Wright State University Staff Council Minutes
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The WSU Staff Council met on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm, in Room 267 University Hall.
Present: Council Members: Kary Brigger, David Bringhurst, Mary Healea, Joanie Hendricks, Fran Keeley, Liane Muhlenkamp, Jacqueline Neal, Curt Pederson, Vickie Slone, and Rebecca Traxler.
Convener: Albert Bondurant
Guests: Henry Limouze, Associate Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs
Emily Hamman, Employee and Labor Relations Manager, Human Resources
1. Teamsters Contract
Emily Hamman, Employee and Labor Relations Manager in Human Resources (HR), spoke about the new Teamsters Contract, which covers 160 WSU employees. She said it had been agreed upon but was not yet signed.
Vickie Slone asked about the changes in the contract regarding sick leave. Emily said that under the previous contract employees had up to 64 hours per year of uncertified leave. After 64 hours of leave is used, the employee is sent a counseling document and has to certify (bring in a doctor’s note, a valid FMLA, or a Worker’s Comp claim) every use of sick leave for the remainder of the calendar year.
In the new contract, employees are placed (at the beginning of a calendar year) in a "tier" that determines how much uncertified sick leave they can accrue before they receive the counseling document and have to certify every use of sick leave for the remainder of the calendar year. The "tier" is based on the employee's sick leave balance at the beginning of the year.
It should also be understood that the University still reserves the right to ask for documentation after three days of sick leave usage before they reach their uncertified leave 'limit’.
Vickie asked about the pay rates comparison between classified employees and bargaining unit classified employees. Henry said there are online pay scales on the HR website. The bottom salary for a classified employee is $19,000, and the bottom salary of a bargaining unit classified employee is $24,000.
HR has hired a second compensation staff member: Sylvia Brockman. The reclassification analysis will be going on this year.
Jacqui Neal asked for more comparisons between the salary increases of the bargaining unit staff and the non-bargaining unit staff. Henry said he would get that information to her.
It was noted that Henry Limouze’s memo of August 3, 2010, regarding staff compensation in the Boonshoft School of Medicine, that was sent to Staff Council, could now be shared with all staff.
2. Employee Separation Plan (ESP)
It was asked when the new Rehire Policy will be officially approved. Henry said the draft of the policy was developed over the summer and had gone to Cabinet and the Council of Deans. Allan Boggs would like to put it on the web.
Re-hirees, from those who took the ESP, could work only 12 months, with a possible renewal if deemed necessary. They could receive up to 75% of their pay at retirement, but work only 50% FTE. There have been only three re-hires from this group at this time, and they were hired for specific duties under extenuating circumstances—as required to be re-hired from this group.
The university has no control over re-hires on grant contracts or those hired as on-call employees.
Henry said the university’s intention was not to violate the ESP contract. Albert Bondurant asked what would happen if the policy is not approved. Henry said the current re-hiree contracts would end.
The Council of Deans met for a two-day Budget Retreat. The budget for next year will be very tight. The purpose was not to discuss areas for cutting the budget, but to discuss how to proceed if budget cuts will be necessary. It was for gathering information and for participants to think out loud.
The state legislators do see higher education as having a major place in Ohio’s future. The state stimulus package helped this year, but won’t be there next year. Matt Filipic, Vice President for Business and Fiscal Affairs, has said that WSU is in a much better position than most Ohio universities.
WSU’s enrollment is up to almost 20,000 students. However, what matters later are the graduation rates, retention rates, etc. The Chancellor said that the University System of Ohio’s mission is to attain higher graduation rates. WSU is part of that system. So a high enrollment may have to be contained by being more selective with admissions.
The Budget Retreat laid the groundwork, but it will be a year-long process at the twice-monthly Council of Deans Meetings.
Some staff members had heard about layoffs, closing of departments, etc. Henry said there would be a better sense of the budget after the November mid-term election. There may be cuts from the vacant lines left from the ESP. Later cuts may be more crucial—looking at scenarios with 7.5-15% budget cuts.
There needs to be more communication about the budget to the staff. Once anything is known, the administration will get information out to the staff. The Provost and President will attend the Staff Council Human Resources Committee meeting on October 12.
4. We Serve U
Jacqui Neal and Joanie Hendricks are co-chairing a sub-committee that recently developed a community service proposal (attached) named We Serve U. The proposal was reviewed by Dr. Robert Sweeney, who shared it with President Hopkins. Staff Council reviewed the proposal at this meeting. Jacqui and Joanie have been invited to present this proposal with background to Provost Angle on October 11. Additional presentations are tentatively scheduled with Cabinet on October 13, and the Council of Deans on October 19.
