OPERATING STAFF COUNCIL MEETING
MINUTES 1/09/03
8:30AM – HRS 178

Present:   Elizabeth Buck, Judy Burgess, Gay Campbell, Sara Clayton, Michele Crase, Marcia Dick, Ada Hetland, Linda Jennings, Glenda Jones, Theresa Kinniry, Joe Koch, Jay Monteiro, Dena Olson, Andy Small, Donna Smith, and LaRonda Thuestad.

Guests:   Steve Cunningham, Eric Smith, and Jodi Tyrrell
 

I.     Call to Order

The meeting was called to order by President Sara Clayton 8:35 a.m.

II.     Approval of Agenda

A motion was made to approve the agenda as amended with the meeting room number changed and the Secretarial Advisory Council report and the OSC Newsletter added to New Business.  The motion was seconded and passed.

III.     Approval of Minutes of December 12, 2002, Meeting
 
A motion was made to accept the minutes as amended with one spelling change.  The motion was seconded and passed.

IV.     Treasurer’s Report

Elizabeth Buck distributed copies of the Treasurer’s report for the six-month period ending 12/31/02.  A motion was made to accept the report.  The motion was seconded and passed.
 
V.     Announcements/Correspondence

        1.    Clayton passed an invitation to the Economics Department New Year’s party on January 22, 2003, around the room.

        2.     Donna Smith passed around a copy of the ISU Newsletter for each Council member to examine.

        3.     Joe Koch passed around a half-page article from the Rockford Register Star about a new  scholarship at ISU funded by a janitor in memory of his
                wife.

        4.     Jodi Tyrrell announced that the SUCSS has agreed to change the scoring of the new Secretary exams following a statewide review of the low scores
                and passing rate for Secretary II’s, IV’s, Staff, and Administrative.  Human Resource Services should be getting new tests back by January 13, 2003,
                with corrected exam scores for about 200 people. This would be approximately every test taken since September 1, 2002, in those classifications.

        5.     Smith announced that movement is happening again with the Grievance Committee and that  she will have a more thorough report at the next Council
                meeting.

VII.     Committee Reports

        A.     Personnel/Staff Development/Benefits.  No report.

        B.     Elections and Appointments

                 This committee will have a report at the next scheduled OSC meeting.

        C.     Public Relations

                 Joe Koch announced that the committee did not meet, but that the nomination packets for Outstanding Service Awards for Civil Service Employees
                of Northern Illinois University have gone out and the color brochure is ready for distribution.  Michele Crase distributed copies of the brochure to
                each Council member.

        D.     Visiting Committee/Guests

                Andy Small introduced Steve Cunningham, Associate Vice President, Administration and Human Resources, and Eric Smith, Associate Director of
                Compliance and Labor Relations at Human Resource Services.  Cunningham and Smith answered any questions the Council members had about any
                employee benefit issues.  Smith distributed hard copies to each Council member of procedure No. 7-8, Grievances and Arbitration, and procedure
                No. 7-18, Rules:  Conduct and Discipline from the Northern Illinois University Business Procedure Manual.

                Cunningham repeated that the Operating Staff Council has good credibility with the administration and with its constituents.  The Council thanked him
                for his kind words, but wants to maintain its integrity by only forwarding truthful and accurate information to the constituents whom they represent,
                whether union or not, and not try to sway anyone in a certain direction.

                As discussion continued, Cunningham reminded the Council that salary increases are always important to NIU.  The administration has made it an
                absolute priority this year, even with the budget crisis and constraints.  As everyone is now aware, the fiscal crisis is very severe.  No full-time
                employee has been laid off and the administration is working to make sure it doesn’t happen during this tight spot.  Most departments are managing by
                not refilling any position unless absolutely necessary.   Everyone must accept CMS benefits and no one knows what will happen with the new
                administration in Springfield, since they could be more aggressive with benefits. When looked at in conjunction with the other state universities in
                Illinois, Civil Service employees at NIU are ahead of the curve in security and in benefits.

