Dec. 17, 2008

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Legislative Update

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Public higher education institutions prepare for possible budget cuts

The University of Missouri and other public higher education institutions in Missouri are preparing for possible budget cuts in Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010. The Department of Higher Education has asked all institutions to develop scenarios on how they would operate with drastically reduced state appropriations that could range between 15-25 percent for FY10. UM President Gary Forsee addressed this request in a memo to faculty, staff and students Dec. 10.

The request comes after those preparing Governor-elect Jay Nixon's budget predicted a $342 million shortfall in FY09, the current fiscal year, and continuing challenges for FY10.

The university had already enacted a hiring freeze in November in anticipation of budget shortfalls. The scenarios to the state are due Dec. 18.

UM educates legislators through campus tours and briefings

The University of Missouri has been aggressively educating legislators, including those newly elected, through a series of tours and briefings held on all four of the university's campuses.

Newly-elected legislators participated in the Freshman Tour the first two weeks of December that included visits to UM Health Care's Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mt. Vernon, MO; the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center and Discovery Ridge on the MU Campus; and the Center for Emerging Technologies in St. Louis that is affiliated with the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The group also plans to visit Missouri University of Science and Technology in early January.

New and returning legislators also gathered for a series of legislative forums led by President Gary Forsee on higher education at each campus. Each forum began with a tour of the campus facilities, followed by an overview of higher education and issues facing the university. The forums acquainted legislators with campus leadership and addressed any questions about appropriations, financial aid, institutional missions, and other important issues.

To view more photos from the events, click here.

MU celebrates Bond's support of life sciences

MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, and Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Tom Payne survey the McQuinn Atrium of the Bond Life Sciences Center at MU during a celebration of the senator's support for the facility on Nov. 7.

To view more photos from the event, click here.

Governor-elect Nixon begins putting together new cabinet

As the January inauguration approaches, Governor-elect Jay Nixon has established his transition team and has made several announcements regarding key positions in his new administration.

  • John Watson, who served as Nixon's chief of staff in the Attorney General's Office, will continue in that role for the new governor. Watson has undergraduate and law degrees from MU.
  • Ted Ardini, who is Nixon's chief counsel in the Attorney General's Office, will move into that role for the governor.
  • Kelvin Simmons has been named commissioner of administration. Simmons, of Kansas City, has undergraduate degrees from MU and an executive MBA from UMKC.
  • Charles Burson is leading Nixon's transition effort. Burson previously served as Tennessee's attorney general and chief of staff for former Vice President Al Gore.
  • Ronnie White, former Supreme Court Chief justice and state representative; Nadia Cavner, a Springfield business woman; and Philip Snowden, former Mizzou Tiger quarterback and state senator of Kansas City, are co-chairs of the transition team
  • Wayne Goode, a former state senator from Normandy, is leading the governor-elect's budget preparations through the transition period. Goode has an undergraduate degree from MU and an honorary doctorate from UMSL
  • Judy Baker, outgoing state representative from Columbia, will coordinate the search for senior leaders in the Department of Health and Senior Services, the Department of Social Services, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Baker has an undergraduate degree from MU.
  • Dan Burkhardt, managing director of Oakwood Medical Investors, will oversee searches for leaders in the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Revenue, the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration, and the Department of Higher Education. He has an MBA from MU and his wife, Connie Silverstein, is a former member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators.
  • Margaret Donnelly, outgoing state representative from St. Louis, will do a detailed analysis of state agencies to review efficiencies and identify key personnel for the Department of Natural Resources.
  • John Hagler, the former chief of staff for former House speaker Jim Kreider, will oversee the search for key personnel in the Department of Agriculture. Hagler has a master's degree from MU.
  • Jeff Harris, outgoing state representative from Columbia, will assist in agency review for efficiencies and will help identify key personnel for the Department of Natural Resources.
  • Garry Kemp of Kansas City will oversee position searches for the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and the Department of Corrections.
  • Susan B. McCollum, who runs a strategic marketing and communications consulting firm in St. Louis, will serve as director of transition recruitment and will lead outreach efforts in communities across the state.

Federal update

UM president encourages higher education facilities in public works projects

Congress is turning its sights to the new administration and President-elect Obama's priorities. In January, Congress plans to move both an omnibus spending measure to finish the Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations process and a massive economic stimulus bill to jump-start the economy. Expected as part of this stimulus plan is an effort for maintenance and infrastructure projects to spur job creation. University of Missouri President Gary Forsee sent a letter to Obama and the Missouri Congressional delegation about the university's maintenance and infrastructure needs. Currently, the university has $344 million in maintenance and $737 million in construction projects that could be immediately started.

Additionally, Obama has made health care reform the first national priority, which is an effort that will be spearheaded by incoming Administrator Tom Daschle after he is confirmed.

Last week, Congress returned to Washington for a final lame duck session before adjourning the 110th Congress to pass a bill providing federal support to the Big Three automakers. HR 7321, the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act, would have provided funding sufficient to cover the costs of up to $14 billion in bridge loans or commitments for lines of credit to U.S. auto manufacturers. The House of Representatives passed the measure, but the Senate failed to agree to consider the measure and do the same by a vote of 52-35.

Prior to the Senate's action, the White House had refused to get involved with the auto industry's bailout by using some funds from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) created by HR 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which passed in September. With Congress at an impasse for the automakers, the administration says it will allow some of the TARP fund that was approved to bail out financial companies to be spent shoring up the auto industry.


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