OPERATING STAFF COUNCIL MEETING

MINUTES 6/9/05

8:30AM – Holmes Student Center 406

 

Present:    Sara Clayton, Michelle Crase, Marcia Dick, Linda Jennings, Glenda Jones, Theresa Kinniry, Joe

    Koch, Jay Monteiro, Andy Small, Donna Smith, LaRonda Thuestad, and Rachel Turner.  

 

Absent:     Elizabeth Buck, Gay Campbell, Margie Foshe, and Nancy Schuneman.

 

Guests:     Julia Sober, Jodi Tyrrell and Steve Cunningham.

 

I.                    Call to Order

 

President Donna Smith called the regular meeting of the Operating Staff Council to order at 8:40 a.m. on Thursday, June 9, 2005.

 

II.         Approval of Agenda

 

A motion was made to accept the agenda with the addition of Steve Cunningham as a guest. The motion was seconded and passed.   

 

III.        Approval of Minutes of May 12, 2005, Meeting

 

A motion was made to accept the minutes with two minor changes. 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

 

1.         Each Council member introduced themselves to the newest elected member Julia Sober. Sober will officially begin her term with the Council on July 1. Sober will replace outgoing Council member Michele Crase.

 

2.         LaRonda Thuestad passed around the minutes from the April meeting of the SURSMAC.

 

3.         Smith announced that the new trustees will be officially sworn in at next week’s Board of Trustees meeting. Smith will take part in the shared governance presentation during the orientation being held for new members.

 

4.         Smith also passed around a letter from President Peters about changing job responsibilities of the staff who support the BOT:  Ken Davidson, Kathy Buettner & Sharon Mimms.

 

5.         Smith also passed around a note from Mike Malone in response to our letter requesting that he assist with serving meals at the annual StaffFest event.  Malone said he would be unable to attend, but he pointed out that he enjoys the event and he is sorry he will miss it.

 

6.         Joe Koch reported that the University Press office will temporarily move to Gilbert Hall.  Eventually, the office will move to the Monsanto building on Route 23.

 

VI.        Committee Reports

           

A.                  Personnel/Staff Developments/Benefits  -

 

1.         Sara Clayton reported that the committee met with Deb Haliczer about a possible benefits fair. This would allow employees to speak directly with representatives from the various benefits companies so that they will be better informed during the benefits choice period.

 

 

 

 

B.                  Elections and Appointments.

 

1.         Rachel Turner reported that she received several interest sheets from employees who expressed an interest in serving on one of the committees or commissions of the university. The Council voted on the candidates for each committee as follows:

 

                                                            Committees

 

                                    Athletic Board                            Marcia Dick

                                    Parking Appeals                        Gay Campbell

                                    University Benefits                     Ray Foster

 

                                                            OSC Committees

 

                                    StaffFest                                   Theresa Scharp, Jane Farmer

                                    Outstanding Service

  Award Selection                       Sue Stelling, Kay Shelton, Lynn Slater

 

            The Council voted to recommend the following individuals for appointment to the commissions indicated

 

                                                            Commissions

 

                                                Persons with Disabilities             Mary Schlagel

                                    Status of Women                       Lisa Schlosser, Mary Shelden, *Beverly Patton

 

(* Beverly Patton was approved pending verification of her eligibility.  It is unclear whether or not she is retired or retiring.  If she is, she would be unable to serve on the commission per recent OSC bylaw changes prohibiting retirees from serving on committees or commissions. Turner will look into this.)

 

            For those committees or commissions where no one expressed an interest, Turner will contact the current representatives to see if they would be interested in serving another term.

 

            Nominations were also received for officers for the Council.  Nominations included:

 

President:        Marcia Dick, Donna Smith, Rachel Turner, Jay Monteiro, Theresa Kinniry, Linda Jennings.

 

Vice Pres.:       Jay Monteiro, Nancy Schuneman, Rachel Turner, Linda Jennings, Andy Small, Gay

             Campbell, Marcia Dick, Joe Koch, LaRonda Thuestad, Glenda Jones.

 

Secretary:        Theresa Kinniry, Nancy Schuneman, Glenda Jones, Jay Monteiro, Gay Campbell, Marcia Dick

 

Treasurer:        Elizabeth Buck, Jay Monteiro, Nancy Schuneman, Andy Small.

 

            Turner will send an e-mail to all of those nominated so that even those who were not present at the meeting will know they were nominated and that they can also make nominations.  The ballots will be prepared for the July meeting at which time the Council will vote for the officers.

 

C.         Public Relations.

 

1.         Jay Monteiro reported that the committee talked about the EASY program for the university calendar. The committee will look into using this. He also reported that the newsletter was sent out.  Monteiro also presented Council member Michele Crase with a certificate of appreciation for her years of service to the Council.

 

D.         Visiting Committees/Guests –  Steve Cunningham was present at the meeting to talk about several issues affecting Operating Staff.

