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Posts Tagged: Jeannette Warnert

Congratulations to retiring ANR colleagues

From left to right, starting at top left: Rosemary Carter, Melanie Caruso, Cheryl Fraser, Chutima Ganthavorn, Emily LaRue, Scott Parker, Hilda Perez, Armando Silva, Merf Solorio, Nancy Starr, Will Suckow, Mary Vlandis and Jeannette Warnert.

We thank the following UC ANR employees for their many years of contributions to improve the lives of Californians. Best wishes to all of them in their retirement years.

Rafael “Merf” Solorio, superintendent, West Side REC, 31 years

Jeannette Warnert, communications specialist, 31 years

Melanie Caruso, Program Planning and Evaluation research administrator, 28 years

Scott Parker, Master Gardener community education specialist, UCCE San Diego County, 22 years

Chutima Ganthavorn, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and CalFresh Healthy Living, UC, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, 22 years

Rosemary Carter, Program Manager, CalFresh Healthy Living, UC, Placer and Nevada counties, 20 years

Will Suckow, senior artist, 20 years

Cheryl Fraser, 4-H community education specialist, UCCE Alameda County, 15 years

Mary Vlandis, Human Resources, 13 years

Hilda Perez, nutrition educator, EFNEP, Orange County, 13 years

Armando Silva, farm machinery mechanic, Desert REC, 10 years

Nancy Starr, assistant II, UCCE Central Sierra, 10 years

Emily LaRue, associate director, UCCE Business Operations Unit, 6 years

Warnert retires from 31-year UC ANR communications career

Jeannette Warnert

Jeannette Warnert retired July 1 after serving 31 years as a communications specialist for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The editor of Western Farm Press, Tim Hearden, expressed his appreciation for Warnert's media relations expertise, writing, “We'll miss Jeannette's work and the help she's provided over the years.”

Communications methods have rapidly evolved over the past three decades. To ANR's benefit, Warnert has been an enthusiastic early adopter, figuring out how to use new media to deliver ANR news.

“When I started with UC ANR, there was no internet and no email,” Warnert said. “We photocopied news releases and mailed them to media, who transcribed them if they wanted to use the material. Film was dropped off at a lab, which provided us a proof sheet from which we could select black-and-white prints to mail to the media. Our jobs evolved rapidly and we had to continually update our skills as new technologies were introduced over the years.” 

Along the way, she tutored her colleagues to use the World Wide Web and social media to disseminate information. 

“I'm continually impressed by Jeannette's work ethic, can-do attitude, the quality of her writing, and her willingness to take on new projects,” said Linda Forbes, Strategic Communications director. “She is incredibly organized, always reliable, has great ideas and she's passionate about ANR's mission and people.” 

Before joining UC ANR, Warnert worked as a reporter at a small daily newspaper in Los Angeles, in a hospital public relations department and in public relations for Toyota Motor Sales. After marrying and moving to Fresno, she worked briefly for the Fresno Fair and Radio Bilingue, then accepted the UC ANR public information representative job in 1990.

“I've enjoyed the opportunity to learn about agricultural science and work with so many intelligent and dedicated academics and staff,” Warnert said. “Knowing about the work of UC ANR makes me hopeful about the future, even as we face so many threats like drought, wildfire, climate change, invasive pests, etc. I especially enjoyed covering conservation agriculture for more than 20 years with stories about the potential for no-till and cover crops to improve soil health, sequester carbon, reduce dust emissions and use less water while maintaining farms' economic viability.” 

Jeff Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension conservation agriculture specialist based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, described her as a “wonderful encourager and lifelong very good friend.”

“I consider Jeannette Warnert one of the exceptionally valuable workgroup colleagues that we could have ever had,” Mitchell said. “She was ever-ready in the trenches during our early formative days with superbly crafted communications, clear advice and guidance on outreach issues, and just an all-around level-headed colleague. She contributed so much to all that we have done over the years.”

Warnert, whose parents immigrated from The Netherlands, is fluent in conversational Spanish and often collaborated with the News and Information Outreach in Spanish team.

“Jeannette is one of a kind and will be truly missed,” said NOS' Lisa Rawleigh. “She has been a very helpful coworker with such a cheerful attitude and professionalism. She has done so much for us at NOS. I especially will cherish the meetings in Riverside when we were trying to get our webpage started and our conversations in Spanish talking about our kids and family vacations.”

In retirement, Warnert plans to spend more time with family – including her baby granddaughter and 90-year-old mother. “I hope to volunteer with the California Naturalist program and plan to apply to be a UC Master Gardener volunteer in Fresno County when the next class opens,” she said. “I'm also looking forward to more traveling, hiking, gardening, knitting, sewing and cooking.”

Posted on Friday, June 25, 2021 at 12:00 PM

UC ANR Staff Assembly Updates

Senior delegate Jeannette Warnert, left, and junior delegate LeChé McGill represented UC ANR staff at the Council of UC Staff Assemblies meeting in San Diego.

