December 2009


In This Edition

By Dave Furlan, PHR
GMA SHRM President Elect

Bizarre Laws: Tattoo You

Did She "Steal" Time Sheets?
- Contributed by Mike Liebundgut, Director GMA SHRM Government Affairs

Tax Issues for Extended Dependent Benefits
- Contributed by Adam Jensen, JD, CEBS, GBA, FLMI, Director of Compliance Services, Cottingham & Butler Consulting Services.

2009 Compensation Survey for Madison & Dane County
- Contributed by Kristen Petroshius, YW Transit Program Coordinator, YWCA Madison

PHR/SPHR Certification Information

Volunteers Needed for Annual Human Capital Conference

Kudos to Corporate Partnership Program Committee

GMA SHRM Member of the Month
- Lisa Hau

- 2010 Workforce Readiness & Diversity Committee Dates

January 13, 2010 - GMA SHRM Strategic Planning Session

GMA SHRM Membership Poll

- Welcome New Members!

- In Transition

- What's Cool in HR

- Movin' Up

Click here to see the full GMA SHRM Event Calendar.

January 19, 2010 - GMA SHRM Summit
Topic: Social Networking - Panel of Local Companies
Location: Alliant Energy Center
Program Details


Printable version


































2009 Corporate Partners

Boardman Law Firm
Galaxy Technologies
The Payroll Company

Hays Companies
Lee Hecht Harrison
Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation
Cottingham & Butler Consulting Services

Melli Law, S.C.
Bunbury & Associates
Career Momentum
Stark Company Realtors
Gardner & White
Higgins Insurance Group
Liberty Mutual
The Alliance

Thank you!

Dave Furlan, PHR
President Elect


Last month it was my pleasure to attend the SHRM Leadership Conference in Arlington, Virginia. The conference brings together volunteer leaders from SHRM chapters all over the country in a forum to discuss ideas and issues and see what’s happening at SHRM headquarters. I am happy to report there is a lot of positive change going on, including within our chapter, as HR begins to ask “what’s next?”

One concept I learned at the conference is the value of “R&R” – resources and relationships – as a member of a professional association like SHRM. Some of us initially join SHRM for the resources. We want access to information on the SHRM website and through their communications and member benefits. We are also looking for learning and certification opportunities through webcasts and local chapter events. At the same time, some of us will join a chapter for relationships. We seek a place to socialize and network with a group of peers who understand our career goals and our challenges.

My hope is that our members find a lot of both within our chapter. Despite our smaller market, GMA SHRM sits among the top SHRM chapters in the country. We offer an amazing assortment of programs, events, and resources that rivals some major metropolitan areas. If you haven’t done so recently, I invite each of our members to step back and examine your balance of R&R with GMA SHRM. Perhaps you initially joined to access resources but now you might find it’s time to get to know our members through networking events or volunteer opportunities. If, on the other hand, you became a member to build your network, take a look around and see what we offer you locally. Compensation surveys, programs and newsletter articles devoted to Government Affairs, and certification orientations are just a few of the resources we’ve offered in the last six months.

So, take some time to look through this newsletter, our website, or our LinkedIn group and challenge yourself to discover how much our chapter can bring to you and your career in HR. Come join us for Strategic Planning next month (everyone is welcome). Seek out an opportunity to lend your HR experience to the community (Workforce Readiness is waiting for you). Read about our cool, new “Pay It Forward” program for our members in transition (I’ll make it easy—click here). Whatever you find, I believe the R&R we offer will be more than you ever expected.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I wish all of you Happy Holidays!

Dave Furlan, PHR
GMA SHRM President Elect

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GMA SHRM Board of Directors

Kari Lauritsen, SPHR

Dave Furlan, PHR
President Elect

Cassy Van Dyke, SPHR
Past President

John Komosa
Secretary Treasurer

Kris Schmitt
Director, Education & Development

Chris Berg Thacker, PHR
VP, Membership

Mike Leibundgut, SPHR
Director, Government Affairs

Zach Penshorn, PHR
VP, Programming

Jake Siudzinski

VP, Marketing & Communications


Melissa Wieland
Director Workforce Readiness & Diversity

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Bizarre Laws

Next time you get the urge to get a tattoo, don't look for a shop in Brookfield, WI. According to 9.08.090, tattooing is illegal unless performed for medical purposes. (That dragon on your back is probably not medically necessary.)

