Staff Senate Minutes - February 20, 2001
Employee of the Month: Gloria Geiselman, Staff Secretary III, Learning Center.
Directors -- Livingston, Roth, Roggasch
Managerial/Professional -- Danube, Kucera, McMullen
Office -- Ellingson, Jones, Mitchell
Service -- Hines, Lange, Wilson
Ex Officio -- Lakey
- Call to Order
- Adoption of Agenda
Agenda Adopted Roggasch (Danube)
- Minutes and Correspondence
- Minutes of the January 16, 2001 meeting were approved as printed.
- The secretary read a thank you note from Peg Nyffeler who was Employee of the Month in January.
- Unfinished Business
- Benefits Wish List
Roggasch noted they received between 52-56 responses back from the e-mail request. She stated that she, Kathy Livingston, and Cheryl Bressington met and compiled a list of requests and a letter was sent to UNK’s representatives on the U-Wide Benefit’s Committee. Those requests included tuition reimbursements for family members, birth control coverage, expanding vision care and providers, and expanded coverage for hearing aids. Livingston stated another item mentioned in the letter was increasing NU credits for changes in health insurance so people who have their health insurance elsewhere receive the same monetary support for their health insurance. Roggasch stated that when visiting with the Human Resource Office at UNL, she learned they had received questions as to why tuition benefits were not extended to domestic partners also. She felt in the future we would be hearing a lot about the issue of benefits for domestic partners, especially from the eastern campuses. At this time, the Board of Regents is still saying no to those benefits. The Unicameral is backing that up with lack of funds. Lakey stated he didn’t know the actual date of the next meeting, but the U-Wide Benefits Committee will be reviewing all the wish lists.
- Staff Senate Website
Wilson stated she looked at the website after the last meeting and found that the basic structure was out there with the updated templates. She passed out copies of the home page and some of the sub-pages. She noted members could view the actual sites and the address is listed on the copies she provided. Wilson stated she and Ellingson decided to do some rearranging of the links. She also had to check and see what data was actually out there. Basically what was there was just a portion of the year 2000. She noted she just started building from there. The first link is the Staff Senate. Wilson said for the Officers and Senators page, she had a form for members to fill out so she has information on everyone, including their phone number and e-mail address. In addition, she will link the contact information to this page. Right now the link takes you to the Human Resource page. She will link it to the Officers and Senators’ page. She told members that she is going to leave the link to the minutes “out-of-service” until she can get it done. Currently she has ’96 done and part of ’97. She didn’t want any links out there that didn’t go anywhere. On the committees, there is a brief description of each committee and on the respective committee page, it will list the chair of the committee and all the members. On Employee of the Month, she has it updated to ’99; she still has to add ’98 and ’97. She noted that she and Ellingson decided to put a brief description at the start of each EOM as to why they are being acknowledged. Since the Department of the Month just started in 2000, that is completely done. Annual Reports are all done; they are the President’s view of the year from the printed report. Wilson said she was not doing the bylaws yet since she knew those were being revised. A link will be added for the S.A.F.E. Award winners. Ellingson stated that Wilson has put in a lot of time and work on the website. Ellingson stated that when all the bio sheets from members are returned, she and Wilson will try and set the information up so that everything is uniform. Ellingson noted that the minutes on the website would go back as far as when the original organization became Staff Senate in 1996. That way there is a record of when Staff Senate started. Wilson asked if members have any other items they wanted on the website that she and Ellingson hadn’t included. Livingston asked if the S.A.F.E. Award would have just the winners or the actual application. Ellingson said both could be included. Livingston said she would like both and she would also like the link to be listed on the home page. Roggasch mentioned the Employee of the Month form should be there also.
