Staff Senate

Staff Senate Bylaws

Purpose

The purpose of the University of Nebraska at Kearney Staff Senate is to promote and facilitate communication between members of the university staff and the administration, faculty and students. The Staff Senate serves as a medium for addressing topics affecting staff in order to foster a better working environment. The Staff Senate, hereafter referred to as Senate, acts in an advisory capacity to the Chancellor, the administration, and other university groups on behalf of the staff.

Membership

  1. Staff Senate, representing three staff employee groups, is composed of twelve (12) members:
    • Administrative/Managerial/Professional staff members – 6
    • Office staff – 3
    • Service staff – 3
  2. Representation will be reviewed prior to elections every five (5) years, in a year that is a multiple of five (5), to ensure maintenance of proportional representation.
  3. Terms of membership are three (3) years. A member may be removed from Staff Senate by two-thirds quorum vote. Members are term-limited after serving two (2) consecutive terms, after which they must wait at least one year before running again.
  4. The Director of Human Resources serves as an ex-officio member.
  5. If the immediate past-president is not re-elected to Staff Senate, that individual will become a non-voting ex-officio member for the year immediately following their presidency.

Officers

The officers of Staff Senate are President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The duties of the officers are as follows:

President:

  1. Presides at Senate meetings.
  2. Makes committee appointments with consideration of Communications Committee on recommendations for Staff Senate or University Wide Committees.
  3. Prepares an annual report of Senate activities to be presented to, and approved by, the Senate before submission to the Chancellor by the end of the Senate year.
  4. Chairs Senate Executive Committee meetings.
  5. Prepares, in cooperation with the Executive Committee, an agenda for each regular and special Senate meeting.
  6. Signs off to disperse funds, along with the Treasurer and Ex-Officio Member.

Vice President:

  1. Assumes the responsibilities of the President, Secretary and/or Treasurer in their temporary absence. If multiple officers are absent simultaneously, appoints a senator to assist.
  2. Collects reports from committees prior to meetings of Executive Committee.

Secretary:

  1. Provides accurate minutes of each Senate meeting as stipulated under the Minutes section of these bylaws.
  2. Maintains all Senate records with the assistance of the Communications Committee.
  3. Provides oversight to assure timely dissemination of pertinent information.
  4. Ensures the distribution of the agenda and minutes for each regular and special Senate meeting.

Treasurer:

  1. Provides reports on financial accounts of the Senate at Senate meetings.
  2. Collects and accounts for funds received through fundraising or budget efforts, including Foundation accounts.
  3. Maintains a filing system for deposits and payments from Staff Senate accounts.
  4. Serves as Ex-Officio member on all fundraising projects.
  5. Signs off to disperse funds, along with the President and Ex-Officio Member.
  6. Presents a proposed annual budget to the Senate at the March regular meeting.

Election of Officers/Committee Members

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

  1. Officers are elected for one-year terms by Senate members as the last item of business at the June meeting. Newly elected Senate members are asked to attend the meeting and participate only in the election.  Outgoing Senators are not eligible to vote.
  2. The Director of Human Resources will conduct the election of Staff Senate officers. In the event of the Director's absence, he/she will designate an out-going member of Staff Senate to conduct the actual election and/or any portions thereof as deemed necessary due to the Director's absence.
  3. The Director, or his/her designee, shall solicit nominations from continuing and newly elected Staff Senate members during the month of June prior to the meeting. Persons can self-nominate or nominate another member. The Director, or his/her designee, will ascertain a nominee's willingness to serve as an officer after receiving a nomination.
  4. The Director, or his/her designee, will prepare a ballot with all nominations listed and nominations will be accepted from the floor. Election will be by secret ballot, to be counted by the Director, or his/her designee. A simple majority of the votes will elect.
  5. The President will refrain from voting except in the event of a tie per Robert's Rules of Order. When a tie occurs, a revote will be taken which includes the President. New officers will assume their duties effective for the Senate year.
  6. Should the President resign, the Vice President will assume the President's role for the remainder of the elected term of office. Should a vacancy occur in the other offices, an election will be held at the next meeting to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the elected term of office.

Staff Senate Committees

Communications Committee:
  1. The Communications Committee consists of six (6) staff members and at least one (1) Senate representative. Each year two (2) staff members of the committee will rotate on/off of the committee. In the event a staff member of a committee is elected to Senate, the member’s seat will be replaced for the remainder of the term.
  2. Coordinates Senate elections as outlined in the Election Procedures.
  3. Maintaining Senate webpage. Ensuring changes are to be made within a timely manner – within a month of the change
  4. Welcoming new employees to the campus.
  5. Serving as a liaison between all committees.
  6. Recommending appointments for standing and ad hoc committees.

Policy Committee:
  1. The Policy Committee meets on an as needed basis. The committee consists of three (3) Senate members and an Ex-Offico (Asst. Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance).
  2. Chair of the Policy Committee will be the Parliamentarian of the Senate and should become familiar with Roberts Rules of Order.
  3. Reviewing Regental bylaws, Staff Senate bylaws and the Employee Handbook for Managerial/Professional and Office/Service staff to recommend revisions as appropriate.

