2020-05 From the President: UMRA in the time of the coronavirus

With apologies to Gabriel García Márquez, we are operating in a time that is rife with peril and risk for our herd of senior retirees. We have cancelled UMRA’s in-person May meeting. However, through the magic of electronics and the generosity of our guest speaker, Minnesota Commissioner of Management and Budget Myron Frans, we will be hosting a webinar presentation via Zoom on Tuesday, May 19, starting at 12 noon. University President Joan Gabel will introduce Commissioner Frans. 

Please register at z.umn.edu/UMRA-Forum-May or via the invitation to be emailed to UMRA members by May 1 and join UMRA’s first collective foray into this interesting new technology. 

Please also mark your calendars for another UMRA webinar via Zoom on June 16, featuring Jon Christianson, a professor in the School of Public Health with expertise in aging, health care markets, and health insurance. For a preview of his presentation, see page 1 of UMRA’s March newsletter. 

And on July 21, Medaria Arradondo, chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, will join us via Zoom to talk about the complex role of a present-day urban police chief. We are also working on programming for August and will announce all our summer Zoom webinars through the UMRA website and by direct email notification to our members. 

Annual Meeting and election

Our Annual Meeting in May is also the time for UMRA to elect new officers and board members. The nominees are described beginning on page 3 of this month’s newsletter and reflect a marvelous effort by Jerry Rinehart and the Nominating Committee.

This year’s election is particularly important because both Carl Adams, our treasurer, and Lynn Anderson, our secretary, have decided to step down. We applaud both of them for their great work and dedication on behalf of the Retirees Association. Thank you!

Because we will not be meeting in person, we need to conduct the election differently. Our experience has been that the candidates put forward by the Nominating Committee and approved by the UMRA Board have been elected by acclamation by the members attending our May meeting. Our bylaws provide for additional nominations to be made from the floor (with the nominees’ consent), and go on to state, “Election shall be by acclamation, except if there is more than one nominee for each position.” So, if you have a nomination for a position and the consent of the individual, please email the nomination to me by May 8. 

If there are additional nominations, we will conduct a ballot for the contested positions by email. If there are no additional nominations, I will email our membership about electing the proposed nominees by acclamation.

Finally, this is my last letter to you as president of UMRA. I want to thank you for the honor of serving as president for the last year. It has been fun, exciting, and, for the last three months, unusually challenging. I particularly enjoyed our creation of a December holiday party, our interactions with the new regents, and having President Joan Gabel speak at our November meeting. 

What I have learned is that running our little organization is a team sport and we have a really good team. My thanks in particular to president-elect Frank Cerra for his support and counsel, Kris Mortensen for her incredible work on our newsletter, past president Jerry Rinehart, who taught me well, and to numerous others who make UMRA a reality. Thank you all.  

—Bill Donohue, president