Member Handbook

As a member of the council, you are part of a unique shared governance system that allows us to speak with one voice on behalf of the constituency we serve. We hope you find your time on the council informative and fulfilling.

Who are We?

The Operating Staff Council is comprised of 17 members of the operating staff, representing approximately 2,400 civil service employees on campus. Each member is elected to serve a three-year term.

Additional operating staff are appointed by the council to various committees and commissions on campus including:

  • Athletic Board
  • Campus Parking Committee
  • Campus Security and Environmental Quality Committee
  • Community Standards and Student Advisory Board
  • Computing Facilities Advisory Committee
  • Grievance Committee
  • Libraries Advisory Committee
  • Parking Appeals Committee
  • Student Conduct Board
  • Unity in Diversity Steering Committee
  • University Benefits Committee
  • University Council
  • Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities
  • Presidential Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities
  • Presidential Commission on the Status of Women

Council members may also be called upon to participate in a grievance procedure hearing or to attend other meetings as needed. Once a year, members of the above-listed committees and commissions are invited to a council meeting to give a report and provide updates on the activities of the committees and commissions on which they serve.

History of the OSC

The first known meeting of civil service employees took place in Jan. 1931, when approximately 30 civil service employees were employed on campus. That meeting was called to order by then President Karl L. Adams, who stressed that employees should be courteous and considerate in all their contacts with students and faculty.

In 1961, a newer version of the council was formed called the Nonacademic Council. Their first meeting was held on April 7, 1961, and was formed to serve as an advisory group to the administration. 

December 17, 1969, marks the first meeting of what is now known as the Operating Staff Council. The name change was proposed by NIU’s personnel office and adopted by the council to better reflect its constituency. Many of the issues described in meeting minutes from that period and in subsequent years are important to council members today:

  • Better employee benefits
  • Merit raises and salary increases
  • Communication and public relations
  • Representation on university committees
  • Recognition awards
  • Staff education
  • Family activities

Through the years, the council gained responsibility and recognition by advising the university on issues important to staff. Today, NIU is one of the largest universities in the state and employs approximately 2,400 operating staff in a wide variety of capacities: administrative, managerial, secretarial, clerical, food service, building service workers, grounds keeping, and other support services.

The Operating Staff Council works closely with the university to enhance the quality of life for operating staff employees. The council’s 17 members are elected according to the council’s constitution and Bylaws. Council members represent the operating staff on a variety of university and Council committees and play an important role in the development of university policy as it relates to staff.

In 1998, the Council of Councils held its first meeting as a means of networking and sharing ideas with other civil service councils at other state universities. The annual Council of Councils meeting provides an opportunity to work together in the best interest of all state civil service employees. Today, the OSC continues its mission of maintaining and improving the quality of life for all operating staff on the NIU campus. Recent years have brought even greater challenges to the council as budget constraints and limited employment opportunities have stretched resources to the limits. Despite these challenges, the council remains committed to providing the best possible service to our constituency.

Read more about OSC's history and see a list of past presidents

Mission Statement

Ethics Statement 


The Operating Staff Council receives funding from the university on an annual basis. All revenue sources are broken down into several accounts.

General Revenue Account

The university allocates monies annually to offset operating expenses. These expenses include printing of the Northern Staff News and other flyers/forms as needed; postage for mailings; office supplies; refreshments for OSC monthly meetings; and other miscellaneous expenses.

OSC Support Account

Monies for this account are received for special events such as the annual StaffFest luncheon, travel, media services expenses, Wellness Fair, and other events as deemed necessary.

NIU Credit Union Account

This account contains monies that were generated in the past when a fee was charged for the annual picnic for operating staff. The picnic has since been replaced by the StaffFest luncheon which is free to all civil service employees. This account is no longer receiving funds.

NIU Foundation Account

The OSC has established an endowed Dependent Scholarship award. Scholarships are awarded annually. The NIU Foundation Account is used exclusively to fund the Operating Staff Dependent Scholarship. Monies are received from proceeds derived from 50/50 drawings held at various events. Additional monies are received from donations to the account. Employees can make a one-time donation to the account or submit a payroll deduction form to contribute on a monthly basis.

Committees of the Council

Each council member is required to be a member of at least one committee of the council. Committees meet independent of the full council to discuss problems or issues of importance to all operating staff. It should be noted that all council members are expected to be aware of, and to assist with all events and/or issues affecting operating staff, and service is not limited to the work of the committee.

Ad-Hoc Committees

Other temporary committees are sometimes formed for specific events. For example, a committee for decorations might be formed in anticipation of a specific event and then disbanded immediately following the event.


The Northern Staff News is the newsletter created, edited and distributed by the OSC. The newsletter contains information relevant to all operating staff including benefit issues, upcoming events, and employment changes, among other items. The newsletter is sent to all operating staff as well as administrators on campus, and campus leaders statewide.

Council of Councils

Once a year, representatives from operating staff councils from all of the state public universities meet for a day of information gathering, idea sharing, and just plain fun. Each year, a different university hosts the event and operating staff from around the state attend. Local and state officials are invited so they can learn first hand about the issues and concerns of civil service personnel from across the state.

Other Committees

Employee Advisory Committee (EAC)

A representative is elected every four years to the State Universities Civil Service System Employee Advisory Committee (SUCSSEAC) or better referred to as Employee Advisory Committee (EAC). This person is asked to report to the OSC at its monthly meetings. Responsibilities of the representative include:

  • Working with SUCSS on implementing changes/additions for all state universities civil service employees.
  • Keeping abreast of all regulations, policies, and procedures implemented by the SUCSS office.
  • Monitoring issues and trends at all state universities and their potential impact on all civil service employees.

University Advisory Committee (UAC)

This is an advisory committee to the Board of Trustees (BOT). Members include the presidents of the Faculty Senate, OSC, Supportive Professional Staff Council, and four additional faculty members. Members attend BOT meetings and make reports to the Faculty Senate, the University Council, and their respective councils.

University Council

The University Council is made up of representatives from all constituencies on campus, including students, and is charged with addressing the needs of the campus community. Issues regarding the establishment, direction, and control of educational policy are addressed by the University Council.

The president of the Operating Staff Council or the designated alternate serves as a voting member of the University Council, along with one additional member from the operating staff at large. The additional University Council representative will attend the monthly meeting of the University Council and report to the OSC any pertinent information.

State University Retirement System Member Advisory Committee (SURSMAC)

A representative is appointed to address the concerns of all operating staff regarding retirement and pension issues. This person observes trends in the state’s fiscal decisions regarding employee retirement packages and incentives, attends SURSMAC meetings, and reports the latest information to the council.

As part of the Operating Staff Council you are part of a unique shared governance system that allows you to have input on policies and procedures that affect approximately 2,400 civil service employees here at NIU. Council members are expected to:

  • Attend every meeting on the first Thursday of each month
  • Notify the council president if you are unable to attend a meeting
  • Serve a three-year term
  • Serve on at least one committee of the council yearly
  • Have picture taken annually
  • Help out with special events

The Operating Staff Council uses every available media to inform its constituency of relevant information that affects their employment such as benefits, salary concerns and the like. The council submits information to NIU Today, publishes information in our own newsletter, sends flyers to each employee, and posts information on our web page.

Contact Us

Operating Staff Council
Altgeld Hall 103

Frances Mitchell

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