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Support Staff Council

President: Barb Hicks
Vice President: Felicity Buell
Treasurer: Katelyn Adams
Secretary: Tia Milburn


February 2009

Support Staff Council

February 10, 2009

1:30 P.M.

Union 117

Attendees:  Sarah Bailey, Greg Biesemeyer, Debbie Combs, Brenda Dooley, Peggy Harrison, Kathy Maham, Susan Malott, Ginny McTighe, Cindy Merryfield, Stephanie Myers, Joyce Stephens, Diana Summers, Savitri Wilder, Shelia Schneider, Vicki Orcutt, Becky White, Sandy Christ, Tom Sturtevant, Cheryl Trelow, Jennifer Kunkel, Rick Dixon, Nancy Dyer

Welcome and Introductions – Ms. Stephanie Myers

Michael Seibert will not be here today, he will speak with us next month.  Charlie Rutt will be at the next meeting to discuss Staff Day for textbook purchasing.

Approval of December Minutes – Ms. Stephanie Myers

Additional corrections?  Email Stephanie if you think of any and she will correct and send to Sarah Craig for posting on the website.

Treasurer’s Report – Ms. Susan Malott

Support Staff Council                         $   931.95
SSC Educational Award                    $   532.03
SSC Survival House                           $ 3993.33

Professional Staff Council Report – Ms. Holly Davenport

Savitri- no report- last meeting was in December.  They have a meeting Thursday.

Administrative Liaison – Ms. Sharon Brinton

Most of us have been made aware of our state appropriation situation.  Take the opportunity to review the announcement sent out by President Podolefsky.  Right now we are staying flat because we agreed not to raise tuition or fees.  We weren’t planning on increases as it was.  We are still facing cutbacks due to energy & other costs rising.

If you go to the Faculty Staff website, there is a form where you can submit questions and suggestions.  Please submit them and they will be shared.  You can also submit to your Support Staff Council.  Talk to your co-workers and feel free to make suggestions. 

Q&A will have answers to other items that are going on here at UCM.  You can also email Dr. Roberts or Sharon and they will get back to you as soon as possible.

HR Benefits & Premiums – Mrs. Cheryl Trelow

Faculty senate has a dependent care premium proposal in the works.  Last fall the pres asked the Health Care Alternative Committee be reestablished and have replaced the members that had left the University.  Currently they are charged with deciding what to do with the money the University received by from BCBS.  So far the University has received refunds in the amount of 1.7 million.  The committee has met 3 times, and is composed of people from all governance groups. 

Several options have been discussed. Faculty Senate proposal was to increase the amount that the University provides to dependent care, currently 15%.  They would like it increased to 25%.  They have also explored Wellness options, a health reimbursement account, and adding a feature for an employee plus 1 child.  We have several (20+) employees who need this option.  Our current premium is not competitive for this; it is more geared towards more than one child.  If we increase the dependent contribution, we will most likely add this option.  The already have an estimated cost from our consultant.  They are also looked at stress workshops and a HRA combination.  Employees from all areas would participate in say 5 out of 8 workshops and then have a credit placed in their HRA account.  HRA is similar to the flex health account.  It is University funded money, could be used for co-payment or office visit or a pair of glasses.  The major difference is the balance rolls over from year to year.  Flex medical account funds do not carry over.  Each employee would be given an initial amount of $200 and $10 to $15 per year after that.  Employees would lose this money if they left the university.  You would want to use your flex medical account funds first, and then use HRA since the flex doesn’t carry over.  The Faculty Senate took it upon themselves to make a proposal, according to Rick Dixon.  HR is trying to benefit everyone who has paid into the health care.  Looking at having a tiered contribution rate, so the less you make the less you would contribute.  The University is presented with a unique opportunity, never has BCBS paid out this kind of refund two years in a row.  We want to get some kind of wellness going, as this would further lower our overall medical cost.  The HRA will only be credited to those who actually contribute to BCBS insurance, but the wellness programs would be available to the entire campus.  HRA can be used for vision and dental as well as medical expenses. 

Everyone should have received a blue post card regarding our wellness fair.  We would like to see a 50% turn out from faculty and staff.  You will need to have the certificate to enter for prizes.  Watch for an email being sent out soon.  This will be March 3 & 4.  Good opportunity, not only for annual screens but also your wellness score.  It is progressive so it will compare your results from last year.  Had a $500 Visa card last year, and it took Cheryl forever to give it away to the winner.  Please open your emails from Cheryl Trelow.  Please take advantage of this opportunity.  Helen Mills and Judy Kenney are our reps on Health Care Task Force.  It has moved incredibly fast and our consultant is playing a big role- research, answer questions, keeping us on track.  HRA- you have to use your flex money first?  It is recommended.  Would you have to pay taxes on it? No, if we gave it straight to you, it would be taxed.  But as an HRA, no.  It’s still in the proposal stage.  But it has been well received and does benefit everyone. 

