Scholarship Application Deadline Extended to MARCH 10

Every spring, Mountain America Credit Union (MACU) partners with the Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) to offer three $1,000 scholarships to members of the Association or their dependents. The 2021 Mountain America Credit Union Scholarships are financial awards based on skill, scholastic ability, community service, and future career plans. The scholarships will be awarded in March and winners will be invited to attend a recognition banquet in the spring.

The deadline to apply for these scholarships has been EXTENDED – All applications must be emailed or postmarked by WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10 at 5:00pm.

Click here to view and print the application and scholarship instructions. Only members of both Mountain America Credit Union and UPEA, their spouses, and/or their dependents are eligible. Individuals who have been awarded this scholarship within the past two years are not eligible. This two-page application must be completed by the student. All applications must be received or postmarked by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.

Please include your:

  • Completed application
  • Scholastic transcripts
  • ACT/SAT scores (if available)
  • Essay

Please mail your completed application packet to:

UPEA
Attn: Kendle Zdunich
1000 W. Bellwood Lane (5380 S.)
Murray, UT 84123-4494

Or email your completed application and supporting documents to Kendle Zdunich at kendle@upea.net.

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

2nd Substitute H.B. 280 Creates “State Career Service Review Task Force”

UPEA had the opportunity to discuss H.B. 280, State Employee Amendments, with the bill sponsor Representative Kay Christofferson.  In addition, UPEA has also met with representatives from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget and Governor Cox’s staff.  During these meetings, UPEA expressed its opposition to H.B. 280 and H.B. 280 1st Sub.

The recently released H.B. 280 2nd Substitute creates a task force of stakeholders to discuss state employee issues including career service, performance evaluations, merit pay, employee turnover, and employee retention.  The State Career Service Review Taskforce will consist of the following individuals:

  • Three members of the Senate appointed by the president of the Senate, no more than two of whom may be from the same political party;
  • Three members of the House of Representatives appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, no more than two of whom may be from the same political party;
  • The executive director of the Department of Human Resource Management, or the executive director’s designee;
  • One individual representing the office of the governor, appointed by the governor;
  • The state auditor, or the state auditor’s designee; and
  • One individual representing the Utah Public Employees Association, appointed by the executive director of the Utah Public Employees Association.
  • The president of the Senate shall designate a member of the Senate as a co-chair of the task force.
  • The speaker of the House of Representatives shall designate a member of the House of Representatives as a co-chair of the task force.

2nd Substitute H.B. 280 also outlines requires the task force to review the state career service system and make recommendations regarding:

  • the proper classification of state employee positions that are exempt from the state career service system; and are covered by the state career service system;
  • improvements to state employee compensation, including compensation based on performance incentives; and
  • other modifications related to the state career service system.

The task force shall:

  • convene the task force’s initial meeting on or before July 1, 2021; and
  • provide a report, including any recommendations for proposed legislation, to the Government Operations Interim Committee during or before the October interim meeting in 2021.

UPEA has been invited to participate in the taskforce and intends to communicate the continued benefits that the career service system brings to the citizens and employees of the state.

We will be communicating with you to discuss the progress of this bill.

UPEA employee representatives are available for questions by phone or email.  Please share this email with your coworkers and let them know that UPEA is their only voice.  Please support our efforts in maintaining the career service system by joining UPEA.   Join UPEA today!

Encourage Your Legislators to Secure Additional Funding for Employee Compensation

UPEA is educating legislators on the sacrifices state employees have made during the COVID-19 pandemic – Employees should be recognized for their dedication in the form of a generous pay increase.  The legislature began the 2021 session by restoring last year’s 3% pay increase in the base budget.  State employees deserve more.  UPEA is lobbying to ensure that the $12.9 million savings from the Program II Sick Leave unfunded liability is returned to state employees and used to supplement the approved 3% increase. We are also asking for additional funds for targeted increases.

GUIDE/OUTLINE FOR SPEAKING WITH YOUR LEGISLATORS:

Please use your own time, resources, and equipment to contact your legislator.

  1. Address your legislator as Senator or Representative and use their last name.
  2. Introduce yourself (give your name and where you live), let them know you are a constituent and a member of UPEA – You can identify the agency you work for if you wish.
  3. Ask if your legislator has time to discuss some items regarding public employee issues – Be prepared to discuss the topic and clarify your reasons (see below).
  4. Ask your legislator if they will support your position.
  5. Thank them for their time.

Click here to find your state representative and senator. Just enter your home address and click on the legislator’s picture for contact info.

Remember to be respectful!

