Past Messages from the Vice President for Administration & Finance
Below, please find an archive of the messages previously sent by Vice President Josee Larochelle.
November 1, 2021
Recently, facilitators of our 2019–2022 plan met to discuss its progress. Given that the plan went into effect in June 2019, my expectations were low — we had less than eight months of “normal” before the pandemic struck. But as you can see in this update to that plan, we accomplished many of our goals in those first eight months and quite a few more thereafter. In fact, these accomplishments result in closing out the plan early. This allows us to set our sights on new goals that align with our campus’s evolving needs.
As we closed out our last strategic plan, the Leadership Team had a retreat late summer to develop our next divisional strategic directions for this year. We have determined that we need to continue to focus on our division employees through our morale and team building and our retention and staff development goals.
Our second area of strategic direction is related to enhancing the services we provide to our campus. Two areas of focus are e-procurement and student financial services.
Our last two areas of strategic direction are exciting opportunities to highlight and enhance our support for faculty research and our overall campus sustainability programs.
Summary of 2021–22 Strategic Directions
- Retention and staff development, facilitated by Sarah Reyell
- Morale and team building, facilitated by Anika Fullum
- E-procurement, facilitated by Sean Dermody
- Support student financial services, facilitated by Todd Moravec
- Support and enhance academic reputation through faculty research, facilitated by Mike Simpson
- Sustainability, facilitated by Bill Circelli and Dana Kellerman
I look forward to seeing what we will accomplish working collectively towards a strong future.
October 1, 2021
I am writing to share good news regarding the campus spending program. Spending and hiring restrictions are lifted effective immediately. It is imperative that all expenditures stay within existing budgets. Departments with concerns should contact Budget and Financial Reporting Services. While there will be some changes differing from our practices prior to COVID-19, this is an important next step in our continued return to normal operations. While the news I am sharing is a positive reflection of our collective efforts over the past 18 months, it is important to note that SUNY Systems Administration has stated that the need for spending constraints will be re-evaluated at the end of the fall semester and could be reinstated in the future. I thank you for your efforts during this challenging time and your continued commitment to the mission of the College and the students we serve. Further details are outlined below.
Hiring & Salary Restrictions
Pre-Recruitment Forms will no longer be a required part of the search process and will not need cabinet approval. A classification review will still be conducted by Human Resource Services prior to recruitment, but this will happen within the current Authorization to Recruit (ATR) approval process in the online recruitment system.
Student Temp Service Appointment Forms will no longer need a signature from Human Resource Services verifying cabinet approval. These forms are currently being updated to remove this signature line. Forms can be sent directly to Payroll Services once completed by the student and supervisor.
Reappointments will no longer require justification of their criticality. CP-3 Reappointment forms can be processed to Human Resource Services with a Vice-President signature, following the same process prior to March 2020.
Requests for Salary Increases and Promotion will continue to be reviewed by Human Resource Services (to ensure it meets the SUNY job specifications of the requested budget title and that the salary is appropriate in comparison to the same budget title/grade on campus and at the other SUNY comprehensive campuses) and Budget and Financial Reporting Services (to ensure the funding source has been identified).
- All restrictions on travel within the United States are lifted. International travel outside of Canada remains restricted.
- Limits on NET and Travel Cards will be lifted. Further details about this will be shared with cardholders next week.
- Purchase requisitions will no longer require additional justification. An updated purchase requisition is available and should be used for all future purchases.
- The additional restrictions on use of state funds for certain expenditures are lifted. Please see the updated State Expenditure Guidelines for more information.
- Approval by the Vice President for Administration and Finance is no longer required
for purchases under $50,000.00. Other approvals will be restored to pre-COVID levels:
- Purchases valued at $5,000 or less require approval of the Department Chairperson or Director*
- Purchases valued between $5,000.01 and $10,000.00 also require approval of the Dean or designee*
- Purchases valued at $10,000 or more also require the approval of the Divisional Vice President or designee.
- Completed purchase requisitions should be sent to [email protected] rather than [email protected]
*Vice Presidents and Deans may require additional approvals for their divisions/schools above these levels.
Over the course of the past nine months, our Purchasing and Accounts Payable Team have been working diligently on the implementation of Jaggaer, an eProcurement System currently used by seven other SUNY Campuses.
This system will replace our current process and will provide a modern shopping experience that will allow users to find items they need from vendors in one place. Once complete, the system will automatically route requisitions for applicable approvals and send it to the vendor to complete the order, making our procurement process more efficient.
Implementation of this system will begin next month. Further details about our implementation will be shared soon.
With the implementation of the new eProcurement System next month, Procurement Cards will remain restricted. Commonly used office supplies will continue to be made available through the Supplies to Go Program at the warehouse for the time being. Your patience is appreciated as we transition from our current process to the new eProcurement System.
August 17, 2021
Effective Monday, Aug. 23, the campus will revert back to requiring face coverings while indoors for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. Facilities has begun posting signage across the campus to reflect this change. Unvaccinated community members must also social distance both indoors and outdoors.
This will be effective through at least Saturday, Sept. 11, the end of the second week of classes. While in place, this mandate will be evaluated for continuation based on the campus’ vaccination status, positivity rate and/or other factors related to external factors such as community spread. The status of the mandate will be communicated to campus.