 

 

 

            Salary Increments

 

1.        Cunningham said there will be an across-the-board pay increment of 3% for non-exempt civil service employees and a 2% across-the-board + 1% merit raise for exempt civil service. He said the increments will be almost identical to last year, with the first portion coming in August but retroactive to July 1 and an additional 1% increment in January 2006. Cunningham asked the OSC for their support of the proposed pay raises. Linda Jennings pointed out that clerical staff is oftened singled out for additional pay adjustments and that all civil service classifications ought to be given equal consideration when it comes to adjustments. Cunningham explained that 40% of civil service positions are in the clerical field and that is why it is often considered first.  Cunningham said that NIU will look at all civil service classifications, but it can’t be done all at once.  Jennings also pointed out that when pay raises are based even partially on merit, supervisors are put in a difficult position of trying to measure a minute portion of the percentage of merit pay so as to be fair to all employees.  Jennings recommended that if a pay raise is 3% or less, the pay raise ought to be across the board regardless of status. Small also pointed out that in these difficult budget times, we don’t want to be pitting civil service employees against one another.  Small said that many employees feel that if tuition is increased, pay raises ought to be forthcoming.  Cunningham pointed out that tuition monies are never solely used to fund pay raises.  After some discussion, the Council by majority vote supported the proposed pay increment structure.  The proposal is subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.

 

2.         Cunningham also spoke briefly about pension issues.  The state legislature recently voted to fund only 50% of the SURS pension fund for the next two years. Cunningham said that under current assumptions, it will cost the state $20 billion over the next 40 years. Cunningham said that President Peters has been very involved with the legislative process and will continue to be. Cunningham also spoke about the component of pension reform that will have universities funding the cost of pensions if salaries increase more than 3% a year within the high 4-year Final Rate of Earning Calculation. Cunningham said NIU already pays $31 million to CMS, and unfunded liability continues to be a huge issue.

 

3.         Cunningham also spoke about the most recent letter from the organizers of the proposed clerical union. Cunningham said unions have always been there and will always be there. Cunningham said that salary adjustments are driven by the goal of institutional effectiveness.

 

E.         EAC 

 

1.         Sara Clayton reported that the Merit Board met on May 18.  There was a discharge hearing from University of Illinois at Chicago.  There was another discharge hearing in which a woman had previously been discharged, but was later reinstated.  The same woman has now been discharged again for a different reason.  EAC will meet July 14 & 15 at Chicago State.

 

F.         UAC  -

 

1.         Smith reported that two committees of the BOT met – the Academic and Student Affairs Committee and the Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee.  The Academic and Student Affairs Committee dealt mostly with tenure, and acting/interim dean issues.  Joe Grush was named acting dean for the College of LA&S, and Bill Mallon was named interim dean of the College of Business.  Smith explained that regarding collegiate positions, acting means the individual wants to be considered for the position and interim means the individual has no interest in seeking the position on a permanent basis and is just filling the position until a replacement can be found.  The Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee discussed FY 2007 budget guidelines and tuition increases. The proposed increase would only apply to new students because the “truth in tuition” program was started last year. The “truth in tuition” is only good for 4 ½ years at which point a student would have to pay the increased rates. Marcia Dick pointed out that the down side of the program is that students are rushing to get finished in four years and they sometimes get burned out because they are working and studying so much.

 

2.         Smith reported that the bill that would give naming rights to the state did not make it out of committee.  She also said that Senate Bill 131, which would allow community colleges to award four-year degrees, was defeated in committee.

 

            G.         University Council  - No Report.  Council will not meet until September.

 

H.                  Special Events

 

1.         LaRonda Thuestad reported that Glenda Jones has received approximately 908 requests for StaffFest, and more are coming in every day.  She asked that Council members solicit prizes from local businesses, especially since there is only $200 available to purchase door prizes this year.   The theme for this year’s event is “Salute to the Staff” so decorations will include photos of various staff members in various departments.  Very few pictures have been received for the event, but another reminder to send in photos will be placed in the next newsletter. 

 

VII.       Old Business

 

            A.         Legislative Issues

           

1.         Smith’s letter to Gov. Blagojevitch was passed around.  Smith thanked Council member Gay Campbell for her help in faxing the letter to the governor, state leaders and the legislators listed on the letter.

           

B.         Retirees on Committees

 

1.         Koch presented the proposed changes to the Bylaws regarding retirees serving on committees and commissions.  The proposed changes would allow a retiree to complete his/her term if they retire during their tenure on the committee/commission.  Otherwise committee/commission vacancies should be filled by a current status employee.  Vacancies will be filled by volunteers, unless none can be found.  This was the second reading.  The changes were accepted by a unanimous vote of the Council.

 

VIII.      New Business

           

            A.         Union Initiative -

 

1.         Rachel Turner received a draft of a letter written by the group attempting to organize a union on campus for secretarial and clerical employees.  The content of the letter was discussed.  The Council decided that Smith use her letter in the Northern Staff News to talk about employee rights and the Council’s role in shared governance.

 

IX.        Adjournment – The meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

Theresa Kinniry

OSC Secretary