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Did She “Steal” Time Sheets?

Contributed by Mike Leibundgut, Director, GMA SHRM Government Affairs

Valerie had worked for the Village of South Chicago Heights for 12 years when she first began to criticize the mayor’s hiring practices. She accused a new water inspector of improper job performance, and both employees were reprimanded. Valerie became suspicious because the mayor had four members of his family and several campaign supporters on the village payroll. Unsure whether these people were actually working-or at least for as many hours as they were earning pay – Valerie copied their time sheets.

She took them to a former employee who was then organizing a group called Citizens Against Corruption. He agreed there appeared to be “ghost pay-rolling,” and followed up with a letter to all village residents, accusing the mayor of corruption. A day later, the village administrator – a brother-in-law of the mayor – searched Valerie’s desk and found the time sheet copies. He and the mayor promptly decided to fire her.

Valerie sued both men and the village for violating her First Amendment rights. A federal district court judge ruled that although Valerie appeared to have a case of retaliation, the mayor and administrator had fired her for a different, legitimate reason. Furthermore, he ruled, the village was immune from claims against it. Valerie appealed to the 7 th Circuit Court.

What the court said:

Appellate judges looked at the village’s purported reason for firing her – that she’d examined the time sheets to see if the village was unfairly docking her pay when she was late – and rejected it. They reasoned that she was fired a day after her activist friend exposed the mayor and administrator’s indiscretions to the public. Clearly, judges felt, Valerie’s concerns with the time sheets had involved a public issue of importance, not just a personal issue. And, they disagreed that the village itself was immune from suit because firing a government employee for speaking out about corruption violates public policy.

The case was sent back to the lower court for reconsideration.

Point to Remember – Village administrators also said Valerie had stolen private information, but official time sheets were prominently displayed on an office countertop. That showed they weren’t “private”.

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Tax Issues for Extended Dependent Benefits
Adam Jensen, JD, CEBS, GBA, FLMI, Director of Compliance Services, Cottingham & Butler Consulting Services.

A number of states, including Wisconsin and Minnesota, have extended the age that children can stay on a parent’s benefit plan as a dependent. These changes to state dependent eligibility laws create situations where employees may face tax liability for benefit plan dependents who do not meet the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS) definition of dependent. Employees providing benefits for domestic partners face similar tax challenges.

Click here to learn more about these changes.

Adam P. Jensen is the Director of Compliance Services with Cottingham & Butler Consulting Services and has worked in the insurance and employee benefits industry since 1986. Adam specializes in providing regulatory compliance and plan design services for health and welfare plans and qualified retirement plans. He also advises executive clients on non-qualified deferred compensation issues. Contact Adam via email at or phone at 608-467-5030.

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2009 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey

Last year GMA SHRM partnered with Enetrix, a Gallup Company, to provide premier on-line surveys.  The 2009 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey is a comprehensive on-line survey that has the flexibility to produce reports based on revenue size, industry, type of ownership, and number of FTE’s.  The 2009 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey had over 100 companies of all sizes in the greater Madison area that provided salary information for more than 200 benchmarked jobs.  Our hope this year is to increase the number of participants.   Participating members receive a significant discount on the cost of the survey!

If you would like to participate, please go to  Select “Click Here to Register” on the right to create an individual and company profile and create your username and password. If an individual from your company has already registered for an account, they will need to grant you permission to enter and review data for your company. Select “Participation” and follow the steps to enter your survey data.

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PHR/SPHR Certification Information

As we approach the New Year, some of you may be thinking about pursuing your HR certification. If you are thinking about applying, below is some important information regarding the exam-testing window for Spring 2010, available resources for exam preparation, and information on changes to the HRCI website.

The spring exam window is May 1 – June 30, 2010. Registration for the spring exam window will open on January 11, 2010. The application deadline for the spring exam window is March 12, 2010. If you miss the deadline, you can still apply, but a $50 late fee will apply for applications received after March 12 th. No applications will be accepted after April 16, 2010 for the spring exam window.

Please be aware that there are only TWO testing windows available before the new eligibility requirements go into effect. For additional information on the new eligibility requirements, please visit the HRCI at

Effective in February 2010, HRCI will be launching their new and improved website! The new site will provide easier navigation and better-organized information; however there will be no changes to the application process or login to the system. Continue to watch for more communication on the new website in the coming months!