If we are successful in keeping our community safe from COVID-19 and prevalent variants, the college may eliminate restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals. Fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
Self service cleaning supplies in red buckets and hand sanitizer will be in common areas such as lounges, lobbies, and other high traffic locations across campus. We ask that you return the cleaning supplies to their designated location after use. You can request the supplies be replenished through submitting a work order through ReADY Request.
As a reminder, all employees must affirm that they have read the Revised Guidance for State Agencies and Authorities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Attestation guidance in its entirety, understand its provisions, and will adhere to its requirements. State employees must return this signed attestation to Human Resource Services, 912 Kehoe. All third party affiliates should return them to their appropriate Human Resources office.
July 26, 2021
The College has completed the fiscal year 2021/22 budget development for all four operating funds (State, DIFR, IFR & SUTRA) and is prepared to submit the finalized budget to SUNY by the August 13th deadline. The FY21/22 budget will include full year allocations that will be loaded into Business Intelligence (BI) by SUNY during the fall semester. Departments may view their FY21/22 budgets now on the Account Development & Management website. The Budget and Financial Reporting Office is available to answer any questions you may have regarding the FY21/22 budget.
Highlights of each fund’s budget are as follows:
State Operating Fund
- Fall student headcount 4,862
- 100% direct state support
- $11.3M in federal stimulus funding
- 7% or $3.6M reduction in divisional expenditure budget
- FY21/22 Fall Headcount 1,950; Spring Headcount 1,850
- 4% rental rate increase
- Mandatory fee budgets (athletic, recreation, health, technology and career) include a 0% HEPI increase
- Relatively flat from FY20/21 levels
July 8, 2021
Over the course of the past 15 months, The College has done a tremendous job limiting expenditures to those deemed critical under our hiring and spending constraint program. This work has not been easy but it has been necessary to comply with the budget directives we have received from SUNY. I thank each of you for your efforts carefully scrutinizing your expenditures and preparing detailed justifications.
As you know, July 1st marked the beginning of the new fiscal year. While we had hoped that the new fiscal year would allow some flexibility, we have received guidance from SUNY that the constraints will remain in effect for 2021/22, at least through the end of September 2021. During this time, SUNY Leadership will continue to work with the NYS Division of Budget to assess the situation and provide guidance to campuses as to the continued need to maintain these constraints.
Administration and Finance will continue to engage our colleagues at SUNY and will keep you informed of significant developments. In the meantime, thank you for your continued patience and cooperation as we strive to carry out our mission while meeting our obligations.
July 6, 2021
You may have seen new signs across campus regarding face coverings, social distancing, and health screenings. New York State has made significant progress with COVID-19 vaccine distribution and our state of emergency expired on June 24, 2021. This means a return to most pre-pandemic operations and lifting of most restrictions on campus for vaccinated individuals and revisions to our social distancing and face covering policy. Here are a few highlights of what has changed:
- Face Mask and social distancing are no longer required for fully vaccinated individuals- this includes employees, students, auxiliary employees, and community members/visitors.
- The daily on-line COVID-19 health screenings are no longer required. Health screening will occur through a series of questions posted on all building entrances.
- Social distancing occupancy requirements in classrooms are still pending SUNY guidance.
- Offices may remove all outdated campus COVID-19 signage.
- Starting July 15, furniture that was removed for social distancing will be returned.
- Mandatory weekly testing for eligible employees will continue, however employees who wish to opt out by disclosing their vaccination status may do so by completing the Vaccination Attestation Form.
- The public is once again welcome to our campus.
Please keep in mind that although vaccinated individuals are no longer required to wear face coverings, they may choose to continue doing so for any number of reasons. Welcoming and accepting those who wear masks on campus is an easy step anyone can take to support one another and perpetuate our inclusive campus culture in a positive way.
Please visit this informational COVID-19 page for more details on how we will continue to operate our campus with our community’s health and safety first. Cordially, Josee
May 11, 2021
With summer approaching, so does the start of various construction projects on campus. You may have already noticed that one such project is underway - the Kehoe Building and Myers Fine Arts Building parking lot project. Construction began last week and has resulted in closing the lot, changed traffic patterns between Rugar St. and Broad St., and the removal of trees. We are excited for the conclusion of this project as it will not only improve one of our more prominent campus spaces, but add new accessible parking spaces and electric vehicle charging stations. As with any project we appreciate your patience when faced with the inconveniences and unsightly appearances that may result.
We understand that our green space and our trees are so important to the climate and our campus community. With this project, the removal of trees was necessary to ensure we meet state standards for accessible parking spaces and improve our support for electric vehicles. Once construction in this area has been completed, we will determine the practicality and placement of new trees and or greenery. Your facilities team is committed to maintaining our campus for the enjoyment of all and ensuring all have access to our campus. Thank you for your patience while this project is completed.
Visit our Construction Updates page to learn more about this project and more.
March 2, 2021
Now more than ever we must work together to safeguard our college’s assets. When everyone does their part, we make the most of our resources and adapt to the challenges our campus will face in the future. Everyone plays a role in our stewardship of state public resources.
How You Contribute!