HOW TO DISCUSS THE $12.9 MILLION PROGRAM II SICK LEAVE SAVINGS:

The governor’s budget highlighted that the state would have a savings of $12.9 million from the Program II Sick Leave unfunded liability that will be placed in the General Fund this year. This savings is directly generated from a reduction in state employee benefits that saved the state money and has now created a surplus.

The savings is from a public employee benefit reduction and should be returned to state employee compensation.  The increase should be in addition to the proposed 3% Labor Market Adjustment included in H.B. 8 and approved earlier this session.

Utah public employees have proven their dedication and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to provide outstanding services to the citizens of Utah during these trying and difficult times.  Many employees have taken on new positions and workloads to provide critical services to the citizens of Utah.

S.B. 181 Consolidates Existing Agencies to Create Department of Government Operations

Senator Milner (R-18) presented S.B. 181, Department of Government Operations, to the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Standing Committee on February 16, 2021. S.B. 181 proposes a consolidation of three different state government departments. The bill combines the Department of Administrative Services, the Department of Technology Services, and the Department of Human Resource Management into one new department, the Department of Government Operations, with a total of approximately 1,300 employees. The consolidation aims at increasing effectiveness and efficiency in the work of agencies serving other government departments. Milner explained to the committee, “we are not requesting additional FTE’s. On the other side, it does not mean any reduction in force. All employees that are there will continue to be there.” Milner further clarified, “If someone voluntarily leaves, there might be a position that doesn’t need to be filled.” Any changes to positions “will not be done through a reduction in force. It would just be done through the normal course of voluntary resignations.”

UPEA Executive Director, Todd Losser, testified in front of the committee with the following statement: “UPEA has met with Governor Cox, and it’s our understanding that agency consolidation will not result in any reduction of jobs. Utah’s public employees are considered the most efficient workforce in the country. UPEA expects to work with the governor’s office and state agencies to ensure a smooth transition for public employees and to continue the gold standard we have established.”

S.B. 181 passed the committee unanimously with a favorable recommendation. The Senate then heard it on the floor on Day 31 of the 2021 Legislative Session. Senator Milner identified that the new governor is working on making state government more effective and efficient to serve Utah citizens. The proposal to merge the three government agencies into one also “aligns services to effectively and efficiently serve state employees.”

Senator Mayne told the Senate floor she supports the bill because the sponsor “assured [her] everyone will have a job and be treated fairly” through the consolidation process. S.B. 181 passed and will be placed on the calendar to be read a third time.

Projected Revenue Numbers Announced for the Upcoming Fiscal Year 2022

On Day 31 of the 2021 Legislative Session, Senator Stevenson shared the newest projected revenue numbers and estimates for the fiscal year on the Senate Floor. Projections show that the Legislature has almost $1.4 billion in extra cash to spend this year. The breakdown of that surplus from one-time and ongoing is as follows:

  • $315 million increase in one-time money
    • Approximately 1/4 from the General Fund and 3/4 from the Education Fund
  • $112 million increase in ongoing money
    • Approximately 1/3 from the General Fund and 2/3 from the Education Fund

However, economic uncertainty remains – While Utah is in a much better place compared to other states, job growth has not kept up. With the anticipation of COVID-19 vaccines becoming widely available by the end of May, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic. Governor Spencer Cox echoed this sentiment in a press conference held on Friday the 19th, “There still could be some headwinds coming, but we feel really good about where Utah is right now and where we’re headed for the rest of the session.”

Senator Stevenson made note that while there is more cash on hand this Legislative Session, in relation to bills, there is $1.3 billion in new money and one-time money but there is $2 billion in requests. Ultimately, there will still be “a lot of cuts between now and the end of the session.” There was hope that there would be even more money available with federal stimulus checks helping Utahns to spend more during the pandemic, but that did not happen. Sen. Stevenson did guarantee that the budget would be balanced in the end.

UPEA Opposes H.B. 280 and Continues Lobbying Efforts to Protect the Merit System

House Bill 280, State Employee Amendments, sponsored by Representative Kay Christofferson was released on Monday, February 1.  UPEA is very concerned and opposes H.B. 280 in its current form – This bill will affect current Schedule B state employees who supervise one or more employees.  In addition, this bill will create a new Schedule AX exempt position.  On or after May 5, 2021, supervisory employees can either keep their career service status (Schedule B) or convert to career service exempt status (Schedule AX).

This means that an employee who chooses to retain their career service status (Schedule B) will keep this status only if they remain in their current position.  If the employee is promoted or transferred to a different supervisory position, the employee will become Schedule AX career service exempt or at-will.

UPEA has attempted to contact Rep Christofferson to discuss HB280 and has been unable to schedule a meeting because he is currently receiving treatment for COVID-19.  HB280’s status will remain unknown until communication resumes with Rep Christofferson.

