Staff Council Minutes
August 12, 2011
10:00 AM – Marietta Conference Center
Present: Jeff Bernard, Bobby Burk, Alberta Cook, Sharon Hodge, Bennie Sue Houck, Ann Lay, Stephanie McCartney, Nikki Palamiotis & Arthur Vaughn
Absent: Sheri Adebayo, Jenny Cotton, Rashaad Graham, & Erika Kegler
Guests: Pierrette Maillet
1. Welcome The meeting was called to order at 10:17 am by Bobby Burk. A quorum was established for voting purposes. Bobby briefly outlined the agenda for the day and announced that Pierrette Maillet would arrive around lunchtime to discuss the Statewide Staff Council and the changes associated with the benefits.
2. Introductions All council members in attendance introduced themselves by giving their names, staff position, and years at SPSU.
3. Ice Breaker Bobby suggested an ice breaker to get the group comfortable with each other and to learn interesting facts about each of the members. Each person took three pieces of paper and wrote a different fact about themselves on each. As each new fact was laid in a center pile, it had to somehow, no matter how vaguely, relate to the previous fact someone else placed down. Much fun was had by all.
a. Approval of minutes from 07/21/2011 Nikki Palamiotis moved that the minutes from the previous Staff Council meeting be approved. The motion was seconded by Alberta Cook. The minutes were unanimously approved.
b. Budget Bobby reported that the Staff Council Foundation account received $2500.00 from SPSU for Fiscal year 2012. This brings the account total to $2703.00.
Arthur Vaughn moved that the yearly Statewide Staff Council dues of $25.00 be paid. The motion was seconded by Bennie Sue Houck. Payment of the Statewide Staff Council dues was unanimously approved.
o The question of which account would be used to pay the dues was raised by Bobby. It was agreed that the funds in the Foundation account would be utilized. Alberta moved to consolidate all of the money from the two different accounts (Foundation account and Agency account) into just the Foundation account. The motion was seconded by Arthur. During a brief discussion, Arthur explained that the Foundation account would allow for more flexibility in use. Consolidation of the Staff Council money from the Agency account into the Foundation account was unanimously approved.
c. Purpose of Staff Council Arthur asked the question to the council to explain the purpose of Staff Council for himself and other new members. Bobby stated that:
o The Staff Council represented the interests of all staff members employed at SPSU.
o Staff members were broken into IPEDS groups based on their job type. The number of staff personnel in each group determined the number of representatives the group had on the Council.
o Each council member was requested to keep in contact with their specific constituents in order to bring to attention to their concerns and attempt to resolve issues relating to staff members and the university as a whole.
o The Staff Council has a mission statement and bylaws by which it operates. Alberta mentioned that the Council needed to improve its communication to the general staff member population.
o Jeff Bernard responded that communication was hindered due to the difficulty in receiving a list of all staff members according to their individual IPEDS group from Human Resources. This issue was resolved last year and an updated list was passed around. Nikki proposed that the Staff Council hold an open forum for all staff members to introduce the Council members and to raise any underlying issues that need to be addressed.
d. Calendar for Meetings Ann Lay suggested that open-session Staff Council meetings be done during the lunchtime hour in order to get as much participation from staff members as possible. During the discussion, Bobby reminded everyone that the bylaws state that any council member that misses 3 consecutive meetings is automatically removed from the Staff Council.
A general consensus was reached that Staff Council meetings would be on the 2nd Monday of each month from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm beginning in September. Bobby volunteered to schedule a location for each meeting.
o September 12
o October 10
o November 14
o December would not have a meeting as it would fall in the middle of finals and other end-of-semester activities.
o The time and day for meetings in the Spring Semester would be discussed at a later meeting (November 14) as schedules would change for most members. Setting dates for i) election of Staff Council members and ii) receiving nominations for Staff Member of the Year 2011-2012 was discussed; however, no dates were set. Discussion regarding the open forum (suggested by Nikki) led to the consensus that there should be one open forum per semester.
o The Fall forum was set for September 22 at 11:30 am. Bobby volunteered to schedule a location for each meeting.
o It was suggested that President Lisa Rossbacher and Quint Hill (from Human Resources) be invited to attend.
o Nikki moved that money not to exceed $300 be spent to provide snacks. The motion was seconded by Jeff. The use of no more than $300 from the budget to provide snacks for the open forum was unanimously approved.
e. Advisors Alberta moved to keep Mary Phillips and Barry Birkhead as the Staff Council Advisors. After the last Staff Council meeting (07/21/2011) Bobby talked to Barry who was willing to serve again as an Advisor. Bobby would formally ask Mary if she was interested in serving again. He believed that she would consent. Bobby would ask President Rossbacher if she would officially appoint both Barry and Mary as the Staff Council Advisors.
f. Appointing Staff Council Members There are still several vacancies on the Staff Council that need to be filled. Bobby is in the process of determining what staff members would be good representatives from the IPEDS groups that do not have their full quota.