- Use college resources only in support of our goals, objectives and programs.
- Look for opportunities to reduce waste and improve efficiencies.
- Follow campus policies and procedures, as well as those in place for your job.
- Communicate problems, ask questions and suggest improvement to your supervisor or department chair.
- When assigned, complete your compliance training.
What To Do If You Suspect A Problem?
There can be occasions when faculty, staff,students, community members intentionally or unintentionally misuse state funds, equipment and supplies or participate in unethical activities or practices. If you suspect or know of such actions, you can make a report to the Anonymous Internal Control Hotline (voice mailbox) at 866-633-6112. If you notice something unusual, report it. Your information — not your name — could prove useful in reducing losses and preventing fraud, waste and abuse.
What Are Internal Controls?
These are all the daily activities that we exercise to help ensure the college’s resources are used effectively and efficiently. These activities minimize inappropriate use of resources; loss, waste or damage of resources; overspending; or other actions inconsistent with policy or in violation of law.
Why Are Internal Controls Important?
They provide reasonable assurance that we are using college resources to meet our objectives and goals and taking steps to decrease the risks to the organization. While it is the law that the college has an Internal Control Program, it also makes good sense for the college to operate as efficiently as possible.
Should you have questions about the Internal Control Program, please contact David Gregoire at 518-564-3613.
January 4, 2021
I am writing to put into context recent developments in federal spending, SUNY’s state budget request and what they mean for the college.
Federal Stimulus to Assist
The recently passed federal stimulus provides $23 billion for higher education, with funding broken into categories similar to the CARES Act: direct grants to students and institutional support for the college. From this, SUNY Plattsburgh will be receiving $8.7 million. This will be divided between $2.6 million grants given to students and $5.7 million can be used for institutional costs. Under the legislation, these can include lost revenue, technology associated with distance education, faculty and staff training, payroll, and student support activities related to COVID-19. The infusion of this key federal funding is much welcomed and will help SUNY Plattsburgh through this difficult year.
Level State Budget Request
The SUNY Board of Trustees proposed budget included a request for level state funding, authority for the board to set tuition, and $10 million in COVID-19 funding. The impact to SUNY Plattsburgh of this proposed budget is that our state funding will not change. Keep in mind that this is only the first step in the state budget process. The next step is for the governor to release his proposed budget mid- to late-January.
Limits on State Funding
As you might recall from my September 2020 budget forum, we received only 85 percent of our New York State funding for the last fiscal year, 2019–2020 and had not yet received any state funding for the current fiscal year, 2020–2021. Accordingly, the College was proceeding with the following assumptions;
- We will receive 70 percent of the current fiscal year state funding.
- We will not receive the remaining 15 percent of last fiscal year’s state funding.
- We were projecting a $1.3 million surplus at the end of this fiscal year. That’s down from nearly $8.4 million at the beginning of fiscal year 2019–2020.
Additionally, the state is only providing 80 percent of all Tuition Assistance Program and Excelsior Scholarship funding. And there is no additional guidance from SUNY or the state on when funding will be provided or how much will ultimately be allocated for higher education.
Strategic College Budget Development Ahead
As we enter the second half of 2020–2021 and embark on budget development for 2021–2022, this all means we have few specific answers but know we must work together to prepare well for our financial future. Campus leadership is discussing how to align our emerging strategic planning efforts and our budget development processes. As discussions continue and deeper examination of the state’s financial position provides more insights, we will share more updates.
At this point, it is clear state reductions will persist and the reductions will apply to all state funding including higher education scholarships such as TAP and Excelsior.
While this update does not provide great detail, it is important that we all understand the impacts of both federal funding and the state’s funding as they develop.
Stay tuned for more updates later this month.
November 17, 2020
Last Friday we held an administration and finance divisional meeting to provide updates on the Winter Break Remote Work Program and campus construction. However, the highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the 2020 Excellence in Service Awards. There were many things we had to cancel this year, but recognizing your service was not going to be one of them. These awards, Excellence in Classified Service, Excellence in Unclassified Service and Excellence in Team Service are our way of saying thank you for exemplifying our divisions values — Strategic, Ethical, Respectful, Versatile, Inclusive, Collaborative and Excellence.
The recipients were:
- Excellence in Unclassified Service — Christopher Akey
- Excellence in Classified Service — Jenna Beauregard
- Excellence in Team Service — Janitorial Service
I also presented awards for Special Commendation for Leadership during the COVID-19 Pandemic to Sarah Reyell, Sean Dermody and William Circelli.
Congratulations to all award recipients, award nominees and to you all for rising to every challenge the pandemic has brought our way.
If you were unable to attend, I encourage you to view the presentation here. We would love your feedback on the presentation. I look forward to seeing you at our next divisional meeting in Spring 2020.
August 21, 2020
Dear Administration and Finance,
I want to take a few moments out of your busy day to share our division’s successes in preparing the campus for Fall 2020. As you know, this past spring and summer was like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic closed our college’s doors, sent students and many staff home, leaving only our essential employees on campus keeping operations running. To those employees who continued to come to campus to perform essential services, THANK YOU!
