New Assistant Vice President and Controller, Office of Financial Services

A Message from Ben Lowenthal, Associate Vice President, Financial Services:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Sasha Hudson as Assistant Vice President and Controller in the Office of Financial Services, effective February 29.

Sasha brings over thirteen years of experience and proven leadership skills in financial management and operations, both within and for the University System of Maryland. For the past eight years she has held progressive managerial positions within the Comptroller’s Office at the University of Baltimore, most recently as Comptroller. Her previous accounting experience includes being on the audit team at SB & Company, the University System of Maryland fiscal auditors, where she led the grants portion of that audit for a number of years. Sasha, a licensed CPA, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting at Morgan State University and her Masters in Business Administration at University of Maryland University College.

I know that Sasha will be a valuable addition to our team. Please join me in giving her a warm welcome to UMBC.

Thank you.

Update on ACA Tax Forms

On January 4, 2016 you received an email from the Human Resources Department regarding impending notification that the State of Maryland would be distributing Affordable Care Act (ACA) Tax forms (also known as 1095-B and 1095-C) to employees in late January, 2016. Employees were encouraged to review the form(s) with their tax preparer before the 2016 tax return was submitted.

We have since received updated guidance from the State of Maryland, along with instructions regarding the 1095-B and 1095-C forms. Based on the revised instructions, the forms will be mailed to employees by March 31, 2016. Most importantly, the IRS also removed the requirement to attach these forms with your 2015 income tax return. Therefore, it is not necessary to wait until you receive the form(s) to file your income taxes for the 2015 tax year. The revised instructions are available on the HR website.

Should you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact our HR Benefits Staff at hrbenefits@umbc.edu.

Construction Begins on the Retriever Event Center

A message from Rusty Postlewate, Assistant Vice President, Facilities Management:

Beginning in early February the University will break ground on the Retriever Event Center, a state-of-the-art athletics venue and multipurpose facility designed to support the recruitment and retention of high-quality student-athletes, host student life activities and programs, and create a new home for many of our academic and institutional events. It will also provide a welcoming experience for all campus visitors and will continue to strengthen UMBC’s support of the surrounding community.

As crews work to mark off the construction site in preparation for excavation over the next few weeks, several areas across campus will be impacted. Specifically, the first phase of preparation and construction will require us to close Lot 28, located between the stadium complex and the future event center site, which will be converted to an access road for construction vehicles and equipment. Please pay close attention to any pedestrian detours in and around the construction area.

We encourage you to visit the new Facilities Management website and join our myUMBC group to receive news and updates and stay apprised of how construction on this project may impact you.

Thank you so much for your patience as we begin work on this important project. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Welcome to Patrick Jose Dawson – Director of the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery

A message from Antonio Moreira, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs:

We are delighted to welcome Patrick Jose Dawson to our UMBC community as Director of the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery. His first day was Monday, February 1.

Mr. Dawson joins UMBC from Northern Illinois University (NIU), where for the past seven years he has served as dean of libraries. Prior to his appointment at NIU, he served as associate university librarian for information and research services at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

The library is central to teaching and research and an integral part of the UMBC community, and we are very fortunate to have someone of Mr. Dawson’s experience and ability to serve as director of our Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery. We know he will be a valuable addition to our campus community.

Throughout his career, Mr. Dawson has been actively involved in the promotion of innovative and emerging trends and technologies for the improvement of information retrieval and delivery. He has extensive experience working in research university libraries and brings strong skills in strategic planning and budgeting.

Mr. Dawson’s office is in the administrative offices of the Library, located on the 3rd floor. His email is pdawson@umbc.edu and his direct line is 410-455-2356.

Please join us in welcoming and supporting him.

 

Legislative audit reports no repeat findings or p-card misuse

A message from Lynne Schaefer, Vice President, Finance and Administration:

After nearly a year of reviewing UMBC’s records and processes for the period covering July 1, 2011 through March 18, 2015, representatives from the State Office of Legislative Audits are finalizing their compliance and technology audit of the University. The compliance portion of the audit has concluded, and among the discussion notes shared during the exit conference with university officials it was acknowledged that the legislative auditors recorded no repeat findings in any of the areas and no purchase card (p-card) report items.

We are still awaiting the official report from both the compliance and technology auditors, which will be issued in the coming weeks; however, it is our anticipation that no repeat findings or p-card misuse will be reported.

This exciting news reaffirms the importance of internal controls and our dedication to being good stewards of the resources entrusted to us by the State.

Thank you so much for all your hard work in ensuring our campus remains safe and effective.

CDC information regarding the Zika Virus

Recently, there have been several documented cases of Zika virus in infants born with microcephaly (abnormally small heads) in Brazil. This has warranted the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to issue a travel alert to regions with Zika virus outbreaks, including parts of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Samoa, and Cape Verde. Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are advised to postpone travel to areas with Zika virus transmission. Travelers should also take precaution to prevent mosquito bites.

To date, there have been no local cases of Zika virus, nor any originating in the continental United States, but there have been some cases among returning travelers. According to the CDC, with the recent outbreaks and the number of cases increasing among travelers returning the United States, it is difficult to determine how widely the virus will spread.

Zika Virus is a mosquito-borne virus transmitted via mosquito bites.  It is estimated that 80 percent of those infected with Zika virus are without symptoms. Symptomatic disease is usually mild and symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). There is currently no vaccine or other preventative medication for Zika virus. For more information, see the CDC page on Zika virus.

University Health Services will continue to monitor the status of this situation.

Changes to the State Wellness Program

On January 19, 2016 the State of Maryland issued a press release regarding major changes to the State Wellness Program. As you may recall, the State Wellness Program was implemented in 2015 in an effort to keep healthcare premiums low for state employees, while improving overall health. Since then, the State has recognized the challenges associated with the program and has made significant changes that will address employee concerns and still promote engagement with the medical providers. Here is an overview of the changes:

  • The surcharges have been eliminated for 2016 and 2017 regardless of whether the member completed his or her wellness activities.
  • Those who completed the 2015 healthy activities do not have to complete them again in 2016; the $0 copay for all Primary Care Provider (PCP) office visits (including sick visits) will continue through December 31, 2016.
  • Engagement in disease management is not required. Members can engage voluntarily.
  • Age/gender appropriate screenings are not required; however, members are encouraged to complete these voluntarily.
  • Those who did not complete the healthy activities in 2015 may complete them now in 2016 and begin enjoying the $0 PCP copays once they are completed.
  • The New “Healthy Activities” for 2016 are:
    • Select a PCP
    • Complete either the medical plan’s health risk assessment OR the State health risk assessment
    • Have your Physician complete the Provider Notification Form

We want to sincerely thank our UMBC employees for their patience and feedback during the first year of this program. The changes outlined above are the result of your feedback and that of other State of Maryland employees and were adopted as positive incentives for people to use the resources offered by the plans in order to maintain, or improve, overall quality of life. If you have not yet taken advantage of the free copays, you still have time to do the activities outlined above.

If you need more information please visit the State of Maryland Wellness Program website to view the FAQ. If you have questions please contact Human Resources, 410-455-2337 or hrbenefits@umbc.edu.