Ambassadors Meeting

The UC ANR Staff Assembly Council will hold a Staff Assembly Ambassadors meeting at the ANR Building in Davis on Oct. 10. The engagement will provide an opportunity for ambassadors to visit and network with colleagues and review Staff Assembly priorities. Additionally, they will discuss opportunities for staff to become more involved in addressing staff concerns and furthering organizational goals.

UC ANR Tote Bags

UC ANR Staff Assembly tote bag

In an effort to help spread the word about UC ANR Staff Assembly, all Staff Assembly members will receive a We Are UC ANR Staff Assembly tote bag. Members of the UC Staff Assembly include all ANR staff, whether employed by the county or the university, represented by a union or not represented. UC ANR Staff Assembly Ambassadors are the points of contact for distributing the bags at each office.

CUCSA Fall 2017 Meeting

UC San Diego was the site of the CUCSA (Council of University of California Staff Assemblies) Fall 2017 Meeting Sept. 6-8. The meeting included a team building exercise, work group action planning, post retirement health benefit discussions and a review of UC Employee Engagement Survey results. UC ANR junior delegate LeChé McGill and senior delegate Jeannette Warnert represented UC ANR staff at the meeting.

On the subject of potential changes to post-retirement health benefits, CUCSA chair Lina Layiktez provided the summary below and links for more information.

Proposed change to post-retirement health benefits
The proposed action item for the July 2017 Regents meeting was to remove the 70 percent floor on the UC contribution to retiree health benefits and place a cap of 3 percent on year-over-year increases to UC costs. This is a policy change to offset the accounting rule changes required in "GASB 75." GASB 75 requires that the full actuarial value of other postemployment benefits (OPEB) be included on the systemwide balance sheet. This means that UC will have a perceived “new” liability of $21 billion, which would affect the system's overall credit rating. A hit to the UC's credit rating has obvious impacts to financing for the university.

The “new” GASB 75 requirement definition is subject to interpretation, since it was already a liability that was disclosed in previous year's financials. The value of this liability under current assumptions/retiree rules is approximately $21 billion. The current assumptions are being driven by the number of retirees in the system plus the number of potential retirees (active staff and faculty) and how much it would cost the system in health-care costs should the current employees retire today.

What does this all mean?
By removing the floor and capping UC's costs, the university effectively transfers rising health-care premiums to retirees. The assumed rate of health-care cost increase is 7 percent. Over the course of 20 years this would flip the proportion that UC pays to ~30 percent and the retiree to ~70 percent. The 70 percent floor was designed to provide some stability to retiree health-care costs.

What do we see happening?
Many UC employees choose to retire after calculating their retirement income. This is necessary because, except for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), there is no way for retirees to increase their income from the university. So when out-of-pocket health-care costs go up for retirees, this eats into their living expenses. There are already retirees and survivors of retirees who have to choose between health-care costs and food. To suddenly remove the 70% floor exacerbates this problem.

What can you do?
The campus staff assemblies are collecting feedback locally and sharing this up to the Council of UC Staff Assemblies (CUCSA), who will be coordinating a response to the UC President and/or Board of Regents. We are also working on a list of questions that include queries, such as what OPEB would look like if it grandparented current employees and implemented the changes to future retirees? What does this mean for retention of employees with 10 to 20 years of service?

The most powerful and helpful thing for us now is to hear about your personal concerns and how this impacts you. Would no OPEB mean you are less likely to retire from the UC system and take a job elsewhere for more money now? Will you have to postpone your retirement if, in retirement, you will have to pay a greater portion of your OPEB than you had planned for under the current plan?

Share your questions and stories with us on the UC ANR Staff Assembly website.

What's next?
Fortunately, the July agenda was revised and this item was moved to the November meeting agenda. Moving the item to November will allow for more consultation and discussion. It is unknown what approach the UC Office of the President (OP) will take to solicit feedback and engage in discussion. But as that information becomes available, we will make sure to share it broadly. We are hopeful that CUCSA (and therefore a voice of staff) will be included in the discussions and that OP will convene a task force representing all parties that will be affected by the proposed changes. Stay tuned.

Click here for the original July Regents Meeting Agenda Item (F7), which was then revised to remove the discussion on the 70 percent floor.

The immediate past chair of the systemwide Academic Senate, Jim Chalfant, has already written a letter to the UC President on this issue. You can read it online here: http://senate.universityofcalifornia.edu/_files/reports/JC-JN-Retiree-Health.pdf.

We can work collectively to inform and educate staff on this important matter. We are stronger together and the more voices that participate, the louder the message will be to those making the decisions that affect all of us.

UC ANR human resources director John Fox also said one important point that isn't addressed in the CUCSA summary is Medicare coverage. “When a UC retiree enrolls in Medicare, the monthly medical premium costs are significantly reduced (both for the retiree and for UC). Much of the future liability that UC is trying to control (and the risk of high monthly costs for the retirees) is during the time between retirement from UC and the start of Medicare eligibility (typically age 65).”

