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 (also referred to in this document as Senate) acts in an advisory capacity to the Chancellor, the administration, and other university groups on behalf of the staff.

Membership

Staff Senate, representing three staff employee groups, is composed of twelve members: six elected by administrative/managerial/professional staff members, three elected by office staff, and three elected by members of service staff. Every five years, prior to election, representation will be reviewed to ensure maintenance of proportional representation.

Terms of membership are three years. A member may be removed from Staff Senate by two-thirds majority vote of the members for cause.

The Director of Human Resources serves as an ex-officio member.

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 recommendationsfor 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 May 31.
  4. Presides at 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.

Vice President:

  1. Assumes the responsibilities of the President, Secretary and/or Treasurer in their temporary absence. If multiple officers are absent simultaneously, appoints someone to assist.
  2. Collectsreports 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 and archives recordsto the Staff Senate Blackboard organization.
  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. Providesreports on financial accounts of Staff Senateat Staff Senate meetings.
  2. Collectsand accountsfor 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. Signsoff to disperse funds, along with the President.
  6. Presents a proposed annual budget.

Election of Officers/Committee Members

ELECTION OF OFFICERS/COMMITTEE MEMBERS:

Officers are elected for one-year terms by Senate members as the last item of business at the April meeting. Newly elected Senate members are asked to attend the meeting and participate only in the election.Outgoing Senators are not eligible to vote.

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.

The Director, or his/her designee, shall solicit nominations from continuing and newly elected Staff Senate members during the month of April 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.

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.

It is suggested that the President have served at least one year on the Senate. 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 May 1 through April 30, concurrent with the Senate year.

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

Two Staff Senate Representatives are elected to serve on the Professional Conduct Committee coordinated by Faculty Senate. The two Staff Senate representatives are elected for one-year terms by the full Staff Senate at the regular April meeting with their term to begin May 1. The Director of Human Resources, or his/her designee, will conduct the election, with nominations being accepted from the floor. Election will be by secret ballot; a simple majority of the votes will elect.

Staff Senate Committees

Staff Senate members must serve on at least one committee each year. Staff Senate standing committees must have at least four persons, including one from each group of employees represented on the Senate. At least one of the persons must be a Senate member. Any staff member may serve on a standing committee, and appointments will come from recommendations made to the Senate

Ad hoc committees must consist of at least four persons, with at least one of the persons being a Senate member. Any staff member may serve on an ad hoc committee, but it is strongly recommended that all four employee groups of Staff Senate be represented. Additional appointments will come from recommendations made to the Senate. 

Each committee will select a chair from its membership, and all members of the committee are eligible. Senate members serving on a committee will report on the committee's activities at regular Senate meetings. If official committee minutes were taken, a copy of them should be provided for the Vice President of Staff Senate. Committee composition will be reviewed in May at the beginning of each new term. 

Standing Committees

Communications Committee: The Communications Committee is responsible for the following:

  • Welcoming new employees to the campus.
  • Producing a Staff Senate newsletter.
  • Coordinating Staff Senate elections as outlined in the Election Procedures section.
  • Recommending appointments for standing and ad hoc committees.

Policy Committee:

  • Reviewing Staff Senate bylaws and recommending revisions as
  • appropriate.
  • Managing and overseeing funding related to Office Service
  • Dependent Scholarship Awards.
  • Reviewing Regentalbylaws, Staff Senate bylaws and the Employee Handbook for Managerial/Professional and Office/Service staff to recommend revisions as appropriate.

Professional Development Committee:The Professional Development Committee supports participation in education/training opportunities that enhance job performance and wellness.

Recognition Committee: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, and Treasurer. The Executive Committee is responsible for the following:

  • Reviewing all committee reports.
  • Planning the agenda for Senate meetings.
  • Making recommendations to the Senate.
  • Reviewing performance management issues relevant to staff mission, compensation, and evaluation.
  • Reviewing nominations for and selecting winners of the Staff Award for Excellence.
  • Coordinating advocacy on behalf of all staff.
  • 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.

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

Election Procedures

ELECTION PROCEDURES:

  1. Nominations
    • The Human Resources Office, with the assistance of the Communications Committee, will disseminate nominations annually to all staff by the last Thursday in January.
    • 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 must be returned to the Human Resources Office for validation by the second Thursday in February.
    • A copy of the Senate bylaws will be sent by the Communications Committee to all nominees before ballots are distributed.
    • Nominees will be sent an electronic message informing them of Staff Senate's purpose and goals, informing themthat they have been nominated, and asking them to reply if they are willing to serve, if elected. Those nominees noton the University email system will be contacted by phone.
    • Responses must be received by the last Tuesday in February.
  2. Ballots
    • Ballots reflecting the nominations will be disseminated by the first Thursday in March.
    • Completed ballots must be returned to the Human Resources office one week after nominations are disseminated.
    • The counting and tallying of ballots by the Senate Communications Committee should take place on the Friday immediately after the close of ballots.
    • In the event of a tie, the Communications Committee will make the selection, with consideration for achievingdiversified representation.
    • The Senate President will notify the Chancellor of the election results.
  3. Post Election
    • The Communications Committee will notify the newly elected members of their election and their first meeting date.
    • The Communications Committee will notify nominated individuals of the status of their candidacy in coordination with the Chancellor's office.
    • The Communications Committee is to provide the names of new Senate members and officers to the Chancellor and the University News Bureau for publication in the campus newsletter.
    • Election results are to be maintained on file in the Human Resources office for future reference, if necessary, by the Communications Committee.
  4. Vacancies
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

Committee Reports

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Before a formal committee report is given to the Senate, a copy of the report must be provided to the Senate Vice President for dissemination to the Executive Committee for review at least seven calendar days before the next Staff Senate meeting. Copies of committee reports are to be available byposting on blackboard. In addition, all committee chairs will file a year-end report and submit any budget requests to the Senate President by March 1.

Meetings

MEETINGS:

The Senate year runs May 1 through April 30, with monthly meetings to be held beginning in May. 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:

Staff Senate will receive an annual budget which will be presented to the general membership by March. A simple majority vote of the general membership present at March's general 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. 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.

Absences

ABSENCES:

Senate members are to report their absence from Senate meetings to either the Senate President or Vice President before the meeting. Such a report will constitute an excused absence. Two unexcused absences without cause within one Senate year will be grounds for Senate to ask for the resignation of that person from the Senate.

Quorum

QUORUM:

A simple majority of the voting members, i.e., seven persons, 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 February 2012

Revised July 2010
Revised February 2010

Revised May 2009

Revised April 2008

Revised September2007

Revised March 2007

Revised July 2006

Revised June 2004

Revised October 2003