- SAFE Award
Since there are so many new members, Hines read the first paragraph about the award, which states that UNK has created a thousand dollar award for service for administrative, managerial/professional, office, and service employees. The award is based on evidence of consistent, outstanding service to students, to the institution, to education in general, to significant state, regional or national education programs, or to other appropriate educationally related functions or organizations. Further excellence in service is defined as a deed or performance that brings more than satisfaction and that creates an experience that exceeds expectations. Hines went on to say that this is an award for which anyone on campus can make a nomination. Staff Senate serves as the administrator for the award. The award is given at the Fall Convocation. Nominations need to be in by June 29th so there is plenty of time to make the selection. Hines had nomination forms with her. Livingston asked about the selection committee. Livingston noted that in the past, the committee was composed of the Executive Committee from both Staff Senate and OSAC. Since then, OSAC has been disbanded. The Employee Recognition Committee is recommending that the new composition of the selection committee be from four to six people. On that committee would always be the Executive Committee of Staff Senate plus one individual from whichever group(s) are not already represented by the Executive Committee. So it would vary depending on which categories were already represented by the Executive Committee. This year there are three different categories represented but other years there might be only one or two categories represented. Then one person from each of the other groups would need to be added so that could make up to six people involved. Livingston stated they felt that the person to serve should be selected by the Staff Senate members of only that particular group. Livingston noted if members agree that this is the best way to do it, the Employee Recognition Committee will draft that change. Members agreed that would be fine.
- Salary Allocations
Lakey noted that at the last meeting VC Haack updated us as to where we are as far as salary changes for the coming year and explained that process. When the Performance Management Committee met, the main discussion item was dealing with how do we let administration know what the feelings are from the various categories as to how they would like to see the salary allocations divided up amongst employees on this campus. Staff Senate is not trying to tell the Chancellor or Vice Chancellors how to do this, but we feel it would be to their benefit to be aware of what we (Staff Senate and the employees we represent) think as to our priorities of how we would like to see the salaries distributed. Then there is the question - “How do Staff Senate members know what the people they represent feel on the matter?” Do they want to see a certain percent up front for the cost of living increases? Or would they like to see it straight across the board for everyone with everyone getting the same percent increase? Would they rather see salary increases for performance and merit? Or should some of the money be held back for one-time performance increases? There are numerous ways to distribute the money. So again, how do we find out so that we are representing the people well and can communicate that to the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellors how they think the salaries dollars could be distributed. Possible ways to do that include a formal survey which takes a lot of time and the committee didn’t feel there was enough time left for this year. Another idea was to have Human Resources include the topic in training sessions; they already have some planned for supervisors on evaluations which is part of the process. They could also do training sessions for all employees on evaluations which might be a good time to poll employees. The question could be thrown out to both supervisors and employees to see how they would like to see salary dollars allocated. Then Staff Senate can communicate back to Administration what employees and supervisors are thinking. If salary increases are done for performance, it does put a lot of pressure on the supervisors. They have to have documentation if they are not going to give the same to every employee. They need to be able to justify their decisions. Polling employees at the training sessions would be faster than doing a formal survey. Danube, who chairs the committee, noted that one other way would be for each member to do a phone poll of a number of his or her constituents. Lakey noted we couldn’t call everyone, but at least we could get a sampling of what people are thinking. Roggasch mentioned doing an electronic survey. Ellingson stated we would miss service people if we did that. Lakey noted part of the process is education. If we ask employees if they want performance pay, they might all say yes since they all think they would get the money. But in reality, they find out that not everyone gets an increase and that could include them. When we do performance pay, someone has to get less than the average. Lakey said he feels these things need to be explained so employees can give an educated response.
