OPERATING STAFF COUNCIL MEETING
MINUTES 4/10/03
8:30AM – HSC 406

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 at 8:35 a.m.

II.         Approval of Agenda

            A motion was made to approve the agenda as amended with one item taken off under Old Business.  The motion was seconded and passed.

III.       Approval of Minutes of March 13, 2003, Meeting
 
            A motion was made to accept the minutes with the word invitation changed to vacation in Section VII.C.  The motion was seconded and passed.

IV.        Treasurer’s Report

            Elizabeth Buck distributed copies of the Treasurer’s report for the nine-month period ending 3/31/03.   Buck led a general discussion of the four
            expenses for the month of March.  During discussion, Andy Small asked if the Council could think about transferring the American National Bank
            account funds to our local credit union.  At the time the ANB account was started, the NIU credit union did not have checking accounts.  Buck will look
            into it.   After discussion, a motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.  The motion was seconded and passed.
 
V.        Announcements/Correspondence

            1.    Clayton announced the first Volunteer and Service Learning Recognition Tea hosted by Career Planning and Placement from 4 to 6 p.m. on April
                    28, 2003.

            2.     Clayton announced the Administrative Professionals Week Annual Luncheon on April 22,  2003, at South Pointe Center in DeKalb.

            3.     Clayton announced receipt of a memorandum from Steve Cunningham regarding Military Leaves of Absence.

            4.     Clayton announced receipt of an email from President Peters concerning his response to  the  Governor’s budget message of April 9, 2003.
 
            5.      Theresa Kinniry announced that the Pheasant Room in Homes Student Center would be closed from May 12 – June 1, 2003.  This is an annual,
                    routine closure in order for the staff to thoroughly clean the facility.  Because of the budget situation, however, the Pheasant Room may close for the
                    rest of the summer.

            6.     Small passed around a copy of correspondence from the Civil Service Employees Association [IEA-NEA.]  The CSEA is circulating a petition
                    among civil service employees calling on the Operating Staff Council – their voice to the administration – to take a strong stand opposing another
                    pay freeze.  The CSEA will present the signed petition to the OSC at a future meeting.

            7.     Donna Smith passed around the ISU Newsletters for the previous two months.

VII.     Committee Reports

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

                The committee acts when given something to research and sometimes gives information for the Newsletter.    Marcia Dick talked about House Bill
                3511 and SURS.  The proposed legislation would terminate the current SURS Board 6/30/03 and appoint a new Board, its chair [currently elected
                by the Board], and Executive Director.  There is great concern that the financial health of SURS would be placed at risk under this proposal since
                such action would expose the Board to the possibility of significant political influence and endanger the ability to fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities.
                Dick will get a hard copy of this information to the Council.  Ada Hetland does communicate regularly with the civil service representative on the
                University Benefits Council.

        B.     Elections and Appointments

                Michele Crase announced the recipients of the Operating Staff Outstanding Service Award for this year.  The recipients are:  G. A. [Joe] Baird,
                Service Enterprise Manager; Joyce Gardner, Administrative Assistant II, Provost; Jodi Tyrrell, Human Resource Officer IV, Human Resource
                Services; and Jan Vander Meer, Administrative Secretary, English Department.

                Some ballots have come in for the 2003 Operating Staff Council Election.  The deadline is April 18, 2003.  Crase will count ballots on April 23,
                2003, at 1:30 p.m. in her office at the Dorland building and asked for volunteers to help.
 
        C.     Public Relations

                Joe Koch led the Council in a discussion on the “Friends of the Staff” annual luncheon.  The luncheon originated in order to thank those people who
                volunteer to do Operating Staff Council committee work. The Council discussed several ways of being able to thank the volunteers. It was determined
                to give framed certificates of appreciation on Staff Appreciation Day [StaffFest 03] in August.  The Council also decided to have a poster on an easel
                with the names of all committee members.  Koch’s committee will draft the letters.  The committee will make sure supervisors, President Peters, and
                Steve Cunningham are copied.

