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February 26, 2010

February 26 Message

Good Afternoon: I hope all of you have had a good week. It looks like March will come in like a lamb next week. A few things to share today:

Hold the date: A combined Support Staff Development day and 4H Management Day will be held Thursday, April 22 at the Community Center in Redwood Falls. Invited to the Staff Development Day are Support Staff in the Worthington, Marshall and Hutchinson Regional Offices, County Support Staff in the Marshall and Worthington regions and 4H Program Coordinators in 4H Districts 11 and 12. We are still in the process of finalizing the agenda. However, I anticipate that the day will include tools to make our work more effective and efficient, transitional issues related to the 4H realignment and technology training with Karen Mathys. It will be a good day. Please be sure that your entire office staff is aware of this scheduled training. Look for more specific agenda details and registration info in mid to late March.

New Extension Wordmark: The Extension Wordmark is changing! This change is to better align the Extension with the public image communicated with the University of Minnesota. The new Extension wordmark will be available to download from the MyU website sometime next week. There will also be Powerpoint templates available for download and a Fast Guide to use for reference when using the new wordmark.

The forms to order letterhead and envelopes will also be put on the website next week. Please note that you should use all letterhead and envelopes you have on hand with the old wordmark before ordering any with the new wordmark.

Have a great weekend,


February 19, 2010

February 19 message

Good Morning: I hope you have had a good week. Last week in this blog I discussed the State budget situation for the University and Extension. Earlier this week the Governor released his budget recommendations. Included in the recommendation are reductions in County Program Aid distributed from sales and motor vehicle taxes to Counties. The following chart shows the actual reductions in CPA by county for 2010 and the proposed 2010 additional reductions for each county in our region:

County Unallotments.jpg

The Governors proposal will be considered by the House and Senate before any final budget agreement. If these CPA reductions are part of the final budget agreement, Counties will be challenged to make mid budget year reductions. These reductions may impact our local budgets. Counties contribute approximately 21% of the total Extension budgets, so the budget challenges faced by counties may be felt across Extension.

We will continue to work with County Administration, Commissioners and Extension Committees as they deal with their budgets. Continuation of outstanding programming and reporting is very helpful in maintain the strong level of local support we have enjoyed in our region.


February 12, 2010

February 12 Message

Good Afternoon: I hope everyone has had a good week. In this week's blog I will share some information about the current and projected budget for Extension. Because of this topic, I have included the Educators ain both the Hutchinson and Marshall Regional Offices in this message.

Earlier this week Dean Durgan met by UMConnect with the Extension Leadership Council. We are very fortunate to have the excellent leadership of Dean Durgan as our organization deals with the challenging budget environment. I would encourage everyone to visit the Dean's Office Extension and the Economy website, for details about Extension's response to the budget challenges facing the University, state and nation. A few of the items shared by the Dean include:

-The 2009-10 Extension budget is 65 million dollars. This is 1.3 million less than last year.

-County funding makes up about 21% of the Extension budget. In 2010, 2 counties increased their MOA funding. Fifteen counties decreased their staffing level. This resulted in a net decrease of 4.55 positions. The cost of the MOA positions did not increase in 2010. As it looks now, any increase for the MOA's in 2011 would match any salary adjustment made by the University. Also in 2010, 52 counties decreased their Extension budgets overall and 30 counties had an increase to their county budgets.

There are a number of items that have the potential to impact the Extension budget this year:

Deans have received instruction to begin planning for: Amount in Ext. $
• 2.75% decrease to all units of the U = $746,000
To cover unallotment from legislature ($36 M) and 27th pay period
• 2% Salary increase for all employees: NOT decided yet = $718,300
• Fringe Rate Increase
o Regular increase without compensation increase = $139,635
o Increase on compensation
• Cost Pool increase (5.83%) =$220,000
• Employee Furloughs (undecided yet)
There will be a tuition increase and we may get some of the 2.75% back.

Furloughs - final decision has not been made.

Dean Durgan reiterated the budget principles she has outlined in the past:

• A commitment to local, regional and statewide impact through Extension programs
• Being a front door to the University of MN
• Strengthening and maintaining partnerships with counties and collegiate units
• Increased need for Impact data on Extension programs

What Dean Durgan asks of us:
• Align our budgets to the organizations priorities. Continuing to be clear about our competitive advantage and our research base.
• Define the scope of your work. What are the Core programs you are a part of?
• Seek out opportunities for revenue enhancements
• Continue to find opportunities for cost efficiencies

If you have questions about any of this, give me a call and I will try to clarify.

Office Holidays: Most of our county offices will be closed Monday in observance of Presidents Day. The University, including Regional Extension Offices will be open. Have a safe and happy Valentine's Day / Presidents Day weekend


February 5, 2010

February 5 message

Good Day: I hope each of you have had a good week. We are certainly dealing with the challenges of winter, including tough roads conditions, rescheduled meetings and even staff being stranded in offices overnight. But, just think, it's only 56 days until the first Twins Baseball game outdoors at the new Target Field! A few things to share today:

Public Website: As I am sure you have seen, the Extension website for the public has been redesigned. The new design features improved navigation and ease for the public to access University Extension information, programs and research. If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the new and improved home page. We also have a screen print user's guide that you can print and give to visitors to your office looking for information that can be accessed through the new website. In the upcoming months look for revisions to the County and employee websites.

Extension Wordmark: As you noticed in the Public Website, the Extension wordmark / logo is revised and more clearly aligned with University of Minnesota branding. This revised wordmark will be introduced for Extension use in March. The change to the new wordmark will be gradual. In other words, as letterhead, envelopes, business cards etc supplies are depleted, the new order will have the new Wordmark.

Have a good weekend.