OPERATING STAFF COUNCIL MEETING
Present: Elizabeth Buck, Gay Campbell, Sara Clayton, Michele Crase, Marcia Dick, Margie Foshe,
Linda Jennings, Glenda Jones, Theresa Kinniry, Jay Monteiro, Nancy Schuneman, Andy
Small, Donna Smith and Rachel Turner.
Absent: Joe Koch and LaRonda Thuestad
Guests: Tim Griffin, Jodi Tyrrell and Steve Cunningham
The regular meeting of the Operating Staff Council was called to order at 8:40a.m. on Thursday, September 9, 2004, by President Donna Smith.
A motion was made to accept the agenda as presented. The motion was seconded and passed.
III. Approval of Minutes of August 12, 2004, Meeting
A motion was made to accept the minutes. The motion was seconded and passed.
IV. Treasurer’s Report
The treasurer’s report was presented for discussion. A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report. The motion was seconded and passed.
A. Smith passed around a copy of an e-mail from a constituent. The e-mail expressed concern about the current state of affairs at the university, specifically the lack of raises and what she had read was happening at other universities. This person felt the Operating Staff Council should be more vocal regarding salary and benefit issues. While Smith had responded to the e-mail, the issue of the advocacy role of the Council was raised. Glenda Jones pointed out that perhaps the Council should conduct a survey to obtain feedback on the perceptions of operating staff on campus, which may further help to define the Council’s role. After some discussion, Smith suggested that the Public Relations Committee look into putting together a survey or questionnaire and discuss advocacy issues.
B. Smith also presented an e-mail from another constituent. The e-mail discussed this person’s role in move-in day at the residence halls and she found that in the afternoon hours, workers seemed to disappear. The e-mail indicated that she worked through the lunch hour and was disappointed that a lunch was not provided. Council members pointed out that all volunteers are given juice and cookies, as well as a free t-shirt. It was also pointed out that food vendors are available on site for those wishing to purchase lunch, and that this is a volunteer activity so lunch should not be expected. After some discussion, it was decided that Smith would contact housing about the shortage of personnel in the afternoon hours on move-in day.
C. Jodi Tyrrell announced that an experiment was recently conducted on campus to test the new on-line Civil Service testing. Volunteers took some practice tests and everything seemed to go smoothly. The on-line testing option will likely be available soon.
A. Personnel/Staff Developments/Benefits.
1. Sara Clayton presented Council members with a draft letter to President Peters and Steve Cunningham regarding health insurance and drug coverage benefits. She asked Council members to review the letter and to provide feedback to her via e-mail.
2. Clayton announced that the Benefits Committee will meet every third Thursday at 9 a.m. in the Blackhawk.
B. Elections and Appointments.
1. Rachel Turner provided the Council with a chart of the vacancies that still exist on several university committees and commissions. Interest forms from Scott Mooberry and Samuel Halstead had been received for the Campus Security and Environmental Quality Committee. Since there was only one vacancy on the committee a vote was held to determine which person should be appointed. A vote was taken and Samuel Halstead was chosen for the committee, with one opposed and one abstention. The Council also voted to re-appoint Dawn Ericksen to the Libraries Advisory Committee. The Council also voted to recommend that Patricia Liberty-Baczck be appointed to the Presidential Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Two others (Shelly Hamlin-Rodrick and Laura Mabel) have expressed an interest in serving on the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, and one person (Wesley Coates) has expressed an interest in serving on the Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities. Mary Schlagel has expressed an interest in serving on the Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities. However, interest forms have not been received from any of these people, so the Council decided that the forms should be completed by the interested parties and reviewed by the Council prior to a formal recommendation. Turner will contact them to complete the paperwork.
C. Public Relations.
1. The Public Relations Committee met on September 2, 2004. Jay Monteiro was voted chair of the committee. Monteiro said the newsletter is going out pretty regularly and he asked for any information for the next newsletter. Monteiro said work will continue on the handbook for new OSC members that was discussed last year. It was also pointed out that the OSC brochure should be updated. Andy Small had a copy and it was passed around the table so Council members could update their information. Monteiro will update the brochure as soon as possible in hopes that it can be included in the packets for the Council of Councils participants.
D. Visiting Committees/Guests.
Associate Vice President of Administration Steve Cunningham from Human Resource Services was in attendance to explain the new pay increments and to address any additional concerns of the Council.
1. Cunningham said there will be a 2% + 1% + up to 1% raise for operating staff. The 2% + 1% increase will be in the October 29 paycheck, retroactive to July 1, 2004, with a possible additional 1% in January, 2005. The January increase is dependent on the budget situation, but Cunningham told the Council it appears to be “fairly solid” that the increase will happen. He explained the 3% includes a 2% across-the-board increase, along with a 1% range adjustment for non-exempt civil service classifications. He also explained that the increase for exempt civil service is slightly different in that only 1% will be across-the-board and 2% will be merit based. The entire 3% increase for faculty and for SPS will be merit based. He said the 1% increase in January will be across-the-board for all civil service, but will be merit-based for faculty and SPS. Increments for civil service staff in negotiated classifications will be in accordance with their collective bargaining agreements.
