Recently the STARS Executive Committee awarded an administrative services agreement with Regional Government Services for additional support to help with public agencies and employees join and participate in the STARS programs. Two agencies participate currently and together their employees have $11.6 million in assets in STARS. As assets grow, participants benefit by lower fees and stronger purchasing strength. RGS has assigned HR Advisor Deona Knight to help the STARS team achieve their goals. Deona Knight has over 19 years of public sector Human Resources experience serving large and small agencies. She has administered benefits for municipalities for over 16 years. Deona is customer service focused and has a passion for helping others get the most out of their benefit package. She understands what employees are looking for in benefit plans and is familiar with the adoption and internal management of the programs.
Deona believes that educating employees and informing them of the value of their benefits is important to employee engagement. During her career she has successfully negotiated for lower rates and better value with vendors in order to enhance both employer and employee satisfaction. She believes that having a competitive benefit package is key to employee retention and that a deferred compensation program with low fees allows employees to build another retirement income stream in addition to typical government provided plans.
In addition to negotiating a wide variety of employee benefit programs, Deona recently implemented a 401(a) qualified retirement plan which was an added benefit for eligible employees alongside a pre-existing 457(b) deferred compensation plan. By adding a 401 to the benefit package, an existing employer match contribution was channeled to the new 401 account and not to the 457 account, thus allowing the employee to take full advantage of the 457 maximum contribution amount allowed by the IRS. The new addition was well received by the employees and became an instant success.
With her years of significant employee benefits experience and knowledge of the many options now available to public sector workers, Deona is a great choice to take on the task of working with public agencies interested in joining STARS, and with Mass Mutual and Sageview to help best serve employees participating in the STARS program.