Nikki moved that money from the budget be used to purchase Staff Council shirts for the new members. The motion was seconded by Jeff. The use of money from the budget to order shirts was unanimously approved. A brief discussion ensued regarding the coloring and style of the new shirts. A general consensus was reached that the shirts would be available in either male or female sizes in either white or gray.
5. IPEDS Using the IPEDS list Bobby received from HR, the council members divided into their respective IPEDS groups in order to divide up the various staff members in to constituent lists. Each council member was charged with regularly communicating with their list of staff members.
6. Reports on Board of Regents Meeting & Statewide Staff Council by Pierrette Maillet Board of Regents (BOR) Meeting
o Pierrette attended the BOR meeting as the past chair of the Statewide Staff Council. She mentioned the new Chancellor, Hank Huckaby, spoke. His message can be read at: http://www.usg.edu/chancellor/speeches/chancellor/. Chancellor Huckaby introduced the new Vice Chancellors and new University Presidents.
o The Associate Vice Chair of Life and Health Benefits, Tom Scheer, spoke about the various healthcare plans currently available to employees in the USG and their upcoming changes.
o Over the past four years, the amount paid by the USG and its employees has increased significantly. The projected increase to employees for their benefits in 2012 is 5.2% (less than the past four years).
o There will be open access to Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO. Other networks may change or end.
o No new employees will be able to sign up for any HMO plans. Those employees currently enrolled will not be affected. They do have the opportunity to change to a different plan during open enrollment. The question was posed as to whether the HMO plan would cease to be an option in the future. Pierrette did not know the answer.
o The BOR will be eliminating the Consumer Choice Option; however, those employees currently enrolled will not be affected.
o The Health Savings Account for those employees enrolled in the High Deductible Insurance Plan will no longer be seeded by the USG; however, the USG will match any funds set aside by employees up to $750.00 for families or $375 for individuals.
o The payment ratio for those employees enrolled in the High Deductible Insurance Plan will change from a 90/10 ratio to an 85/15 ratio.
o Based on the new Federal Health Guidelines only employees working 30+ hours per week will be offered full benefits. New hires will receive their benefits beginning on the first day of the month after their hire date.
o There is no change to the Dental plan.
o For more information please go to: http://www.usg.edu/regents/meetings/date/2011/. Statewide Staff Council (SSC)
o The Statewide Staff Council was founded in 1994.
o Under the previous Chancellor, Wayne Gutherie served as the representative from the BOR to the SSC. Since the appointment of the new Chancellor, Wayne has resigned his position. Pierrette was doubtful if a new appointee would be named.
o Before leaving the position, Wayne suggested that the SSC initiate a petition to be officially recognized by the BOR similar to the State Faculty Council. In order for this to occur, the SSC would need to receive an endorsement from all of the USG university presidents.
o The long term goal of the SSC is to have participation from all 35 USG universities. The short term goal is to increase the participation to 25-30 universities.
o The SSC Annual Conference is October 5-6, 2011 at the University of Georgia.
o Those Council members already registered to attend are: Bobby Burk, Alberta Cook, Sharon Hodge, Ann Lay (and Pierrette).
o The registration cost is $75.00 until 09/16, then increases to $100.00.
o Ann Lay suggested that staff members (and council members) could write a proposal for the Professional Development Fund in order to defer the costs associated with attending the SSC meeting.
o Pierrette stated that Chancellor Huckaby is scheduled to attend at least part of the meeting.
o More information can be found at the website: http://www.usg.edu/staff_council/.
7. Sticky Notes Bobby suggested that each council member write down a couple of ideas or issues that Staff Council could work on over the semester or year. Arthur inquired about the council’s previous accomplishments.
o Bobby informed the new members that Staff Council was successful in developing and implementing the Wellness Program, Shared Leave, and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
The following ideas/suggestions were submitted: (Council member appointed for follow up
o Create a ZIMBRA shared calendar to list all Staff Council meetings and activities (Bennie Sue)
o Update the SPSU staff as to the open forum and other Staff Council activities (all Council members)
o Appoint IPEDS representatives for Staff Council (Bobby)
o Discuss the possibility of having a liaison from the Faculty senate attend the Staff Council meetings and vice versa (Bobby)
o Inform constituents about the currently available programs, i.e., Wellness Program, Shared Leave, TAP, etc. (possibly through Hornet’s Nest) (Nikki)
o Inform constituents about general changes, i.e., payment, benefits, etc. (all Council members)
o Collaborate with the PDF committee for trainings (Ann)
o Arthur suggested a Financial Literacy Workshop
o Developing a childcare partnership with a local daycare and/or investigating the possibility of partnering with a company to open a childcare facility to be utilized by all SPSU faculty, staff, & students. (Bobby +)
o Address inequities in pay with MGT pay categories with President Rossbacher (Bobby)
o The open records act allows any person to request and receive information regarding the salaries of any SPSU employee. The budget for SPSU is available in the Johnson Library.
o Increase the morale among all SPSU staff members, i.e., incentives (Ann)
o Update the bylaws and election procedures (subcommittee: Jeff, Alberta, & Arthur)
8. Adjourn Meeting The meeting was adjourned at 2:47 pm.