Staff Senate Minutes - January 16, 2001
Employee of the Month: Peg Nyffeler, Assistant Director, Health Services
Directors -- Livingston, Roth, Roggasch
Managerial/Professional -- Danube, Kucera, McMullen
Office -- Ellingson, Jones, Mitchell
Service -- Hines, Lange, Wilson
Ex Officio -- Lakey
Guest: Billy Rayburn
- Call to Order
- Adoption of Agenda
Agenda adopted. Roth (Jones)
- Minutes and Correspondence
- Minutes of the December 19, 2000 meeting were approved as amended. (Correction of date for event).
- The secretary read a thank you note from Sue Petersen who was Employee of the Month in December.
- Unfinished Business
- Committee and Search Reports
- Election Committee – no report
- Employee Recognition - Hines reported they have selected the Department of the Month and the Employee of the Month for February. The next meeting will be the first Wednesday in February.
- Performance Management - Livingston noted the committee has not met yet, but will be meeting soon to organize and discuss evaluations. Members will be contacted soon about a meeting date.
- Procedures Committee - McMullen stated the committee met last Wednesday and noted they have a full plate. There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. No drafts were prepared since they wanted to discuss items with the full Senate first. The first issue is changing Staff Senate’s year to coincide with Faculty Senate’s year – which corresponds with the academic year. The committee is recommending that Staff Senate do that. He noted the committee thought it made sense to do that and elections would be much easier if they could be done in April. He noted they are also going to recommend that if the year is changed that members whose terms are to end in 2001 have their terms shortened to coincide with the change. McMullen noted if we do not change, we would have to change some of our appointment dates. Rayburn noted that since we do have one Faculty Senate committee which has representation from Staff Senate, we would have a split appointment since our years currently run at different times. A short discussion followed in which general consensus was this was a good idea. The Procedures Committee was instructed to draft a change to the bylaws. McMullen inquired if this would cause any problems since terms would be shortened – but consensus again is that once bylaws are changed and adopted, there would be no violations. McMullen stated that another issue discussed is trying to improve response for elections, especially in the service category of employees. The general consensus was that communication is the problem. Most service employees do not get the e-mails that the rest of the staff does. McMullen noted that there is a push to get some workstations where service employees could access their e-mail. Haack has just funded a server upgrade for the facilities department. McMullen noted he would take it upon himself and try to get a place where more employees can get into their e-mail accounts. Livingston noted that for the last election, we contacted service employees by campus mail. She asked if they anticipated changing that process. McMullen noted if he can get those employees on e-mail, we would use that since we also had problems using campus mail. It was noted that there needs to be a specific place where service individuals can get their regular mail – either in the building in which they work or at a specific place. Lakey was asked if Human Resources tells new employees where they will get their mail or does the employee’s supervisor tell them. Lakey said since HR doesn’t always know where they are placed, that is left to the supervisor. Hines noted part of the problem might be the employees do not realize where to mail the ballots back. Lakey stated maybe next year we could hand deliver them and explain the process. The question was raised as to whether there is support for Staff Senate among service individuals. Members were told that painters and electricians have access to a computer, but the grounds keepers and carpenters do not. It was also noted that only the custodial leaders have access to computers. Lakey noted that is part of the problem; most service employees do not get in on the normal communications that go across campus. Consequently they do not feel part of the institution. Lakey said he would support any efforts to get computer access to all service employees. McMullen noted there is a technical problem. A lot of the computers are too old and would only support one e-mail account. Due to this, Lotus Notes is not the program used for e-mail on those older computers; another program has to be implemented. McMullen stated that the server that Haack has purchased is a terminal server that could be linked to about 15 computers. Livingston asked if we should have a task force to look into improving communications with service employees and to make a recommendation. Consensus was Staff Senate needs to do something about the problem. McMullen, Lange, and Jones volunteered to be on the task force and Lakey noted someone would join them from the HR office. Lakey stated he would also like to go electronic with the employee handbook, but he can not do that until all employees have access to computers. The last issue was what to do if someone leaves Staff Senate and there are not enough remaining nominees to fill the vacancy. It was suggested that the other two representatives in that category could make a recommendation to the Staff Senate. Ellingson suggested they put in the bylaws that it is recommended the replacement not be in the same office as the other representatives. That would help keep representation campus wide. McMullen stated they would work on the respective drafts at the next meeting, which is scheduled for February 8th. McMullen was elected chair at the last meeting.