Wilson noted she felt that was important for employees since she didn’t feel everyone is aware of what the options are. She felt it would be good to have training sessions for both supervisors and employees. Lakey noted another thing employees need to be aware of is that not all divisions on campus are distributing salaries the same way. For instance, the Division of Business and Finance has done quite a bit the last few years with performance pay; they have not given straight across the board pay increases. In the Division of Academic Affairs, they have probably done the least with performance pay – probably because they have a lot of one secretary departments. So there is not a lot of leeway to do that unless it is done across the college. With the change in vice chancellor in Student Life, they did a little more performance pay last year. Lakey noted it can be quite a shock when there is a change of environment when you start doing this. That is why education is important. Lakey stated if the Senate decided to go with the training sessions, we need to be sure that there are representatives from Staff Senate in attendance to hear the discussion/views. Also we need to get people to come to the training sessions. Ellingson noted if employees realize that there will be a discussion about how salaries might be allocated, they will come. Lakey noted we would have to be carefull about expectations if we do that. Lakey said employees need to be aware that Administration doesn’t have to do what is recommended; but at least we could make them aware of what is wanted. Lakey stated we could publish an agenda of what will be discussed at the training sessions.
Roth noted in his area they started doing more performance based increases last year and there are lots of issues. He noted it takes more time and better communications. Livingston noted the committee had talked about three different options. One was to do the training sessions, a second was to have members talk to their colleagues, and the third was focus groups. Livingston asked members what they thought would be the best way to proceed. McMullen noted he felt we need to do this with a group of people – whether it be a focus group or a training session rather than talking to individuals one-on-one. Lakey stated at the sessions they could discuss how the process works, where the money comes from, how it is budgeted, who makes the decision, as well as discussing the evaluation process. Employees need to say how they would like to see that pool of money allocated for salary increases. Wilson noted she would hate to misinform someone and she would like to see the questions raised in an open forum so someone that knows can answer the questions. Roggasch stated she felt it needed to be an educational training session led by a neutral party like the Human Resource Office. Roggasch asked if they could do the training by groups and combine the idea of a focus group. Livingston said she liked that idea since there might be a tendency if your supervisor was there not to say what you really feel. Lakey noted that employees seem to be more excited about doing evaluations than supervisors. Lakey stated if we can give supervisors an instrument they can use as documentation as to what they based their decision on they would feel much better about it. In the past, it was a last-minute interview with your employee and was not based on anything except what you were feeling at that particular moment. Once a supervisor realizes there are certain things to document which would justify their decisions, it does not feel like such a threatening exercise. General consensus was to incorporate the discussion into the training sessions. Lakey asked how visible does Staff Senate want to be. Roggasch said we need to be there in order to get the feedback and employees need to know Staff Senate would be putting together a list of ideas to forward to Administration. Lakey said Staff Senate members may also need to stimulate the conversation.
- 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 March and also set their goals. Hines wants to remind people we are out there and are receptive to their ideas and concerns. She provided members with a poster to put on their bulletin boards. This is to remind people what our job is and lists all members at the bottom of the poster in hopes staff will contact members if they have concerns. Lakey noted now that we are getting the website updated, we can advertise a little bit. Ellingson said we also need to advertise how to find the website; it is not easy to find. Lakey noted the UNK website has changed and there is now a search engine and individuals can find it that way. Lakey stated right now Staff Senate is under Human Resources, but we need to look at that. Roggasch suggested it be listed under departments (A-Z). Livingston stated we need to talk to the web master and see if we can get it listed there.
- Performance Management
Livingston stated that Danube is the new chair of the committee. Danube noted Lakey had basically covered everything discussed at the meeting. However if anyone has any additional input about how to get information from staff employees, let him know.
- Procedures Committee
McMullen handed out a draft of revised bylaws. He noted the committee was given a number of tasks. The first was to sync the Staff Senate year with Faculty Senate year. Their year is from May 1st to April 30th. However they actually have their May meeting the last week of April because of final exams, graduation, etc. All the changes in the bylaws draft are in bold and underlined. Basically it would mean officers would be elected at the April meeting and newly elected senate members would assume their duties effective May 1 through April 30, concurrent with the Senate year and committee composition would be reviewed in May. The election process would remain the same with the exception that elections would be done in March instead of September. That would mean that if adopted now, the election process would begin the first week of March. The Election Committee noted that was too short a notice. McMullen stated if this is something we want to do, then will we still want to have elections in September and then change the bylaws and have elections again in March? If not, it was suggested that we extend terms an additional six months so terms would end April 30th and dispense with the September elections and have elections next March. Lakey recommended that is what they do. Roggasch moved to extend terms so that the end date is April 30th of their respective year. Kucera seconded the motion.
