Elections

The Operating Staff Council consists of seventeen (17) representatives, elected by you, the operating staff at large. Representatives serve a three (3) year term. The three (3) candidates with the next most votes become alternates, each serving one (1) year terms.

This year there are eight vacancies. For this year only, the top six candidates receiving the most votes will receive the standard three-year terms, the following two candidates with the most votes will receive two-year terms, and the next three candidates with the most votes will receive the usual one-year terms as alternates. OSC has decided to do this election adjustment this year only to restore the balance of our election cycle so that the number of seats available going forward will be six, five, six cyclings every three years.

If you have questions, please contact the elections/appointments committee chair, Jay Monteiro at jmonteiro@niu.edu  

General Information

If you are a union or non-union employee in a status position (not a student or extra help), have your supervisor's approval, and are willing to serve approximately five to six hours each month for monthly meetings and subcommittee participation, then you are eligible to run to fill a vacancy. No previous council or committee experience is necessary.

The council's role is to promote the general welfare of Operating Staff employees through action in a communicative and advisory capacity to the NIU administration as well as any other applicable group, agency or individual. It shall function as a source of direction, information and two-way communication for the Operating Staff at NIU.

The council meets the first Thursday of the month from 9 a.m. to approximately noon, 12 months a year.

  • Call for candidates deadline – April 23, 2021
  • Ballots go out – May 7, 2021
  • Election ends – May 21, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.

Thank you for your vote. The election is now closed.

Candidate Bios

Zac Birch, Housing and Residential Services

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals?

Recognizing that the Operating Staff Council is representing a widening base of Civil Service Employees, I would like to see OSC develop more intentional outreach to these constituencies. I think OSC does well to be a communication body with the NIU administration. However, I think we have an opportunity to develop and connect members, especially after the pandemic. Additionally, I feel that OSC can do more with its place within the shared governance of NIU. I would hope to bring a voice that is an advocate for our staff and their experiences to improve the working relationships between NIU and its civil service employees. Additionally, I come with a unique role in that I started at the University just after many positions and roles were converted into civil service. I would like to work with OSC to explore and explain what operating staff means to the University and the impact we can make together.

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is not required.)

I have served on several NIU campus committees over the last two and a half years:

  • Co-Chair, Student Affairs Anti-Racism Commitment Taskforce, 2021-present
  • Chair, Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Student CODE Curriculum Committee, 2019-2020
  • Member, Reimagining the First Year Experience Committee, 2019-2020
  • Member, Committee for the Improvement of the Undergraduate Academic Experience, 2019-2021

I also serve on the Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers (GLACUHO; the regional organization for housing professionals). I have served in a number of roles and am currently the 2022 Conference Chair.

Nick Coffman, Intercollegiate Athletics

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals?

I would love to see the return of the StaffFest Luncheon in 2021-22. Would be the welcome back a lot of staff could use after the last year.

Working in athletics I have the privilege of working along with many different people. It's a forward facing position where I listen to other's problems and see where I can step in to help. I believe that will easily translate to doing well in a Council position.

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is not required.)

  • Attended meetings as Athletic Liaison for Student Experience Team (SET) in 2019.
  • National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals (N4A)
  • Member of the Research Committee 2018-present
  • Revived Research Spotlight Newsletter after two-year absence.
  • Attended National Conference 2019 and 2020
  • Attended Regional Conference 2019
Evan Forbes, Holmes Student Center

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals?

My chief focus is on increasing the Operating Staff Council's engagement with their constituency and encouraging more operating staff to engage. It's important, now more than ever, that the seventeen serving members stay informed about the rapidly changing circumstances of the hundreds of operating staff, so that they can make specific changes. This means improving access to OSC meetings, through detailed minutes, shared reports, and meeting recordings that make the flow of information more accessible to staff with limited time or particular interests. Virtual solutions need to have in-person alternatives as well, for those who lack easy access to websites or software. Largely, voting should have an in-person option, crosschecked with virtual participation, in order to maintain successful representation.

I have more than a decade of experience in building technical solutions for collaborative live events, from motors to software. Six years of that experience was spent on NIU's campus, three as a student employee and three as Technical Director for the Holmes Student Center. My time may be short, relative to some civil service employees, but I have a fresh perspective and still have that grit needed to beat my head against the wall.

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is not required.)

Legislative Committee of the Operating Staff Council

Employee Handbook Committee Leader for the Holmes Student Center Division Management Team of the Division of Student Affairs

President of the Student Advisory Committee for NIU's School of Theatre and Dance

Sandy Jakubiak, Human Resource Services

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals?

I am currently serving as an alternate on the OSC and would like to continue to work on the Council as a full member. I have NIU experience as well as HR experience. I believe I can bring different prospective to the board as well as communicated well with others.

