MINUTES 2/9/06

8:30AM – Holmes Student Center 406


Present:    Elizabeth Buck, Sara Clayton, Marcia Dick, Margie Foshe, Jason Hutchison,

    Linda Jennings, Glenda Jones, Theresa Kinniry, Jay Monteiro, Nancy Schuneman,  Andy  

    Small, Julia Sober, LaRonda Thuestad and Rachel Turner.  


Absent:     Gay Campbell and Joe Koch


Guests:     Deb Haliczer, Tim Griffin, Jodi Tyrrell


I.                    Call to Order


The regular meeting of the Operating Staff Council was called to order at 8:35 a.m. on Thursday, February 9, 2006, by President Rachel Turner.


II.         Approval of Agenda


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


III.        Approval of Minutes of January 12, 2006, 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.


V.         Announcements/Correspondence


A.         Turner passed around a copy of a Northern Star, which featured Council Member Andy Small.  Small did the story to draw attention to some of the adverse effects of the budget crisis on departments.


B.         It was noted that some information was distributed regarding Sen. Brad Burznyski’s visit to the campus on February 13 to talk about the pension system.  A reminder was posted by both the Operating Staff and the Supportive Professional Staff on their respective listservs.  The message also went out on the Tom Paine computer chat room. 


C.         Turner said at the Faculty Senate meeting there was talk of the possible implementation of a new grading system.  The system would allow professors to grade students on a different scale that would allow for half grades, such as A + , B- , etc.  There were several different versions of the grading plan.  Initial responses from Faculty and students indicated a preference to keep the existing grading system. 


D.         Turner passed around the ISU newsletter.


E.         Marcia Dick announced that Verizon sponsored a brunch for student athletes who have a GPA of 4.0.  She said that last year there were 27 participants and this year there were 40.

F.         Dick also presented a letter from the Library Operating Staff Advisory Committee thanking the Council for its efforts in helping to obtain the recent salary increase.


G.         Glenda Jones reminded the Council about Women’s History Month events upcoming in March.  Jones also told the Council about the death of June Anderson.  Anderson was a homeless woman who had become somewhat of a fixture on the campus.  Because she had no family, there was no formal service to mark her passing.  Jones and some of her colleagues are taking up a collection to have some sort of memorial for Anderson.


H.         Jodi Tyrrell announced that at the Systems Office, the HRS Directors Advisory Committee has been reactivated and will meet four times a year.  The committee reviews issues relating to HR issues and Tyrrell said she may seek input from the Council from time to time.


I.          Andy Small sent around copies of OSC newsletters from 10 years ago just for fun.



VI.        Committee Reports


A.         Personnel/Staff Developments/Benefits


            1.         The Benefits Fair will be held in the Capitol Room on May 11.  Haliczer is

working on getting insurance advisors and 403b counselors at the event.  Small asked if the Benefits Fair could be dovetailed with the Wellness Fair.  Haliczer said that really wouldn’t work because student workers are needed to help with the Wellness Fair and they are gone by May, but the Benefits Choice period is not until May so it really wouldn’t make any sense to have the counselors here before employees know what changes/options are available.  Haliczer will look into getting authorization for release time for the event. 


Small suggested we have some type of food or a raffle to entice employees to attend the event.  It was decided that we will have the 50/50 raffle.  The Benefits Committee will consider what other giveaways there might be.


In a related issue, Turner presented an e-mail from a constituent suggesting that additional benefits such as identity theft insurance be made available to NIU employees.  The constituent also suggested that a day off be given to employees in the spring semester.  She suggest President’s Day, the Friday of Spring Break week, or maybe an extra day on July 4 weekend.  She asked the Benefits Committee to look into this.



B.         Elections and Appointments – No Report.


C.         Special Events


1.         The committee met to talk about the StaffFest event.  The theme will have to do with the 100-year anniversary of homecoming and 150-year anniversary of DeKalb.  The committee would like to do the photographs of departments like last year.  Glenda will do tickets.  Nancy is in charge of prizes.  Thuestad spoke with Ellen Anderson about getting giveaways from Pepsi Company.  The date of the luncheon will be August 3.