        D.     Visiting Committee/Guests

                Athletic Board member Marcia Dick distributed the 2003 NIU Football schedule to members of the Council.  Dick then led an informative discussion
                on Athletic Board activities during the past year such as:
                · Football and basketball showed increased ticket sales, with the attendance at football games averaging 20,000 per game.
                · Large increase of NIU sports items marketed, with revenue up from $17,000 in 2000 to $35,000 in 2001.
                · The marketing and promotions staff was much more aggressive this year and did a tremendous job with more direct mailings to alumni, increased
                  advertisements in suburban papers, targeting area and suburban schools with promotional mailings, wider radio coverage, games heard over the
                  Internet, and TV coverage of select games.
                · Sports camps attendance is up and this is all revenue for the program.  Donna Smith will be on the panel for the Coaches Training Session giving a
                  parent’s point of view.
                · Signage revenue of $60,000 from new signs sold at the football stadium and the Convocation Center.
                · Dropped the men and women’s swimming program because of budget, safety, and competitiveness concerns.  The diving well depth in the pool in
                  Anderson Hall was not adequate to meet NCAA standards and several MAC swim teams refused to come here for swim meets.  The move to drop
                  the sport affected 37 athletes.
                · Renovation of Chick Evans Field House.
                · Current research by Dr. Kim Judson on why athletes choose certain schools and what motivates them to do so.  One finding is that female athletes
                  tend to focus more on the quality of academic programs, and male athletes tend to focus more on the reputation and competitiveness of their chosen
                  sport.
                · Administered a Survey of Sports Interests and Abilities to students in the resident’s halls and a table at Holmes Student Center. Such a survey is
                  required every three years by the NCAA and the Office of Civil Rights.
                · Athletic Director Cary Groth detailed for the Board her appointment and participation in the national Commission on Opportunity in Athletics.  The
                  report focus was on the 30th anniversary of the Title IX amendment, which prohibits recipients of federal funds from discriminating on the basis of
                  sex.  Across the country this is enforced differently and includes high school and elementary level, as well as college.
                · Eligibility requirements for athletes pursuing a degree will change beginning with Fall 2003.  Previous percentages were 25/50/75.  These will be
                  changed to 40/60/80 percent.  The main problems will arise for those student athletes who change majors or whose major is undecided.  The
                  Student Athlete Support Services [SASS] office will be called upon to monitor satisfactory progress towards a degree.
                · Future plans include building [with donations from donated private funds] a Student Development Center on the north side of the stadium.  When
                  football wins, it is easier to get large donors.

Steve Cunningham, Associate Vice President of Administration and Human Resources and Eric Smith, Assistant Director of Compliance and Labor Relations, joined the Council mid-morning.  Cunningham reminded the Council that the current budget crisis is historic at both the state and university level.  Northern is handling the situation in a way that is very good and President Peters is giving as much information as there is available in his updates.  We were prepared for the 2% cutback.  The 8.2% cutback for FY04 is extreme, but the university has undertaken three initiatives to deal with that and maintain priorities, which are:  maintain structural services, not implicate public safety, and not be compromised in terms of jobs or salaries.  The university will undertake measures to help meet those objectives for FY04 and are confident we can withstand the cuts and maintain the priorities.  Cunningham explained that we are implementing attrition-based workforce reductions and there will be a significant change in numbers of positions that will affect us all.  The administration is serious about this and is handling it in a holistic way, not being abrupt or sudden.  However, if the Council felt it would be a good way to keep people informed and wanted to request a public forum, it would be taken under serious consideration by the administration.

Cunningham explained that money for capital budget projects is a one-time expenditure, where money for salaries is a permanent obligation.  In every message to the BOT or to the legislature, the number one priority from NIU is salaries.

Judy Burgess indicated that sometimes it is a gray area whether Civil Service employees are state employees or NIU employees.  Cunningham replied that we are both. Burgess asked for clarification on the 12-year practice of the state picking up non-union contributions to the pension fund system that is going to be cut and the governor ending the system of allowing employees to stockpile vacation days.  Burgess asked if those things would apply to NIU employees.  Cunningham stated they do not apply to NIU, but to code agencies or agencies that directly report to the governor.  Most code agency employees also pay Social Security. It is a different context and a different system.  The governor was able to change those terms of employment for code agency employees and implement change.  For Higher Education, the vacation payout requires a legislative bill.
 