Livingston asked why the Professional Conduct Committee election in the draft is scheduled for June with the term to begin July 1st. McMullen stated in the past they were elected in December so he just moved everything forward six months. Livingston recommended that those elections be held at the same time as the election for officers (April) with their term to begin May 1st.
The second item they needed to consider was how to fill vacancies when there is no election data to fall back on. Normally if someone vacates their seat, the election committee would go back to the election data and see who received the next highest count and ask that person to serve. This past year, they were concerned that there would not be anyone to fall back on in certain categories. So the committee basically took a policy from Student Senate and adapted it to Staff Senate. The recommendation is as follows: In the event that no additional election data is available, senate members in the same category of employment as the vacancy will identify a candidate, contact them regarding their willingness to serve, and if agreeable, forward their name to the President for Senate approval by a simple majority vote. If the candidate is not approved, this process is repeated. Livingston noted this would only occur if there were no other people who had been on the election ballot.
McMullen noted the third issue they decided was not a bylaws issue, but rather how Staff Senate is perceived on campus. The issue is what to do if no one accepts the nomination (in a specific category) to be on the ballot. McMullen noted this is an advertisement issue.
The fourth issue was the need for a description of the subcommittees in the bylaws. Ellingson had asked that a definition be included. He noted the subcommittees submitted the descriptions to him. Those descriptions are: Making a Difference Subcommittee is in charge of all planning and arrangements for the annual Making a Difference Staff Development Day. This is a joint venture of Staff Senate and the public sector. Mentoring Subcommittee: The Mentoring committee oversees the UNK Mentor Advantage program and has the responsibilities of maintaining the mentor pool, revising forms and materials used in the program, regularly evaluating the program, and distributing certificates of appreciation to mentors.
A lengthy discussion following as to when and how to adopt the proposed bylaws changes. Lakey asked if the adjustment needed for the transition, needs to be part of the bylaws? Livingston said no, but it could be done in the same motion. Livingston stated we could approve the changes, but have it become effective at a later date. Lakey noted if we would make it effective May 1, 2001 then we would be past the time when elections would be held according to the new bylaws and then elections could be held next March. Another option was to table it and approve it at a later meeting. Ellingson raised the issue of extending the current terms through April 30th. Roggasch noted that when members were elected, their terms always concluded in October. Even if we approved the bylaw changes effective May 1, we still need to extend the current terms if there is no election in September. Ellingson reminded members that earlier Roggasch had made a motion to extend member’s terms for an additional six months with their respective terms to then end April 30th. Kucera had seconded the motion. After further discussion, Kucera withdrew her second and Roggasch withdrew her motion. Roggasch made a new motion to accept the new Staff Senate bylaws as presented with the change (dates for election of Professional Conduct Committee representatives), to become effective May 1, 2001 and to extend the terms of current members an additional six months so terms would conclude April 30th of their respective year in accordance with the new bylaws. Ron Roth seconded the motion. Motion was passed unanimously.
- Professional Development Committee
Ellingson said the committee met on January 17th and has another meeting tomorrow. Lakey talked to the committee about the old Connections Program and after some discussion it was decided to revive it. The intention was to get it started in February (training trainers) and then implement it during the summer. Plans included having one session in the summer and then three sessions in the fall. But when looking into the video, it was found to be very outdated. So everything is on hold unless funding can be found to purchase a new video and books. Ellingson noted she will get an exact quote from Cheryl Bressingson – but she thought it was about $2,000.
