcomes have not impacted efficiency, there have been impacts on team collaboration and connectivity. Employees who do not wish to continue teleworking cite missing the in-office social interaction or not wanting to give up their dedicated office space.

DHRM relayed to the GOMB that operating expenses have decreased by 15%, and it is estimated that by December 2020, there will be cost savings of $178 per employee, per month, for a year-end total of 28.6% in savings.

Legislators were pleased that the transition to teleworking has gone as smoothly as it has and that a large majority of employees have reported enjoying teleworking. Teleworking will be studied more this year to determine its future.

Utah State Legislature Conducts Fifth Special Session to Address the COVID-19 Impact

The Utah State Legislature met in a Special Session on June 19, 2020, to continue their discussions of revising the state budget due to the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting reduction in revenue.

The legislature asked the chairs of the Legislative Appropriations Subcommittees to discuss reductions in state government, higher education, public education, and other areas within the budget.  These entities were directed to plan for budgets for the upcoming fiscal year equal to or less than the previous year’s budget.

The legislature indicated they would like to keep reductions at a 2% threshold and the Legislative Appropriations Subcommittees reviewed agency scenarios for 2%, 5%, and 10% budget reductions.  These proposals were submitted to the Executive Appropriations Committee.  Agencies ended up with 1.7% budget cuts.

The Legislature passed the following items during the Special Session:

SB5001 – Budget Balancing and Coronavirus Relief Appropriations Adjustments.  This bill, along with a bill to adjust public education budgets, makes appropriations adjustments to balance the state budget for FY2020 and FY2021, in accordance with revenue estimates that project a decline from February 2020 revenue estimates of ($757 million) ongoing and ($93 million) one-time.

This bill also reversed most new General/Education Fund appropriations from the 2020 General Session.  Reduced based budgets, used reserves, and appropriated money from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, part of the CARES Act.

SCR502 – Concurrent Resolution on Refunding Excess Funds to the State from the State Insurance Risk Pools.  Due to the emergency resulting from COVID-19, this concurrent resolution directs excess reserves be refunded to the state by PEHP.

The legislature also funded the state’s portion of the health insurance increase for state employees.

The current revenue projections will be adjusted by the legislature depending on whether there is an increase or a decrease in revenue.  UPEA will continue to stay vigilant in their commitment to communicate state employee salary and benefit needs to the legislature.

DABC Requests Change to Agency Funding to Increase Employee Wages

The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) on June 15 presented a new funding proposal to the Legislature’s Business and Labor Interim Committee. In the past eight years, the agency has increased revenue by 60% but experiences 86% employee turnover due to low pay. Last year, employee turnover cost the DABC $1,272,945 due to hiring and training costs.

DABC Executive Director Sal Petilos explained the current budget allocation to the agency from the state’s General Fund is not enough to meet operational expenses and increase pay. DABC proposed the state consider providing it with a percentage of the agency’s gross revenue. This additional funding would go toward hiring additional people, increasing wages and training, and improving customer service.

Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, made a motion to open a committee bill file to address this issue, and vowed to work with Rep. Tim Hawkes, R-Centerville, and the agency to come up with a solution. The motion carried unanimously with Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, the committee chairman, stating the request is reasonable, and employees need to be treated better.

URS and PEHP Report Financial Stability Despite the Current Economic Downtown

The Legislature’s Retirement and Independent Entities (R&EI) Interim Committee held its first virtual meeting on June 22. This committee oversees institutions that include Utah Retirement Systems (URS) and the Public Employees’ Health Plan (PEHP). During this meeting, representatives of these entities summarized their end-of-year reports, shared initial impacts of COVID-19, and offered long-term projections.

Utah has once again greatly benefited from the fiscal responsibility URS – demonstrates year after year. Last year was a successful year for URS participants and the entity’s stakeholders.

Dee Larson, URS general counsel, listed a few record achievements for URS. First, the member account balances (401(k), 457, and Roth and traditional IRAs) reached $6.7 billion. Second, the net increase in all balances was more than $1.08 billion. Third, employee and employer contributions reached $428.6 million. And finally, benefit payments from accounts totaled $376.9 million.

“While 2019 was a good year for the fund, we know that the COVID‐19 pandemic presents challenges in 2020,” Larson said.  “The Retirement Board continues to monitor, analyze, and manage the fund’s investments. We don’t expect, nor do we need, lofty returns year after year. Our fund is built to maximize long‐term returns throughout all types of market cycles, with an emphasis on downside protection.”

URS attributes its strong, well-funded retirement system to the many participating employers and elected officials who share the same long-term goals and remain committed to responsible funding.

On March 30, Gov. Gary Herbert issued an executive order allowing the temporary, limited suspension of some provisions of the Utah Post-retirement Reemployment Restrictions Act during the COVID‐19 state of emergency. This allowed some retirees without a one‐year break in service to be temporarily re‐employed in positions performing critical government functions while continuing to receive their monthly pension benefits. Larson said that seven employees have taken advantage of this so far.

PEHP maintains funding in a “medical risk pool” to cover any unexpected increases in health insurance claims. The PEHP statute limits the amount of reserves that can be in this fund at any given time. In the event the funding risk pool exceeds that cap, PEHP will return the excess to its members in a rebate.

PEHP Executive Director Chet Loftus reported that the impact of COVID-19 on the medical risk pool has been fairly minor. PEHP has been able to give back more than $40 million in excess reserves in the past 30 days, with $30.7 million of that going directly to state employees.

