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Support staff begin new year
USS President Michael Kloer addresses the crowd at a meeting to kick off the academic year.

Support staff begin new year

Many of the 300 employees that comprise the University Support Staff gathered Thursday morning to officially begin a new academic year in an opening meeting that celebrated their efforts and informed them of changes and challenges. 

USS President Michael Kloer introduced officers, noting that Past President Michael Woodrum was voted back in as President-Elect next year. Kloer also encouraged those present to consider serving on the USS Senate, which has four open at-large seats. 

Michele Sexton, director of Budget & Human Resource Services, thanked the staff for learning the new process required for Gus HR, an online payroll and time reporting process that was a few years in the making and rolled out July 1. 

"This has been a year of epic change...and I think we can all applaud ourselves that we did survive..." Sexton said. "We've had to learn a lot of new things..." 

Chief Strategy Officer Shawn Naccarato, who serves as the University's director of Government & Community Relations, encouraged staff to attend future town hall meetings to stay abreast of the current statewide budget and political landscape in order to be better advocates of students, faculty, and themselves. 

"I think it's vitally important," he said.  

The past few years have been rocky, he said, including having base funding at the 2006 level but a higher enrollment, coupled with increased costs associated with educating students. But he's optimistic that the recent course correction by the Kansas Legislature will help. 

"The good news is, no cuts this year," he said. 

He briefed staff on elections coming in November 2018, with all House seats, the Governorship, Secretary of State, and the 2nd District Congressional seat up for grabs. But the most important, he said, was the Pittsburg City Commission. 

"It's the most important governing body I work with on a daily basis," he said. "I encourage you to be involved." 

President Steve Scott praised the efforts of HRS and IT for putting in "countless hours" to make a change-over in the payroll system work, and injected his trade-mark humor with memes that highlighted work by staff and a game of "facts vs. alternative facts" pertaining to the University. 

Scott also summarized new benefits available to all employees of Pittsburg State, including an acute care clinic at the Bryant Student Health Center, free access during specified hours to the Student Recreation Center and the Plaster Center, a permanent summer schedule, expanded payroll deductions for parking permits, and deeper discounts on Broadway show tickets. The University also will seek Regents approval for enhancing the tuition and fee waivers for dependents of employees. 

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