Staff Senate Minutes - October 18, 1999
Employee of the Month: Julie Saalfeld, Continuing Education.
Present: Dave Bargen, Dennis Choplin, Dee Ellingson, Shelly Fleck, Carol Hines, Deb Huryta, John Lakey, Tim McMullen, Mike Miller, Bonnie Mumm, Sue Petersen, and Jane Sheldon.
Absent: Kathy Livingston.
- Call to Order
Medical insurance was added under new business and the Technology Committee was added to committee reports. Adoption of Amended Agenda. (Hines/Bargen)
Minutes were approved as printed.
- Unfinished Business
- Making a Difference
Mumm reminded everyone of the sessions that start at 9:30 tomorrow and expressed thanks to those who have been helping OSAC with the up-coming event. She noted they still needed someone to introduce the speaker at 1:45 p.m. Mumm encouraged everyone to attend. There are about 140 registered, but walk-ins are welcome. Mumm suggested a certificate of appreciation be presented to Brenda Jochum and OSAC for the high quality of work on the program to provide this professional development seminar. Members agreed.
Fleck reported everything is ready. She just needs people to show up and ride on the float. She will send an e-mail telling everyone where to meet. Everyone is to wear UNK colors and bring candy. OSAC will also be asked to ride.
- Committee and Search Reports
- Staff Senate Election Committee
McMullen reported on the election results and passed out a sheet of statistics. Elected were Terry Gibbs and Ron Roth, directors; Tim Danube, managerial/professional; and Dannien Jones, office/service. The appointed member for office service is Dee Ellingson.
McMullen reported the committee met to address an issue that was brought up at the last Staff Senate meeting concerning the nomination process for elections. Problems discussed included the large list of nominees, especially for office service. In that division, one hundred and four persons were nominated and forty-one accepted the nomination. Because of this, one person getting only five or six votes could decide the election. The committee brain stormed a lot of ideas and finally decided to recommend the following: 1) Ballots be sent out as they are now, but with each person only nominating one person, instead of two. But it needs to be clear that people can nominate themselves if they are interested. 2) Instead of calling individuals who have been nominated, it was decided to recommend that they be sent a card. The card would state the goals and purpose of Staff Senate. Then if the individual is willing to have his/her name on the ballot, the card would need to be signed and returned. One of the reasons the committee suggested the card, as opposed to e-mail, is that most of the facilities personnel do not have access to a computer. McMullen then presented a modification to the bylaws, which stated the recommended procedure. Currently the bylaws do not include any procedure for nominations. A lengthy discussion was held concerning the short turnaround time involved and possible solutions. The matter was tabled until the November meeting (Bargen/Ellingson).
- Student Life Functional Review
Mumm noted the committee has been meeting and reviewing Student Life to see if any changes or shifts need to be made within the division. The committee has dialoged with Dick Jussell, John Oseth, Kim Schipporeit, Gail Zeller, and Jerry Fox. Questions asked of those interviewed were: "Give a description of what your position is currently.", "What kind of interface do you have with the academic program and the Student Life program?", "Is there a better way - organizationally?", "What changes would you like to make with the structure?", "What do you see as your office's particular role in admissions and retention?", "Do you interact with another office which is in another division which results in awkward relations?", "Does the fact that the other office is in another division get in the way of a good working relationships?", and "What challenges do you face in that regard?".
David Clark, who is the chair, reported to the Faculty Senate and noted that if anyone had any recommendations, comments, or concerns to feel free to send those to the committee. Mumm asked that if Staff Senate members were aware of anyone who has something they would like to say to the committee, please tell them to feel free to do so. Right now they are just trying to gather information. There are a lot of models out there from different universities on how they structure the divisions.
- Gender Equity Appointment
Mumm reported she had contacted all the suggested individuals for this appointment. All were willing to serve. The name that went forward to the Chancellor to represent Staff Senate was Cel Davis.
- Multicultural Affairs Appointment
All individuals contacted were willing to serve. The names that went forward to the Chancellor to represent Staff Senate were Paula Gaach and Andrea Childress.
- Technology Committee
Bargen noted that currently the committee is taking the Strategic Plan and prioritizing it. One of the big items is using technology in the classroom. Options include: (1) a smart cart which would have a computer that is compatible with the projectors and can be moved from room to room (2) equipment built into the room (3) purchasing laptop computers for professors. They are also discussing the use of student technology fees. One suggestion was to use some of the money to offset the cost of computers for students to purchase. A brief discussion was held as to how many students have their own personal computer. Also discussed was how most computer labs have now been upgraded and students should be able to use different labs and have them compatible. McMullen also noted that in today's technology it is possible for a building to be equipped so that students would not have to even plug into a port if they brought their laptops to class. They would have access to the net just by turning on their computer in any room in the building.
- New Business
- Recognition Award at Foundation - Endow?
Mumm stated that we had received a letter from Randy DeFreece with the foundation inquiring about Staff Senate's Staff Recognition Fund. He wanted to know if we wanted to move the funds to an endowed account. The fund has less than a thousand dollars in it. Once the fund becomes endowed, the money is committed and you can't get to the money if it is decided to use it for something else. (Now that the Chancellor has established the Staff Award for Excellence, it may change the initial intent for the money.) If it is left the way it is now, in an expendable fund, you can draw it out and use it. The only draw back, with an expendable fund, is that it does not draw interest. Members voted until there are considerable funds collected, that the money be left in an expendable fund (Ellingson/McMullen).
- Election of Officers
According to the bylaws, election of officers is to be held at this meeting. Mumm noted that letters from the Chancellor to the newly elected members did not go out until Thursday. That was too short a notice for them to attend this meeting. So the executive committee recommends elections be delayed until the November meeting. Bargen moved to suspend the rules to allow for election of officers at the November meeting. Miller seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. Those who are going off the committee were invited to attend the November meeting. Mumm reminded everyone that at the end of the term, she does need a written report from each committee to be included in the annual report to the Chancellor. Those are due before the November meeting.
- Medical Insurance
In September, everyone in the medical program should have received a letter and e-mail from Dave Lechner, the vice president for Business and Finance at Varner Hall, stating there would be an increase in medical insurance premiums in January. The estimate is from $7-$28, depending on your classification/option. Nationally medical costs are skyrocketing, especially in the pharmaceutical area. Care Mart will try to work more with the doctors and patients to reduce prescription costs in the future. The university's medical costs are supported by a self-insured trust fund. For many years, the fund had a surplus, so the fund was able to absorb increases. But in recent years, the fund has been going down. Another thing that impacted the university's trust fund was when the 2,000 employees of the med. center left the program for the new health plan, NHS. The university's U-Wide Benefit Committee is looking at possibilities to counteract the decrease in the trust fund. Two options include an increase in premiums for employees and the university approaching the legislature for a deficit appropriation. However a concern about doing that is the University of Nebraska employees pay about 9% of the total cost of medical insurance and state employees are paying 21% of the total cost. So the legislature could decide that university employees need to pay a bigger percentage. More information will be available when the Nu Flex meetings are held in November. Premiums will probably go up and there will be adjustments to the medical plan itself.
- Hines reported that all the dates were taken for the Faculty/Staff Club.
- Next meeting November 16, 1999, 10:30 a.m., Art Gallery, Student Union
The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m. (Sheldon/Fleck).