Staff Senate Minutes - October 15, 2001
Employee of the Month: Dr. Lois Fladstad, Director of the Counseling Center and Interim Director of Residential and Greek Life.
Directors -- Livingston, Roggasch
Managerial/Professional -- Danube, Kucera, McMullen
Office -- Jones, Mitchell
Service -- Hines, Wilson
Ex Officio -- Lakey
Directors -- Roth
Managerial/Professional -- none
Office -- Ellingson
Service -- Lange
Ex Officio: Lakey
Guest: Ed Wimes, Director of Human Resources for the University system
- Call to Order
- Adoption of Agenda
- Agenda Adopted ( Roggasch, Kucera)
- Introductions, Correspondence and Minutes September 18, 2001
- Our guest, Ed Wimes, Director of Human Resources for the University system introduced to the Senate. Each Senate member introduced themselves and told where they work.
- Hines read a thank you note from October’s Department of the Month, Student Activities Council and the Nebraska Student Union.
- Livingston explained, for the benefit of our guest, some of the Staff Senate activities, including Employee and Department Recognition, Mentoring, O.S.A.C. Scholarship, Making a Difference, Let’s Have Lunch, Homecoming parade, Friday Afternoon Club, Staff Appreciation Day, Staff Award for Excellence, and Cause for Applause.
- Minutes were approved as written.
- Unfinished Business
- Livingston talked about Staff Senate’s participation in the Homecoming Parade. Notes were made to bring more candy next time. A special thank you goes out to Bonnie and Ken Mumm for the loan of their yellow pickup.
- Committee and Search Reports
- Election Committee – no report
- Employee Recognition Committee - Hines encouraged people to send in nominations with the new easy format.
- Performance Management
Danube said that this committee met October 10 and the following items were discussed.
- NU Values
- With the Chancellor retiring, how does that affect our committee?
- What can be done about raising salaries of staff to “Market Value”?
- Insurance increases
- Other items.
Danube stated that no specific action was taken on these items as they continue to gather more information. Livingston asked if anyone in departments have salaries studies specific to their responsibilities. Lakey stated that this information helps his department develop market data.
- Procedures Committee – no report
- Professional Development Committee
This committee met recently. Advance Connections was postponed until later. Lakey reported that Facilities is presently going through the training. The committee is looking into the possibility of box lunches for Let’s Have Lunch. They have several programs planned for the monthly noon hours. Roger Davis gave an interesting Halloween presentation on October 10. Kucera told the group that the Cause for Applause brochures are ready. Livingston explained the concept for the benefit of our guest.
- Office/Service Dependant Scholarship Committee
Mitchell explained the contest within the Residence Halls for collecting cans to recycle toward scholarship money. Each floor or designated area brings empty cans to the Student Union parking lot on Friday October 17 to be weighed and recorded. The floor or area with the most cans by weight will receive one third of the proceeds for themselves.
- Making a Difference Subcommittee
Livingston explained, for the benefit of group and guest, that the Making a Difference program is sponsored by a Public Task Force, the city, ESU and UNK and consists of a variety of programs and a guest speaker. This event is scheduled for October 23 at the Fine Arts building. There is a mandatory meeting in Fine Arts on October 18 for all involved with preparations.
- Mentoring Subcommittee
Livingston stated that preparations are being made for a Recognition Reception November 8th at the Nebraskan.
- Information Technology
Danube stated that this committee has had two meetings and both dealt with fees and assessments. The Strategic plan was analyzed and it was learned that some satellite classes in North Platte were cancelled because of low participation. Danube/Livingston stated that the group discussed the impact of possible budget reductions, how the fees were allocated and if they should be used in different areas.
- Strategic Planning
Livingston stated that the thrust on revising the Strategic plan was making it more concise. Livingston said that she and Mike Bohnhoff went to a meeting in Columbus presented by North Central Accrediting Agency.
- Friday Afternoon Club
Roggasch stated that 30-40 people attended the Friday Afternoon Club sponsored by Staff Senate on October 5. Roggasch thanked everyone that donated food and beverages and noted that it was a lot of fun. She suggested that next year the time should be changed from 4:30 – 7 to 4:30 – 6 as most were gone by 6. A free will donation of about $60 went to the O.S.A.C. Scholarship.
- Search committees – no reports
- New Business
Livingston introduced Ed Wimes, Director of Human Resources.