Northern is prepared, given the cuts, to withstand these cuts and maintain the three priorities already talked about, structural, safety, and job integrity.  The university will have to take some measures to deal with those cuts.  One measure relates to operational schedules.  Cunningham wanted the Council’s feedback regarding this measure, since these decisions are made by the administration after extensive consultation with university constituencies including the Operating Staff Council, Supportive Professional Staff Council, the University Council, Council of Deans, Secretarial Advisory Committee, and other area representatives.  One measure under consideration would be the implementation of a four-day workweek.  Generally, it would be a three-day shutdown [Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,] extending from June 1, 2003, through August 8, 2003.  Through that process, we can demonstrate that we are taking action to address the cuts and this would actually improve operational costs.  If this is done, it needs to be announced as soon as possible, since employees have childcare and other issues.  Supervisors would be responsible to have offices open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with as much flexibility as possible for employees.   People would have the same number of hours for four days as for five.  The week of July 4th would be a standard workweek, 7.5 hours per day, since the fourth of July is a Friday.  Human Resource Services will be encouraging supervisors to freely grant vacation and be as flexible as possible.  If anyone runs into problems, they are encouraged to let Cunningham know.  The goal for NIU is one of no layoffs.  The official notice will go out in memorandum form in a few weeks.

A second related schedule change is winter break.  The closure would start on Monday, December 22, 2003, and employees would use benefit time for those two days.  If they are informed early, they can be accruing the time.  This would allow the university to shut down the Friday preceding the break.  If the university community continues to work together on these austerity measures, layoffs can probably be avoided.  Northern has done a very good job preparing for this.  Cunningham went on to answer any questions and general discussion followed.
 
        E.     EAC

                EAC will hold their next quarterly meeting on April 24-25, 2003, at Eastern Illinois University.
 

        F.     UAC.  No report.
 

        G.     University Council.

                Koch attended two meetings since the last OSC Council met and mentioned that the March 19, 2003, University Council meeting was mostly about
                budget issues and concerns such as “administrative bloat” in universities, tuition limitation bills, line item budgeting, and returning the income fund to the
                state, which would remove all flexibility from the university.

                NIU’s “P-20” [preschool through graduate school] initiative is attracting attention from all corners of the state.  Those colleges involved in teacher
                education are taking a leadership role in this initiative.  NIU is hosting a two-day retreat at the Naperville campus in order to come up with a plan that
                will foster statewide collaboration and meet state needs.  Dean Sorenson and Dean  Kitterle are taking the lead in this endeavor.

                In the April 9, 2003, University Council meeting the President’s remarks were about enrollment management and the budget.  President Peters told
                the Governor’s main themes that dealt with higher education:  first, his pledge to cut non-instructional costs at state universities; second, his pledge to
                protect student financial aid; and third, his pledge to support legislation that seeks to stabilize tuition.  The FY03 recision for NIU was trimmed back to
                2.9 percent, or $3.2 million.  President Peters stated that since NIU has an exact reduction number now in hand, several additional actions must be
                taken to fully meet the governor’s FY03 reserve requirement.  Among those under consideration is the initiation of a four-day summer workweek,
                temporary summer building closures, and all campus buildings closing at 11:00 p.m. during the summer.

                FY04 appropriations will be cut by 8.2 percent, a cut of $9.1 million less in state funding than at the beginning of FY03.  This does include $3.5
                million in employee health insurance contributions that the state has laid upon the institution and brings us back to the 1997-1998 budget level.  In
                addition, NIU will explore the possibility of an extended winter shutdown, reductions in maintenance and repairs [non-health or safety related only,]
                and limiting admissions.  Issues of particular concern include pending legislation that would impose tuition caps and increase the minimum wage.  The
                “tundra of hiring” will continue for a while.

                In the midst of all this, however, Peters feels NIU will make it through this crisis because we are prepared, and because we have continued to stay
                together and stay focused on our service to students.  President Peters continues to rely on the patience, goodwill, and dedication of the entire campus
                community.

                Koch announced that the Committee of the University book will no longer be printed and distributed, but will be on line.  Sue Willis, Executive
                Secretary of the University Council, reported on House Bill 2805 which would put a faculty member from one of the institutions on the Board of
                Higher Education.

        H.     Special Events Committee

                LaRonda Thuestad announced that the flyer for Staff Fest Event 03 is going to printing today.  Thuestad has heard from Bill Finucane and Dena Olson
                in order to finalize the bus schedule for the shuttle during Staff Fest.  Only Civil Service Status Employees and retirees are invited.

VIII.     Old Business

        A.     Wellness Fair

                It was good for the Council to be a part of this event and everything went well.  Marcia Dick was the winner of the 50/50 drawing for the Scholarship
                Award.  Dick donated the money back to the fund.  There were six door prizes winners:   Vernon Wells, Calculator; Dale Benson, Spiderman DVD;
                Ada Hetland, Signs DVD; Theresa Braun, Home Audio System; Jaymara Baker, Telephone Answering Machine; and Bill Feldman, DVD player.
 
IX.     New Business

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