OPERATING STAFF COUNCIL MEETING
Present: Elizabeth Buck, Marcia Dick, Theresa Kinniry, Joe Koch, Jay Monteiro, Nancy Schuneman, Andy
Small, Donna Smith, Julia Sober, and Rachel Turner.
Absent: Gay Campbell, Sara Clayton, Margie Foshe, Linda Jennings, Glenda Jones, and LaRonda Thuestad
Guests: Tim Griffin, Deborah Haliczer, Celeste Latham, and Jodi Tyrrell
President Donna Smith called the regular meeting of the Operating Staff Council to order at 8:35 a.m. on Thursday, July 14, 2005.
A motion was made to accept the agenda with the change from guest speaker Jim Phillips to Deborah Haliczer and Celeste Latham. The motion was seconded and passed.
III. Approval of Minutes of June 9, 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 for June and the proposed budget for FY 06 were presented for discussion. A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s report and the proposed budget. The motion was seconded and passed.
1. Smith passed around an e-mail from President Peters thanking all of the people involved in the new BOT orientation for their participation. Smith was one of the attendees.
2. Smith also passed around a “Thank You” card from outgoing Council member Michele Crase.
3. The ISU newsletter was also passed around.
4. Smith passed around a sheet with all of the Council members names on it so that each member could be sure their supervisor’s name was correct.
5. The three shared governance presidents met to discuss salary increments. It was pointed out that the Supportive Professional Staff Council was not afforded the opportunity to discuss this issue and provide input. The group decided that in the future, discussions about salary increments could start early in the spring so that all Councils are part of the process.
6. It was reported that the letter from those trying to establish a union was received by some members of the Operating Staff on campus.
A. Personnel/Staff Developments/Benefits - No report. Did not meet.
B. Elections and Appointments.
1. Rachel Turner reported that she checked on the employment status of Beverly Patton and learned that she has not retired nor is planning to do so. Her name will be forwarded to serve on the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. Turner also said that Vicki Ortega would replace Chuck Cochrane on the Parking Committee since Cochrane recently retired. She also reported that Vishnu Thatikonda would serve on the Computing Facilities Advisory Committee. Turner said that at this time, all of the committees and commissions with operating staff are fully represented.
2. Elections were also held for officers for the FY 06 Council. After voting, the slate of officers is:
President Donna Smith
Vice President Rachel Turner
Secretary Theresa Kinniry
Seven nominees were also named for the second voting member for the University Council. They are:
Sara Clayton Jay Koch Andy Small Rachel Turner
Marcia Dick Jay Monteiro Julia Sober
Voting will take place at the August Council meeting.
3. Turner will send an e-mail to all Council members regarding the committees of the Council. Members can sign up on line.
C. Public Relations.
1. Jay Monteiro presented the officers with a Certificate of Appreciation and a gift certificate for the University Bookstore to say “thank you” for their service during the previous year. He also reported that work is continuing on the OSC brochure.
Deborah Haliczer and Celeste Latham from the Employee Wellness and Assistance Office attended the meeting to conduct a focus group with the Council. Haliczer said a number of different groups on campus are participating in the focus groups so that Human Resource Services can learn what areas are working well and what areas need improvement. Haliczer and Latham presented the Council with a series of questions.
1. What do you see as areas of strength in the services provided by Human Resource Services?
Areas of strength that were pointed out are that HRS is helpful in the hiring process and the training programs. The Payroll office does a good job. Andy Small said that in the 16 years he has been on campus, he has never heard anyone say there was a mistake or problem with his or her pay. Workshops conducted by HRS are exemplary and the variety of topics covered in the workshops is impressive. The Student Employment office personnel are always helpful and knowledgeable when information is needed. Most of the people at HRS are well received and are not at all difficult to work with. Jill Secor from Student Employment has been exceptionally helpful, especially for Nancy Schuneman, since Schuneman hires a lot of international students and their paperwork can be very complicated. However, it was pointed out that it is sometimes difficult to know which phone number to call. Haliczer pointed out that calling the main number (753-6000) connects the caller with a person, who can then direct the call to the appropriate office. Another problem that was pointed out was that when it comes to medical leave, there are sometimes some problems. It was noted that it is a very complicated issue to begin with, but there have been times when paperwork has been lost and/or benefits delayed and it is sometimes less than ideal. There was further discussion that an injured worker sometimes needs a little compassion.
2. How do you and the faculty and staff you represent perceive the quality of “customer service” provided by HRS?
It was discussed that there is a perception that if an individual calls HRS, they cannot get the answers they need because people do not respond. When it comes to benefits, many people call Central Management Services direct. There is also a perception that people who work in HRS get promoted faster than other people on campus. It was discussed that there is a perception that departments can manipulate Affirmative Action rules so as to work in the department’s favor.
3. What suggestions would you make that would help us better meet the needs of your department or college, and its faculty and staff?
It was suggested there should be a separate telephone number for the different areas. Some people say that when they try to call HRS, they cannot find a person in a specific department despite trying all of the numbers listed for that department. Haliczer said that all telephones are programmed so that the caller can return to the receptionist and talk with a live person. Haliczer was asked if the Business Procedures Manual is on-line and she said they are currently in the process of compiling all of the HRS procedures and the ultimate goal is have all of the policies and procedures updated and on line. It was pointed out that the telephone tree for job listings has been very helpful for visually impaired students. There was concern and discussion about the need for background checks. Dealing with employee time sheets is often a problem because secretaries are often required to drive out to HRS with them. Faculty Benefits Usage Statements were also discussed because many faculty don’t bother to fill them out at all. It was suggested that there ought to be a way that someone can indicate that the individual faculty member did not fill out a Benefit Usage Statement so that secretaries do not get blamed for paperwork not being done.
4. Are there other comments and suggestions you would like to make?
The condition of the HRS building was discussed. It is terrible to send people to a facility that looks so run down because that is often their first impression of NIU. It was also pointed out that the addition of the Affirmative Action section of the building emphasizes how run down the main building is, and also implies that Affirmative Action issues are somehow more important. However, in the current financial climate, extensive renovations to the building might reinforce the perception that HRS is given preferential treatment. The physical location of the HRS building also contributes to the perception that no one answers questions. People cannot just walk over to HRS when they have a problem with something.
5. Are there any specific new policies or updates to existing policies you would like to see implemented by Human Resource Services?
The big issue is to get policies updated and available to departments. Haliczer said Domestic Partner benefits are coming about soon. Domestic Partner tuition waivers are being looked at. Haliczer said that, by definition, Domestic Partners include both homosexual and heterosexual partners. Haliczer also said that the proposed time release for fitness is a dead issue at this point. Supervisors are encouraged to be flexible for those employees who may wish to participate in an exercise program.
E. EAC – No Report. Sara Clayton is attending the meeting.
F. UAC -
1. Smith reported on the Board of Trustees meeting of June 16. Among many items of business, the new trustees were sworn in and the salary increments were approved as expected.
G. University Council - No Report. University Council will not meet until September.
H. Special Events
1. There was no report from the committee; however, Turner said that more photos or operating staff are needed.
[Following the meeting, Kinniry had a voice mail from Jones explaining there were 1048 tickets received so far and more are coming in every day. Thuestad will give a full report at the next Council meeting].
VII. Old Business - None
VIII. New Business - None
IX. Adjournment – The meeting adjourned at 10:50 a.m.