In April, we began preparing for our community’s safe return. This has been a tremendous feat demanding everyone’s dedication. Here are a few highlights of the work we accomplished to support our return to Cardinal Country:
- We cleaned and disinfected daily 42 buildings that span two million square feet
- We safely returned 265 employees as a part of the phased return to on-campus work
- We beautified our grounds by mowing, trimming over 261 acres
- We completed a renovation of Kent Hall in time for move-in this week
- We started the renovation of Memorial Hall
- We evaluated 175 classrooms to support social distancing AND moved so much furniture out of classrooms that the Field House Gym is nearly full!
- We ordered and received many new products to ensure the safety of our employees and
- face masks
- hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizer, disinfectant and towels
- materials to support space modifications to support social distancing
- and many, many more equipment and supplies
- We processed thousands of refunds to students for mandatory fees in the spring due to our campus closure
- We awarded over $2.5 million of CARES Act stimulus grants to our students
- We closed out the 2019-20 fiscal year AND re-opened a new fiscal year with significant financial constraints
You all played a role in these successes; what you do matters! And for that, I am so proud of our division and so appreciative for your dedication and commitment. As we look to the future, please know that the next 90 days will be critical. Because in 90 days, remote instruction for our students begins. And if we safely and successfully reach that benchmark we will have performed a historic feat that not every campus will meet. We can do this because this is what we do in A&F — We rise to the challenge to serve our campus community.
Stay safe, Cardinal Strong, always have a face covering with you and I look forward to a successful fall semester.
July 28, 2020
I write today to provide an update on the seriousness of SUNY Plattsburgh’s financial situation and to outline a plan to allow the college to strategically navigate these challenging and uncertain times.
The college’s core operating budget is funded by two main revenue streams: direct state support and student tuition. Direct State Support has remained flat over a number of years and is viewed as a recurring and ongoing commitment, which allows a level of stability in our budget planning. Student tuition is variable and dependent upon enrollment numbers each year.
The college is also comprised of many support functions occurring in our DORM, IFR and SUTRA funds, and these functions are not supported by direct state support. Rather, they are supported by revenues, such as residence hall fees, mandatory student fees, course fees, fee for service programs, academic overseas programs and summer session tuition. These operations have been severely impacted by the pandemic, and regrettably, these negative impacts will continue in the years ahead.
Our annual fiscal year (FY) extends from July 1 through the following June. As of today, we have received only 85% of our FY2019/20 direct state support, which ended on June 30, 2020. The college has not received any FY2020/21 direct state support and the level and timing of this support remains uncertain.
With the uncertainties surrounding FY2020/21, SUNY System Administration has directed campuses to submit a FY2020/21 budget for six months of operating expenditures for the State Operating Fund, IFR Fund and SUTRA Fund.
That said, here is how we plan to go forward:
State Operating Fund
The State Operating Fund is restricted to only six months of FY19/20 expenses/disbursements. In order to achieve this budget level departmental budgets will be impacted as follows:
- All PSR and TS excluding TS Undergraduate Students will be reduced by 50%
- Contractual and Utilities will be reduced by 50%
- TS Undergraduate Students, supplies, travel, library, and equipment will be reduced to $0 allocation.
Keep in mind that this is a six month budget. Employee salaries will be supported for the entire fiscal year. While some expenses have already been processed in accounts with no allocation for FY20/21, we will be reviewing the need to allocate budget for these expenses later in the year.
IFR & SUTRA Fund
The departmental IFR and SUTRA budgets will be reduced by 50% in all budget categories. Although the IFR and SUTRA funds are self-generating funds, SUNY has given the directive to submit reduced budgets in order to maximize flexibility of operations during this time.
The DORM Fund is not required to submit an adjusted FY20/21 budget at this time. SUNY is in the process of bonding to fund all campus debt service for the residence halls for FY20/21 and FY21/22 in order for campuses to have sufficient resources to operate their residence hall programs.
In order to provide departments with their adjusted budget for accounts, we are striving to provide reports that can be referenced until SUNY Central posts budgets in SUNY BI. This is anticipated soon.
We have already taken significant measures to reduce expenditures with the Hiring and Salary Program and spending restrictions implemented in April 2020. However, the changes to budgets outlined above will require that spending restrictions remain in place until further notice. While more details about purchasing procedures will be shared with the campus community soon, a few highlights include:
- Procurement Cards will remain restricted.
- Departments should continue to submit purchase requisitions for all purchases for
which they have a budget based on the information above.
- Divisional vice president review is no longer required on purchases under $10,000. Dean/Department budget managers may submit funded requisitions directly to Administration and Finance at [email protected] Purchases will remain limited to critical needs only and subject to additional review criteria
- Additional expenditure restrictions on State Operating Funds will be necessary
- Office supplies for department use will continue to be available through the warehouse
All FY 2020–21 purchase requisitions that have been submitted and not yet approved are currently being re-evaluated in light of this new information. We anticipate having an update on the status within the next two weeks. Your patience is appreciated.
We expect an update from NYS and SUNY in late fall on the timing and level of direct state tax support we will receive. At that time, we will reevaluate our budget levels and inform the campus of any changes. Our mission will continue to be the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and sustaining the college’s 2020 Priorities:
- Support for the Student Experience
- Increasing Financial Stability
- Advancing Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Our students will need all the support we can provide academically, personally and financially as they navigate the academic year in extraordinarily challenging circumstances. I thank you in advance for sustaining your commitment.