D.         Public Relations.


1.         Jay Monteiro said that the Public Relations Committee is working on updating the OSC brochure.  Nancy Schuneman also pointed out that the Operating Staff Outstanding Service Awards Nomination letter has gone out to departments.  The deadline for nominations is February 28.


            E.         Visiting Committees/Guests.


1.         Deb Haliczer attended the meeting to explain Public Act 94-0415 which was recently signed into law.  The law states that employees who have been employed on or before March 31, 1986 can now elect to sign up for, and begin paying into, Medicare.  This is a one-time only opportunity to participate.  If an employee retires and reaches age 65, Medicare becomes their primary insurance and the State of Illinois becomes their secondary insurance.  If an employee retires and is 65, the State of Illinois considers Medicare to be the employee’s primary insurance and can refuse to pay any medical bills at all.


2.         There are a number of variables that determine eligibility, such as marital status, years worked, etc.  The plan is very confusing.  There are only about 300 NIU employees who are affected by the law and they will be sent letters notifying them of their responsibility to sign up for Medicare.  Haliczer said it is important that all employees affected by this consult with a representative from HR as soon as possible because this could have an effect on their retirement plans.  This is not something that can be dealt with at the last minute.


                        3.         Haliczer said representatives from SURS and Medicare will be on campus

Monday, March 27 at 10 a.m. to answer questions about this matter.  NIU does not give out advice about Medicare.


            F.         EAC


1.         Group met January 19-20 at the Systems Office.  Elections were held.  Alice Costa was re-named chair.  Sara Clayton was re-elected to the Executive Committee.  Tom Morelock reported there have been 550 e-tests so far.  There were 27 written discharges; 3 requests for hearings; 1 withdraw; 1 resigned the position; and one will be heard next week.


2.         SURS benefits statements should be out in February.  These will reflect benefits as of August 2005.  For retirees the rate of life insurance after age 62 is only $5,000.


3.         Clayton passed out a new type of evaluation form currently being used by another state institution.  The form is four pages long and includes a page where an employee can document significant accomplishments so that when evaluation time comes around, the supervisor and the employee can review the list.


4.         The next Merit Board meeting is February 15 at the Systems Office.  EAC meetings for 2006 will be in April at Northeastern; July at Western; and October at SIU School of Medicine.  The October date is to coincide with the Council of Councils meeting on October 6.     


            G.         UAC – No Report.


            H.         University Council


1.         President Peters said that budget capitol requests are a big concern because the funding is low in this area.


2.         The Tuition Tax Credit Plan was also discussed.  Under the plan, those students who maintain a B average or above would be eligible for additional tax credits.



VII.       Old Business


A.         Ride Share Program


Thuestad is working with representatives from HR regarding this.


            B.         Work Orders


Small said he has attended several meetings on this issue and the new procedure is that

if a department/college has a problem that requires the involvement of the Physical Plant.

The Chain of Command has to be utilized, up to the Provost’s Office.  Then the Provost

Office will contact the Physical Plant and put in the work order.


VII.       New Business  -


            A.         Compression Issues


Margie Foshe suggested the Council keep an eye on compression issues within the OS

range adjustments.  Foshe pointed out that when salaries are raised at the lowest level of

the salary range, those employees who have just been hired often make as much or

more than those employees with many years of service.


            B.         Four-Day Work Week


Schuneman asked if a final decision had been made on the four-day summer work

schedule. The Council had sent a letter to HR recommending that the four-day work

week be extended, and also that it be made permanent instead of being decided on a

yearly basis.  To date, no decision has been made regarding the four-day summer work



VIII.      Adjournment – The meeting adjourned at 10:40 a.m.


Respectfully Submitted,




Theresa Kinniry

OSC Secretary