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is not required.)

I am currently serving as an alternate on the OSC. I am also a member of the Civil Service Emergency Fund committee.

Natasha Johnson, Intercollegiate Athletics

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals?

I would like to see the Operating Staff Council (OSC) come together to volunteer to help greet students for Fall, as it is safe to do so. I would also like to see the OSC become more diverse and get more people involved. I would like the OSC to offer development opportunities that matter the most to Civil Service workers, so everyone can have the opportunity to learn and or have professional development even if their departments do not have the budget for it at this time.

I am the current President of the Operating Staff Council and I have created surveys to be able to get an understanding of what staff are looking for and what can help them during these dynamic times. We are currently working to create trainings that will strengthen our understanding in how to utilize surveys. As the university is becoming more data driven, it is important that we begin to offer programs, classes, trainings and more based on the people we are serving.

I am also on the Public Relations committee and we are working hard to get the word out on all the offering NIU has in one place to make it easier for everyone to see and participate.

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is not required.)

While I have been on numerous committees over the last 5 years, this year I was able to be on the Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Committee for Social Justice and the work we have begun is inspiring. It reminds me why I love NIU so much. We continue to move forward and look to strengthen areas to become more inclusive.

As the President of Operating Staff I have had the opportunity to be on Universal Council and I feel like this is one of the most important committees that a person can be on because many of the decisions that will affect the entire university are made at this council. We just passed in the OSC bylaws that we will open one seat to civil service at large. What does this mean? This means that you can get involved and not have to be concerned with the commitment of time to the entire OSC and this is a huge opportunity! If you ever thought, we need to make this change, or our university would be better if we did…you should consider putting your name on the ballot, when the time comes to be on this council.

I think it is important to get information and share it appropriately because knowledge is power. I also believe that I have been able to get information and bring it back so that others can know what is going on at their institution, without being at the many meetings and committees.

Committees I have been on over the last years include:

  • Black Faculty and Staff
  • Policy Library
  • Conversations on Diversity and Equity (CODE)
  • Resource, Space and Budget (RSB) 
  • Faculty Senate
  • Rules, Governance and Elections (RGE)
  • OSC Workplace Guidance
  • Steering Committee
  • OSC Public Relations
  • University Advisory Committee
  • Presidential Commission on Race and Ethnicity (PCORE)
  • University Council
Rave Meyer, Environmental Studies

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals?

I would like to see more outreach into the various departments, centers, divisions, and areas of NIU that may be too small, distant, or alternately scheduled from the majority of campus so they may have more of a connection and voice within the OSC. I have a voice, a cell phone, email access, a smile, and two feet. I am not afraid to use them!

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is not required.)

  • Operating Staff Council, various positions (alternate, member, editor) 2018-present.
    • Workplace Guidance Committee chairperson 2019, current member
    • Public Relations committee 2018-present member,
    • Northern Staff News, Editor, July 2019-present
    • Elections and Appointments committee
  • 2020 Local 1890 Vice President, July 2020- present
  • Midwest City Wrestling Program, President
  • Midwest City Citizen's Police Academy, Board member
  • American Red Cross, Disaster Services volunteer and CPR/First Aid instructor
Jay Monteiro, Procurement Services and Contract Management

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals?

I would like to see the OSC continue to strengthen the ties between Operating Staff and administration in our shared governance system. I want people to feel free to bring their concerns and issues to me as well as to the Council for consideration and/or support. I would also like to continue to build strong relations with the other councils of our shared governance system so that we can work together on the issues that affect all employee categories. I would like to work on continuing to improve communication to our constituents, especially those who do not have computer access.

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is not required.)

I have been on the Operating Staff Council (OSC) for 21 years. I have served five terms as OSC

President in the past, and a number of terms as Vice President and Parliamentarian. I am currently the

OSC Vice President and thus the chair of the Elections and Appointments Committee. Other NIU Committees include: OSC Public Relations (chaired the committee several times), Outstanding Operating Staff Service Award Committee (as a past recipient of the award), Operating Staff Dependent Endowed Scholarship Committee, Resource Space and Budget Committee, University Advisory Committee, University Council, University Council Steering Committee, Faculty Senate. In the community I am an Elder at Waterman Presbyterian church and currently serve as Assistant Treasurer. I am a board member of the Northern Illinois Federal Credit Union and currently service as Vice Chair. I am, a past board member of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. I am a member of the Kishwaukee Concert Band, the Jazz in Progress jazz band, and the Celebration Chorale and Orchestra.

Kathy Mosher, Computer Sciences

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals?