We Serve U proposes that employees can receive up to 16 hours per year of leave, during which time they would help out in the community. The employee’s supervisor would have to approve the time off. The employee would have to sign a liability form. Organizations would fill out forms requesting the help needed. Participants and supervisors would fill out an assessment and survey at the end each project. Jacqui said this proposal is a win for the employee, a win for the university, and a win for the community.
If anyone has questions, let Jacqui Neal know before October 11, 2010.
Cabinet may be the hardest from which to attain approval. On the Strategic Plan for the University System of Ohio, 5% of resources are for community service. David Bringhurst said this can be presented as an opportunity for the university rather than an employee right. For the pilot year, staff could volunteer to help with the program. There could be We Serve U tee shirts and lapel pins made.
If approved, this idea could be mentioned at the October 29 OSCHE meeting, which is being hosted by WSU.
5. Staff Development Day (SDD)
The next Staff Development Day will be November 30, 2010. It was suggested that there could be booths for We Serve U opportunities there. SDD staff can wear the tee shirts.
A copy of the SDD budget is attached. To cut down on the SDD expenses, the catering at lunch could be cut down, as well as the photography. There are enough existing folders for the next SDD (November 30).
6. Organizational Development and Learning: Leadership/Professional Development Survey Results
The launch of programs from WSU’s Leadership Academy (for management) and WSU’s Professional Development Alliance (for non-management) is being delayed until Winter Quarter 2011 in preparation to align with the full support of the President’s and Provost’s wants regarding these offerings. The Women’s Leadership Institute (within WSU’s Leadership Academy) is still in the conceptual stage and is planned to launch sometime in 2011, as originally planned. The primary focus for initial offerings from WSU’s Leadership Academy will be on programs for Managers, Supervisors and Leads.
The Leadership/Professional Development Survey was sent to all staff members giving them approximately 10 days to reply. 244 replies were received.
David Bringhurst questioned the communication from OD and Learning in response to the survey. David felt that the university was ‘spinning’ more positive results than the actual.
Albert stated that OD and Learninq was not 'spinning' the results. Rather, he said, they actually provided access to all of the results - and all comments - via their web-site. The response to the survey information indicated what was shown in the results - that there were strengths and needs - and in some areas the majority of respondents viewed their leaders positively. Albert clarified that a large number of management personnel had replied to the survey, perhaps influencing that result. He stated that 244 people completed the survey - far less than the total number of staff members. He also clarified, as was stated in the written response to the survey, that there is room for improvement. The survey merely gave OD and Learning a gauge to read so they will know which direction to proceed. And, that direction will include the launching of a Leadership Academy (with a primary focus on the greatest need - programs for Managers. Supervisors and Leads) and a series of programs for non-management staff (via the Professional Development Alliance).
Albert also clarified that although the programs from OD and Learning are not mandatory, he is stressing that many of the programs need to be required (including all the Compliance Training programs (for everyone) and the Leadership Academy programs (for management).
There were more replies from management than expected. Albert said WSU doesn’t require perfect evaluations. There is no set format. Also, the compliance training sessions are not mandatory at WSU. Henry said there is a debate in Cabinet about mandatory management programs.
7. More Tables
Kary Brigger brought up requests from staff for more metal or plastic tables outside around campus for eating lunch or studying. Student Government is also looking into this. Henry will bring this up at Cabinet and Council of Deans meetings.
Health Savings Accounts
Henry talked about Fifth/Third bank’s health savings accounts for the High Deductible Health Insurance Plan. The bank has added a $2.00 monthly fee to administer these accounts. Switching to another bank for this purpose may not guarantee that no fee will be issued. To encourage health savings accounts, the university may pay the account fees. The fees have been waived for the remainder of 2010. The university plans to stay with Fifth/Third Bank.
Henry also brought up the Wellness Initiative—Hewitt is collecting data from Anthem. HR wants staff to be involved in this process. When organizing meetings and/or showing products, they will get CSAC and USAC involved.
There are some changes on the HR website. There is a very important section on benefits. The open enrollment period this year will be more complicated than usual. There will be a new life insurance provider. There will be forums to attend to explain the changes. Staff are to check the HR website for benefit changes and the wellness program. Henry is to check on the bid for the wellness program.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:28 pm. The next meeting of the WSU Staff Council will be held on Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at 3:00-4:30 pm, in Room 267 U.
Attachment 1. We Serve U
Attachment 2. SDD Budget