Wimes said that most people ask him, ‘What do I do and why am I here?’ He stated that he had the distinct pleasure of working with John Lakey and three other Human Resource people in the University system. He said that he is involved with everything that happens with University wide personnel policies and other issues. He is responsible for collective bargaining, communicating with Central Administration System, centralizing an Affirmative Action plan. He is involved with ADA issues, AA/EO actions, Classification Compensation, and NU Values. Wimes stated that is a very interesting job and place to work. In the past he has worked with State Government and has been with the University for 15 months. Wimes said that the newest project that he is working with is Domestic Partners. He will present his findings to the Board of Regents. One of his biggest challenges is the budget and wondering what will happen.
Livingston-The University could provide a low cost benefit for permanent part time people by permitting their eligibility for the tuition waver program.
Wimes- Does this campus have a security problem for International students?
Kucera- Things have been going smoothly.
Mitchell – How is NU Values coming?
Wimes – We are seeing significant changes after 3 years. We have designed three modules to train people and salary grade management.
Livingston – Has anything been said about funding band grades or reallocation to support the effort?
Wimes – Salaries below a band will be moved to fit in a band.
McMullen – Any response to increase in health care costs?
Wimes – The Trust Fund is really low and it must be funded in case everyone decides to file a claim. We really need to put money in the fund. Part of the problem is that prescription costs are really getting high.
Lakey – The State of Nebraska has been promoting that they are not having large increases in premium this year but they have made some cuts in their plan's coverage. University employees still pay less than State employees for their coverage. The University could have been gradually increasing the premiums to employees over the last few years but chose instead to use funds from the trust fund to cover increasing cost. The fund has reached a level that we can no longer use it to cover the increase in cost. There have only been three increases in premiums to employees over the last ten years.
Wimes – The basic medical plan is the same, there is only so much money from the state to run the Maintenance plan. President Smith has asked the Ad Hoc committee to look into the plan. One thing we can all do to cut costs is use generic drugs.
Lakey – Who will be placed on this committee?
Wimes – All campuses and some community members.
Lakey – There is fear of people dropping the plan altogether.
Roggasch – Is there a possibility of us designing our own plans? With no prescriptions?
Wimes – The committee will look into lots of options.
No one has mentioned salaries.
Roggasch – Our salaries are below market but they say no-money, no money. What good is NU Values if there is no money behind it?
Wimes – The Regents are listening. We have to provide them market ranges. You need to look at market ranges locally for staff comparisons and nationally for upper level salaries. This is a market driven system.
Lakey – If a department has money, their employees may move up, those without will not. NU Values will enable departments to increase salaries as competencies grow, but funding will have an affect on that.
Roggasch – Budget cuts won’t be across the board, some will take double cuts and some won’t take much at all.
Livingston – What we hear is, ‘We are tired of the University balancing the budget on people who are here. When an employee leaves, the one that replaces him will come in at twice the salary.’ Anyone that comes in will get an upgrade.
Wimes – The duties aren’t changing, you had to get reclassified to get pay raises. They call that “balancing the budget on the back of loyalties”.
Livingston – There are a lot of loyal people who stay here because they like Kearney. That is the choice that you make and morale suffers.
Wimes – We are still at the mercy of the Legislature.
Lakey – We need positions to benchmark to compare market salaries.
Livingston – Benchmarks won’t have exact matches but will have something similar on our campus.
Lakey – The advantage that I have over other HR Directors is that this campus is smaller and I know the people.
Livingston – Any other questions?
Roggasch – How does the committee deal with diversity to non-tenured positions? There is some concern that “non tenured” positions are no longer eligible for opportunity funds. The campus still needs to encourage diversity for these positions.
Wimes – LB389 will withhold funding. The numbers that they gave weren’t based on market. They should be labor force availability and if you can find qualified people and if you can keep them. This is a market driven system and you have to be ready to fund it, but if don’t have the dollars you don’t have the dollars.
- Next meeting November 20, 2001, Cedar Room
- Making a Difference October 23, Fine Arts
- Let’s Have Lunch November 14, 2001, Cedar Room, Carol Hines Program
- Danube – UNK Leadership Council convocation, Tuesday, November 6, 2001. Goal Synthesis-The Seven Steps by Dr. Bruce T. Caine, Professor of the Practice of Human and Organizational Development.