Monthly Archives: January 2021

A round of Applause! for Melissa Kaplan and Patrick Butcher

This week, we’re applauding Patrick Butcher of Media Services.

“Patrick devoted almost an hour to help me better understand how to maximize my use of Webex so the Healthy Conversations would go smoothly,” Sarah Velez wrote in the award. “We had a great meeting and he walked me through several permissions and settings. Then, when it was time for the meeting, he attended the session just to be extra supportive. He is so busy right now, with everything running remotely, and his time was very valuable. Thank you, Patrick!”

Applause also goes to Melissa Kaplan of Business, Communication and the Arts.

“Recently, an HHS faculty was looking for a poem to share at a virtual family holiday gathering,” Susan McEwan wrote in the award. “Her request reached Melissa, who took the time to research meaningful readings and respond with kindness during these challenging times. Melissa’s example of reaching out across disciplines to her fellow LCC colleague is an inspiration to us all in helping each other in small but important ways.”

This regular “Applause!” column features the good work you and your colleagues do around the college. It’s powered by Applause! Awards, an LCC-wide program designed to recognize you for providing excellent customer service. Know someone who deserves to be featured here? All awards are given by employees, to employees, and everyone is eligible.

Will you be a victim of tax return fraud?

For tax scammers, tax season equals ill-gotten profits. Tax refund fraud victims usually first learn of the crime after having their returns rejected because scammers beat them to it. Even those who are not required to file a return can be victims of refund fraud, as are those who are not due a refund. One of the main reasons for tax fraud is that it takes so little information to file a false return – just your name, date of birth and Social Security number, all of which were probably stolen during the 2017 Equifax breach or numerous breaches since then.
 
Did you know the best defense the IRS recommends is to file your taxes as soon as possible? You should receive all of your supporting tax information by the middle of February, so get to it!
 
New this year:

  • The IRS will begin accepting tax returns on Feb. 12! Although taxes aren’t due until April 15, you should file your taxes as soon as possible due to income tax fraud.
  • Michigan residents are eligible for the IRS Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) Opt-In Program. The IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent the misuse of their Social Security number on fraudulent federal income tax returns. An IP PIN helps the IRS verify a taxpayer’s identity and accept their electronic or paper tax return. When you have an IP PIN, it prevents someone else from filing a tax return with your SSN.
  • Credit freezes are free. A credit freeze allows you to restrict access to your credit report and protects your personal information. Preventing creditors from viewing your information helps stop new lines of credit from being opened in your name.

Before you file
Keep your eye on your information!

  • Don’t carry your Social Security card or other information containing your Social Security number (SSN) with you.
  • Don’t give businesses your SSN just because they ask for it. Give it only when required.
  • Take a look at your Social Security earnings statement each year. If that number is off, you need to investigate.
  • Two of the most common ways to steal sensitive data are dumpster diving and mail theft. Investing in a crosscut shredder and a lockable mailbox will help eliminate those risks.
  • To help protect the personal information on your computer, use firewalls and anti-virus software, update your computer with security patches, and change your passwords regularly.

Do not email your W-2 or any other confidential information. Email is the equivalent of a postcard; everyone can see it. If you must send your SSN over email, encrypt it with a product like 7-Zip, or use the encryption in MS Word, Excel or Adobe PDFs. You can also download your W-2 onto an encrypted thumb drive or to the H: network share.
 
Next week, the second part of this three-part series, will include tips on how to avoid fraud when you are ready to file. If you have any questions, please contact LCC Director of Information Security, Paul H. Schwartz, at schwarp1@lcc.edu.

City of Lansing annual tax filing during remote work environment

LCC is required to withhold City of Lansing taxes at the rate of ½% for non-residents and 1% for residents during the 2020 calendar year. Non-residents will have the opportunity to exclude wages earned outside of the city limits while working from home during the pandemic at the time of their annual filing.
 
Non-resident employees will need to complete a 2020 L-1040 Wage Allocation/Excludable Wages form to request a refund of taxes withheld for wages earned outside the city limits. Documentation confirming dates worked remotely must be attached to the annual return at the time of filing. Links to two examples of documentation have been included with this message. These documents are also located on the Payroll Public Drive.
 
Examples

  1. City of Lansing Non-Resident Hours Log – Complete this document if your work days and/or hours have varied between on- and off-campus since March 18, 2020.
  2. City of Lansing – Remote Environment Letter – Fill in employee name and have it signed by supervisor confirming the dates worked remotely. Please adjust the date span(s), as appropriate, if work schedule has varied between on- and off-campus since March 18, 2020.

LCC does not provide tax advice. LCC’s Payroll Department associates are not tax or legal advisors. Please contact your personal financial or tax advisor with questions on how to complete your annual City of Lansing tax return.

