Tips and Resources on Compensation and Personnel Matters

Compensation and Staffing News
June 2018
Performance Evaluations: Tips, Traps, and Trends

Think it's too late in the program year to talk about performance evaluations? Actually, now is the ideal time to get started on refashioning your process for the coming year so that it feels supportive and useful to staff members, their supervisors, and your congregation's leadership.

We get a lot of questions about best practices for performance reviews. Let our new Performance Evaluations page provide you with the mindset and the motivation to take a fresh look at your approach to evaluating your staff.
Unused Professional Expenses
The end of the budget year is approaching in many congregations. Some of your professionals may have funds still sitting in their expense lines. What should you say if a staff member asks to take their unused professional expenses as cash?

You need to explain that this isn't permissible. If you have an Accountable Reimbursement Plan (which is what keeps expense reimbursements nontaxable), you cannot convert unused funds to salary. According to IRS rules, allowing a staff member to take their leftover professional expenses as salary makes the entire amount of the expense line taxable because it nullifies your whole accountable reimbursement plan! The money budgeted for professional expenses belongs to your congregation; the unused portion is treated like any other budget line that ends the year with a positive balance.

If someone wants their unused professional expenses in cash, the answer must be no. However, especially if they anticipate a need for more professional expenses in the coming year, consider adding the unspent amount to the staff member's expense line for the new budget year. (In other words, they used less this year and may use more next year. Over the 2-year period, it will even out.)
Professional Interim Training
Interim professionals provide specialized skills and tools to help congregations prepare for robust new leadership. Their intentionally temporary status and distinct areas of focus set the interim period apart as a time for the congregation to undertake deliberate transitional work. 
The Office of Church Staff Finances hosts a seven-week, online program for professional staff who want to learn about or train for interim roles.

Staff will find this training useful if:
  • They are, or will be, working with an interim minister.
  • They are serving, or preparing to serve, in an interim capacity themselves.
  • They want to look at their current work and context with fresh eyes, especially during times of change.
  • Introduces a variety of leadership and change models.
  • Equips staff in the essential areas of congregational systems and staff relations.
  • Grounds staff in the tasks of the interim process.
  • Provides practical tools and resources for interim work.
The next session of Professional Interim Training begins in mid-September and runs through early November. Application materials will be available soon. For questions, or to request notification when the application is ready, contact Jan Gartner, (While some of the content is similar, this program is separate from the training offered through the UUA Transitions Office for clergy entering interim ministry.) 
Heading to General Assembly? Look for Us!
The Office of Church Staff Finances will be well-represented in Kansas City! Rev. Richard Nugent, Director; Jim Sargent, Insurance Plans Director; Linda Rose, Retirement Plan Director; and Jan Gartner, Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager are all attending.

In partnership with staff from Congregational Life and Human Resources, you'll find the four of us leading Congregations as Employers: Putting Values into Practice on Thursday afternoon from 1:30 to 5:30, with segments on Staffing for Diversity, Staffing Practices and Benefits, and Staffing for Retention and Development. There will be plenty of audience involvement and time for questions.

New at GA this year are Networking Sessions hosted by UUA staff. These gatherings are opportunities for congregational leaders with interest in a particular topic to meet, and for us to help them make the most of their time at GA. Join Jan on Wednesday at 4:30 for the Healthy Staff Teams networking session.

And, of course, we'll be in the Exhibit Hall.
  • You'll see Jim in the UUA Expressway, ready to talk with you about All Things UUA Insurance Plans.
  • Across from the UUA Expressway is the Church Staff Finances booth. Compensation Consultants (and often Richard or Jan) will be available whenever the Exhibit Hall is open. Stop by to introduce yourself, ask questions, pick up a flyer and an OCSF keychain, and check out our hands-on display board.
  • Next to the Church Staff Finances booth is TIAA, our Retirement Plan recordkeeper. Linda will be there, alongside TIAA representatives. TIAA joins us at GA each year to serve Plan participants and administrators, and anyone with funds invested in TIAA; do take advantage of their presence!
Jan Gartner | Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager |
 UUA Office of Church Staff Finances
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