MINUTES 8/4/05

8:30AM – Holmes Student Center 406


Present:     Gay Campbell, Sara Clayton, Marcia Dick, Glenda Jones, Theresa Kinniry, Joe Koch, Nancy           

     Schuneman, Donna Smith, Julia Sober, LaRonda Thuestad, and Rachel Turner.  


Absent:      Elizabeth Buck, Margie Fosche, Linda Jennings, Jay Monteiro, and Andy Small


Guests:     Jodi Tyrrell.


I.                    Call to Order


The regular meeting of the Operating Staff Council was called to order at 8:40a.m. on Thursday, August 4, 2005, by President Donna Smith.


II.         Approval of Agenda


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


III.        Approval of Minutes of July 14, 2005, Meeting


A motion was made to accept the minutes with one minor change. The motion was seconded and passed.


IV.        Treasurer’s Report


No treasurer’s report was made since the treasurer is on vacation.


V.         Announcements/Correspondence


A.         Smith passed around a copy of an e-mail from Steve Cunningham about release time for StaffFest. 


B.         Smith also passed around a copy of an e-mail from President Peters about his new assistant Dr. Tom Krepel. 


C.         Smith also passed around a copy of an e-mail from Jo Abbott (Dr. Peters’s secretary) regarding the dates for the State of the University address and the president’s holiday luncheon.  The State of the University address will take place Oct. 6 at 3 p.m. in Altgeld Hall, and the holiday luncheon will take place Nov. 29 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Duke Ellington Ballroom.


D.         Smith told the Council that she has sent thank you letters to the supervisors of all of the members of the Council thanking them for their willingness to allow employees to serve on the Council. 


E.         Smith and Sara Clayton will be attending a meeting with representatives of the College of DuPage on August 10.  These individuals are preparing a proposal to add the position of Ombudsman at their institution and they are seeking input. 


F.         On August 15, Smith will have lunch with Paul Stoddard, President of Faculty Senate; Shey Lowman, President of the SPS Council.  They will also ask DuJuan Smith, President of the Student Association, to join them. (This has since been rescheduled.)


G.         The Council of Councils meeting will be held this year on October 7 at Eastern Illinois University.  More information is forthcoming.


H.         Smith reminded Council members that if they are going to be absent, they are required to let the OSC president or the OSC secretary know in advance of the meeting.  If the absence is unanticipated, members should let the president or secretary or secretary know as soon as they return.  There have been several unexcused absences in the past few months.  Joe Koch said he thought that the constitution says something about unexcused absences. He will look into this.


I.          Jodi Tyrrell reported that she recently saw a demonstration of the new e-testing system at Governor’s State University.  E-testing will likely start before October 1.  She said NIU is ready to begin the e-testing process.  She said there will still be some tests that will not yet be available on e-testing so both the e-testing and the current method will be used. All of the tests are mouse-driven and do not require the tester to use the keyboard at all.  The new system will grade the test automatically and will also allow the tester to mark questions that they would like to review.  The e-testing system records how much time the tester takes on each question.  If each tester takes an unusually long amount of time to answer a particular question, this tells testing officials that maybe that particular question is misleading or confusing and may need to be revised.  Marcia Dick asked if there is a provision for visually-impaired persons and Tyrrell said that the tester can adjust the font size on the computer prior to testing.


VI.        Committee Reports


A.         Personnel/Staff Developments/Benefits


1.    Clayton said the committee will be working with Deborah Haliczer from the NIU

       Employee Wellness Office to set up a benefits fair for next spring.  The idea of the

       fair is to invite the various companies who provide benefit services to the university  

       so that people can meet with these companies and ask questions.


B.         Elections and Appointments.


1.       Turner passed out ballots for voting for the second voting member to the University Council.  Since Turner was a nominee, Smith collected and tabulated the results.  Turner was elected as the second voting member for the University Council and Dick and Clayton tied for second, electing them to be alternates.


2.   Turner also passed around a list of the Council committees based on the e-mails she

      has received from Council members.  Those who hadn’t signed up added their names

      to the list. 


3.   Turner also asked if she should schedule the annual photo for the Council.  It is

      usually taken in October.  The Council agreed that Turner should contact Media

      Services and arrange for the photographer.  It was decided that Council members

      will meet at the Alumni Court (near the fountain) at the Holmes Student Center

      prior to the start of the October meeting for the photo.  If it is raining, we will move



C.         Public Relations


1.    Committee chair Jay Monteiro was not present, but he informed Smith that the

       committee decided to place applications for the Dependent Award along with a

       poster-size photo of last year’s recipients on the check-in table outside the

       StaffFest luncheon.  It is hoped that more people will apply for the award.


2.    Monteiro also said that the next edition of the Northern Staff News will not come out  

       until after StaffFest so that photos of the event can be included.


            D.         Visiting Committees – None.


E.         EAC


1.    Clayton reported that EAC met on July 14 and 15 at Chicago State University.  Clayton was elected to the Executive Committee at the meeting.  The next Merit Board meeting will be on August 17 for the first time in Chicago.  The Employee Advisory Committee will meet at Eastern State University on October 5 and 6, and the Council of Councils meeting will also be at Eastern State University on October 7.   


2.    Clayton also reported that there is now a roster of names of hearing officers.  The System Office will be soliciting professional arbitration/mediation services.  The System Office is currently reviewing a group of interested candidates. There were 56 written requests for discharges.  Fifteen requested hearings; 3 were approved; 2 discharges were withdrawn by the institution; 4 employees resigned prior to the hearing; 1 resigned during the hearing; 2 discharged; 2 reinstated; and 1 is pending.


3.    There was also discussion about developing exam instructions that can function across titles because there is some overlap on tests within similar classifications.  They are also looking at providing instruction sheets for testing.


4.    According to the Open Meetings Act, any agency, who has a full-time staff working on a website, must post their agenda on the site.  There was also discussion about state universities sharing newsletters and minutes.  


5.    Clayton also reported that a minor change was made to our bylaws.


            F.         UAC – No Report.


            G.         University Council – Does not meet in the summer.


H.         Special Events – LaRonda Thuestad reported that 1334 tickets for the StaffFest luncheon have been sent out.  She said that 235 prizes have been donated by area businesses.  A theatre in Sycamore donated 1500 coupons for a free soda with the purchase of a popcorn at the theatre.  Since there are so many of these coupons, it was decided that they will be placed on the tables and people can help themselves to them.  Thuestad said that the condiment table will be moved farther away from the serving line to avoid congestion.  Thuestad also handed out the OSC work schedule.  Dick said that the parking deck was scheduled to be cleaned and striped during the week of August 5-12.  There was some concern that this might interfere with parking for those attending StaffFest.  LaRonda will look into this.


            [LaRonda later sent out an e-mail stating that due to a problem, the work would not start until August 11 and it would start on the top deck, so it should not affect parking for the luncheon.]


VII.       Old Business - None


VIII.      New Business


1.         Smith asked the Council if they wanted to make a resolution to Human Resource Services asking them to put out language about break usage similar to the announcement made this summer regarding break usage during summer hours.  Deborah Haliczer made this suggestion at the July meeting when the fitness release proposal was discussed.  After a brief discussion, it was suggested that the matter be referred to the Benefits Committee for further action.


IX.        Adjournment – The meeting adjourned at 9:20 a.m.



Respectfully Submitted,



Theresa Kinniry

OSC Secretary