Staff Senate Minutes - June 20, 2000
Employee of the Month: Michelle Hamaker, University Public Safety.
Directors -- Kathy Livingston and Ron Roth
Managerial/Professional -- Tim Danube, Tim McMullen, Bonnie Mumm
Office/Service -- Dennis Choplin, Dee Ellingson, Carol Hines, Dannien Jones
Ex Officio -- John Lakey
Directors -- Terry Gibbs and Deb Huryta
Managerial/Professional -- Dave Bargen
Guests: Jim Lange, Billy Rayburn, and Wilma Heinowski
- Call to Order
- Adoption of Agenda. Hines (Danube).
- Minutes and Correspondence
- The secretary read a thank you note from University Relations for their selection as Department of the Month for June. A congratulation card was circulated for signatures to be sent to Staff Senate member, Deb Huryta, on the birth of a son.
- Minutes of the May 16, 2000 meeting were approved as printed.
- Unfinished Business
- OSAC Merger Finalization
- Bylaws Revisions
McMullen stated the Procedures Committee met and has the following recommendations for bylaw changes (in bold type):
Membership: Staff Senate, representing four staff employee groups, is composed of twelve members: three elected by administrative directors, three elected by members of the managerial/professional staff, three elected by office staff and three elected by members of service staff.
Lakey noted they used the term employee groups, instead of employee category, since there are definite categories defined in the University's bylaws and since we are splitting office and service the term group is being used.
Livingston asked if there was another term that could be used for administrative directors since some of them are actually managerial/professional staff. Lakey noted the official term for this group is other administrators. Lakey stated that directors cross categories; there are some directors who are managerial/professional employees so that probably should be clarified. After much discussion, it was decided instead of changing the group to other administrators, to leave it as administrative directors with the clarification, reporting directly to vice chancellors, added in parenthesis.
Staff Senate Committees: Standing sub-committees and ad hoc committees must consist of at least four members, be chaired by a Senate member, and it is recommended that all four groups of Staff Senate be represented.
Billy Rayburn, OSAC member on the Procedures Committee, stated that at the recent OSAC meeting they had made a few suggestions concerning the recommended bylaw changes. Where it says four members, they suggested replacing the word members with individuals. If you leave it members, it could be interpreted that means a Staff Senate member. Also where it states it is recommended that all four groups . . . they would like to have strongly inserted before recommended. McMullen noted if it just states individuals, then it could be anyone; it would not be restricted to staff. Lakey noted there might be times when it would be helpful to have an individual, other than staff, on a committee. That could include a member of the community. It was decided to word it individuals.
Making a Difference and Mentoring are standing sub-committees of the Professional Development Committee. This line was added under the Professional Development Committee.
Office/Service Dependent Scholarship Committee: The Office/Service Dependent Scholarship Committee manages and oversees funding related to the scholarships awarded to the dependents of office and service employees.
McMullen noted this was a major request of OSAC, that it be in the bylaws for the new committee, that the scholarships be restricted to office/service dependents.
Minutes: Senate minutes are to be provided to Senate members via e-mail for review. Members will be notified of a deadline of at least three days to suggest changes to the minutes. Prior to the next regular Senate meeting, after the deadline has passed and the modifications have been made, the minutes are released to the campus via e-mail. Upon request, paper copies will be provided to employees without access to e-mail. Final approval of the minutes will be voted on at the next regular meeting.
McMullen noted this was taken out of the Meeting Section of the bylaws and made into a separate section. Livingston asked if she recommends a change, does that change go back out to the other members. Ellingson noted that this first time it did not. The minutes, with corrections, went out to the entire campus. She noted she could send the corrected minutes back to all members first. Or if it was a major change, the secretary could at least send the minutes back to the Executive Committee, but that would leave it to the discretion of the secretary and maybe that is not what is wanted. Lakey noted that would put a lot of pressure on the secretary to recognize a sensitive issue. However, we don't need to be sending e-mails back and forth. Ellingson noted she could send the minutes back to members with the changes in bold type so they wouldn't have to reread the complete minutes; but there would have to be a quick response. It was suggested that just the suggested changes be listed. It was also suggested that any suggested changes by members via e-mail be relay to all, not just to the secretary. Then the secretary would make those changes unless someone replied they didn't like/want the change. Lakey noted it is easy to delay replying concerning the minutes, but he strongly suggested everyone respond quickly, especially the Executive Committee members.