There are several great tools and resources available to assist you with studying for the exam.

  • Study Groups - These study groups are sponsored by GMA SHRM and are free of charge to you! For those that are interested, study groups are offered during the winter and spring exam windows. If you are interested in getting involved with a study group, contact Kris Schmitt at for more details.
  • SHRM Learning System - This is an excellent resource that provides very detailed information on the six different domains. It is a great study tool for gaining the knowledge needed in order to apply it to the exam. The cost is $595 for SHRM members.
  • PHR/SPHR online assessment - These assessments test your knowledge across six different domains and they use old exam questions. The assessment also scores like the real exam and takes about 80 minutes to complete. This is a great indicator for how you need to study or to take before the exam to see how you do. Cost is $45 for a single online assessment or $75 for two assessments. Additional information can be found at
  • Free Quizzes - These are available on the HRCI website and are a great way to practice prior to taking the exam. The quizzes provide a series of practice questions with the correct answer provided after each question as well as the rationale for determining the correct answer. The questions are linked to the exam's body of knowledge and you can take them as often as you need.
  • Wisconsin Small Business Development Center – The SHRM Learning System Course - A structured 12 -week, instructor-lead course that goes through each body of knowledge of the SHRM Learning System in detail. The cost for the course is $1,095 for SHRM members. For additional details contact Barry Roberts at 608.263.0224. Course begins on February 3 rd, 2010.

Congratulations to the following recently certified GMA SHRM members!

Amy Wilcox, PHR
Renee Kennedy, PHR

If you have questions regarding certification, please contact Kris Schmitt at

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Volunteers Needed for Annual Human Capital Conference

The committee for the chapter Human Capital Conference is seeking volunteers to plan this year’s event on May 11, 2010. If you have a limited amount of time to volunteer for the chapter, this might be your opportunity. You could focus your efforts on coordinating the speaker for one of the breakout sessions or participate in a special task as the event draws closer.

The Human Capital Conference is our premier all-day learning event with top keynote speakers, sessions on a variety of HR topics, and great networking. Whether you’ve been with the chapter for many years or have just joined us, your contribution will be very welcome! Contact Dave Furlan, President Elect,, 608-467-5021.

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Kudos to Corporate Partnership Program Volunteers
Jake Siudzinski, VP of Communications & Marketing

I want to recognize our chapter’s Communications and Marketing Committee for another successful year with the Corporate Partner Program. Not only did the committee surpass our budgeted goal for 2010, they also did it on time! Volunteers stuck to the deadlines and helped out in many ways to make sure we completed all of the details and follow up. In addition, both tenured and new committee volunteers have already jumped on board to serve as a contact person for this year’s corporate partners. As a contact person, the committee member will help corporate partners interact with the chapter and take advantage of partner benefits whenever possible throughout the year.

Special thanks go to Missy Roth and Shaun Thomson who served as project leads again for the 2010 Corporate Partner Program. As new members of our committee in 2008, they demonstrated excellent communication skills and a dedication to understanding their roles throughout the entire process.

The annual Corporate Partner Program is one of the most important revenue sources for our chapter. Through the partnerships with regional and national companies, we are able to offset many of the costs of our programming, education, and community events that serve the professional and advance the profession. Thank you again to all our past and present partners for their ongoing support of GMA SHRM.

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2010 Workforce Readiness & Diversity Committee Dates

 The Workforce Readiness Committee would like to announce their 2 new co-chairs, Kristina Kaker from Teamsoft and Jeff Westra from Herzing University. The committee meets at The Park Bank Support Center located at 1815 Greenway Cross. Please contact Jeff Westra at if you’re interested in volunteering or attending any of the following meetings.

Wednesday, January 27 th 8:00a.m. – 9:00a.m.
Wednesday, March 3 rd 8:00a.m. – 9:00a.m.
Wednesday, May 5 th 8:00a.m. – 9:00a.m.

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January 13, 2010 - GMA SHRM Strategic Planning Session

 Please join the Board of Directors and fellow GMA SHRM leaders for our Annual Strategic Planning Session on Wednesday, January 13th. Your input and ideas are vital as we plan for future initiatives to enhance our programs and member benefits.

This years meeting will be held at the Park Bank Support Center located at 1815 Greenway Cross. Stay tuned for more details.