June 8, 2020
As a follow-up to last week’s message, we are launching our return to work on campus plan. As a reminder, the college has developed a Social Distancing and Face Covering Policy for SUNY Plattsburgh that outlines our expectations for physical distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE). You can read the policy here.
With this in place, we have developed a COVID-19 Return to Work Plan to phase in the return of staff over many weeks in a coordinated process. This will ensure appropriate social distancing and availability of PPE, as well as the ability to modify our work spaces. While the timing decision for each department will depend on workspace accommodations and business continuity needs, we have developed a list of phased dates by department. These dates are guidelines only.
These decisions, once approved, will be communicated to you through your respective manager/supervisor.
The first step in preparing our work environments for your return to campus is an assessment of work spaces. Departments heads will receive guidance on how to assess the environment within the week. The second will be ensuring social distancing in common areas is adequately marked and posted.
The phased return to work plan will follow these steps:
- Step 1: Manager completes Social Distancing Assessment and Modification Request Form.
- Step 2: Manager sends Return to Work Employee Questionnaire to their employees.
- Step 3: Manager submits Social Distancing Assessment and Employee Questionnaires to their supervisor. It goes up the hierarchy through their respective vice president and the Operational Continuity Health and Safety Team.
- Step 4: Operational Continuity Health and Safety Team notifies vice president, supervisor and manager.
- Step 5: Manager notifies employees on date to return to work.
- Step 6: Employee watches New York State return to work video.
- Step 7: Employee returns to work.
Any questions regarding the return to work plan should be sent to the Operations Continuity Health and Safety Team at [email protected].
Our maintenance and operations staff has been hard at work preparing the campus for our workforce to return.
June 1, 2020
You have likely seen that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has cleared our region to begin Phase II of our state’s reopening. This phase includes the ability of higher education administration to return to campuses.
In anticipation of this, we developed a Social Distancing and Face Covering Policy for SUNY Plattsburgh that outlines our expectations for physical distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE). You can read the policy here.
With this in place, we are developing a plan to phase in the return of staff over many weeks in a coordinated process. This will ensure appropriate social distancing and availability of PPE. Our campus will assess expanded staffing based on our ability to accommodate social distancing and manage specific work environments as well as the necessity to access on-site resources.
These decisions, once approved, will be communicated to you through your respective manager/supervisor.
The first step in preparing our work environments for your return to campus will be an assessment of work spaces. Departments heads will be receiving guidance on how to assess the environment within the next week. The second will be ensuring social distancing in common areas is adequately marked and posted.
Our maintenance and operations staff will be working at full capacity effective today, Monday, June 1, in order to ensure our campus is adequately cleaned, sanitized and ready for the phased-in return of staff and faculty.
May 11, 2020
With finals week underway, I am writing to share a few important updates regarding campus operations.
Restoring full campus operations is dependent upon our region meeting certain criteria. Until this time, the College will continue to operate with only essential employees on campus. Previously existing Temporary Work Agreements remain in effect under the NYS telecommuting pilot program and do not need to be renewed. Supervisors are expected to continue making weekly reports of employees at alternate work locations here.
UUP and SUNY have entered a MOU to address concerns of members about COVID-19’s impact on reviews for tenure or permanent appointment. Key details include:
- Academics who are currently serving in tenure-track academic positions will receive an automatic one-year extension of their time to continuing appointment.
- Professionals who are coming up for review in the next two years can request a six-month extension of their time to permanent appointment.
We will be working to create the necessary processes and forms for academic employees who wish to opt out of the extension, along with professional employees who wish to opt in. This will be announced to the campus once finalized.
As previously communicated, summer study abroad and faculty-led trips are cancelled. All other travel through June 30th is restricted to critical operational travel only. Critical operational travel includes travel for health and safety, student recruitment, or to meet contractual or legal obligations.
Travelers must submit a travel authorization with a justification of the need and receive approval by their respective Vice President before going on any state-funded or sponsored travel. No determination has been made on travel after July 1st at this time and no travel authorizations should be submitted.
SPENDING AND HIRING
The Spending Restrictions and Hiring pause first announced on April 10 will remain in effect through June 30. This pause includes the hiring of student employees, including Federal Work-Study. Together, we have done an excellent job in reducing expenses, saving $400k in the month of April! These restrictions have not been easy, but they are necessary and will help us have the best position moving forward.
As the semester winds down, know that we will continue to provide timely updates to keep you informed. As a reminder, you can always learn more on our COVID-19 website here:
Be well and know that your good work is appreciated.
April 20, 2020
I am writing to provide additional guidance on the spending changes first announced on April 10th. Please note these procedures supersede earlier guidance and are effective immediately.
- Requisitions for new services or goods must be submitted first to the respective Dean
and Vice President for review of criticality and approval. Upon approval, the requisition
is to be forwarded to the Office of the Vice President of Administration & Finance for review and approval.
- If the requisition is less than $5,000, the Vice President for Administration & Finance is the final approval.
- If the requisition is $5,000 or more, the Vice President for Administration & Finance will obtain the President’s approval in advance of purchase.