Ellingson reported that at “Let’s Have Lunch” on Valentine’s Day, Ron Roth did an excellent job of presenting information about Valentine’s Day. He even gave out prizes and everyone there had a really good time. The next scheduled special event, will be June 13th at MONA with a presentation on the quilt display. Then on August 8th, Randy Haack will do a Campus Vision presentation. November 14th plans are to have Carol Hines do a holiday cooking demo.
The other venture the committee had tried to pursue was the “Golden Apple” award, but found it is not cost effective so we are looking into a “Drop in the Bucket” which originally was developed by the Gallup organization. Roth stated he had not been able to get in touch with them yet. So we are still looking at options for special recognitions.
- Office/Service Dependent Scholarship Committee
Mitchell reported they have met several times. Since this is a new committee for Staff Senate, she provided information on the scholarship. This originally was under OSAC. It started a number of years ago with can recycling. Earl Rademacher, then vice chancellor, would match the dollars that were collected from the aluminum cans. OSAC put those dollars in a foundation account and then used the money for scholarships for dependents of Office/Service employees. With all the bottles now, there are not as many cans collected. Also there are no longer any matching funds. So money now comes from those can dollars and also donations through the Foundation Fund Drive. The committee is looking at other ideas to generate dollars. One of those is several special can recycling drives under the direction of Billy Rayburn. Other suggestions have been a contest between departments to see who can collect the most cans. The winner would win a huge sandwich from Chartwells. They are also looking into a special promotion during a hockey game whereby fans bring cans. Normally $1,000 in scholarships are awarded each year. This last year there was a communication problem with the scholarship committee who awarded all the money in the expendable account instead of just the $1,000. Normally after the scholarship money is awarded, the rest of the funds raised are put into an endowed account. The committee recommends that they give $1,000 in scholarships again this year with no more than $500 to any one student and a maximum of four scholarships. The last few years, they have had more than four apply. Lakey stated there is about $6,900 in the endowed account. Interest on that account is about $400 a year. In the expendable account there is currently $1,400, but $756 of that still goes for scholarship payments this semester. With what is left and adding on the amount expected from the Foundation Drive, there should be enough to award $1,000 for next year. It is hoped that some day the endowed will be large enough that the interest can support the scholarship. Kucera made a motion to approve the committee’s recommendation to award a total of $1,000 in scholarships with no recipient to receive more than $500 and the maximum number of scholarships not to exceed four. Roth seconded the motion which passed unanimously.
- Making a Difference Subcommittee – will not meet until March
- Mentoring Subcommittee
The committee met January 24th. Ellingson was elected chair. At the next meeting, there will be a vice chair elected to assist the chair. She reported there is currently mentoring going on from the invitation letters that went out to new employees from the past six month period. There are also some new hires that will be getting started in the program. There is another mentor workshop scheduled for February 21st. It will be a brown bag training session in the Cedar Room. We have about 45 individuals who want to mentor, but only about 25 have completed the training. The committee is standing firm, that individuals have to complete the training before they will be used as a mentor. We want to be sure they are aware of how the process works and what is expected of them. The training only lasts one hour.
Ellingson mentioned she was one of the ones involved in “Honoring Women’s Voices” Conference in Lincoln March 9th. We will be presenting our mentoring program at two of the sessions so attendees will become aware we do have a staff mentoring program at UNK.
- Information Technology
Livingston noted the University of Nebraska has a U-Wide Strategic Plan in the draft stage for distance education programs. At the last meeting, they talked about that particular plan and its implications for UNK and any changes they might want to have considered. They also had a guest speaker – Marc Albrecht from biology. He spoke about the need to market to potential and current students the amount of technology UNK has to offer. His idea is to focus on different departments and let them show what they are doing with technology in their respective departments and use this as a recruitment tool. They also talked about revamping the website. Since that time, the website has a new format with the tabs at the top. The committee also discussed the results of a faculty survey done concerning classes using course info. It was determined that a survey also needs to be done with students using class info to see what they think about class info and how well it worked. They are also still working on the strategic plan for Information Technology.