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GMA SHRM Member Poll

Do you have a burning HR question that you’d like to see featured on our GMA SHRM Member Poll? If so, please submit your questions to Jake Siudzinski at

GMA SHRM Member of the Month


Name: Lisa Hau

 Where do you currently work? JT Packard and Associates

 What is the focus of your position? Payroll and Benefits Administration

How long have you been in the Human Resource field? 2.5 Years

Which of your career accomplishments makes you proudest? Earning my bachelor’s degree while also working full-time.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Take things one day at a time.

Why did you decide to join GMA SHRM? So I could take advantage of the networking and learning opportunities in Madison.

 If you’d like to be featured as the Member of the Month in an upcoming issue of HR InTouch, please e-mail Kate Karre at


GMA SHRM is LinkedIn

 Come join our GMA SHRM Chapter group on LinkedIn! What is LinkedIn? It’s a business-oriented social networking site that can be used to connect with friends (old and new), find or post jobs and get information. In order to join, sign in at and keyword search GMA SHRM Chapter.

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Welcome New Members!

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in October of 2009!

Sarah Bownds

HR Coordinator


Peter J. Cavi, CFM. CFP

Assistant Vice President

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Corissa L. Daines

Retail Recruiter

Kwik Trip, Inc.

Jeanne S. McLellan

Director of Finance & Operations

Alzheimer's Association

Karen B. Miller


A&J Specialty Services

Kristen A. Petroshius

Success Program Associate Coordinator

YMCA Madison

Jennifer K. Phillips

Sr. HR. Generalist

Virent Energy Systems

Kathy Talaat

Director of Quality & Development

Community Living Alliance

Christa A. Walter-Doering

Talent Management Metrics Specialist

CUNA Mutual Group

Jodi S. Weinberger


Reynolds Transfer & Storage


In Transition

If you are a member who is in between jobs, or who is currently employed but seeking new positions or career paths, write us a brief description of your skill set, areas of expertise, what you’re looking for, etc. Send us an e-mail. We’ll publish your information in the next HR InTouch.

What’s Cool in HR in the Greater Madison Area?

What’s going on in HR in your workplace?

Have you…

  • completed a major project,
  • implemented something new,
  • managed a change,

Is there something…

  • your company/dept does really well,
  • interesting about your company culture
  • that makes your company an employer of choice

We want to hear about it! Share it with your HR colleagues in HR InTouch. Send us an e-mail


Movin' Up

Teresa Perlman, Payroll & Benefits Specialist at Saris Cycling Group, Inc. recently earned her PHR certification.

Congratulations Teresa!

Have you started with a new company? Has your organization recently promoted you to a new position? Or do you want to recognize a new person or promotion within your department? If so, we want to hear about it. Send us an e-mail, and we’ll publish your good news in the next HR InTouch!

HR InTouch Guidelines

Article Writing:

Do you have an interest in writing for the HR InTouch? We have an interest in learning more about your area of expertise!

Why should you volunteer? Top three reasons: 1) to share your knowledge and experiences to educate others; 2) to become more connected in the HR and Dane County communities; and 3) to contribute towards the advancement of GMA SHRM and the HR profession.

The first step is for you to choose a submission option: you can pre-submit an article to GMA SHRM at any time for us to use in any of the upcoming newsletters, you can sign up to write for a particular month, or we can put you on a list of people to contact in future months whenever we need articles.

Article length:

Because the HR InTouch is now in an online format, the size is flexible. The article should be engaging and hold readers’ attention. Include the core information in your article, and we will advise if it is too lengthy.


GMA SHRM is conscious not to allow solicitation through the articles, in an effort to protect the interests of our partners and members. The nature of the article should be educational (i.e., what are the business advantages of having a product like yours) or informational. Otherwise, if you truly are interested in advertising through the HR InTouch, you can work with our Marketing Committee. As a rule of thumb for article writing, if the submission relates to a for-profit event, or specifically markets your company (vs. your industry), it is an advertisement, and should be purchased. If it is a not-for-profit event that your company is hosting, or an announcement (i.e., a SHRM member recently joined your company), it is an acceptable addition to the HR InTouch content. If you have any questions related to the appropriateness of your submission, please contact us.

If you have questions, or to submit an article, contact GMA SHRM at .




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Madison, WI 53718
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