Release Time for Council Presidents – Ms. Shelia Schneider

Proposing we set up a committee with PS to investigate release time for our pres.  Faculty senate president receives release time and that allows the dept to hire someone to cover their office while they are tending to council matters (has funding).  Shelia realize that with the current financial situation this may not be the best time for this, but wanted to see if our council was open to start investigating this possibility.  How much time do you spend away from your duties – some months it’s more than others.  Last month Stephanie had to meet with the president.  This is a volunteer thing.  We do this to benefit the university.  There was a week in November where Stephanie was away from her office over 10 hours in one week.  Faculty Senate is using their release time to pay for someone to stand in for Davie Davis when she is not there.  We are the ones that do a lot of work, and when we’re not there it just doesn’t get done.  Thought this is something that we think the president should be aware that we want.  Let Shelia know if anyone would like to serve on a committee.  The Support Staff President is required to go to Board of Governors meetings twice a year, but is required to submit a monthly report.  Everything we do that is note worthy, we usually do in conjunction with Professional Staff.  The two presidents have asked if we can combine our verbal reports, not the written. 

Faculty Senate Vice President gets one quarter release time as well.  Differences in leadership relates to how much various governance groups are involved and in what.

Staff Span Newsletter Update – Ms. Peggy Harrison

Communications committee is newly formed.  Sarah Craig will be in charge of the website.  Sarah Craig, Pam Bennett, Lisa Schmidt, Connie Hyden-Fidler, and Paula Beck met February 6.  Quarterly newsletter distributed via GroupWise.  1st edition will be in April. They plan to include calendars, events, and will be soliciting information from across campus.  They are trying to make this a good thing for everybody.

Bowling for the Green – Ms. Kathy Maham

Email went out today.  We have had complaints about the lunch.  Sodexho is charging us $8.95.  Request for Donation email went out a couple weeks ago.  We are having great success with donations.  The members of the committee are: Kathy Maham, Cindy Merryfield, Susan Brockhaus, Estrella Wilson, Julia Kerr, Sarah Craig, and John Slobaszewski.  Jim Howard,is donating bowling coupons to us before the event.  We will distribute.  Everyone that uses the coupon for 2 games for $6 we will get a $.50 credit off our charge of $350 for the alley rental.  Get out there and get your teams together.  We will be sending out digital photos of auction items before the event.

SSC Elections – Ms. Becky White

Election time is fast approaching.  This time we are trying something different.  Going online this year.  The committee will get an email this week or next.  We only have 2 areas that are up for re-election, Student Affairs and Finance & Administration.  A general email going out.  Before the 19th another email will go out to the individuals and groups that will vote.  You can go in and make nominations.  The window will be open for 5 days.  The committee will contact those nominated.  They will send a blurb.  Then another email will be sent out to vote.  You will only have one opportunity to nominate and one opportunity to vote.  You will need your user id to access.  If you have any questions call Becky.  Will be closing the actual ballot March 5.  Follow the instructions on the forms.  It will kick you out if you do not.  You can only nominate two. 

Budget Reduction Committee – Ms. Stephanie Myers**

Chair: Stephanie Myers
Members: Shelia Schneider, Debbie Combs, Becky White, Tom Sturtevant

Called to a meeting with the president last week.  Everyone should have read the notice sent out by the pres last week.  It has been recommended to us that each group come up with a committee.  They would like our suggestions to budget reductions.  If you have ideas on how to reduce budgets on campus please email them to a council member.  Stephanie chose the committee.  This will streamline the questions sent to the president and weed out duplicates.  We want to combine so they see the important questions.  Send all questions, comments, ideas, anything about the budget reductions to us.  We have a month to get this done, so we need your input as soon as possible.  We’re not going to put your names on your ideas.  The ideas are important not who says them.  Stephanie will, send an email to the Support Staff Listserv soliciting input.  If someone already went to the website and expressed ideas should they be repeated through this committee?  Yes, please resubmit it through this committee to get it vetted through this council.  There is a certain prioritization to group ideas that might catch attention; the power of the group ideas shouldn’t be underestimated.  Just be sure to submit one way or another. 

General Counsel Hearing Panel – Mr. Rick Dixon

Time of year, looking for names (4 people) to sit in a pool in case you get called, if and when a grievance is filled.  I need 4 names.  Didn’t have anything last year.  It’s normally a 2 year term.  Could stay 3 years, but we like to switch out half of them.  If you are interested in weighing in on these grievances and creating a report for the Vice President please throw your name in the hat.  Will request a list of 4 names within the next week.  Judith Seminoe handled the training.  She would wait until there was a grievance and then do the training.  Judith’s replacement, Hank (last name not available yet) will probably do annual training, as it should be.  Don’t have to be council, just support staff.  Send names to Jennifer Kunkel.