McMullen noted there is one issue that was not incorporated into the bylaws, which is the fourth director. (During the transition period, that employee group would have four and all other groups would have three.) McMullen noted the committee spent a lot of time discussing it and decided to bring the matter back to the full Senate. However, the committee does have a suggestion - that the directors (even if four are present) only have three votes between them. Livingston asked how you decide who doesn't vote? Mumm stated that if someone has been elected they ought to be able to vote. McMullen noted you couldn't say it is O.K. to have four directors when the bylaws state there will be three. You can't have a standing rule which is in conflict with the bylaws. Livingston said it would seem then that you could only have three members since it doesn't say (in the recommended revisions) three votes. Ellingson noted in that case, we would have to bit the bullet and eliminate one current director from the membership. McMullen commented unless there was a director who wanted to retire. Mumm stated she didn't think it was fair to put anyone on the spot. Mumm asked if there was a way to do an amendment and inquired as to how long it would take to resolve the extra position if left until terms expired. Livingston noted there were two directors just elected during the last election so it would take two more years. However she noted she didn't think having an extra vote would make too much difference since the Senate has not had any close votes. She feels each member should have a vote. She also stated anyone elected to a position should have the privilege to serve until his or her time is done. McMullen said on the other hand is it fair to have one group over represented? Livingston said in a transition, she thought it was. McMullen noted it happens to be the most powerful group. Rayburn noted that is why the committee decided on the three vote suggestion. They didn't want to kick anyone out, but felt they shouldn't have more votes/power than the other groups. Livingston noted that by splitting office/service into separate groups, they had doubled that group's power. She asked that everyone consider what directors and managerial/professionals have been willing to give up in order to do that. But the problem is trying to transition to that new number and it may take a little time. She felt there needs to be some compromise on both ends. The directors and managerial/professionals are willing to say O.K. lets expand the office/service representation, but give us a little time to get there. Rayburn noted they don't look at it as doubling office/service representation, it is that all entities now are here and have equal say. Livingston stated she understands where they are coming from, but none the less, we have changed their representation to give them more than they had and the directors and managerial/professional have less than before. Mumm noted we have discussed this earlier - the reason Staff Senate was setup with equal numbers. She noted it is a Senate, not a House, which means that every group will have equal representation (not based on population). Mumm noted the other thing she would like to comment about was she takes issue with the fact that you say the directors are the group with the most power. If we are truly a Senate, then everyone has an equal vote and an equal voice. McMullen clarified his earlier statement - it is as perceived outside the Senate. That is what he meant, not within the Senate itself. Mumm asked, sitting here, do you feel the directors are overpowering? McMullen stated it is a perception. Ellingson felt the perception steams from the fact that they do have access to information that other staff do not have access to, even though Senate directors have been very willing to share that information. Mumm asked Lakey for suggestions. He stated the perception is out there. Lakey noted the Senate has been in existence for about six years and he can't recall anything that has been brought before the Senate that has been a real issue, but it could happen. Lakey stated this is going to be a transition period and we are trying to be fair to everyone, but there will have to be some compromise. Jones asked if we could remain with the four voting directors and if that doesn't work and there is a problem, could we then change it? Livingston noted we can always change the bylaws. Mumm stated she felt we need to make a decision one way or the other and go with it. For clarification, it was noted the president can vote on regular issues. However she/he does not vote during election of officers, except in the case of a tie.
McMullen noted we could table this issue; he just wanted to get the bylaws changes presented and we could vote on those. Livingston said she didn't think we could vote on the bylaws until we resolve this since the revisions state there will be three elected administrative directors. Livingston said she didn't know how we are going to get any farther. The Procedures Committee has met and obvious hashed it out. Lakey commented that history shows that Staff Senate does have turnovers. It could be possible that we would not have the situation for two years. Livingston noted we could write that into whatever we decide - that if a director resigns during this time, they would not be replaced. Lakey asked if any exceptions to the bylaws during the transition have to be in the bylaws or can it just be a motion which is recorded in the minutes. A question was raised as to when we need to have the bylaws changes in place. Livingston noted we could do that anytime and make them effective as of November 1 when the new Senate years begins. Danube stated we need to stay consistent with the bylaws which is our guide. He suggested that we add a transition period section- like from 2000 to 2002 - and state what the exception would be during that time only. Lakey suggested we make a motion as to what that should read and vote on it. Livingston stated someone needs to actually draft that section. Lakey stated since we haven't resolved it yet, there needs to be two versions and then that can be voted on at the next Senate meeting. Lakey stated one version could be have four directors with only three votes and the other remain as is with four members and four votes. Ellingson suggested the stipulation be added that if a director resign during this time, they not be replaced. Lakey said after the decision is made, it could still be changed later as Jones suggested if it doesn't work. The current Staff Senate has to address the issue and then if it doesn't work, the next Staff Senate would have to address it again. Livingston also suggested when the Procedures Committee does the draft on four members with three votes, they need to address exactly how it will be decided who votes.
