President's Report to the Staff Council

March 19, 2019

March 2019 President’s Report

It is hard to imagine, but we are half way through the spring semester and my apologies for not getting a February report out, although our February Business Meeting got snowed out.  Although spring is almost here and the picture below may help us think of that (kind of reminds me of the duck pond).

State Legislative Session

The State Legislative Session has ended, and highlights can be captured in the following missive by Susan McKinsey from Government and Community Relations: 

“Another NM legislative session is in the books.  In the middle of last night, the final vote on concurrence assured that the state budget will be heading to the Governor for consideration.  The House and Senate compromised on some ticklish points including the scope of teacher pay, roads, and language aimed at UNM Athletics.   This is the most important bill of any legislative session and the one that can cause the most joy or heartburn. Often both.

The Jr. appropriation bills, totaling $60 million in recurring and non-recurring funds, both made it to the finish line.  So did the $933 million capital outlay bill.  UNM has dozens of projects in all three, from academics to athletics to student services, from library shelving to safety lighting to improvements at Popejoy Hall.   The UNM leadership will have rundowns for you in the coming days. 

The much-amended bill for education retirement changes is heading to the Governor.  In the end, the employer contribution was whittled down to .25 percent and only for one year.  Many other changes, including those affecting return to work retirees, won’t take effect until 2020.  Nothing changes for current employees and the COLA remains intact.

The College Affordability Act has been signed by the Governor.  The endowment has been replenished a bit with a $25 million infusion.  This funds the state’s only needs-based scholarship, and those scholarship amounts are going up from $1000 to $1500 per semester.

The Governor has also signed her signature Centers of Excellence legislation.  UNM HSC (bioscience), NMSU (agriculture), NM Tech (cybersecurity) and San Juan College (alternative energy) have the impetus to build on and expand their projects.

Speaking of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, she talked to the Senate Finance Committee yesterday about her desire to tap the state permanent fund for early childhood initiatives.  Lawmakers had no intentions of acting on her wishes, but the encounter was cordial and promises were made that the conversations would continue.  The Gov’s four-year old granddaughter also made another appearance, and we’re told cookies were gifted.  Whatever it takes.

The compromise minimum wage bill is headed to the Governor.  The wage would go up in increments to $12 an hour by 2023.  The Governor will also be considering an ethics commission bill that was mandated by voters.  That legislation was passed in the very early hours of this morning.  And both houses passed a tax compromise in the final moments before sine die.

Some legislation will have to wait another year.  Marijuana legalization, end of life options, changing daylight savings time and abortion decriminalization stalled in committee or failed on the floor.  Others, like the lottery changes and the joint resolution calling for regent nomination by committee simply ran out of time.

As is often the case, this 60-day session was a long journey with many strange turns that in turn caused elation or abject fear.  It featured the rocket docket, slowdown tactics and a game-killing filibuster, along with near-daily caucuses and a few La Marchas (your new state dance).  Your government relations team was there for it all, so when you see them on campus, give them a smile, a kind word or a high five.  They’ve earned it.”

Until we meet again, have an awesome day and wonderful year.

Susan McKinsey

Office of Government and Community Relations

BLT Meeting Updates (although the following depends on the President and the Budget Summit):

  • It looks like we will be getting a 2% compensation increase
  • Group Health Insurance is going up 5% for our premiums, initially it was going to be 7%
  • All asks to the BLT were approved on a preliminary basis, which includes:
    • More money for Offices, such as OEO, DOS, SHAC and WRC to assist with compliance and safety items.
    • An equity adjustment for advisors
    • Although, it looks like departments will be getting cut 1.5% for this upcoming fiscal year (more to come on this)

Current Or Coming up Soon Executive Level Searches

EVP for Academic Affairs currently going on (Armando Bustamante)

Provost Search currently going on (Autumn Collins)

Enrollment Management Search (Angela Beauchamp)

HLC Accreditation Visit

Ryan and I both met with the HLC visiting group and our meeting went well.  We also seemed to have positive feedback from our overall visit, but we will not know the final outcome for several more weeks.  Once that occurs, then we can send that out via the list serve.

Regent Meeting Information:

March 11th, 2019 - Main Board of Regents Meeting E-Book -

Some of the highlights, is that we now have 5 new regents and elections of officers was done, which include the following:

Doug Brown – President

Kimberly Sanchez Rael – Vice President

Sandra Begay – Secretary/Treasurer

Committees the regents will represent, has also been decided on and can be found on the following site:

We look forward to working with these new regents to continue the efforts to represent staff here on the UNM Campus.

Staff Council Elections Coming Up

I am sure we will be getting more information from Rules and Elections on this, but this begins next week, as was posted in the Staff Council news.

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UNM Staff Council
MSC02 1560
1 University of New Mexico
AlbuquerqueNM 87131

Physical Location:
Hokona Hall-Zuni
Room 302

Phone: (505) 277-1532
Fax: (505) 277-1313