While PEHP has seen a drop in medical and dental claims, pharmaceutical claims initially increased due to concern over the availability of medication during the pandemic.

Loftus informed the committee PEHP will cover any costs associated with testing and treatment of COVID-19. As of April 30, 64 PEHP policyholders have tested positive for Coronavirus, 6 of whom required hospitalization with costs ranging from $6,000 to $192,000.

UPEA will continue to update members through the interim on the Utah Retirement Systems and Public Employee Health Plan. If you have questions on URS or PEHP legislation please reach out to your employee representative.

Appropriations Subcommittees Approve Budget Cut Scenarios

The chairs of the Legislative Appropriations Subcommittees scheduled electronic meetings last week to discuss reductions in state government, higher education, public education, and other areas within the budget.

State agencies, state and local government entities, the State Board of Education and the Board of Regents, institutions of higher education, and technical colleges, and local education agencies have been directed to plan for budgets for the upcoming fiscal year equal to or less than the previous year’s budget.

The legislature has indicated they would like to keep reductions at a 2% threshold.  The probability of 5-10% budget cuts will depend on the economic recovery and whether there is an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The UPEA staff electronically attended the appropriations subcommittee meetings.  The subcommittees reviewed the proposed agency scenarios for 2%, 5%, and 10% budget reductions.  After considering the agency proposals and public comments, the subcommittees will submit their recommendations to the Executive Appropriations Committee for final approval.  UPEA will inform you when the Executive Appropriations Committee will meet and make final decisions regarding the budget.

The following is a summary of each meeting.

Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee

The Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee met on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, to review the Departments of Health, Human Services, and Workforce Services budgets.  These agencies administer a variety of public health and social services programs.  Senator Luz Escamilla (D) was an advocate for avoiding 10% budget cuts to any social services programs and emphasized the importance of employees who are providing these services during the pandemic.

Department of Human Services

  • 2 % cuts:
    • Delay refilling vacant positions and imposing hiring freezes when possible.
    • The Office of Recovery Services (ORS) can permanently close their lobbies to the public for walk-in services in Salt Lake, Ogden, and Provo and meet with clients by appointment only. This change would eliminate 10 FTEs who work in the reception area.
    • Eliminate 1.2% or about 5 FTEs from ORS (large FTE reductions could have significant impacts).
  • 5 % cuts:
    • End Child and Family Services No-Access Perpetrator Investigations and continue database documentation, which will result in a reduction of 10 FTEs.
    • Reduce staffing in the Office of Quality and Design by 3 FTE’s (may lead to reduced contract monitoring).
    • Reduce staffing in Services for People with Disabilities by 7% or about 8 FTE.
    • Streamline and reduce the number of Quality Case Reviews, potential loss of 1 FTE
    • Reduce DCFS administrative staff by 10 FTE’s.
    • Further reduce staffing in ORS by 2% or 8 FTEs’.
  • 10 % cuts:
    • Reduce staffing in Executive Director operations by 6% or 8.5 FTE’s.
    • Reduce staffing at Utah State Developmental Center 9% or 54 FTE’s.
    • Reduce staffing at Adult Protective Services by 2% or 1 FTE.
    • Reduce staffing for Aging and Adult Services by 7% or 1 FTE.
    • Further reduce staffing in Services for People with Disabilities by 10% or 11 FTE’s.
    • Close one adult bed unit at the Utah State Hospital which will result in a staffing decrease of 11 FTE’s.
    • Further reduce Child and Family Services administrative staff by 5% or 8 FTE’s.

Department of Health

  • 2 % cuts:
    • Eliminate vacant Bureau Director Position.
    • This item reduces one division finance administrative staff and spreads work over five other FTE’s.
    • End Cytomegalovirus public awareness campaign, eliminating 1 FTE.
  • 5 % cuts:
    • Reduction of executive secretary
  • 10 % cuts:
    • Eliminate part-time finance position
    • Increased time for background checks due to elimination of 1 FTE.
    • Reduction of services provided by health care statistics, eliminating 1 FTE.
    • Reduce or end funding for state-wide stroke and cardiac registry, eliminating 1-3 FTE’s.
    • Eliminate one office specialist at the Children’s Health Insurance Progr
    • Eliminate 2 FTE’s, increasing inspection time for assisted living facilities and personal care agencies from 24 to 50 months.
    • End Alzheimer’s state plan funding which will result in elimination of 1 FTE.

Department of Workforce Services

  • 2 % cuts: No FTE’s cut
    • Return unspent funds from numerous programs to the General Fund.
  • 5 % cuts: No FTE’s cut
    • Redistribute grant funds.
  • 10 % cuts:
    • Further reduce or end the General Assistance (GA) Program eliminating 7-12 FTE’s.

The committee took public comment on Friday, May 30, 2020, and voted to change the priority order, and remove some items, from the potential budget cuts. Items removed from the list of budget cuts included: ending state funding for autism preschools; ending Child and Family Services No-Access Perpetrator Investigations and end data-base documentation (cut 7 FTE positions); staffing reductions at ORS (cut 10 FTE positions); and, eliminate dental services for 40,000 clients with disabilities (cut 1 FTE position). These programs along with many others will not be considered for budget reductions.

Business Economic Development and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee

The Business Economic Development & Labor Appropriations Subcommittee met on the morning of Wednesday, May 27, 2020, to discuss potential budget cuts between 2-10%. The Labor Commission, Department of Insurance, Tax Commission, Department of Commerce, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), and the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) along with the Fiscal Analyst’s office presented the proposed budget reductions.