Professional Development Committee:
  1. The Professional Development Committee consists of nine (9) staff members and at least one (1) Senate representative. Each year three (3) staff members of the committee will rotate on/off of the committee. In the event a staff member of a committee is elected to Senate, the member’s seat will be replaced for the remainder of the term.
  2. The Professional Development Committee supports participation in education/training opportunities that enhance job performance and wellness.

Recognition Committee:
  1. The Recognition Committee consists of six (6) staff members and at least one (1) Senate representative. Each year two (2) staff members of the committee will rotate on/off of the committee. In the event a staff member of a committee is elected to Senate, the member’s seat will be replaced for the remainder of the term.
  2. The Recognition Committee promotes processes and incentives for rewarding excellence in performance and service.

Executive Committee:
The Executive Committee is composed of the Senate President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Ex-Officio. The Executive Committee is responsible for the following:
  1. Reviewing all committee reports.
  2. Planning the agenda for Senate meetings.
  3. Making recommendations to the Senate.
  4. Reviewing performance management issues relevant to staff mission, compensation, and evaluation.
  5. Reviewing nominations for and selecting winners of the Staff Award for Excellence.
  6. Coordinating advocacy on behalf of all staff.
  7. Meet with UNK Administration quarterly to provide a staff perspective at a meaningful juncture.
  8. Host UNK Faculty Senate President and Student Senate President annually at a regular Senate meeting.
  9. Serving in an ad hoc capacity if matters of professional conduct arise, to ascertain facts, interpret standards of professional conduct, and address concerns applicable to staff.
  10. Managing Dependent Scholarship duties.

Ad Hoc Committees: When deemed necessary, ad hoc committees will be formed.

Election Procedures

Election of Staff Senate

Nominations

  1. The Communications Committee, will disseminate nominations annually to all staff by the last Tuesday in April.
  2. The nominations will list all eligible staff. The instructions will inform staff that they may nominate one person from the list, including themselves. Only nominations that follow this guideline will be accepted. Nominations are to be complete by the second Tuesday in May.
  3. Nominees will be sent an electronic message with a link to the bylaws asking them to reply if they are willing to serve, if elected.
  4. Responses from nominees must be received by the third Tuesday in May.

Ballots

  1. Ballots reflecting the nominations will be disseminated electronically by the fourth Tuesday in May.
  2. Completed ballots must be returned to the Communications Committee one week after nominations are disseminated.
  3. The counting and tallying of ballots by the Senate Communications Committee should take place on the Wednesday immediately after the close of ballots.
  4. In the event of a tie, the Communications Committee will make the selection, with consideration for achieving diversified representation.
  5. The Senate President will notify the Chancellor of the election results.

Post-Election

  1. The Communications Committee will notify the newly elected members of their election and their first meeting date.
  2. The Communications Committee is to provide the names of new Senate members to the UNK Office of Communications and Community Relations.
  3. Election results are to be maintained by the Communications Committee.

Vacancies

  1. Should an elected seat be permanently vacated, the President will consult with the Communications Committee and the seat will be awarded to the staff member who placed next highest in that category of employment in the most recent election.
  2. Should an elected seat be temporarily vacated due to illness, leave of absence, etc., the President will consult with the Communications Committee and the seat will be awarded to the staff member who placed next highest in that category of employment in the most recent election. The replacement senator would then serve until the sitting senator returns from absence or until the senator's term of office expires, whichever comes first.
  3. In case of a tie between the staff members who placed next highest in that category of employment in the most recent election, the Communications Committee will make the selection with consideration for maintaining diversified representation. 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. The President will notify new members of their selection.

Service Area Changes

  1. Staff Senators, whose service area changes during their three-year term, will continue in their current capacity until the next election.

Committee Reports

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

  1. Committees are to provide a written monthly report to the Senate Vice President at least seven (7) calendar days before the next regular Senate meeting. Senate members serving on a committee will report activities of the committee at monthly Senate meetings.
  2. All committee chairs will file a year-end report by the end of the Senate year.

Meetings

MEETINGS:

The Senate year runs July 1 through June 30, with monthly meetings to be held beginning in July. Meetings will be conducted by Roberts Rules of Order and are expected to run no longer than 90 minutes. Additional meetings may be called as deemed necessary by the Senate President.

Budget

BUDGET:

Senate will receive an annual budget which will be presented to the general membership in March. A simple majority vote of the quorum present at March's regular meeting is needed to approve this proposed budget.

Minutes

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. Final approval of the minutes will be voted on via e-mail prior to the next meeting by the Senators or at the next regular meeting.

Absences

ABSENCES:

Meeting attendance is a vital part of the success of the Senate. More than 3 absences during a Senate year may be grounds for the Senate, by majority vote, to remove that person from the Senate.

Quorum

QUORUM:

A simple majority of the voting members, i.e., seven (7) members, will constitute a quorum for any meeting.

Amendments to the Bylaws

AMENDMENTS TO THE BYLAWS:

Recommended changes to these bylaws will require an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the Senate.

Revised December 2014
Revised February 2012
Revised July 2010
Revised February 2010
Revised May 2009
Revised April 2008
Revised September 2007
Revised March 2007
Revised July 2006
Revised June 2004
Revised October 2003