MINUTES 10/14/04

8:30AM – Holmes Student Center 406


Present:    Elizabeth Buck, Gay Campbell, Michele Crase, Marcia Dick, Margie Foshe,

    Linda Jennings, Glenda Jones, Theresa Kinniry, Joe Koch, Jay Monteiro, Nancy Schuneman,      

    Andy Small, Donna Smith, LaRonda Thuestad and Rachel Turner.  


Absent:     Sara Clayton (EAC)


Guests:     Tim Griffin, Karen Smith and Shey Lowman


I.                    Call to Order


The regular meeting of the Operating Staff Council was called to order at 8:50a.m. on Thursday, October 14, 2004, by President Donna Smith, following a group photo at Altgeld Hall.


II.         Approval of Agenda


A motion was made to accept the agenda with minor changes. The motion was seconded and passed.   


III.        Approval of Minutes of September 9, 2004, Meeting


A motion was made to accept the minutes with one minor change. 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.


V.         Announcements/Correspondence


A.         D. Smith passed around the new holiday schedule for 2005.  It has been officially approved by the University Council.           


B.         D. Smith also passed around a memorandum from Steve Cunningham regarding

            Increment Guidelines.  The memorandum contains a timeline for the pay increases.


C.         D. Smith also passed around an e-mail from a constituent regarding the holiday closure schedule.  The e-mail was sent to Steve Cunningham and courtesy copied to D. Smith.


D.         D. Smith also passed around the Annual Report from the University Benefits Committee.  The committee had a request from to change the policy on bereavement leave from three days to five days.  The committee declined to act on the proposal because NIU follows IBHE policies on this matter.  The committee suggested that HRS strongly urge supervisors and administrators to apply a liberal sick and vacation leave policy for those employees needing additional time to cope with the stress of bereavement.


VI.        Committee Reports


A.         Personnel/Staff Developments/Benefits.


1.         Marcia Dick mentioned that there is a new proposal to allow 30 minutes of release time for employees to exercise.  Dick said the proposal will likely require that the 30 minutes be taken in conjunction with the 60-minute lunch hour, or at the start or end of the work day.  Participants would have to provide proof of enrollment in a legitimate exercise program in order to be granted the release time.  More information is forthcoming.  (Nancy Apperson from the Employee Wellness and Assistance will be at the November meeting to further explain the program)


B.         Elections and Appointments.


1.         Rachel Turner reported that all of the committee vacancies are filled, but there are still two openings on the Commission on the Status of Minorities and also on the Commission on the Status of Women.  We will continue to seek representatives for both commissions.


C.         Public Relations.


1.         The Public Relations Committee met on October 7.  The committee discussed the proposal that we consider conducting a survey.  The committee was not sure what should be included in the survey or what the objective was in conducting one.  After much discussion, it was decided that a survey is really not necessary at this time.  Dick suggested we conduct an informal inquiry at the Wellness Fair by providing comment cards at the table.


2.         The committee is also continuing work on the handbook for new OSC members.  Theresa Kinniry will create a draft copy of the handbook for the next Public Relations Committee Meeting.


3.         Monteiro will update the OSC pamphlet.  The Council agreed that some of the information on the current brochure is not necessary, so it will be updated accordingly. 


4.         Monteiro also reminded the Council that articles are always needed for the newsletter.


            D.         Visiting Committees/Guests.


Human Resource Services Program Assistant Karen Smith and Supportive Professional Staff Council President Shey Lowman were in attendance to explain the new mandatory Ethics Training that is to be completed by all University Personnel.


1.         The Ethics Training is slated to begin October 18 and must be completed by November 17.  K. Smith pointed out that the training is mandatory for all employees, including student workers, extra help and graduate assistants, in addition to all full time SPS, Operating Staff and Faculty.  The training is to be completed on-line through the State of Illinois website.  K. Smith said that those employees who fail to complete the training during the designated training period will be subject to disciplinary action.  She also pointed out that the test itself takes 30-60 minutes to complete.  Workers are allowed to complete the training during working hours, which is actually preferred since no overtime or additional compensation will be provided for employees if they complete the training outside of the scheduled work day.  For those personnel unable to complete the training on-line (e.g., visually impaired employees), paper copies will be provided.  Everyone must successfully complete the test.  If an employee fails the test, they must re-test until they are successful in completing it.  The website is able to handle 15,000 users at once, so access should not be a problem.  If anyone logging on should encounter a problem, they can contact ITS for help.  Additional computers are available in the library for those personnel who don’t have access to a computer.  K. Smith pointed out that a report will be provided to HRS of all those personnel who have completed the test.  She said the report is the official word, so if an individual believes they have completed the test, but the report does not indicate that they have, they will have to retest.  A memorandum was sent to all employees from Steve Cunningham regarding this issue and containing more detailed instructions on how to access the site.  Lowman said she participated in some practice sessions and was able to successfully complete the course with few problems.  Lowman provided handouts showing the layout of the site, which includes a certificate of completion when finished.  K. Smith also said that when logging in to the site, individuals must type their name as it appears on their pay records or the system may not recognize them.  She also said that the testing will likely be an annual requirement, although she believes that subsequent tests will be in an abbreviated form, but she does not know for sure.


E.         EAC  D. Smith provided some information from the September 15 Merit Board meeting for Sara Clayton. 


1.         There were four discharges of employees. 


2.         There will be four meetings of the Merit Board next year as opposed to three.  The reason for this was because the board wants to try to meet at one of the campuses in or near Chicago.   


                        3.         Electronic testing is still in the works.


            F.         UAC


1.         Myron Siegal of the Board of Trustees recently lost a son.  D. Smith sent a card on behalf of the OSC.    


2.         The Board of Trustees approved the salary increase, among other actions.   


            G.         University Council.


1.         D. Smith said that President Peters was invited to Washington by the Secretary of Education to participate in a discussion to address the crisis in the math and science areas.  Peters and NIU were recognized because of all the work being done on P-20.  The meeting was held to talk about improving teacher education and student learning across colleges, particularly in the areas of math and science.  There is a crisis being faced in the need for well-prepared and trained individuals in these two fields.  Peters called on the P-20 group to work on the issue of better preparing future teachers, especially those who will be teaching K-8.  There are 7,000 students at NIU currently enrolled in teacher education programs.


2.         Sub-committees of the University Council will look at textbook prices, creating a calendar through 2015, and will conduct a review of the Omsbudsman Office.


3.         Pat Henry, Faculty Advisor to the IBHE, reported that Illinois went from went from number 1 to number 3 to number 8 according to the National Report Card for Higher Ed.  She also reported that IBHE is looking at the issues of community colleges wanting to issue 4-year degrees and also at the quality of distance learning institutions, such as University of Phoenix.

H.         Special Events  LaRonda Thuestad reported that the Staffest Luncheon for  

    next year will be held on August 4, 2005. 




VII.       Old Business


A.         Council of Councils


1.         Small said that 45 to 50 people are expected to attend.  He said the only university not sending a representative is University of Illinois.  Small reminded Council members to wear red and black and he also encouraged everyone to arrive early to help with decorations.


VII.       New Business


A.         A motion was made to table the discussion on Evaluations until the next meeting.


B.         D. Smith asked if anyone wanted to serve on an advocacy group to assist personnel with problems.


VIII.      Adjournment – The meeting adjourned at 10:50 a.m.



Respectfully Submitted,



Theresa Kinniry

OSC Secretary