  • 2-5% range:
    • All agencies, except the Department of Commerce and the DABC, did not propose cuts to FTE’s. Most agencies have enough vacant positions that they can leave these positions unfilled and still meet the 2-5% budget cuts including cuts to in-state travel, limiting attendance at conferences, and going without new technology upgrades.
    • The Department of Commerce and the DABC both proposed very limited cuts to FTE’s. These two agencies indicated they can offer early retirement incentives to eliminate FTE positions.
  • 10% range:
    • The Department of Insurance and the Department of Commerce indicated that budget cuts to their agencies will not benefit the General Fund.
    • The Tax Commission, along with the other agencies urged legislators to avoid all 10% budget cuts if possible, a 10% budget cut will result in $88 million in lost revenue for the state.

In addition, GOED uses state appropriations to fund many festivals, concerts, and other highly attended events that will need to be cancelled or postponed this year due to the COVID-19 recommendations.  This will potentially bring some money back into the General Fund. This item was debated by legislators during the subcommittee meeting.  The Executive Appropriations Committee will decide which funds will be returned to the General Fund.

Retirement and Independent Entities Appropriations Subcommittee

The Retirement and Independent Entities Appropriations Subcommittee addresses issues of state employee health insurance, public employee retirement, and relationships between employer and employee. The committee oversees budgets of the Career Service Review Office (CSRO) and Department of Human Resources Management (DHRM) and advises the Legislature on the Utah Retirement Systems (URS) and Public Employees Health Programs (PEHP). Members of the subcommittee met on May 27, 2020, to discuss Fiscal Year 2021 base budget reduction scenarios between two and ten percent.

  • Proposed 2% budget reductions to meet a target cut of $900,000 reduces out of state travel and money for new equipment. It assumes a decreased DHRM workload due to attrition, and halts incentive spending. The proposal reduces data processing and tech services for DHRM, and halts spending for a new abusive conduct reporting software.
  • Proposed 5% budget reductions to meet a target cut of $2,200,000 has employees pay an additional 1% on PEHP premiums. The one percent cost shifting reduces the state to paying 90.75% of the premium and increases employees to paying 9.25% of income. The proposal increases the individual annual rate from $611 to $686; couple annual rate from $1261 to $1414; and family annual rate from $1683 to $1888. PEHP Director Chet Loftis clarified State reserves from the insurance plan could be sufficient funding to cover a 2% budget reduction, and the 1% premium cost shift may make other reductions unnecessary.
  • Proposed 10% budget reductions to meet a target cut of $4,400,000 offers retirement incentives to employees and redistributes work among remaining employees. It presents the scenario of changing the 1.5% Tier 1 Defined Contribution plan and cuts compensation by 1% statewide. DHRM Director Paul Garver stated to go further than 5% budget reductions would have drastic impact on personnel, would impact employees’ jobs, and how agencies are served.

Click here for the complete list of Retirement and Independent Entities: Fiscal Year 2021 Base Budget Reduction Scenarios.

Executive Offices & Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee

The Executive Offices & Criminal Justice (EOCJ) Appropriations Subcommittee finalized their requested 2, 5, and 10 percent budget cut recommendations on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. The EOCJ base budget includes funding for all state law enforcement agencies, as well as the State Courts, Attorney General’s Office, and many others. After considering agency feedback and concerns, the committee approved the following budget cut scenarios for final approval by the Executive Appropriations Committee.

Department of Corrections

  • 2%: ($6,273,400)
    • Recommendations in the 2 % budget reduction include decrease in travel, administration, and jail contracting, as well as the elimination of vacant non-certified positions. Key items in this section include:
      • Closure of one Community Correctional Center – Department will determine which facility.
      • Inmate payroll reduction.
      • Elimination of non-essential, non-personnel items in the Prison Operations Department.
      • Partial reduction of Offender Housing.
    • 5%: ($16,226,400)
      • In addition to the 2 % reduction items, the committee recommended increased cuts to administration, training, and jail contracting. Major cuts in this section include:
    • Elimination of 2 AP&P field teams.
    • Closure of up to 2 housing units.
    • Elimination of 3 case management positions and 13 clerical staff positions.
    • 10%: ($32,437,700)
      • In addition to 2% and 5% budget reduction items, 10% cuts would include further reduction of administration, training, jail contracting, and inmate program funding.
      • Significant reduction items include:
        • Closure of an additional community correctional facility.
        • Closure of up to 4 housing units.
        • Elimination of 7 full-time treatment positions within the Individual Program Directive.
        • Elimination of 12 certified correctional officer positions.
        • Elimination of uniform allowances.

During the budget presentation, Mike Hadden, Executive Director of the Department of Corrections, clarified that while they are not always explicitly stated in the line items, correctional officer positions will be eliminated if programs and facilities are closed.

Department of Public Safety

  • 2%: ($1,660,600)
    • Budget reduction items in this section include reductions non-essential, non-personnel funding reductions.
    • Elimination of wildland fire subsidy.
    • Removal of newly implemented DPS information system, Banjo.
  • 5%: ($4,634,900)
    • In addition to 2% budget reductions, this section includes reductions in employee travel, department programs, and IT resources. Several items in this section have potential to leverage funding from other sources. Significant cuts include:
      • Reduction of 6.5 sworn officers expended from the General Fund – potential for funding reallocation.
      • Reduce funding of the State Bureau of Investigation potentially include 2-3 FTE’s.
      • Personnel reduction in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation – To be replaced with other funds.
    • 10%: ($9,364,900)
      • In addition to 2% and 5% reductions, 10% cuts would include:
    • Reduced trooper positions at the Capitol.
    • Increased reduction within SBI including 2-3 more FTE’s.
    • Reduction in sworn officer positions state-wide reflecting 24 law enforcement positions – Committee requested a change in statute to reallocate transportation funds to this item.