- Requisitions for new ongoing/recurring monthly expenses should be prepared for the anticipated total amount through the end of the fiscal year and submitted to the respective Dean and Vice President for initial approval of the expense. Upon approval, the requisition should be forwarded to the Office of the Vice President of Administration & Finance for review and approval.
- Invoices for services or goods already received should be processed as follows:
- If the invoice is for goods and services under an existing contract or purchase order, invoices are to be submitted to Accounts Payable.
- If the invoice is not supported by an existing contract or purchase order, a requisition must accompany the invoice, and submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance for review and approval.
- Procurement, Travel, and Non-Employee Travel Card Reconciliations: Monthly reconciliations for previous Citibank credit card uses are exempt and do not require any additional approvals.
In order to ensure purchases are expedited, please include documentation supporting costs (e.g. invoice, quotes, price list, etc.) with your requisition.
More information can be found on our Administration and Finance COVID-19 website including some resources we have posted reflecting these changes:
- A revised Hiring and Spending Changes Question and Answer document
- A revised Purchase Requisition
- A new Spending Changes Approval Flowchart
As always, we will continue to keep you informed of important updates in response to this situation.
April 15, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
I am writing to share more information regarding my email last Friday on Hiring and Spending Changes. A few key takeaways include:
- We are instituting a New Hiring and Salary Program for reviewing non-teaching positions in advance of any recruitment activity.
- All recruitment and hiring are put on PAUSE through May 30th
- Only critical purchases are allowable through June 30th.
- Critical purchases must be approved in advance by your Dean, Vice President, and the
President and include those related to:
- Health or Safety
- Spring or Summer Course Delivery
- Student Enrollment Recruitment
- A new purchase requisition has been developed which includes a justification for the expenditure.
A new resource has been developed to provide guidance on the expenditure changes announced on Friday, our Hiring and Spending Questions and Answers.
As always, this and other information can be found on our A&F COVID-19 Website.
These are challenging times and the full impact of COVID-19 remains unknown. Please know that we will continue to provide updates as additional information is learned. Thank you for your patience and for all of your efforts to continue our critical mission.
April 10, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
Among the widespread effects of COVID-19 are the operations of SUNY Plattsburgh. As we promote the health, safety and security of our students, staff and faculty, we must also take steps to position the college to fulfill its core mission now and in the future.
The ultimate financial impact of COVID-19 is unknown, but the pandemic has already resulted in severe financial consequences to New York State that demand prompt action. Accordingly, we are detailing below some actions taken now to reduce state expenses.
Immediate actions (affecting all campus funding sources);
- All recruitments and hiring are put on PAUSE through May 15th. This means that no salary offers will be extended to candidates without the President’s authorization. The College has identified our two Vice President recruitments as critical to the College and they are proceeding forward.
- All non-salary related expenditures are suspended. If there is a critical expenditure that is related to the health and safety of the campus, it will need approval from your respective Vice President and the President. A requisition must be used for all expenses effective immediately. This directive includes all P-Card and T-Card expenses. As such, the dollar limits for these cards are being reduced to $1.00.
It is important to recognize the impact of the recently announced pay increase freeze on our classified employees including CSEA, PBA of New York State, NYSCOPBA, and PEF employees. The Governor’s announcement yesterday indicates that the 2% pay increase scheduled for the April 29th paycheck is on hold; longevity increases for CSEA employees scheduled for the April 15th check are being released. We have yet to receive any specifics from SUNY or the Governor’s Office regarding this freeze.
The anxiety that is created by the uncertain financial impact of COVID-19 is felt by all members of our community. The College is working towards understanding the financial impacts of COVID-19 on our budget for next year.
As more information is known to the College, updates will be provided to all faculty and staff.
March 26, 2020
“Unprecedented times”, “Fluid situation”, “Essential Personnel”
Each of us has heard terms such as these many times over the past few weeks as the College responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, repeated use of these terms dulls us to their impact and can’t convey what we feel on a daily basis.
Students not returning to residence halls, offices empty and buildings locked, and the familiar buzz of campus activity gone silent. On a personal level, many of us are struggling with how to care for children with schools closed, loved ones who may be particularly susceptible, and how to buy the essentials we need. The words “unprecedented times" don’t do justice to the anxiety and stress that many of us feel.
These feelings are understandable, but I want to take a moment of time to share my reflections. As Cardinals, we have faced adversity and challenge before. We are resilient and I want to share a few examples of how we have responded rapidly and effectively to this public health crisis to overcome its challenge.
- Classroom instruction continues through distance learning with our nearly 5,000 students continuing to make progress towards their degrees.
- Our janitorial team has worked tirelessly to implement new measures and keep our campus clean.
- We are striving to release over 75 percent of our employees to work remotely, yest still provide the continuity of services needed to keep the college going all the while still practicing social distancing.
We have done all of these things because we have bold, resourceful employees who do not shy from overcoming a challenge, and are committed to our students and their education. We will succeed because of what you do.
As Cardinals, we have survived fires, ice storms, and floods. We will overcome COVID-19, too. This will not stop us from achieving our strong future together.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones; you have my deepest gratitude for all you do.