Upcoming diversity, equity and inclusion events

Upcoming events from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and LCC’s Cultural Awareness Committees include Men About Progress meetings and Soul Food Fridays.

Men About Progress (MAP) Meetings
5-6 p.m. every other Monday – Feb. 1 and 15; March 1 and 22; April 5 and 19
WebEx link
Meeting number (access code): 120 427 2868
Meeting password: CCLC2021
 
Soul Food Fridays
Welcome Black: Black Joy Edition – Noon-1 p.m. Friday, Jan 29
Join the Soul Food Fridays committee for Soul Food Fridays. This space is open to all LCC students, staff and faculty members who wish to support a communal space for discussion, networking, mentorship and the sharing of experiences of Black faculty, students and staff. What is Black joy? Black-eyed peas? The Black Panther? Kamala Harris as VP? Your hair? Your skin? Your voice? Join us as we share our joys and happiness.
Webex link

Communications faculty member passes away

Long-time Communications faculty member Peter MacFadden passed away at the end of December. He was employed at LCC for more than 15 years, and throughout his long career also taught college courses in five other states as well as English classes in China.

The college’s condolences go especially to his sister, Integrated English faculty Joanne MacFadden; his brother-in-law, recently retired Mathematics faculty Jack Rotman; his nephew, Performing Arts carpenter Joseph Meier; and to all those who knew and worked with him. You can read Peter’s full obituary online. A celebration of life will be scheduled in late summer.

The photo features Peter MacFadden with his sister’s cat, Xena.

Links for strategic planning Fridays

It’s time to build our next strategic plan! Join us for our annual “February Fridays” to brainstorm and discuss how we can make LCC a better place to learn and work. Each Friday during February, we will host virtual meetings with all interested employees to fully understand our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and to gather ideas for improvement. After talking with employees, the college will host listening sessions with students and community members in March.
 
At this point in the planning process, leadership is considering a three-year strategic plan “refresh.” This plan will include the same five focus areas as our 2017-2021 strategic plan, but will add a sixth specifically dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition, DEI will be woven throughout the other focus areas in recognition that equity and representation are not secondary to student and employee success, but are essential. We also plan to spend significant energy ensuring all projects resulting from the strategic plan have measurable outcomes that allow us to make data-driven decisions for our students. To assist in the conversation, please review the 2017-2021 strategic plan and Equity Action Plan prior to the meetings.
 
To make this process successful, we need a wide variety of representation from across the college – faculty and staff, as well as adjuncts, part-time and full-time. We cannot build a successful, inclusive and proactive plan without you!
 
The planned schedule of events is below. Each event name is linked to the correct Webex event, so you can use this list to get into the meetings on the day of. The password for every Webex Meeting is: Planning

Please note: All events will now be held on both Webex and YouTube Live, allowing for an unlimited number of participants. However, all events apart from the Feb. 5 Celebration and Kick-Off Event will include breakout sessions to facilitate easier conversations. These sessions can only take place on Webex, which is limited to the first 200 participants. Any participants engaged via YouTube Live can use the chat feature to type comments, but YouTube Live does not support two-way video and audio. We appreciate your understanding as we try to offer the best option within the confines of the technology we have available.
 
If you would like to provide thoughts or feedback but cannot attend the relevant session, please email strategicplan@star.lcc.edu by close of business March 12.
 
We also plan to gather input from students and the community. Those listening sessions will be held via Webex and will also stream on YouTube Live.

After all feedback has been gathered, the college will host a follow-up and workgroup sign-up meeting. Stay tuned for details on that event.

Retroactive pay to be included in Jan. 29 paycheck

In their Jan. 29 paycheck, employees will receive a lump sum payment to reflect any salary increase that was scheduled between July 1 and Dec. 27, 2020. This payment reflects the Board of Trustees’ December 2020 vote to reinstate pay increases that had been canceled in June based on projected decreases in enrollment and state appropriations for the year.

As the year progressed, however, actual revenue from fall enrollment and state appropriations exceeded June 2020 revenue projections. In total, revenue was about $4.8 million higher than anticipated, allowing the college to reinstate funding for some priorities, including employee pay increases.

Employees should also have seen the implementation of any regularly scheduled increase in pay in their Jan. 15 paycheck. Most employees receive an annual pay increase near their anniversary of employment, but your situation will vary depending on your position, union and year of hire. Questions regarding these payments may be referred to the employee concerns mailbox, employee.concerns@star.lcc.edu.

Thank you to our expert Payroll and Compensation professionals for completing pay calculations for employees two weeks sooner than anticipated! We appreciate your quick work.