- Professional Development Committee - Ellingson noted she didn’t have a report because the committee does not meet until tomorrow.
- Office/Service Dependent Scholarship Committee - Lakey reported they will be meeting Thursday and have several items on the agenda, including electing a chair.
- Making a Difference Subcommittee – will not meet until March
- Mentoring Subcommittee - Ellingson reported the committee would meet at the end of the month. However she noted she had sent out letters to about 25 employees who had joined the University in the last six months and invited them to take part in the mentoring program. To date, she had four individuals who wanted to participate. Ellingson noted although that may not sound like a lot, it is a high percentage considering that most have been working here for awhile. She felt that showed there is a need.
- Information Technology – no report
- Strategic Planning – no report
- Learning Center – no report
- Search – Vice Chancellor Student Life. Livingston reported that according to Bargen, they have had about 40 applications and the review of those applications began last week.
- Search – Dean Business and Technology. Livingston reported they have completed the draft of the evaluation criteria and applications have begun to come in.
- New Business
- Benefits Wish List
Lakey noted the U-Wide Benefits Committee is meeting in Lincoln Thursday. One of the agenda items is they will be requesting a wish list from each campus by January 31st. This is for 2002. In the past, a request has come to Staff Senate for any recommendations for that list. Lakey noted since the next Staff Senate meeting is not until after January 31st, we need to decide how to get items to them by then. The question was raised as to why this is such a quick turnaround. Lakey noted they need the initial list by January 31, but probably discussion will continue after that. Livingston asked members what they wanted to do – did they want to try and list concerns today, have a group look at it, or just personally respond to the committee representatives? Roggasch asked if we were to collect opinions from throughout campus and then send those in. Lakey said that is correct. He gave examples of items that had been considered and/or adopted from those lists. Roggasch suggested we have a subcommittee do an e-mail to all the campus for concerns/wishes and she volunteered to head the group. Livingston stated she would work with Roggasch on the list. Lakey suggested they also contact Cheryl Bressington.
- Staff Senate Website
Livingston stated our website is out-of-date. She asked if there was anyone willing to take on the task. McMullen thought Ryan Samuelson was doing that. Lakey stated that was not followed through. Livingston noted at one time McMullen was given the task. McMullen noted he was the one that passed it on to Samuelson. Lakey noted once it is developed, it is not that hard to go in and update. Ellingson stated she was not familiar with developing websites, but would be willing to keep it updated since she is the secretary and has all the information. Members quickly agreed the secretary should do it!
- SAFE Award
Livingston reminded members that the selection group for the award was composed of the Executive Committees of both Staff Senate and OSAC. Since we no longer have OSAC, the procedure needs to be changed. Livingston stated she thought the Employee Recognition Committee should discuss the matter and make a recommendation to Staff Senate. Lakey stated we need to start encouraging people to make nominations, but we can’t do that until we have everything in order. A question was raised about the selection process – were nominations in different categories? Last year both were from the managerial/professional category. Lakey stated originally there was supposed to be only one winner. But for the past two years, the Chancellor has two awards. Lakey stated there is nothing in the guidelines that the award rotates between categories. It is just the one or two individuals whose nominations are the most outstanding. So it just depends on the nominations received.