Oct. 17, 2019
Last week we held the Fall Administration and Finance Divisional Meetings on Oct. 9 and 10. Thank you for all of those who attended! We encourage you to fill out our meeting evaluation survey to give us feedback on the meeting overall.
If you were unable to attend, I encourage you to review the presentation. Summarized below are some highlights.
The Presidential Search is on schedule. Three names were forwarded to the Chancellor. We anticipate an appointment at the SUNY Board of Trustees Meeting on November 19th and 20th.
The College is preparing to recruit our next Provost and VP for Academic Affairs and VP for Enrollment and Student Success for the Academic Year 2020-2021.
Strategic Plan Accomplishments
Progress continues to be made on the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan. Over the three-year period, we plan to focus on 8 strategic focus areas, with 38 goals determined.
Capital and Construction Projects
The overall Plattsburgh Experience on campus continues to improve through numerous capital and construction projects. Noteworthy projects include renovations of Memorial Hall, Kent Hall, and Whiteface Hall.
Financial Stability Plan
A Financial Stability Plan update was shared. Highlights of the plan as well as the presentation slides can be found on the financial stability plan website.
I look forward to seeing you at our next Divisional Meeting in Spring 2020.
March 14, 2019
I enjoyed seeing many of you at last week’s Administration and Finance Divisional Meeting. For those who attended, I hope that you walked away with a better understanding of the ambitious work occurring across our division and looking forward to our future events.
If you were unable to attend, we shared important upcoming divisional events and initiatives, provided an update on major capital and construction projects, and shared information on the achievements from our 2018-2019 Strategic Plan. I encourage you to review the presentation to learn more.
I have also summarized highlights and resources below:
Capital and Construction Projects
We continue to improve the Plattsburgh experience through investment in capital and construction projects and the planned renovation of Memorial Hall is no exception.
Examples of 2018-2019 Strategic Plan Achievements
Morale and Teambuilding — The revival of the division-wide Summer Picnic and Retreat! Hosting division-wide meetings and the announcement of the A&F Excellence in Service Award. (Nominations due March 15, 2019)
Retention and Staff Development — A formal on-boarding process for new employees with periodic follow up.
Cost Savings and Efficiencies — Based on the ideas and contributions of our campus community, the team worked with other campus stakeholders and has currently identified $90,000 in cost savings!
Holding regular meetings is part of our strategic plan to keep you better informed about the good work that is occurring in our division. We encourage you to complete our meeting evaluation survey. No personally identifiable information will be collected and the results will be shared with the Teambuilding and Morale Team to help us improve future programs.
I hope you will join us at our next divisional meeting in Fall 2019.
See you then, Josee
Aug. 21, 2018
It has been over a year since I was given the opportunity to join the SUNY Plattsburgh community as the Vice President for Administration and Finance. This past year has been a period of growth and renewal within the Administration and Finance Division.
We have come together as a division to formulate a new strategic plan - our first in nearly 20 years as a division. We have developed a multi-year financial stability plan that charts a course to a strong financial future. We completed important capital projects to ensure that our facilities will continue to meet the evolving needs of our campus community. We have supported vital initiatives to make our campus a welcoming and inclusive community for all people.
These highlights and more are outlined in our 2017-18 Annual Report. Please take a few minutes and read about our accomplishments as a division. We have much to be proud of and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish working together with common purpose in the year to come.
Finally, it was great meeting many of you at our 2018 Summer Retreat and Picnic. I hope you enjoyed the opportunity to learn about our strategic initiatives, get to know your colleagues within the division, and have some fun at the same time. Our accomplishments are not the work of a few; they are the result of many dedicated staff within the Administration & Finance Division. Thank you for all that you do throughout the year to make the transformative learning environment at SUNY Plattsburgh possible.
June 20, 2018
It is my pleasure to share with you that effective July 1, 2018 our division will be renamed Administration & Finance, or A&F, for short. This change is part of our new strategic plan and intended to better communicate the scope of services that we provide to the campus. Please ensure that you adopt the Administration & Finance name anywhere your department currently references “Business Affairs.”
Over the last several months, members of our division have been working together to develop a strategic plan that represents who we are and what we aspire to become in the next five years. The current plan not only meets this endeavor but also sets a course for meeting our aspirational goals. We strive to become a division that is a leader in innovative business services and facilities management through a collaborative team approach.
Moving forward, four strategic directions have been identified:
- Cost Savings & Efficiencies
- Morale & Teambuilding
- Retention & Development of Current Employees
Teams have been created to work on these endeavors. In the near future, you can expect regular updates from your colleagues working on the teams responsible for work towards meeting their goals.
April 3, 2018
Over the past weeks, members of the campus community had the opportunity to attend a Financial Stability Plan Update presentation. For those present, thank you for attending. The level of engagement and inquiry was outstanding. Our plan for attaining financial stability is a collaborative effort and we are confident that our campus community has the ability and stamina to achieve the plan. If you were unable to attend the presentation, you can learn more about it here.
Highlights from the presentation include the following:
- Fall 2017 enrollment exceeded the goal by 3%, which results in increase tuition revenue.
- There was no change in the expected temporary salary reductions, however cuts in permanent salaries will extend into FY2021-22.