DPS Executive Director, Jess Anderson, informed the committee that the department is already dealing with 46 trooper position cuts due to Operation Rio Grande budget reductions. With the added cuts at the 10% reduction level, DPS would be forced to cut nearly 100 troopers and agents.

Juvenile Justice Services

  • 2%: ($1,867,100)
    • Budget reductions in this section include canceling scheduled improvements, postponing computer replacement, and minimizing employee travel and conferences.
  • 5%: ($5,334,700)
    • In addition to 2% cuts, the only adjustment in this section further reduces the planned provider rate increases, returning the rate to initial reimbursement.
  • 10%: ($9,335,100)
    • In addition to 2% and 5% reductions, this section further reduces the planned provider rate increase. Significant budget cuts include:
      • Closure of Cache Valley Detention Facility
      • Closure of Split Mountain Detention Facility
      • Closure of Canyonlands Youth Center

JJS Director, Brett Peterson stated, “Our staff are an irreplaceable resource. They’d put years and years of dedicated training and commitment to each of these communities and it’s heart-wrenching to put this forward.” Peterson continued to explain the division would not lose FTE’s at the 2% and 5% levels – closure of these facilities would require a reduction of 57 employees.

The above recommendations were approved; however, the committee voted to draft a letter to the Executive Appropriations Committee stating their position against the closure of Canyonlands Youth Center.

Attorney General’s Office

  • 2%: ($784,963)
    • Budget reductions in this section include a hiring freeze on some vacant positions, elimination of funding for annual party, and efficiencies within the Prosecution Council.
  • 5%: ($1,672,763)
    • In addition to the 2% reduction items, this section includes a decrease in training and travel funds as well as the elimination of a recently implemented program contract.
  • 10%: ($3,832,113)
    • In addition to the 2% and 5% reduction items, this section includes further reduction of travel and postponed replacement of slow computers. Significant budget reduction items include:
      • Merit/Incentive award reduction of 25 percent initially, then another 25 percent if necessary.
      • Elimination of the Prosecution Council.

The Chief of Policy and Legislative Affairs for the Attorney General’s Office, Dan Burton, spoke to the recommended budget and informed committee members that the AGO does not support the elimination of the Utah Prosecution Council. “We see it as an essential resource for the state in providing consistent training and best practices for prosecutors state-wide, at a time when prosecutors are under increased scrutiny.”

Utah State Courts

  • 2%: ($2,729,000)
    • Initial budget reductions include administrative travel reductions, a hiring freeze on vacant positions, and an increased fee for the court service Other line items include:
      • Incentivized retirement options.
      • Reallocation of FY20 turnover savings usually budgeted for career ladder and market salary increases.
    • 5 %: ($7,179,100)
      • In addition to the 2% reduction items, the committee included:
        • Further reallocation of FY20 turnover savings.
        • Maintenance of a “rolling” 50 vacant positions throughout the state.
        • Assumed turnover savings after an estimated 40 employees voluntarily leave the courts.
      • 10%: ($13,640,376)
        • In addition to 2% and 5% budget reductions, this section recommends:
          • Reduction of outsourced programs and internalization of services through existing personnel.
          • Implementing a hiring freeze for FY21.
          • Requiring each FTE to take a one-day furlough every month during the fiscal year.

Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee

The Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee addresses budgets to manage and protect Utah’s natural resources—wildlife, parks, water quality, public lands etc. The committee met May 27, 2020, to finalize proposed 2%, 5%, and 10% budget cuts for agencies served.

Department of Natural Resources

  • 2%: ($966,400)
    • Recommendations in the 2% budget reduction includes decrease to travel and reduced funding for projects. Each 2% budget reduction scenario has increased reductions at the 5% and 10% scenarios. Key items in this section include:
      • Reduced travel expenses for DNR (Department of Natural Resources), Water Rights, Forestry, OGM (Oil, Gas, Mining), Parks, UGS (Utah Geological Survey), Water Resources.
      • Removal of funding for desilting work at Millsite Reservoir.
      • Reduction in number of watershed projects.
    • 5%: ($2,416,000)
      • In addition to the 2% reduction items, the committee recommended increased cuts to restricted funds and reduction of the General Fund. Major cuts in this section include:
        • General Fund Restricted funding swap for parks operations, parks capital, and DWR law enforcement.
      • 10%: ($4,831,900)
        • In addition to 2% and 5% budget reduction items, 10% cuts would include further reduction of funding, projects, and training. Significant reduction items include:
          • Funding reductions to predator control projects, education program, collection of hydrologic data, and other studies conducted.
          • Reduced number of rural firefighter training sessions.
          • Reduction of one temporary FTE position.

Department of Natural Resources Director Brian Steed addressed how hard the exercise of finding cuts was. Their goal was to minimize impact on staff while maintaining operational integrity of programs. Director Steed clarified cuts, while manageable, will have impacts in providing to employees and constituents.

