June 17, 2008

Members Present: Matthew Cullinan [chair], Gary Alwine, Kathy Bunn, Randy Cockerham, Maureen Eggert, Kelvin Green, Julie Griffin, Julie Groves, Cynthia Hall, Dana Hutchens, Sherry Long, Ellen Makaravage, Gale Newport, Chris McLaughlin, Gloria Stickney, Mike Tesh

Members Absent: Carolyn Potts, Nicolle Gaillard

Guests: Donna Gung, Dianne Weavil, Carolyn Winebarger [recorder]

Appreciation

Appreciation was expressed to the following members whose terms of service on the Staff Advisory Council are expiring: Kathy Bunn, Maureen Eggert, Kelvin Green, Julie Groves, Dana Hutchens, Sherry Long, Chris McLaughlin, and Gloria Stickney. Also honored were Donna Gung and Dianne Weavil, who completed their terms in 2007.

Human Resources Update

Mike Tesh provided the following update:

  • Open forums for staff to discuss University-sponsored child care options are scheduled for June 18 and 24.
  • Benefit election confirmation statements have been mailed to the home of each benefits-eligible employee. There was discussion regarding the feasibility of adjusting the deadline for making benefit decisions until after employees are notified of salary changes.
  • Letters confirming salaries for the new fiscal year have been delivered to department heads. Salary adjustments for exempt employees were based on merit, market adjustment, and affordability.
  • The summer work program for employee dependents is underway, and flexibility in starting dates will be considered to meet departmental needs.
  • The grant-funded Ben Franklin Institute will once again provide an opportunity for several staff members to escort students to and from various locations abroad. Interested staff members submitted an application and completed an extensive interview process. Congratulations were extended to Chris McLaughlin on his selection as one of this year’s participants. Gloria Stickney noted that the grant funding for this initiative ends this year, and continuation in future years will be contingent upon the receipt of funding.
  • Mike Tesh asked that SAC members continue to pass along any comments they receive regarding health care benefits. Randy Cockerham complimented the HR staff on the thoroughness and understandability of this year’s benefits election package.

There was discussion regarding the impact of rising fuel costs on employees, and several suggestions for consideration were offered: summer work week adjustments; flex time; a centralized clearinghouse for those interested in carpooling, including a more publicized use of the WIN “Online Classified” section for those seeking shared transportation; van transportation service from strategic locations; and telecommuting. Mike Tesh noted that current policy does permit supervisors some flexibility in employee schedules when appropriate. He agreed to remind supervisors of opportunities within the confines of existing policy and to investigate the feasibility of policy changes which may provide relief during times of economic hardship.

Election Results

Julie Groves provided statistical data, which will be posted on the web site, regarding the level of participation in the recent election. She noted that new Council members, Gale Newport and Nicolle Galliard, joined the Elections Committee this year in preparation of guiding next year’s process. The overall elections process was deemed a success; however, it was suggested that including some biographical information about the candidates on the ballot would be helpful to the voters.

Year End Wrap-Up

Dr. Cullinan thanked the group for their participation and hard work over the previous year. Recommendations by Council members for ongoing focus included: improving communications between the Staff Advisory Council and the University community; highlighting the Staff Advisory Council’s leadership role as changes are enacted and goals are accomplished; maintaining a list of all previous SAC members on the web page so that current members may contact them for historical perspectives and previous research results; and making beginning-of-the-year assignments to SAC members to facilitate viable discussions and recommendations.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 1:45 p.m.

Category: Minutes