UPEA’s Executive Director, Todd Losser, met with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget to discuss UPEA’s opposition to HB280.  UPEA has also requested information and data from DHRM to fully understand the impact of this bill.

UPEA employee representatives are available for questions by phone or email and will request member support and action when more information is available and the status of the bill is clarified.

Please share this email with your coworkers, let them know about HB280, and ask them to support the career service system by joining and becoming a member.  UPEA is your only voice – we need your support to overcome attacks on public employees and the career service system. Join UPEA today!

Help Strengthen UPEA by Participating in a Virtual Recruitment Forum

As UPEA lobbyists fight for public employees during the legislative session, association membership & recruitment are more important than ever. You have another chance to show your support and spread the word about the importance of UPEA membership! We’re hosting our next virtual recruitment forum on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, at 12:00pm. At this meeting, a panel of member ambassadors and staff representatives will discuss the benefits of UPEA membership and the importance of a strong public employee association.

Please SHARE THIS OPPORTUNITY with others in your office!
We are asking our members to attend and invite nonmembers to join these virtual events. For every non-member you bring to a forum, you will get an entry into the raffle for members. An Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet will be given to the recruiter raffle winner. Non-members in attendance will be entered into a separate drawing for a $25 Visa gift card.
Use this link or scan the QR code on the flyer to join the meeting via Google Meet.

Contact your employee representative with any questions.
We look forward to seeing you there!

UPEA Supports H.B. 252 to Establish a Pay Plan for DNR Certified Officers

House Bill 252, State Pay Plan Amendments, was heard for the first time in the Government Operations Committee on Tuesday, February 2.  H.B. 252 will direct the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) to create, define, and establish a career ladder pay plan for POST-certified officers employed by DNR. Over the last several years, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety have implemented career ladders for their certified officers – these plans grant salary increases or “steps” to reward existing officers for their time and experience within the department, while also serving as a recruitment incentive for officers interested in state employment.

Bill sponsor, Rep. Ryan Wilcox, explained,  “[DNR officers have] been left out of the state pay plan that we’ve offered to our other law enforcement officers… Which essentially puts them at risk for being the training ground for other agencies, but more than that, [the state] is not recognizing their contributions”

“I have observed many good officers start their career with wildlife resources, […] then move on to another agency and it seems like we just kept training more and more officers.” Matthew Briggs, a UPEA member and certified officer with the Division of Wildlife Resources testified in support of the bill. Briggs continued, “I have seen how [officers’ in other divisions] morale has increased and how they’re able to keep their officers.”

While this legislation creates the platform for a career ladder, it does not fund the pay plan.  Once the plan has been created, DHRM should be asked to provide a calculation for future budget requirements. Funding is approved each year by the legislature. Another UPEA member, Lt. Brody Young, testified in support of H.B. 252 stating, “This is a great next step for all of our officers. […] It provides a future. If you start out as an entry-level correctional officer or ranger, you know what you’ll make in a specific pay plan.”

UPEA Executive Director, Todd Losser, has worked with Rep. Wilcox on this legislation in the months prior to the Legislative Session. Losser encouraged the committee’s support of the bill and stated, “Both Highway Patrol and Dept. of Corrections have been able to take care of a compression problem and have outlined a career for [their] officers. [These pay plans] have created a sense of stability, knowing that officers with the State of Utah can have a career.”

H.B. 252, State Pay Plan Amendments, passed unanimously with a favorable committee recommendation. The bill will be heard on the house floor in the coming days.

H.B. 280 Threatens Merit System Protections

House Bill 280, State Employee Amendments, sponsored by Representative Kay Christofferson was released on Monday, February 1.  UPEA is very concerned about H.B. 280.  This bill will affect state employees, who are currently Schedule B and supervise one or more employees and create a new Schedule AX exempt position.  On or after May 5, 2021, supervisory employees can either keep their career service status (Schedule B) or convert to career service exempt status (Schedule AX).

This means that an employee who chooses to retain their career service status (Schedule B) will keep this status only if they remain in that position.  If the employee is promoted or transferred to a different supervisory position, then the new position will be Schedule AX at-will.

This is not the first time UPEA has had to defend the state’s career service system.

UPEA has scheduled a meeting with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget to discuss this bill.  In addition, UPEA has reached out to Rep Christofferson, the sponsor of the bill.  As communicated before, this Legislative Session is proving to be difficult because of the pandemic.

UPEA will keep you updated on the status of this bill.

Please update your coworkers about this legislation and the importance of being a member of UPEA.  We are your only voice – we need your support to overcome attacks on public employees and the career service system. Join UPEA today!