Department of Agriculture and Food

  • 2%: ($358,200)
    • Recommendations in the 2% budget reduction include decrease in new hire wages and not filling unneeded positions. Each 2% budget reduction scenario has increased reductions at the 5% and 10% scenarios. Key items in this section include:
      • Fill positions with new employees at lower wages
      • Elimination of unfilled Chief of Staff position and Plant Industry Deputy Director.
    • 5%: ($895,400)
      • In addition to the 2% reduction items, the committee recommended increased cuts to vacant positions and collection of fees. Major cuts in this section include:
        • Eliminate secretary positions and share Executive Secretary with Plant Industry and Administration
        • Eliminate Office Tech vacancy and Weights and Measures vacancies
      • 10%: ($1,790,900)
        • In addition to 2% and 5% budget reduction items, 10% cuts would include further reduction of unfilled positions. Significant reduction items include:
          • Eliminate Field Veterinarian position and Ogden Resource Coordinator

Department of Environmental Quality

  • 2%: ($360,984)
    • Recommendations in the 2% budget reduction appropriates excess waste tire recycling fund balances to General Fund, increases hardware replacement cycle, and decreases travel. Key items in this section include:
      • Reduce ongoing appropriation to Environmental Quality restricted account.
      • Reduce local health department subsidy for assistance
    • 5%: ($902,340)
      • In addition to the 2% reduction items, the committee recommended increased cuts to travel, reduction of supply purchases, and switching costs to federal funds. Major cuts in this section include:
        • Reduce emergency response assistance
        • Reduce DTS programming
        • Reduce Environmental planning to ½ FTE
      • 10%: ($1,804,800)
        • In addition to 2% and 5% budget reduction items, 10% cuts would include further reduction of travel, switching personnel costs to federal funds, and equipment budget reductions. Significant reduction items include:
          • Switch personnel costs to federal funds for environmental scientists

Office of Energy Development

  • 2%: ($33,600)
    • Recommendations in the 2% budget reduction include decrease budget for travel.
  • 5%: ($84,000)
    • In addition to the 2% reduction items, the committee recommended to reduce an administration position to ¾ FTE to support a currently vacant position.
  • 10%: ($167,900)
    • In addition to 2% and 5% budget reduction items, 10% cuts would include further reduction of an administration vacant position to ¼ FTE.

Public Lands Policy Coordination Office

  • 2%: ($58,300)
    • Recommendations in the 2% budget reduction reduces legal counsel hours.
  • 5%: ($145,600)
    • In addition to the 2% reduction items, the committee recommended eliminating one staff attorney.
  • 10%: ($291,300)
    • In addition to 2% and 5% budget reduction items, 10% cuts would include elimination of two legal counsel positions, reduction of employee hours, and reduced travel.

Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee

On Thursday, May 28, 2020, the Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee met to discuss potential budget cuts of 2%, 5%, and 10%. The subcommittee considers budget issues regarding transportation, construction and maintenance, information technology and communications, and administrative services such as financial accounting, risk management, fleet operations, and purchasing. The subcommittee also deals with construction management and capital facilities maintenance, capital budgeting and debt service. Representatives from the Departments of Transportation (UDOT), Technology Services (DTS), Administrative Services (DAS) and Capital Budgets joined fiscal analysts and subcommittee members to discuss the budget adjustment options and reduce the $191 million base budget by $19.1 million. Committee chairs assured their commitment to maximizing cuts that do not directly affect personnel.

Department of Transportation

The department avoided recommending direct FTE cuts by decreasing equipment purchases and the overall transportation fund earmark.

  • 0-2%:
    • Purchase 3 fewer new snowplows.
    • Remove UTA passes from employee benefits.
    • Reduce overtime pay.
  • 2-5%:
    • Decrease building and grounds maintenance budget (could indirectly cause staffing cuts).
    • Decrease Transportation Investment Fund Earmark (requires statute change).
  • 5-10%:
    • Reduction in maintenance planning activities.
    • Greater decrease in the Transportation Investment Fund Earmark.
    • Cut Transportation Investment Fund capacity projects.

Department of Technology Services

The department has initiated a hiring freeze and decreased training and travel to avoid laying off FTEs.

  • 0-2%:
    • Cancel the annual employee recognition and service award events.
    • Cut monument restoration and rehabilitation budget.
    • Reduce employee travel, training and frequency of computer equipment maintenance.
  • 2-5%:
    • Cancel the annual rate benchmarking survey.
  • 5-10%:
    • Reduce employee development, training, and travel.
    • Postpone updating the agency website.

Capital Budget

The committee voted to strike most line items involving direct FTE impact and accounted for the revenue shortfall by increasing capital improvement reductions.

  • 0-2%:
    • Cancel the proposed Olympic Park improvements.
  • 2-5%:
    • Reduce budget for capital improvement.
  • 5-10%:
    • Further reduction in capital improvement budget causing elimination of FTEs.

Department of Administrative Services

  • 0-2%:
    • Reduction in all non-essential travel and offsite training.
  • 2-5%:
    • Operations and administrative budgets reduced.
    • Postponement of technological upgrades.
  • 5-10%:
    • Postponement of upgrades to technology and office supplies.
    • Reduction in administrative services regarding the oversight of Medicaid Program.

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee

The Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee met on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 to discuss potential budget cuts from 2% to 10%. These cuts came from the budgets of all public universities, colleges, and technical colleges in Utah. The Utah System of Higher Education also presented cuts to its administrative budget.