- Salaries –Haack
After introductions, VC Randy Haack visited with members about the process involving salaries. The University did make a request for faculty and non-faculty salaries. The request for faculty was a 5.2% increase and for non-faculty a 4.75% increase. Haack stated for faculty there are two groups that bargain collectively - one from UNO and the other from UNK. The 5.2% is a blended rate for the faculty from all four campuses. Each campus has their salaries compared to their 10 peer institutions. The request was submitted in September. The governor has now made his recommendation, which is a 6.25% increase in the overall funding. It has not been made clear yet as to what that means in terms of salaries. Haack reminded everyone that the monies that come from the Legislature to the University are in a lump sum and then the President and the Board of Regents allocate an amount to each campus. So it is impossible at this point to know what specific amount will go to each campus and what salaries will be. Haack noted the faculty bargaining process starts in September and they try to reach an agreement. But if not, it goes to mediation; this year that was by January 10th. If you still can not reach an agreement, it goes to a special master. Each group makes a final offer. Each has the opportunity to accept the other’s offer; if not, then it would go to a master hearing. UNK has reached an agreement even though it did go to mediation. They are working on the contract now; Haack noted he could not share the terms now, but can say that the bargaining unit and the Board of Regents have reached an agreement. It still has to be ratified by the Board and the UNK membership. Haack noted there are things that come up during the process that we should be aware of. The state employees also have a bargaining unit; we are not a part of that unit. They settled on a 3.5% increase this year. They will be experiencing sizable increases in health insurance costs. We too will have that situation. Lakey noted he does not have estimated figures for next year yet. It will depend on what the rate increase as of January 1 does to the plan and if that will be sufficient to cover the increased costs. The state is stepping up with appropriations, but the University will probably have significant tuition rate increases in order to generate more money. The Board of Regents does not want to have mediocre faculty so they need to keep salaries competitive. The governor has made his recommendations and now the Appropriations Committee will begin their deliberations. Haack noted if you are a political follower, membership on that committee has changed. There are nine members on the committee and four or five of them are new. Another thing to be aware of is the possibility of an across the board increase to offset the increased cost for health insurance coverage. Livingston asked if they would increase the NU credits since there are some employees that do not take part in the University health plan. Haack said he didn’t know how that might be structured. Lakey noted if this is of concern, individuals should contact their U-Wide Benefits representative. McMullen asked about the Hub’s report of an increase of 4.75% for staff and the 5% for faculty. Lakey said he was going to caution people to be careful of what they hear in the news. They don’t always list all the facts. The first thing you have to realize is they may be talking about a two-year budget so the percent may be spread over two years. Also until the governor signs the final budget, nothing is for certain. Lakey also reminded everyone that the Legislature and the governor do not determine how the university funds are distributed. Lakey noted that President Smith and the Board of Regents determine what to give each campus. Then each campus decides how to distribute the money among the employees on campus. Haack cautioned even if they decide on a 4.75% increase for staff salaries – some campuses could get more than that and some could get less. In mid February the Appropriations Committee will come out with their recommendations and then there will be public hearings. The University’s hearing will probably be in March. Then the Legislature will debate through April. Haack said he will come back with information whenever there is anything significant to report. The question was raised as to why there is a bargaining unit for faculty, but not for staff. Haack noted that faculty bargained collectively when they were part of the state college system. Livingston thought much of the impetus came from the Kearney campus. At that time, Kearney was 60% of the system. Staff members of the State College system who are members of the NSEA collective bargaining group do not appear to have gained as much as faculty in collective bargaining. Lakey noted for several years there was a bargaining unit for Facilities, but employees didn’t feel they were getting anything from paying their dues.
- Next Meeting – February 20, 2001
- Upcoming Events
- Humor in the Workshop – January 23rd
- Jim Wand, hypnotist – January 24th
- Think Fast, game show – February 8th
- Darryl Van Leer, Black History Performer – February 15th
- Dave Pelzer – February 28th
- World Affairs Conference – March 4-6
- Honoring Women’s Conference in Lincoln – March 9th
- Herman Bonne, “Remember the Titans” – March 29th
- All Campus Bike Bowl – April 3rd
- Vertical Horizon- Spring Concert – April 18th
Recipients this month from UNK: Eve Scantling and Scott Unruh
The meeting was adjourned at 11:47