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Support Staff Council

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


September 2009

Support Staff Council

September 8, 2009

1:30 P.M.

Union 235

Attendees: Peggy Harrison, Kathy Maham, Joyce Stephens, Suzan Brown, Brenda Dooley, Ginny McTighe, Cindy Merryfield, Tia Milburn, Bettie Moore, Diana Summers, Pam Bennett, Sarah Bailey, Mike Jeffries, Colette Tilden, Virdia Stevens, Rick Dixon, Sandy Christ, Chris Wellman, Susie Pine, Sharon Brinton.

Because of schedules, President Peggy Harrison introduced Rick Dixon, from Human Resources, and Chris Wellman, Director of Facilities, Planning and Operations.

Rick Dixon

Rick Dixon had been asked to come and speak to the Support Staff Council in regard to part time benefits, specifically if there might come a time when .5 employees could get .5 benefits. Rick said he had called Bob Charlesworth of Blue Cross & Blue Shield to see what would be involved from their perspective in doing this. There are some companies doing this. Some do pro-rata with the employee buying into the program.

There are some issues with offering part time employees benefits. The University might opt to underwrite a medical indemnity plan. There are also some real life issues.  Companies that offer this type of benefit become the employer of choice in the com-munity with many seeking employment only for the benefits.  Generally the workers seeking employment for the benefits have pre-existing conditions.  Because of a potential dramatic change in the health of the workers, our entire plan would probably be re-rated to a higher rate.

There are also Cobra issues concerning liability.  A part time work force turns over faster.

Before the University would make such a change, careful study would need to be made considering the following:

Rick also suggested using a pilot group to further explore the possibilities.  It would require a lot of preparation, maintenance and expense to balance against the work force gain for the University.

Currently the University has 60-70 part time workers.  There are a few employees at .8. They receive full benefits. Pro-rating would potentially affect them.

All part time employees already receive educational benefits.

Other questions answered by Rick:

Chris Wellman

Our next speaker was Chris Wellman, Director, Facilities, Planning and Operations (FPO), formerly known as the Physical Plant. Chris started by giving us a brief history of the facilities group.  Around 1986 the University outsourced their facilities work to ServiceMaster. Somewhere during 2000 Aramark bought out ServiceMaster.  In April of this year, three companies submitted contract proposals and the University decided it was in its best interest to self-perform, the first time in 23 years.  Chris, formerly an Aramark employee, was hired as the director.

They are currently recreating themselves -  figuring out who they are and how they are going to do business.  They are assessing every aspect of the group, amount of area to be taken care of, functions, how many folks in each of the positions, how they communicate, promotional programs, and how they train. By the end of October Chris expects to have a thick book of observations and recommendations to use in putting an implementation plan together.

When Aramark left, basically the senior level management left along with their computerized maintenance management system. TMA, the software facilities will be using, is currently being populated with information on all the buildings, equipment and electrical, equipment maintenance schedules, and employees. The preventative maintenance part of the program should be up and running by the end of October.

Projects underway include ESCO and Morrow-Garrison. Chris noted the old heat plant at the corner of Maguire and South will be removed.  That area, in combination with the parking lot on the same corner, is scheduled to be green space.


President Peggy Harrison returned to our scheduled agenda and welcomed all those present, especially Suzan Brown, who is a new alternate and Virdia Stevens, who is our new Library Advisory Council representative. Shelia Schneider is the new representative replacing Debbie Combs.


The minutes were approved as submitted previously.

Treasurer’s Report

Kathy Maham, Treasurer, reported the Support Staff Council account balance to be $1,613.78.  Kathy noted we had received the $200.00 from Student Affairs we were expecting. The Survival Adult Abuse Center current balance was $3,186.07. The only expenditure since the August meeting was September 3 when we spent $225.00 for a Wal-Mart gift card for a needy family. The Education Award account has $458.03. 

Administrative Liaison Report

Sharon Brinton, Administrative Assistant, filling in for the injured Administrative Liaison Dr. Betty Roberts, VP Finance and Administration, gave us updates on the progress of ESCO and the Morrow-Garrison renovation/construction. They know that parking has been a big issue for everyone.  Please let them know of any feed back you might hear in regard to parking problems or using the shuttle.  You can contact Annette at 4331 in Facilities or for other parking questions contact Public Safety.