If you would like to share your stories or post a comment on this proposed change, please fill out the form on the UC ANR Staff Assembly website. We will share comments and stories from UC ANR with CUCSA leadership, who will compile it with information from other campuses to share with the UC President and UC Regents.

Posted on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 1:35 PM
  • Author: LeChé McGill

PAC discusses strategic plan and urban agriculture

At the recent President’s Advisory Commission meeting, President Napolitano praised UC ANR’s work in “areas of critical importance.”

Downtown Oakland was the site of the biannual UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources (PAC) meeting on Aug. 9, which included a Q&A session with President Napolitano, program presentations from UC Cooperative Extension county directors Rob Bennaton and Igor Lacan, and updates from deans Helene Dillard (UC Davis), Keith Gilless (UC Berkeley) and Kathryn Uhrich (UC Riverside), as well as Executive Associate Dean John Pascoe (filling in for Dean Michael Lairmore, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine). 

In her opening remarks, UC ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston introduced Mark Bell, the division's new vice provost for statewide programs and strategic initiatives. Bell spoke about the strength of the UC system, the diversity of programs offered by UC ANR statewide, and his plans to leverage the strong volunteer and staff base of programs like UC Master Gardeners and 4-H.

Humiston also offered updates on the division's strategic plan and the significant progress made in implementing its key goals. Associate Vice President Tu Tran then gave a presentation on the division's financial situation, which he titled “A Fiscal Plan for Success.” Tran addressed UC ANR's place in the state budget and its revenue projections through FY 2021-22, which includes significant growth in major gifts and fundraising.

Jerry Lohr, right, congratulated fellow PAC member Grant Davis on his new position as director of the state Department of Water Resources.

Bennaton and Lacan both gave spirited and enthusiastic presentations that were received well. Bennaton, who serves as county director for Alameda and Contra Costa counties as well as UCCE urban agriculture advisor for the Bay Area, discussed the benefits of urban agriculture and the assortment of activities going on in community development, habitat restoration and youth programming.

Lacan, also a UCCE environmental horticulture advisor for the Bay Area and co-director in San Mateo and San Francisco counties, talked about the diverse and richly rewarding work he spearheads in urban forestry. His work currently focuses on sustainable management of urban trees and urban water.

Following lunch, UC President Napolitano offered glowing remarks about UC ANR's contributions and the long-term strategy reflected in the division's new strategic plan. She said she was particularly impressed by ANR's recent work in water, childhood obesity, nutrition education, and Asian citrus psyllid, calling them “areas of critical importance.” She also praised Humiston's leadership in the area of tech innovation and partnerships.

During a Q&A period, the president engaged PAC members on various issues such as potential public-private partnerships that could involve UC ANR, targeted approaches to advocacy and deferred maintenance needs for UC writ large but also for UC ANR and its research and extension centers system, specifically.

The deans gave updates on research and activities occurring at their respective colleges and school.

The next PAC meeting is scheduled for December, also in Oakland. 

Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 5:06 PM
  • Author: Mike Janes

Travel funds available for UCCE specialists, AES faculty to collaborate with off-campus ANR academics

ANR will be making additional travel support available for UC Cooperative Extension specialists to collaborate with ANR academics off-campus, including UCCE advisors in the counties and ANR academics at the RECs in fiscal year 2017/18.

With the level of funds available, each specialist may apply for up to $2,500 for FY 2017/18 (travel reports must be submitted within 45 days of travel, and funds must be expended by June 30, 2018). These travel funds must be utilized by the UCCE specialists only and cannot be used for out-of-state travel.

UC ANR values the work of AES faculty across the three partner campuses. As the recognized lead for the California Agriculture Experiment Station, UC ANR receives federal Hatch funds to support the AES mission and distributes those funds to the three partner campuses to manage and support AES faculty. In recognition of the importance of the partnership between UC ANR academics and AES faculty, UC ANR is expanding the travel support program to include AES faculty as part of a pilot program. Upon completion of a request, UC ANR will support travel by AES faculty to meet and work with UC ANR county-based or REC-based academics. Support is limited to $1,000 per AES faculty member with a cap on the total pool of funds available set at $25,000 for FY17-18. Additional support may be available through the campuses; AES faculty should consult their departments or colleges to determine if additional support is available. Travel support must be used by the AES faculty member for his/her own travel to plan and execute research or present research findings at meetings hosted by UC ANR academics.

Completing a short online survey is the only step to apply for these funds.

A brief survey form is accessible from your ANR Portal. The direct link is http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=18400. The survey asks 

•        Name and title of specialist requesting support

•        Project/Program name

•        Brief project description (one paragraph)

•        Collaborating advisors

There is no deadline for applications for these travel funds, but they must be expended in the fiscal year 2017/18.

 

Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 4:35 PM

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