After experiencing the last year of the Pandemic, I would like to see the OSC reevaluate the current processes that are in place across campus and find ways to keep things more fluid. The time has come to create more digitally safe and secure ways of handling physical paperwork. In my department, I have established ways to make current documents offered from other departments work for our various types of Operating Systems. For example, converting Excel Spreadsheets that do not work with our Macs into PDF Fillable or those that have Linux into web surveys rather than PDFs.

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is not required.)

Although, I have not had the opportunity to serve the NIU community, I have taken on many roles within the Creston Community through the State level beginning at an early age with 4-H. I have also participated in supporting the Creston Booster Days as Chairperson while President of the Creston Booster Club. I have also held trustee and clerk positions with Dement Township before moving out of district. Now that I am a mom of two toddlers, I look forward to actively participate in their classrooms and with the school district.

Dave Rapp, Chemistry and Biochemistry

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals? 

My first goal is to frankly learn more about OSC and what it has accomplished through the years. I would like to make sure that everyone who is part of the NIU family is getting all they can from the experience of being a part of this institution. I will accomplish this by listening, learning and being involved. I've been at NIU for 8 years now and have worked in 2 different departments but also have had experience outside of civil service in other fields which I believe makes me well rounded to be able to add and contribute to this council.  

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held

I have been a board member for the DeKalb Corn Fest for 4 years now. 

Sara Richter, Libraries

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals?

I would like to receive more information as to why something can or cannot be done. I have learned much while serving as an alternate to Operating Staff Council this past year. I would like more information to make its way to all operating staff.

What I bring to OSC is enthusiasm for NIU and operating staff and the willingness to learn more and serve to keep NIU strong.

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is not required.)

I have served on Operation Staff Council. I have also served on LOSAC at Founders Memorial Library. I have been on the HOA board of my community I also have been on my church council. U gave served as a Girl Scout leader,

Mary Schlagel, Environmental Health and Safety

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals? 

I would like to see the Operating Staff Council work toward fairness for all. Muchof the strife occurring in our country these days is due to uneven enforcement of rules or laws, uneven pay for the same work and vast disparities in taxation. I would like to help the Operating Staff Council identify where we can help improve NIU, making it a welcoming place where all are treated fairly and have the greatest opportunity to do our best and be our best selves. 

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is notrequired.)  

I will shortly be completing my first year on the Operating Staff Council. Previously I have served on the Presidential Commission for Persons with Disabilities. Outside of NIU I am the secretary to the board of Circle Rocking S Children's Farm, a nonprofit organization that provides animal touch therapy, music therapy and horticultural therapy to persons with disabilities, and have been active in my church. 

Jim Slagstad, Residential Dining Services

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals? 

I would like the OSC to support operating staff as we continue to navigate the new normal that has been created by the pandemic. There are many challenges we face as we begin to transition back to in person services and look to have more students on campus in the fall, I believe the OSC has a roll in overcoming those challenges. As someone who returned to working on campus in spring 2020 and have remained on campus full time since I have firsthand experience with the stresses of being on campus during this time as well as the realities of shared workspace and interacting with students safely.

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is notrequired.)  

I have been a volunteer in campaigns for local office but have no experience on Committees.

Tracey Ward, Physical Plant

What would you like to see the Operating Staff Council accomplish in the future and what do you feel you could bring to the Council that would help in achieving those goals?

I would like the Operating Staff Council to continue to notify and make available information and University actions affecting Northern Illinois staff and students. I serve on the OSC Public Relations and Activities Committee and have contributed to the OSC newsletter.

As a current member of the OSC, I encourage staff in my department to attend the current TEAMS OSC meetings. I inform my department of the dates of upcoming meetings and guests attending.

I post meeting minutes of past meetings to encourage involvement in the NIU community.

I have attended all Operating Staff Council Meetings. I contribute to discussion and am willing to volunteer to serve on committees or task force groups to better understand NIU and support NIU.

Please describe your experience with committees on campus or in the community and other civic activities in which you have participated including offices held. (Prior committee experience is not required.)

I am a member of the On-Campus Events Committee. My goal on this committee is to support Student Origination events on campus. I use my role as the Supervisor in the Work Order Desk to understand any facility related needs and questions that can help the event be a success.

I was an active member of the DeKalb Barb Booster board for ten years, while my kids attended DeKalb Schools. I volunteered every year to help with BARB sporting events, including the FNBO Challenge football and basketball games. I enjoyed working with the Sycamore Boosters and Sycamore fans for those successful events. I worked concession stands and in the cold outdoors directing busses for tournaments.

Contact Us

Operating Staff Council
Altgeld Hall 103
815-753-7193
osc@niu.edu

Frances Mitchell
815-753-7193
fmitchell@niu.edu