The University of Utah

  • 2%
    • Most of these cuts consisted of limiting in-state and out-of-state travel (conferences included) and deferring maintenance projects, rehiring of vacant positions and delaying the purchase and replacement of equipment. It did not include any reductions in FTE’s.
  • 5%
    • These adjustments included all of the 2% cuts along with a general reduction in operating and administrative expenses. While there are some FTE’s that could potentially be let go at this level, it would be a last resort.
  • 10%
    • These cuts would be detrimental to the school and their research abilities. This would extend to the community (students, faculty, sports teams) and President Ruth Watkins advocated fiercely that 10% not be taken by the Legislature. These potential cuts include losing up to 100-300 FTE’s (including tenured faculty and staff).

Utah State University

  • 2%
    • Since such a large portion of appropriated funds are used for personnel expenses, it is unrealistic for USU to adjust to such large reductions without many of the cuts coming by way of position eliminations – 2% cuts would result in the elimination of 50 FTE positions.
  • 5%
    • 5% cuts would result in 125 eliminated FTE positions. Both 5% and 10% level of cuts would, “result in USU needing to eliminate core academic offerings which would be extremely disruptive, reduce enrollment thus comping already lower enrollment projections due to COVID-19 concerns and would require multi-year, phased implementation.”
  • 10%
    • 10% cuts would result in 250 FTE positions.

Weber State University

  • 2%
    • These cuts mainly come from closing vacant positions, reducing travel, and includes no FTE positions lost.
  • 5%
    • These would include the 2% cuts and add staff reductions approximately 10 FTE positions. These FTE positions would be done through the voluntary separation program (VSP).
  • 10%
    • These cuts include both 2% and 5% in addition to 10 more FTE positions being reduced. Additionally, the University Capital Budget would need to be cut by half a million dollars.

Southern Utah University

  • 2%
    • Voluntary executive staff salary reductions and positional elimination. Travel would be severely limited, but there are no FTE positions lost at the 2% level.
  • 5%
    • Faculty and staff reductions begin at this level approximately 1-7 FTE’s. Programs would also begin to be eliminated, such as the JumpStart Program, and the Venture Program.
  • 10%
    • These cuts include both 2% and 5% in addition to the elimination of live music at all athletic events, and 24 FTE positions.

Dixie State University

  • 2%
    • Reduce operating and travel budgets, targeted personnel reductions in part-time positions. Reduction-in-force of up to 12 FTE’s.
  • 5%
    • Same as the 2 % with reductions-in-force of up to 17 FTE’s.
  • 10%
    • Same as 2% and 5% cuts with up to 25 FTE positions reduced.

Utah Valley University

  • 2%
    • 25 FTE’s eliminated, reduction in hours, student services impacted, and reduced travel.
  • 5%
    • In addition to 2% cuts, 62 FTE’s would be eliminated.
  • 10
    • In addition to 2% and 5% cuts, 123 FTE’s would be eliminated along with some programs and services and fewer courses offered.

Snow College

  • 2%
    • No FTE’s eliminated at this level, current expense reductions, reduce hourly wages, reduce courses taught (100 credits) and eliminate one vacant position.
  • 5%
    • In addition to 2% cuts, reduce current expenses by 4%, and eliminate 5 additional vacant positions.
  • 10%
    • In addition to 2% and 5% cuts, staff would be reduced by 10 FTE’s and 9 faculty FTE’s.

Salt Lake Community College

  • 2%
    • 8 FTE positions eliminated, cuts to operational budget, and the fuel and power budget reduced.
  • 5%
    • In addition to the 2% cuts, 15 FTE positions would be eliminated.
  • 10%
    • In addition to the 2% and 5% cuts, 97 positions would need to be eliminated which would greatly impact student services. Also, the ability to provide scholarships would be almost eliminated.

Technical Colleges

Technical Colleges include Bridgerland, Davis Tech, Dixie Tech, Mountain Land Tech, Ogden-Weber Tech, Southwest Tech, Tooele Tech, and Uintah Basin Tech. Each college has their own individual potential budget cuts, however, for clarity they will be summarized together. Due to the relatively small size of these schools’ budgets, the impact of even 2% causes adverse actions. 10% budget cuts would be severe and would greatly limit the existence of technical colleges in Utah.

  • 2%
    • Most technical colleges will experience some layoff at this level, but other routes would be taken to avoid layoffs. All travel would be eliminated, program budgets reduced, and administrative costs cut.
  • 5%
    • Layoffs would begin to occur at this level, on average of 2-5 FTE positions per school. Programs and certificates that are offered by the technical colleges will be greatly reduced. Scholarship and financial aid money will be stifled.
  • 10%
    • Layoffs will increase depending on each college and very little, if any, financial aid could be given to students. As mentioned, this level of cut to a technical college would severely reduce their operating costs and limit their institution on whole.

Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) Administration

  • 2% and 5% cuts mainly affect programs as well as reduced administrative costs.
  • 10% cuts begin to affect the scholarships that USHE offers such as the Regents, New Century Scholar, Talent Development Loan, Promise Scholarship, CTE scholarship, and others.  This would greatly reduce the aid provided to students attending colleges and universities in Utah and could prevent some students from attending college all together.

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee

  • 2 percent: ($58,418,700) – Budget reductions at the 2 percent level included training & licensing incentive reductions and cuts to education programs, some resulting in program elimination.
  • 5 percent: ($208,087,200) – In addition to the 2 percent reductions, the only added line item in the 5 percent scenario cuts funding to the Class Size Reduction program.
  • 10 percent: ($387,036,839) – In addition to the 2 and 5 percent reduction items, 10 percent reductions include increased program cuts and reorganization. Line items impacting state employees include:
    • 10 percent reduction of Utah State Board of Education (USBE) “professional staff” funding.
    • 5 percent reduction in funding to the Schools for the Deaf and Blind.

