I hope you all had a very relaxing and enjoyable Fourth of July holiday weekend. I know the time off the grid (quite literally) was very refueling for me and my family.
July is starting with some very good news for our organization with the approval of the state budget. Our Ohio State-specific lines – Extension and research were maintained with 3% increases, each year for this biennium. In a time where there continues to be budget deficits and competing priorities, we are thrilled to say that our work in Extension and continued focus on meeting the needs of Ohio and in each of our communities is still highly valued by our state decision-makers. I would like to thank everyone who has participated in legislative visits, providing state testimony, sharing impact reporting, and building relationships that aided in sharing the story of our work and our impact. We have also experienced good news overall in our county budgets. With nearly all counties reporting for this year, we have an average of 8% increase over last year, for an increase of $1,491,496.62. I would like to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication, focused on the important things that resonate with our stakeholders. What we all do each day matters; and by effectively telling our story, we will continue to co-create solutions and receive the funding necessary to do so. Well done everyone!
As I mentioned during the last Director’s video update, compression and equity requests have received final approval; and those employees who are receiving increases related to this effort will have had this reflected in their June pay. The Annual Merit Compensation Process (AMCP) has been completed on our end and is with HR and the college for approval; and it will move forward for final university approval in the coming weeks with merit increases reflected in August for faculty and September for staff.
As you are making plans for summer enjoyment with family and friends, I hope you will also carve out some time to spend together with your colleagues. As I have been out and about, I have heard quite often that the things we were touring together (whether it was a team member’s program, a local partner facility, or a local museum) was the first time the team had been there as well. Please take time to discover local gems, plan team-building activities, get in some local professional development, and gather with one another and partners in ways you haven’t before and get to know one another and your community even better.
I know many of you work through lunch—but I would encourage you to stop that habit and seek one another out frequently to share lunch in the office, grab a cup of coffee, or just take a moment or two throughout the day to connect and touch base, or perhaps enjoy a walking meeting. Finally, take a moment to really see your colleagues and notice if they need a pick-me-up, a helping hand, or a reason to smile. We are in the middle of some very busy programming seasons, and that small gesture in a moment of need could mean more than you’ll ever know.
Thank you for the great honor of working with professionals who truly find meaning in their work and strive for a better quality of life for their communities, colleagues, and themselves. Together we can make a difference in so many lives—ours included.
Be well, Jackie