Operating Staff Council Meeting

Minutes 9/13/07

9 AM – Holmes Student Center, Room 406


Present:            Judy Burgess, Gay Campbell, Sara Clayton, Marcia Dick, Linda Jennings, Theresa Kinniry, Jay Monteiro, Danell Nixon, Andy Small, Alan Smith, Brenda Smith, Karen Smith, Jesse Tellez, LaRonda Thuestad


Absent:             Elizabeth Buck, Glenda Jones


Guests: Tim Griffin, Jodi Tyrrell


*  The group photo was taken at 8:30 a.m. in front of the Campus Life Building


I.          Call to Order


President Jay Monteiro called the regular meeting of the Operating Staff Council to order at 9:05 a.m. on Thursday, September 13, 2007.


II.        Approval of Agenda


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


III.       Approval of Minutes of the August 9, 2007, Meeting


A motion was made to accept the minutes with one paragraph deleted.  The motion was seconded and passed.


IV.       Treasurer’s Report


No treasurer’s report was made due to the absence of the treasurer.


V.        Announcements/Correspondence


A.     Monteiro said that the annual Ethics Training will take place between October 16, 2007 and November 14, 2007.  Karen Smith said the test is programmed so that employees cannot finish too quickly, which was an issue last year.


B.     Monteiro highlighted a few points from the Secretary Advisory Council (SAC) minutes. SAC members presented their proposal regarding a sliding scale for permit pricing to the Parking Committee.  K. Smith attended the meeting and said the proposal, as written, would mean that 40% of employees would see an increase in the price of their permit; 28% would stay the same; 15% would see a $15 increase; 5% would see a $40 increase; and 5% would see a $65 increase.  The Parking Committee would like more information as to how salaries would be verified and who would be responsible for obtaining the information. 


The SAC also talked about the change from paper to e-test for the secretarial series.  Jodi Tyrrell said that pre-testing has been going on and the tests will be reviewed by the Systems Office.


C.     Monteiro met with Steve Cunningham regarding SAC’s proposal to add a longevity component to merit raise consideration. The Council previously voted not to include a
longevity component.  The Council recommended that anything 3% or under be across the board. 


Monteiro also discussed the four-day summer work week with Cunningham.  There has been no official decision, but it is likely that the four-day work week will continue.  After some discussion, the Council recommended that the announcement be made earlier in the year so that employees can make plans.


D.     The Board of Trustees approved and Human Resources has developed a new Emergency Plan and copies were sent to each university employee. 

 Chief Grady from the University Police has been chosen to head up a task force that will review the findings from the Virginia Tech incident and to

 make recommendations to NIU.



E.      Tyrrell said that Employee Advisory Committee is having an election for a new member.  Candidacy forms must contain 25 signatures from status

            employees and be turned into to Human Resource Services by September 21, 2007.  The election will be held October 16, 2007.


F.      K. Smith said that flu shots will be available on October 31, 2007, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and also November 13, 2007, from 2:00 p.m. to

          4: 00 p.m. in the Regency Room in the Holmes Student Center.  Linda Jennings said flu shots will also be available at Health Services in October  

          at $15 each for students only.


G.     Marcia Dick said there will be an open house at the Jeffery and Kimberly Yordon Center for donors.  She said there will likely be tours of the facility later on.


H.     Andy Small reminded Council members of the Parade of Flags on September 21, 2007.  Approximately 600 fifth-grade students will participate, carrying 180 flags.


I.        Linda Jennings said there were four people in the Student Affairs Division who lost everything in the flood.  A fund has been established

          for them.  Anyone wishing to contribute should contact the Student Affairs office.


VI.       Committee Reports


            A.        Personnel/Staff Development/Benefits


Judy Burgess presented a draft copy of a proposal for university service as it pertains to Operating Staff.  The proposal was partially drafted from a similar proposal by the Supportive Professional Staff Council. Council members were asked to review the proposal and submit suggested changes to Judy Burgess. The final draft was approved as written and will be submitted to HR for final disposition.


            B.        Elections and Appointments


Monteiro presented the Council with two interest sheets for a vacancy on the Libraries Advisory Committee.  Teresa Jacobsen was elected as the candidate to fill the vacancy on the committee. Gay Campbell will contact Jacobsen. 


            C.        Special Events – No report.


            D.        Public Relations –


                        Clayton reported that:


-          Nancy Schuneman was elected as the new chair of the committee


-          The deadline for the Dependent Award Scholarship has been extended to October 31, 2007.


                         -  The committee is continuing to work on the brochure.


-          Clayton will meet with Clare Williams. He suggested the Dependent

      Award be made into an endowment and would like to serve on  

       the Public Relations committee.


            E.         Visiting Committees/Guests – None.


            F.         EAC


                        Sara Clayton reported on the Merit Board Meeting:


- Mark Strauss, NIU trustee, was elected chair of the board.    


- The meeting was the first conducted with video conferencing, making it easier for all members to attend.


- There were 51 written cases; 14 requests for hearings; eight were settled before the hearing stage; and six employees were terminated.


                        - The board passed the budget for FY09.


                        - The board approved the bylaws as it pertains to the Open Meetings Act.


- The next Systems Office meeting is November 7, 2007.  


            G.        UAC – No Report.


H.                University Council –


-          President Peters thanked the Physical Plant for their efforts during the flooding that occurred on move-in day. He said the university will be eligible for financial aid.


-          Enrollment for this year included approximately 3,000 freshman and approximately 2,000 transfer students, bringing total enrollment to approximately 25,000.  Approximately 500 applicants were denied admission.


-          The university does have an operating budget in place.  The administration was hoping for a 2% increase, but got 1.8% instead from the state. There is no word on capital improvement monies.


-          Salary increments will be announced in the next few weeks.


-          The State of the University address will be on September 27, 2007, at 3:00 p.m. in Altgeld Hall auditorium.


-          Provost Ray Alden talked about the Strategic Plan.


-          The new fundraising campaign called “True North” has a goal of raising $150 million.  Total contributions are already $113 million.


-          There were questions about the Northern View apartments. The apartments were not completed prior to residents moving in and there were numerous problems. Dr. Hemphill met with residents.  Hemphill will meet with them again on September 17, 2007.


-          The BOT will meet on September 22, 2007.


VII.     Old Business


It was decided that the Council would host an informal pizza party to thank those employees who didn’t get to fully participate in the StaffFest luncheon because they are worked that day.  A date has not yet been set.  Discussion followed regarding the event.


VIII.    New Business


            A.        Religious Holiday Closure


A constituent had contacted Monteiro regarding the university closure schedule for the winter break.  On the official university closure list, December 25th is listed as Christmas Day.  The constituent felt that this implied that the university recognizes Christmas Day as an official state holiday, which is in violation of the separation of church and state.  The constituent was angry because he is required to take personal leave time to participate in his own religious observances.


After much discussion, it was decided that the listing of Christmas Day is simply a means of identifying the day as it appears on all calendars. It was pointed out that government offices and most businesses are closed on December 25th .  Monteiro referred the matter to Cunningham at HR for follow up.


B.        Council of Councils


Small reminded Council members that the annual Council of Councils meeting would take place on October 5, 2007 at Chicago State University.  Small will arrange transportation and Council members are asked to let him know if they will attend.


IX.       Adjournment – A motion was made at 11:15 a.m. to adjourn.