Staff Council Speaks
By Merle Kennedy, Staff Council President

In my first message to UNM staff since I became Staff Council president, I want to tell you about the council's past, present and future. To celebrate Staff Council's 20th anniversary in July, councilors and committee members coordinated a Staff Appreciation Month with well-attended events every week on main, north and south campuses. Events included a concert, reception at the Faculty Staff Club, ice cream social, book exchange, picnic for staff and their families at the Albuquerque Zoo, and pancake breakfast.

Staff Council held a 20th anniversary reception to commemorate our many accomplishments. We are proud that during our 20-year history we have worked with the university to create policy changes that have improved staff working conditions and benefits.

Staff Council continues to be a diverse and vibrant group of staff who volunteer many hours to carry on the traditions of excellence. We know our university faces challenges in the coming months. Staff Council officers are committed to fostering a productive, cooperative and respectful relationship with the board of regents and university administration. UNM staff have a wealth of experience and expertise that can be utilized in problem-solving and innovation processes. The council will continue to pursue inclusion in decisions affecting staff and seek to become a trusted, reliable source of information and ideas for the university.

Staff Council is working with the administration to address budget reductions and minimize the impact of reduced funding on staff, faculty and students. We sincerely thank President David Schmidly for including Staff Council in the President's Advance this year and Legislative Finance Committee funding discussions. We recognize this as an opportunity to be involved in positive, productive solutions to our economic problems.

We will continue working with the administration and faculty as the university addresses reduced funding from the State Legislature. I will not tell you that this will be an easy process. President Schmidly is committed to open, sincere dialog. Staff are a valuable part of UNM's academic mission. Your Staff Council will use our place at the table to represent staff with diligence for fair and balanced solutions to our funding problems.

Through the coming months it is important that we support fellow UNM members. Many staff and faculty are dealing with the stress of higher workloads and unfilled positions. The worst thing we could do is not stand together and support a balanced effort to work through these difficult times and find ways to maintain the mission and support each other.