2. Small asked Cunningham about any recent activity on the part of those Civil Service employees who were trying to establish a union on campus. Cunningham said he recently received a request from the IEA for a list of all non-union Civil Service employees on campus. He said that under the Freedom of Information Act they are entitled to the information, but he pointed out that the information provided is no different than that which could be obtained from a local telephone book.
3. Smith asked Cunningham if there would be an extended closure period over the Christmas holiday as there had been last year. Cunningham said the current schedule indicates that the holiday period does not officially start until December 24 and that December 20-23 are regular work days. He said there has been some discussion about closing the university all or part of that week to save on utility costs, but the university feels it cannot ask for 4 additional days off. Cunningham suggested that two of the days might be considered administrative closure days and the other two could be scheduled closure days. That means that personnel would have to use vacation time or take the days unpaid only for the scheduled closure days, not for the administrative closure days. He asked the OSC to make a recommendation. Small made a motion that the OSC support December 22 & 23 being scheduled closure days and to also support the university’s decision to make the other two days administrative closure days. Margie Foshe seconded the motion and it passed. It was pointed out that “last minute” changes to the holiday calendar in the last 2 years have been necessitated by recent budget constraints.
E. EAC – The next meeting is October 13.
1. Smith said the Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Personnel Committee and Finance and Facilities and Operations Committee of the Board of Trustees met last week. Of note was the FFOC approving raises. The full board should make the final decision on September 23. President Peters said that some faculty had contacted his office when it looked like raises would be 1% and said their raises should be given to the operating staff.
2. A lunch was also provided for all of the employee award winners, including the winners of the Outstanding Service Award for Operating Staff.
G. University Council.
1. Clayton said that the new Vice President for Student Affairs, Brian Hemphill was introduced at the meeting.
2. President Peters spent most of the summer in Springfield. The president indicated that a letter from presidents/chancellors of the 13 state universities was sent to Gov. Bladgojevich regarding the budget situation. It is unprecedented to see this type of unity.
3. The university was forced to turn away 1,000 to 1,500 students this year due to enrollment control and budget constraints.
4. The Stevens Building is first on the list for infrastructure improvements this year in capital projects.
5. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan was at NIU for a reception at the new Family Violence and Sexual Assault Center on West campus.
6. The president’s State of the University Address will take place on October 7 in Altgeld Hall.
7. There have been some changes to the Academic Calendar for 2005. Summer school will now start on June 13 instead of June 20 and will end August 5 instead of August 12, with summer commencement taking place on August 6. The Fall semester will start August 22 and will end December 11 to allow Records and Registration ample time to process grade reports and for the colleges to review students on academic probation.
8. The Higher Learning Commission accredited the university after their recent visit. The accreditation is good for 10 years.
H. Special Events – No Report.
VII. Old Business
A. Council of Councils
1. Small said that for parking, a list of names will be provided to the attendant at the pay parking lot to allow participants to park free of charge and the Council will pay the final bill afterwards.
2. The decorating committee met on August 30 to discuss decorations. Monteiro will provide table decorations. Theresa Kinniry suggested that yellow-gold tablecloths be used in keeping with the fall theme. Yellow-gold tablecloths are not available; only green and maroon. The Council suggested we go with maroon. Kinniry will look into this. Candies will be placed on each table as well.
3. Small also suggested that there should be some press coverage for the event as well. It was suggested that Joe Koch inform the proper media of the event.
4. Agenda for the day is:
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Registration
9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Welcome Address
10:00 - 10:45 a.m. EAC/Merit Bd. (Tom Morelock)
10:45 – 11 a.m. BREAK
11-11:45 a.m. Jim Hacking
11:45 – 12 noon Move to Pheasant Room
12 – 1 p.m. Lunch in Pheasant Room
1 – 2 p.m. Campus Bus Tour
2 – 3 p.m. Kathy Buettner, Bob Pritchard, Brad Burzynski
3 – 4 p.m. Wrap up/Summary
B. Grievance Procedures Pool
1. Smith said she has added a few names to the list and she said if any other Council members would like to have their name added to the list to let her know. It was agreed to approve the final list via e-mail.
C. Salary Increases – Addressed by Steve Cunningham above.
VII. New Business
A. Turner pointed out that the annual photo should be taken. It was decided that the photo would be taken prior to the October meeting, location TBA.
B. Clayton reminded Council members that the Parade of Flags would take place on September 24.
VIII. Adjournment – The meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m.