Rayburn asked if the date was going to need to be changed for the forum if the bylaw changes were not decided yet. Livingston noted maybe someone would have an idea how to resolve this. Lakey noted it is a way for Staff Senate to get some input. It was suggested those attending could be told we are working on it, but it is not finalized yet. Lakey noted someone might even present another issue.
Livingston moved to table approval of the bylaws changes. McMullen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Forum July 12 at 10 a.m.
Mumm noted there would be a letter going out to all staff announcing the Forum. The letter will outline what is being done, what the merger is, what the blending of the two groups is, etc. It will give people an opportunity to come to the forum which will be held in the Cottonwood Room in the Nebraskan on July 12th at 10 a.m. Mumm asked everyone to be there. Mumm noted she and Brenda Jochum will introduce the members and then there will be an opportunity for questions and answers. She noted she and Brenda do not want to be the only ones responding to the questions; they would like members to voice their opinion/comments also. Mumm noted we have no idea how many will attend. It could be a lot or it could be none. Mumm stated we need everyone there to hear the questions and concerns. We need to be sure we have addressed everything that needs to be done. Hines reminded everyone that afterwards they could meet for "Let's Have Lunch" in the Cedar Room at noon.
- Disbursement of Minutes of Senate Meetings
Mumm noted we have already discussed this today. Mumm commented it was done for the first time this month and seemed to work. The response was low, but we assume that meant most members didn't have any changes. The Executive Committee will definitely respond, but everyone is asked to read the minutes and get back to the secretary if any changes are needed.
- Committee and Search Reports
- Employee Recognition
- SAFE Award
Mumm noted Bargen could not be here today because of job responsibilities. Mumm stated they had received some nominations for the Staff Award for Excellence which will be awarded at the convocation this fall. Mumm passed out forms indicating the procedure for making a nomination and the necessary forms. She asked that if members know someone who is deserving of the award, but need assistance with the nomination, to give the forms to someone who knows the person better and suggest they fill out the forms and state you would be willing to write a letter of support. There needs to be two or three support letters. After the June 30 deadline, the Executive Committees of OSAC and Staff Senate will make the selection to be forwarded to the Chancellor.
- June 30 Celebration
The notice to all subscribers will go out this week. There will be a continental breakfast from 7-8 a.m. in the Nebraskan courtyard for staff and faculty. The mall picnic and barbecue will begin at 11:45 a.m. and go until 1 p.m. for all you can eat for $4 per person and includes beverage. Family members are welcome also. Mumm noted she is still trying to get entertainment, but hasn't gotten very far. Lakey will provide nametags for all OSAC and Staff Senate members who will act as hosts.
- Professional Development
Ellingson stated they have had two meetings this past month. Goals, which were defined, are: 1) Provide an opportunity for new employees to become acclimated to UNK. 2) Assist new employees in acquiring the knowledge and skills to be successful university employees. 3) Foster communications throughout campus. 4) Encourage a team-oriented work environment. At the last meeting, members volunteered for work assignments, which included drafting questionnaires for mentors and proteges and developing a resource manual. The last assignment will be to establish mentoring guidelines. The questionnaires will be used to match up a mentor and a protégé in an effort to blend personalities together and to provide a mentor who will have the knowledge/experience that would best meet the needs of the protégé. The resource guide will be an easy and fast place to find information such as what departments are in which building, names and phone numbers of key people you can contact, how to avoid getting a parking ticket, etc. She noted they are trying to move as quickly as possible since this is the time of year when new staff employment is the highest. Mumm noted the emphasis currently is for clerical employees. Once that is up and going, we can concentrate on service, and then managerial/professional, and directors. Ellingson noted we just needed a place/group to start with, but a lot of the information and procedures will apply to all groups.