A Message from the UPEA President

Greetings and Salutations, members of UPEA!

I hope this message finds you well and in good spirits.

My, we’ve certainly had an interesting spring season and the beginning of summer looks to be a bit more of the same.  COVID-19 has put our lives on hold and hopefully we will slowly make a comeback to some normalcy, whatever that may be.

I would like to thank our UPEA Staff, Todd, Kendle, Christy, Hannah, and Sam, for their tireless commitment to our membership. They are our voice at the legislature and they continue to keep track of bills that affect all areas of our employment.

As your president, I strongly encourage ALL members to get involved in UPEA Standing Committees.

Here is a list of committees:

  • Insurance and Retirement
  • Human Resource Policy and Rules
  • General Council
  • Grievance Appeal and Representation
  • Legislative
  • Membership Services and Public Relations
  • Articles and Bylaws
  • Resolutions

Committees have several options for attendance at meetings. You can call in by phone, Google Hangouts and Zoon.  You do not have to be there in person to attend. Information about the individual committees can be found on the UPEA web page at

UPEA was successful during the last legislative session in gaining a 3% pay raise.  However, due to the challenge of COVID-19, the legislature has returned to the FY20 base budget and asked all appropriations subcommittees to present a 2%, 5% and 10% budget cut scenario. UPEA has created a Task Force that will keep state employees in the forefront so that we are not forgotten. We will continue to keep employees informed as to what is happening in the interim legislative meetings.

During the past few months, sheltering in place has been a challenge for us all. The challenge that I have heard most about is loneliness.  If it is getting to be too much to handle, please reach out. Likewise if there is someone you have not heard from recently, reach out to them. Make that phone call to ask if they need anything, such as: grocery shopping, maybe a lunch delivery, or simply ask with sincerity how they are doing.  Really listen to the conversation, sometimes it is more about what they are not saying, rather than what they are saying.

Thank you for the opportunity to be your UPEA President.  My dream of becoming president started 15 years ago and I am excited for the upcoming year.

If you need anything at all, please reach out to me. My personal email:

Please take care of yourselves during this difficult time as we transition to a new normal.

All my best,


Take Advantage of Discounted Lagoon Passes for UPEA Members

This year, UPEA is offering Single Day Passports for $55.00that’s $18.00 off. These tickets include admission to all of the Lagoon attractions including Lagoon-A-Beach, Pioneer Village, and live entertainment.

If you’d like to purchase tickets please come to the UPEA office on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 10:00am-2:00pm with cash or a check. Credit cards will not be accepted!


If you cannot make it to the office, please mail a check for the amount of tickets you’d like to purchase, including a mailing address where you’d like the tickets sent.

Utah Public Employees’ Association
Attn: Angie Mann
1000 W. Bellwood Ln.
Murray, UT. 84123

Once you arrive or your check is received, we will confirm that you are a member of UPEA. If you’re sending someone else to pick up the tickets for you, please let us know! 

IMPORTANT: ALL guests wishing to visit the Park will need to make a reservation for their preferred date and entry time online at Once on that screen, they will need to click “Single Day Pass Reservation” and enter in their information. After they have entered in their information, they will need to click on the green “Add Single Day Pass” button and input their Single Day Passport barcode number (located under the barcode on their passport) then click “Complete Reservation”. Guests should receive a confirmation email of their reservation, they will be required to show that and their ticket upon entering the park.

Guest Expectations: All guests will be required to abide by the Guest Expectations when visiting the Park, they can be found at

If you have any questions, please call Kendle Zdunich at 801-264-8732 ext. 209.

CAPE Committee Endorses Candidates Supportive of Public Employees

The Citizen Action by Public Employees (CAPE) Committee is made up of Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) members who volunteer their time to interview and endorse public employee-friendly candidates. CAPE Committee members ensure that public employees have a voice and are represented in the political process.

CAPE Committee member Pete Negus said retirees and currently employed UPEA members are represented on the committee. They candidates they choose are given endorsements and public employees are encouraged to consider them during the upcoming election. “If the endorsed candidate is successful, UPEA has another member at the Legislature who is willing to listen to our positions on legislation affecting public employees,” Negus said.

He added that UPEA staffers meet with lawmakers to explain issues important to public employees. “It’s through this process that public employees have a stronger voice on issues affecting us,” said Negus, who has been on the CAPE Committee for 12 years. “I have enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to help public employees have a stronger voice in the Legislature.”

Click here to learn more about members currently serving on the CAPE Committee. If you are interested in applying to be a member, please contact your employee representative to learn how.

When the CAPE Committee interviews candidates, it asks their views on issues important to public employees such as compensation, benefits, retirement, healthcare, and privatization of government jobs.  Candidates ‘responses are evaluated to determine whether they will support UPEA’s lobbying efforts for public employees. If the candidate is an incumbent, his or her voting record on public employee issues is considered.  After the formal interview process and discussion, the CAPE Committee votes to determine if CAPE will endorse a candidate or remain neutral in a specific political race.

UPEA believes it is important to endorse and elect public employee-friendly candidates. These individuals determine and establish pay and benefits.  Through the power of voting, public employees decide who will represent them on crucial issues.

