Operating Staff Council Meeting

Minutes 11/8/07

Holmes Student Center, Room 406 – 9 A.M.


Present:            Elizabeth Buck, Judy Burgess, Gay Campbell, Marcia Dick, Linda Jennings, Theresa Kinniry, Jay Monteiro, Danell Nixon, Alan Smith, Karen Smith, Jesse Tellez


Absent:             Sara Clayton, Glenda Jones, Andy Small, Brenda Smith, LaRonda Thuestad


Guests: Tim Griffin, Jodi Tyrrell


I.          Call to Order


President Jay Monteiro called the regular meeting of the Operating Staff Council to order at 9:10 a.m. on Thursday, November 8, 2007.


II.        Approval of Agenda


Two items were added to the agenda. A motion was made to accept the agenda as amended. The motion was seconded and passed.


III.       Approval of Minutes of the October 11, 2007, Meeting


A motion was made to accept the minutes with several corrections.  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.        Monteiro passed around flyers about International Education Week, which is from November 12-16, 2007. Council members were encouraged to take a flyer to post in their respective offices. 


B.           Monteiro reminded Council members about the Human Resource Services

(HRS)  annual blood drive on December 5, 2007, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Anyone who donates blood gets a free water bottle and cooler. Appointments can be made by calling HRS.


C.            Ethics training deadline is November 14, 2007. Karen Smith

             recommended that anyone who had not completed the training do so soon  

             to insure completion on time.


D.          Monteiro passed around a thank you note from Heather Tody. Tody was

            one of the recipients of the Dependent Scholarship Award. She was

            honored at the October Council meeting.





E.          Secretarial Advisory Council (SAC) minutes were passed around.

Highlights included dates for first aid and CPR training, and dates for financial management training for employees to review procedures for completing Purchase Order forms, Travel Vouchers, etc. Announcements about upcoming events in departments can be sent to SAC via e-mail for inclusion in the SAC informational e-mails regularly sent to secretaries all over campus.


F.           Vice President Gay Campbell provided Council members with individual

           copies of the OSC annual photo.


      VI. Committee Reports


            A.        Personnel/Staff Development/Benefits  - No Report.


            B.        Elections and Appointments- No report.


            C.        Special Events – No report.


            D.        Public Relations –


The Public Relations committee met with Clare Williams from NIU Legal Services regarding the Dependent Award Scholarship. Williams is interested in making the award an endowment which would allow the Council to establish a base of funding over a longer period of time, and potentially increase the amount of the scholarships awarded to students. Williams said it would take a minimum of $25,000 to establish the endowment and the Council would have three years to raise the money. The PR Committee asked Williams to obtain more specific information about establishing the fund and Williams will be invited to the December Council meeting to present the final proposal for a vote.


E.                 Visiting Committees/Guests – None.


            F.         Employee Advisory Council (EAC) – No Report.


            G.        UAC – No Report.


H.                University Council –


Monteiro reported on the University Council meeting.


-          President Peters said there is still no word from the state on capital improvement monies.


-          Ethics training deadline is approaching.


-          There will be new employee Identification Cards (ID) because the current ID strip contains personal information that should no longer be used.


-          The provost spoke about the Strategic Plan.  A call went out asking for Concept Papers regarding interdisciplinary projects. About 200 papers were received.  There will be a deans’ retreat at the end of the semester to review the papers for possible inclusion in the spring curriculum.


-          The Board of Trustees is developing the Award and Regard Program to award special professorships for five-year terms.


-          A student survey will be conducted in the spring to gather input from students about the campus and the community.


-          The Illinois Smoke Free Act will go into effect January 1, 2008. The act will require that anyone smoking must be a minimum of 15 feet away from any doors, windows or ventilation systems of any state facility, including university buildings. Alan Smith said the University Police will likely not be involved in enforcement, however, he said employees can file a complaint if they feel someone is in violation of the act. He said fines for non-compliance will range from $100-$250 for a first offense; $500 for a second offense; and up to $2,500 for repeated offenses.


I.                   Faculty Senate


Monteiro reported that:


-          There was a proposal to evaluate President Peters. This is something that most state universities routinely do, but NIU has never done it. 


-          It was suggested that faculty receive an expense card to pay expenses associated with professional development workshops and seminars. Currently employees must personally pay all expenses related to the event and are later reimbursed. The idea was not approved.


-          A new study says the country is short on teachers and nurses.


-          There was discussion about possibly increasing graduation fees and graduate school fees.


-          Recently 25 students were caught illegally downloading music off of the internet. The students involved had their NIU computer privileges suspended as a result.  There was some concern about how the students would be able to access their NIU e-mail accounts or other university-related sites such as Blackboard or WebConnect. A member of the senate will look into this.


VII.     Old Business


A.                 HSC Employee Appreciation Luncheon


Prior to the November meeting, Karen Villano from HSC contacted Monteiro about the proposed luncheon.  The Council decided in October not to host the luncheon this year. The Council will re-visit the issue prior to next year’s event.





VIII.    New Business


A.                 State University Retirement System Member Advisory Committee (SURSMAC)


Judy Burgess reported on the SURSMAC meeting of October 16, 2007, in Champagne, IL.


-          SURSMAC is involved in a number of class-action securities litigation suits for FY04 thru FY07.  $6.3 million has already been received. An additional $3.8 million is expected to be received from WorldCom.


-          Next year is an election year and there are constitutional issues regarding SURS. The SURSMAC Board decided to not take any action, but to closely monitor the election results. SURS benefits are not guaranteed by law. It was suggested that the amount of money paid into the SURS system for each employee be included on the monthly payroll deposit forms received each month by employees.  The amount would be listed in the same area on the form where all other deductions are listed.  Jodi Tyrrell will look into this.


-          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is no longer the largest union in the state of Illinois.  Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is now the largest. 


-          The SURS board passed a resolution that expressed their appreciation to politicians and legislators for their assistance.


-          There are 82,000 active participants in SURS; 75,000 inactive participants; and 43,000 benefit recipients.  According to SURS, 64% of state employees make less than $50,000 per year; 78% of all retirees continue to live in Illinois; and 68% of SURS recipients get $2,500 or less per month.


B.                 Social Security Windfall


Annuitants sent out information about the Social Security Windfall. In some cases, employees who retire from NIU will be denied any Social Security benefits, regardless of how much money they may have contributed to it in the past. Tyrrell pointed out that the rules of this program are different for each individual and it is difficult to establish specific criteria about who will or will not be affected about the program. It was suggested that individuals wishing to clarify their status in regards to this program contact the Social Security office nearest them.


IX.       Adjournment – A motion was made and approved at 10:35 a.m. to adjourn.