- Making a Difference
Ellingson noted that she and Mumm had met with Brenda Jochum, who is the chair, and three individuals from the public sector. Most of the discussion centered on who to get as a speaker and what topics to cover during the breakout sessions. One major problem this year is how to feed people since we will have to host the event in the Fine Arts Building instead of the Nebraskan. One possibility presented by the public sector was to have a registration fee, which could cover the cost of food that could be catered. The problem is how would that work for UNK employees. We haven't resolved that yet. Lakey is looking into some possibilities of how to do that for us. Lakey noted we might be able to use the Sports Center like they do for Loper Luncheons. He mentioned that if we do this as a registration fee, we would be able to get DAS approval. However, he didn't know how departments would feel about having to pay for employees to attend. Jones noted they don't do much for staff as far as paying for that kind of stuff, so she didn't think most departments would complain. Lakey stated we have to be sure how to get it paid for through DAS and plus do we want to do something different with the public sector people than we do with campus people. Livingston noted that for most departments it probably wouldn't be an issue, but for facilities, if they had a lot of people go, it could be a significant budget issue. Ellingson also noted, if we do it that way, we need advance registration so we know how many are coming. They couldn't just show up which is not good since we encourage people to come. Rayburn noted we have had a lot of walk-ins in the past and we don't want this to be a negative thing. Ellingson passed out a short list of possible session topics and asked everyone to circle at least two topics they think would be of most interest. She will turn those back into Jochum. Also Jochum had another request, since Ellingson and Mumm are both going to be out-of-town the day of the event, she would like to have at least one more individual from Staff Senate on the committee in case she too would be gone if her baby comes early. Otherwise that would leave just public sector committee members to deal with last minute issues. The date of the event is October 17th. Lakey noted there will be lots of people needed for specific duties that day, so you would not necessarily have to attend the committee meetings, but it would be nice if we had one or two more at the meetings. Ellingson was asked about the hours for the event. She noted this year it will start earlier (like 8 or 8:30) and then be done by 2 p.m. She stated there would be sessions in the morning, a break for lunch, and then the main speaker after lunch. Mumm asked individuals to volunteer to help or recommend someone to assist.
- Search Committees
- Vice Chancellor of Student Life
Mumm noted Bargen usually reports on this and she didn't know where things stood now. She did know that individuals had been brought in for interviews.
- Assistant Vice Chancellor of Information Technology
Deb Schroeder has been appointed. Mumm noted we would like to congratulate her on that permanent appointment.
- Dean - Natural and Social Sciences
John Falconer provided a written report on the search. Dr. Francis Harrold of the University of Texas has been hired and will begin his duties in July. Mumm read a short bio and informed members she had a copy of his resume if they would like to see it. Mumm commented he is very well published.
- Affirmative Action
Lakey stated they had 18 applicants and the committee narrowed the list to five. References are being checked and then they will meet again Monday to determine if they will do phone interviews and who will be brought on campus sometime in July.
- New Business
- Health Insurance Issues
Mumm commented that everyone should have received a letter, via e-mail, from Dr. Smith concerning health care costs. Lakey noted they also sent out hard copy to those individuals who don't have access to e-mail. Information in the letter states that claims are exceeding the amount of money being put in the trust fund. The fund is not keeping ahead of claims, especially in the pharmaceutical area. This seems to be a national trend - health care costs are mushrooming. Before we get in too much trouble, the University will increase its contributions as of July. Employee increases, which have not been determined yet, will be effective in January. We are expected to receive additional information in September. One of the problems they are having is when they go to the legislature for deficit funding and the legislature notes that state employees contribute 21% of the cost of their insurance and University employees only contribute 15%. Until we get our percent up to the level state employees pay, we will have a difficult time getting additional funding from the legislature. There may even be some changes in the plan coverage.
- Salary Letters
They should be distributed Thursday to the vice chancellors who will distribute them out to their divisions. The letters will be sealed, but supervisors will have a listing of salaries for all individuals they supervise. The list will include last year's salary, this coming year's salary, the dollar increase and the percent of increase. If an employee has a question, they should be able to go back to their supervisor. Lakey reminded members that not all divisions handled raises the same. Regardless, the final decision per division was by the vice chancellors, who then forwarded that information to the Chancellor for final approval for this campus. The process was a little slower this year since the actual letters were developed at Central Computing and then printed here.
The next meeting will be July 18, 2000, 10:30 a.m., Art Gallery, Student Union
The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 a.m. Choplin (Danube).