                While Union organizing is occurring, however, the general rules of campaigns for administrators are:  cannot give wrong information about things,
                cannot threaten a bad outcome based upon what happens, or cannot promise a good outcome based on what happens.  All units have political clout -
                the university, the union, and the individual.  If any department’s work schedule is interrupted to the point of concern because of Union
                representatives, they are to let Cunningham, Smith, or Tyrrell know.  Change occurs all the time by everyone and it is important that communication is
                in a timely and concise manner.

        E.     EAC.  No report.

        F.     UAC.  No report.

        G.     University Council. No report.

        H.     Special Events Committee

                LaRonda Thuestad will be meeting with John Gordon, Director of the Convocation Center, on Friday, January 10, 2003, and will bring a report to the
                next Operating Staff Council meeting.

VIII.     Old Business

        A.     Special Newsletter for Benefits

                Small reported on the sub-committee meeting of January 6, 2003.  Attending that subcommittee meeting were Eric Smith and Jodi Tyrrell from HRS.
                The committee felt they would like to prepare a special edition newsletter for distribution to the Civil Service clerical employees.  This newsletter
                would be a “Did You Know” or an “FYI” edition for our constituents.

                Many people may not be aware of exactly what their benefit may be in a particular area.  Small has asked either President Peters or Anne Kaplan to
                prepare a formalized response on pay issue concerns to put in the newsletter.  Civil Service employee benefits are based on CMS issues and statues.
                The subcommittee would like to do a series of publications on these issues.  The Operating Staff Council serves as an advisory council for civil service
                employees and needs to be of help to their constituents. General group discussion followed on our purpose as Operating Staff Council.   Judy Burgess
                will put together an information sheet about the OSC that can be posted throughout the campus community.

                Glenda Jones led a discussion concerning the mission of the Operating Staff Council and its reason for functioning to represent our constituency.  The
                discussion restated the importance of “getting the word out” and letting people know we are here and how we can help.    Smith read that “The
                Council’s role is to promote the general welfare of Operating Staff employees through action in a communicative and advisory capacity to the NIU
                administration as well as any other applicable group, agency, or individual.  It shall function as a source of direction, information, and two-way
                communication for the Operating Staff.”  Koch informed the Council that through the years people have appeared to the Council for direction and help
                and that the Council walked with them through each step of the process, even though the case may not have been settled the way the employee
                wanted it concluded.

                It is the general consensus that the Council has not been communicating with their constituents well enough.  They have made a firm commitment to
                communicate on a more consistent basis what the actual benefits are through the Civil Service system, CMS, HRS, and the Council.

IX.     New Business

        A.     Secretarial Advisory Council Report.

                Tyrrell informed the Council that the mission of the SAC is to identify issues and/or concerns that impact the secretarial workforce at Northern Illinois
                University.  One discussion at the last meeting of the SAC was the change in scoring on the new Secretary exams.  The SAC also asked Tyrrell to
                speak for them at the Operating Staff Council meeting about some of the discussions that take place during their meetings.  One item they discussed
                was the accumulation of vacation and the inconsistency that exists between Civil Service exempt and non-exempt employees and even between
                SPS and Faculty, or between business units and within business units.  Currently, exempt Civil Service employees reach the vacation maximum after
                nine years of service, while it takes a non-exempt employee 14 years to acquire the same benefit. After discussion, the Council forwarded the
                subject to the Personnel/Staff Developments/Benefits sub-committee for study.  The SAC is looking into the way sick leave is used across and within
                business units.  They have also asked Human Resource Services for additional drop boxes across campus and are looking to address all issues that
                affect the secretarial workforce on a daily basis.

        B.     Newsletter

                Joe Koch announced that Sandy Little, Development Office, and Gigi Beaird, HSC Accounting Office, have volunteered to help with the publication
                of the Northern Staff News on a monthly or  bi-monthly basis.  The Council was pleased to learn of this, and formed a sub-committee for  the
                newsletter.  Jay Monteiro will chair the committee and members will be Gigi Beaird, Joe  Koch, Sandy Little, and Donna Smith.  Monteiro will call a
                meeting before the next regularly  scheduled Operating Staff Council meeting.

X.     Adjournment

A motion was made to adjourn the meeting at 11:30 a.m. The motion was seconded and passed.

Respectfully submitted,

Gay Campbell
OSC Secretary