- Permanent Salary & Expense reductions totaled $662,000 in FY2017-18 & $1.5 million in FY2018-19.
- The structural deficit in FY2021-22 increased from $2 million to $4.2 million due to the elimination of the expected 10% reduction in scholarship offerings. We are working towards a balanced budget by FY2021-22 through cost savings & efficiency & revenue generation committees.
I also wanted to draw your attention to the New York State Budget, which was passed on March 30, 2018. The highlights as related to the State University of New York are as follows:
- No Increase in state funding Funding for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is kept at the current FY2017-18 level with no reductions
- $18 million for Performance Improvement Plan is kept at the current FY2017-18 level
- $4 million for Open Educational Resources (OER) at SUNY is included in the new budget
As a public institution, our financial position continues to depend heavily upon the budget-making process in Albany. While it is disappointing that we did not see an increase in state funding, it is at least reassuring that the Governor and Legislature funded SUNY at a level consistent with the past year. As we look to future years, we will continue our efforts to advocate for SUNY while also identifying and implementing cost savings and revenue generation ideas to achieve a secure financial future for the College. As always, I thank you for your efforts on behalf of our campus.
Feb. 26, 2018
To Employees of the Business Affairs Division:
These are difficult days for our nation and our College. The recent school shooting at Parkland, Florida and racist social media message that circulated on our campus remind us that we have a long way to go to achieve a society where all feel welcome and safe.
If you did not attend one of the student forums, know that the pain and fear experienced by our students is very real. Hearing their stories reminds me how difficult it is to understand what others face without walking a mile in their shoes and the long road ahead of us as a community.
I can assure you that the College’s Leadership recognizes this and the action plan developed is a significant step forward and will make a difference. You will hear more about the steps we are taking in the weeks to come.
While the focus of our efforts in the Business Affairs Division is on providing administrative, operational, and financial services, we must never forget that our first and foremost concern must be the students attending this institution. We must recognize that our students are struggling and our conduct sends a message to them.
As your vice president, it is imperative to me that we act in ways that show our collective support to the students of this institution. Each of us can make a difference and here are some steps that you can take:
- Recognize that these feelings are genuine and deeply felt and they do not go away even if the headlines do. Our students are struggling and I continue to echo Provost Morgan’s request that you be compassionate and understanding in these uncertain times.
- Diversity Week is this week — show up to an event to demonstrate your support for our campus efforts. (Please coordinate your attendance with you supervisor first).
- The recent events on campus are worthy of healthy, respectful discussion and it is in our best interest to support and facilitate such discussion where we can. It is important to remember, however, that opinions will vary and certain topics within this discussion may be divisive and/or hurtful to portions of our campus population (students, employees and/or guests). As such, please be mindful and respectful of your surrounding audience, and limit discussion to those who are interested in participating. If conversations must occur in open spaces, please ensure that they are not intruding on those who may be within earshot or apt to pass through the conversational space.
- You are encouraged to contact your departmental leadership or Human Resource Services/EAP if there is an interest in having someone facilitate an organized conversation around the recent events and our reactions to them.
- If you see an incident of discrimination or harassment, please report them to the Affirmative Action or Title IX Offices.
Lastly, if you need to talk about these events, know that my door is open. Please make an appointment by calling Amanda Suriel at (518) 564-5062. These are challenging times but I am confident that through our collective efforts we can achieve a community where all people feel welcomed and supported.
Oct. 2, 2017
Over the past few weeks, I have enjoyed meeting many of you as we have gathered together to discuss our plans for ensuring a strong future for SUNY Plattsburgh.
As I mentioned in our community gatherings, a Budget Plan Website has been created that provides detailed information about our budget plan. On it, you can find a copy of the financial stability plan presentation, learn about the guiding principles for our budget plan, and submit your budget ideas for cost savings to the campus.
As a reminder our “Coffee with Clark” program kicks off this week. Please come join Clark Foster, Associate VP for Administration and Finance, have a cup of coffee and share your ideas for cost savings and revenue opportunities. A list of dates and times can be found on our Share your budget ideas. All ideas are welcome and will be reviewed!
While I am newcomer to SUNY Plattsburgh, one thing that has become readily apparent to me in these few short months is the talent of the individuals in our community and the shared commitment to our College’s success. I look forward to collaborating with you as we strive to ensure that the College’s future remains strong.
July 24, 2017
Dear Business Affairs Team:
I want to say “Thank You” for the warm welcome I have received since arriving on campus. It has been an exciting time for me as I step into my new role, and one of the best parts has been getting to meet all of you in the Business Affairs team. If I have not yet had the chance to personally say “Hi” to you, please know that it’s a priority for me to go around and meet everyone in Business Affairs this summer.
In terms of other priorities, those are still developing as I work with the President’s leadership team. It is my plan to share information and communicate with the division and the wider campus community regularly, and I look forward to starting that soon.
I hope you all are enjoying your summer. I hear that the wet weather we are having has been “unusual” but it has not stopped me! I have hiked beautiful Point Au Roche and breathtaking Rattlesnake Mountain, and been kayaking through Ausable Marsh and down the Saranac River. The North Country is a truly extraordinary place and I’m thrilled to be here.
I look forward to working with all of you.