To find candidates endorsed by the CAPE Committee for upcoming elections, click here. This list will be updated as the CAPE Committee interviews candidates through the summer.


UPEA Recognizes Public Employee Salute Winners

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) is proud to participate in the Public Employee Salute Program.  The idea for the program began in 1999, when a past UPEA executive director noticed that KSL Radio had a special segment to recognize Utah teachers.  The segment is commonly known as the “Teacher Feature.”  However, there was no feature recognizing Utah’s public employees.  The following year, the UPEA and Mountain America Credit Union Public Employee Salute program began.

The following individuals have been nominated and recognized with the Public Employee Salute for their hard work for the state of Utah.

February 2020

Brandon Stokes
Brandon Stokes is the manager for the Division of Facilities and Construction Management Northern Utah Complex. He is responsible for a number of buildings, and expertly leads a crew to keep all of the infrastructure working phenomenally. Stokes recently demonstrated his dedication when he spent three hours on a holiday troubleshooting and resolving a building security issue. UPEA appreciates him and thanks him for his daily efforts and leadership.

Trina Whitehead

Adult Probation and Parole Agent Trina Whitehead has served the public since 2004. She is a valuable asset in the Ogden AP&P office, and is recognized as a balanced agent who can hold an offender accountable when necessary and provide the appropriate support to those willing to make life changes. She cultivates relationships with allied law enforcement agencies to enhance public safety. Her exceptional work ethic, great people skills and strong desire to do the right thing have led to her excellent career.

March 2020

Andre Erebia

Andre Erebia is a transportation technician III with the Utah Department of Transportation. For six years, Erebia has been going above and beyond his responsibilities both for his shed and for the entire department. He is noted for his mentorship and promotion of teamwork.

Jessica Antezano

Jessica Antezano is an environmental health scientist with the Salt Lake County Health Department. She is recognized for her hard work and efficiency. She works diligently inspecting restaurants, protecting health by making sure food sold to the public is safe. She is always going above and beyond to provide great customer service,and is supportive both of her coworkers and restaurant operators.

Patrick Upton

Officer Patrick Upton is employed by the Utah Department of Corrections at the Utah State Prison. He is an integral part of the Uinta One O day crew, and is commended for his professional demeanor with offenders and staff. He has pioneered multiple successful direct approaches to deal with problematic situations. Upton is an outstanding public employee.

Judy Kearns

Judy Kearns, an employment counselor with the Utah Department of Workforce Services, goes above and beyond to serve her community and customers. She works alongside the courts, Adult Probation and Parole, vocational Rehab, and other agencies to ensure they know how DWS can help their customers and clients. Kearns volunteers her time to support the community, and informs others about how they can get involved.

April 2020

Jessica Berryman

Jessica Berryman is a member of the Salt Lake Community College faculty. She is always smiling, and is recognized for her positive attitude. Berryman is recognized for her dedication, and is an admirable instructor and coordinator. She loves her students, and always finds educational excursions to complement lessons. UPEA thanks Berryman for her commitment to teaching and to her colleagues.

Denise Hawes

Denise Hawes is an eligibility specialist trainer with the Utah Department of Workforce Services. She is an excellent trainer and mentor. Hawes is always willing to step up to help in any way she can. She is known as the go-to person when a problem occurs, and will help find the solution if she doesn’t already know the answer. Coworkers appreciate Hawes because she takes the time to explain policies to her coworkers so they understand how to resolve difficulties.

Justin Hale

Justin Hale is an eligibility specialist with the Utah Department of Workforce Services. He is an exemplary employee, and everyone wants him on their team. Hale is always smiling and has kind words for everyone, employees and customers alike. He provides excellent customer service. He also arranges potluck lunches for his team to build morale. Hale is a person who is reliable, positive, and kind.

Robert Bratton

Robert Bratton works for the Utah Department of Transportation as an incident management specialist. On April 1, 2020, Robert was on routine patrol in the Salt Lake area when he came across an accident involving multiple injuries. He immediately started lifesaving measures while communicating information to Utah Highway Patrol dispatched. Because of his immediate actions, the accident victims survived their injuries. His team recognizes him for his commitment.


May 2020

Deputy Warden Devon Blood

Deputy Warden Devon Blood is recognized for his service to the Utah Department of Corrections. He inspires his staff through his commitment to building trust with the public and with the offender population. He is respected for his solid answers to questions, and is praised for treating individuals equally. Blood exemplifies leadership and great character.

Richard Petersen

District Director Richard Petersen has been with the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation for 18 years. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, he has been at the helm, making sure excellent service continues to customers. He has been instrumental in establishing telecommuting services following Gov. Gary Herbert’s directive. Petersen is a leader who emphasizes positive workplace morale while serving the people of Utah, and he has maintained this during the crisis.

Megan Haney

Chief Probation Officer Megan Haney works for the Third District Juvenile Court. She is a phenomenal person who improves employee morale. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she compiled a list of resources for staff and clients, and sent out weekly emails providing status updates. She continues to do what she can to bring smiles to people with random acts of kindness.  Haney is a unique human being who makes the world and work place better with her presence and positivity.

Marcel Larsen Jones

Marcel Larsen Jones is the Medicaid policy coordinator for the Utah Department of Health. He coordinates policy changes across agencies, and is recognized by Bureau Director Jeff Nelson, as “one of my top hires who consistently impresses with his attention to detail and enthusiasm.” Jones is always available to answer policy questions with patience and complete, concise answers. He is known as a joy and pleasure to work with.