Professional Staff Council Liaison Report

Mike Jeffries, Vice Chairman of the Professional Staff Council reported the Professional Staff Council met on Thursday, August 13th. Special guest, Rich Morrell, talked about some of the administration things.  Rick Dixon was also there and talked about the HRA. They worked on reorganizing their committees; have October 22, from 3:30 - 4:30 pm scheduled as the Professional Staff Council’s 60 Minutes with the President; reviewed their goals; and discussed various aspects of the JP Mees Award including qualifications for nominees, amount of award and putting together a committee to redo the video.

Committee Reports

Peggy Harrison read a report from Mary Brinkley covering activities of the Library Advisory Committee up to the point of Virdia Stevens taking over. Items from this report included:

Contact Virdia if your college has library needs. Virdia also has a list of the Library Advisory Committee’s scheduled meeting dates and times.

Peggy also read a report from Barb Hicks of the SPRC (Strategic Planning and Resource Council). President Podolefsky briefed the council about the “perfect storm” that he discussed in his State of the University address.  He charged the council with deciding how to prepare for the future.

Ideas and questions concerning the future may be part of the discussion we have during our 60 Minutes with the President on October 23 from 10:00 - 11:00 am in Union 117.  Peggy encouraged us to each be thinking about what we want discussed with the President.  We would like to be able to give President Podolefsky some questions and topics of interest in advance in order for him to be somewhat prepared to address them on October 23.  Support Staff can email Peggy Harrison, Susan Malott, Kathy Maham or Joyce Stephens with questions, ideas or topics for discussion.

Support Staff Drawing

Sandy Christ won a free lunch buffet certificate donated by Monetti’s and Cindy Merryfield won a free lunch card donated by Mazzio’s.

Peggy announced that she had game schedules available for Jennies Volleyball, Jennies Soccer and Mules Football and encouraged us to get out and support our teams. UCM athletics will be donating a number of free tickets to the Support Staff Council for the next few months to be used at any sport’s home games.  See Peggy if you would like a couple of tickets. Family weekend is September 19 and the Mules will be playing Pitt State.  Peggy will check with Shawn Jones in regard to a planned time for free game attendance for faculty/staff.

Old Business

The Executive Council met and went over our goals and found we are well on track.  Of concern is the Office Supply Swap. The Community Coffee will be in December. Penny Lund will be making those arrangements. We also need to decide how we will be collecting for the Survival Adult Abuse Center and the Food Pantry.  Peggy will check with Holly Davenport from the Professional Staff Council.

The Holiday Celebration Committee is putting meetings together.  Contact Susan Malott if you are interested in helping out or have ideas.  Because of the Sodexo contract we are now unable to have potlucks/carry-ins.  Sodexo has given the University an amount of funds for groups like ours to use to help offset Sodexo costs incurred for an event.  However, we need to apply for funds through Dr. Morrell’s office.  There is a limited amount available and it is on a first come basis.  Another Sodexo change has been the addition of a “No Frills” menu. 

There was no other old business.

New Business

Peggy asked for a volunteer to take minutes at the October 13 meeting and to take notes during 60 Minutes with the President on October 23 in the absence of Joyce Stephens, Support Staff Council Secretary.  The tape recorder will be available for use.

As discussed earlier in the meeting, 60 Minutes with the President will be October 23 from 10:00 - 11:00 am in Union 117.

Susie Pine reported on the Support Staff Award Committee’s discussions. Peggy handed out a possible scenario for a nomination form including criteria.  Susie talked about the form and also the type of awards the committee had considered. Peggy added, the committee had thought change jars, bake sales, and payroll deductions could be possible ways to raise funds.  The award details are evolving at this point. Input from other Support Staff members would be greatly appreciated.

A question was raised as to the status of the Facilities, Planning and Operation employees who are non-bargaining unit.  Since Aramark is gone and they are back in-house, are they support staff?  Peggy will email Rick Dixon and Chris Wellman to see if there is any defining area for them.

The meeting was adjourned.

Our next meeting will be October 13, 2009 - 1:30 p.m. - UN 238.

Respectfully submitted:

Joyce M. Stephens

Support Staff Council Secretary

Shelly Gonzalez is our Policy Officer/Paralegal. She works in the General Counsel's office. She's responsible for the policy and questions that arise out of it--not the actual enforcement.