F-M's Mike Vespi earns state 'Outstanding Workplace Contribution Award'

F-M Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Michael Vespi.

F-M Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Michael Vespi. Provided

— Fayetteville-Manlius School District Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Michael Vespi has received the New York State Association of School Business Officials’ Outstanding Workplace Contribution Award.

The award recognizes a member of a school district's business or human resource office who has made his or her district a better place to work through improved business office operations, human resource operations and/or employee benefits, according to the association. Vespi was selected for his efforts to convert retiree health insurance payments from a manual to an electronic process.

“I’m honored to receive this award,” Vespi said. “At F-M, we’re continually looking for ways to improve, and this is a great example of how the business office staff pulls together to make the workplace better for everyone involved — the office staff as well as the district employees we serve.”

The honor carries a $1,000 award, of which the association will give $250 to Vespi and a $750 scholarship in Vespi’s name to a deserving F-M high school student.

In early 2011, Vespi established the goal of converting all retiree payments to an electronic format. The change has allowed the business office to become more efficient and save an estimated $25,000 in annual personnel costs.

“It has always been a very manual process, utilizing spreadsheets and handling monthly payments by cash or check, as well as following up with past due collections,” wrote Cindy Daley, F-M’s accounting supervisor, in her nomination letter. “With close to 400 retirees, you can appreciate the effort involved.”

The district first notified retirees by letter that it would require full payment for the year or a monthly debit from the retiree’s account.

“For those who were used to coming to the office with cash every month, this was a big change,” Daley wrote. “Even though our letter explained the process thoroughly, our office staff still received a high volume of phone calls with questions.”

Vespi answered questions and personally explained the process to many concerned retirees, Daley wrote. And it paid off. In its first year using the new system, the F-M Business Office had 99 percent participation from retirees.

“As a result of Mike’s efforts, along with his staff, a challenging goal was successfully met and a new simplified process went into effect,” Daley said.

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