- Strategic Planning
Livingston stated they met last week and discussed the prioritization process for academic programs this year. Those reports have now been completed by the departments and the deans and have been forwarded to the Academic Vice Chancellor for review. They talked about that process and what worked and what didn’t. The work continues, but those who wanted to submit reports this year have done so.
- Learning Center
Mitchell stated they are continuing to meet, but things are winding down. They have completed their interviews and have lots of input. She was not able to attend the last meeting where they were to come together with ideas and suggestions. Gail Zeller is typing a list of all the ideas and suggestions for all the committee members, but Mitchell hasn’t received those yet. They are shooting for a March 1st deadline to make recommendations to the Chancellor.
- Search – Vice Chancellor Student Life
Livingston reported that according to Dave Bargen, the committee has just completed a round of preliminary phone interviews and reference checks on eight candidates. Now a short list will be compiled and invitations extended for on-campus interviews to begin shortly.
- Search – Dean Business and Technology
Livingston, who serves on that committee, reported they have developed their list of candidates they would like to see interviewed on campus. They have already conducted phone interviews and checked references. The list is in the process of being forwarded for approval to arrange for the interviews.
- New Business
- University Bookstore Bidding Process
Livingston noted she had sent an e-mail a week or two ago asking for a volunteer to serve on this committee. It would involve two or three meetings. Tim Danube volunteered.
- Tuition Waivers
Lakey noted that everyone should have received a memo he forwarded from President Smith announcing that they are proceeding with approaching the Board of Regents to extend to staff the tuition wavier that was given to faculty during the bargaining agreement this year. This tuition wavier would take the 15 hours that full-time employees have in the employee scholarship program and allows an employee to transfer those to a spouse or dependent child. There are still some things to be worked out and there is task force, composed of representatives from financial aid, the finance office and the human resource office from the four campuses, being formed to do this. He reminded everyone that this is not a final deal until the Board approves it. However, he thinks things are quite positive. The tuition waiver is only for full-time employees and is for undergraduate hours only. Those hours may be used at any of the University of Nebraska campuses. Those who were employed here prior to July 1, 1991 and were grandfathered under the KSC spouse/dependent scholarship will probably be given a choice. However that is not decided yet. Employees will probably have to decide which program they want to go with and once that decision is made, the employee will have to continue under that program. Bressington is working on a list of pluses and minuses to present to employees who have to make that decision. Roggasch said they were told that the Board will discuss this at the March meeting and make a decision at the April meeting. Lakey said it would probably go into effect for the fall semester. Lakey noted that HR directors are still recommending that it be extended to part-time employees who are eligible for benefits, but that is not in the works at this time. There are lots of issues to work out. For instance if both husband and wife are employed by the university, do they get 30 hours? And if they both have KSC, can one go with one program and the other with the other program? Livingston mentioned employees themselves would still have the option of using those hours for graduate level classes. The question was raised about child dependent status. Lakey noted basically if your child is eligible for health insurance, they would also be eligible for scholarship benefits.
- Next Meeting – March 20, 2001
- Upcoming Events
- Dave Pelzer – February 28th
- World Affairs Conference – March 4-6
- Honoring Women’s Voices Conference in Lincoln – March 9th
Livingston noted Roggasch has been working on this and employees should have received information on that conference this week. Ellingson is involved with a presentation on mentoring as is Brenda Jochum and Bonnie Mumm. Phyllis Harris is also doing a presentation. Also involved is Diane Wysocki and several other professors. So UNK is very involved in the conference. Roggasch noted she thought VC Roak would pay the registration for individuals who want to attend. Lakey noted this is considered professional development and can be taken out of state funds.
- Herman Bonne, “Remember the Titans” – March 29th
- All Campus Bike Bowl – April 3rd
- Vertical Horizon- Spring Concert – April 18th
The meeting was adjourned Roggasch (McMullen) at noon.