Wright State University Staff Council Minutes

Wednesday, January 9, 2008



The WSU Staff Council met on Wednesday, January 9, 2008, at 2:30 pm, in Room 267 University Hall.


Present:  Council Members:  Barbara Bullock, George Collins, Mary Healea, Joanie Hendricks, Fran Keeley, Greg Kojola, John Sheidler, Vickie Slone, Tami Smith, Chris Wydman; and Convener, Bill Rickert.  Guests: Kiel Ruttgen, Rich Johnson



1.     Short Term Disability (STD)


Bill Rickert introduced Kiel Rottgen, Coordinator, Strategic Sourcing in Purchasing.  Bill distributed handouts, and Kiel gave a presentation on a Short Term Disability and Supplemental Insurance Proposal for the university.  He explained that this insurance would be beneficial to employees who have less than six months of accrued sick and vacation leave, since it pays 60% of their salary for six months while they are unable to work.  After the six months, WSU’s Long Term Disability Insurance may begin. 


Kiel explained the differences between a group STD plan for all employees that would likely be employer funded, and a voluntary individual STD plan that is paid for by individual employees.  The recommended plan for WSU at this time is a voluntary individual employee-paid STD and supplemental insurance plan, which would include no cost to WSU, payroll deduction for premiums, and claims processed by the insurance provider.  The matter of pre-existing conditions was brought up; and Kiel said the group plan would include everyone, but the individual plans may not accept everyone.


Kiel then talked about the three leading insurance providers offering voluntary individual plans, AFLAC, Colonial Life (UnumProvident), and American Heritage (Allstate).  After comparing these companies for financial strength, ability to pay, rates, individual custom plan designs, and history of problematic claim payment issues, he recommended AFLAC as a provider to consider.  Fran Keeley suggested that someone from AFLAC could speak to the staff about their plan. 


Bill thanked Kiel for his personal and professional presentation.  He then distributed a sheet of statistics on WSU’s classified and unclassified employees and the amount of combined sick and vacation leave they have.  Those who have six months or more included 4.30% of classified employees and 17.67% of unclassified employees.  It would have to be determined how many staff members would actually be willing to purchase STD and Supplemental Insurance.  Kiel said that individuals can also purchase a policy outside of WSU, but probably at a higher cost.

Rich Johnson, Employee Benefits Manager in Human Resources, said that in 2005, Human Resources asked for STD quotes from eight insurance providers, not including AFLAC.  He distributed a sheet about their proposals.  The proposals for university-paid premiums for all employees other than the Bargaining Unit Faculty were estimated to cost between $210,000 and $533,000 in 2005.  Two of the proposals would not provide voluntary, employee-paid coverage.  Four of the other proposals required 25% to 50% participation to underwrite a voluntary coverage.  Expected premiums now would likely be at least 10% more than the 2005 quotes. 


Rich said it would be difficult to get 25%-50% of employees to participate in a voluntary program.  The cost of health care for 2008 had gone up $1M, so a plan with no cost to the university seems more feasible at this time.  Kiel said that AFLAC requires only three individual policies to sign up with no cost to the university.  AFLAC’s individual policies would be more expensive than a group plan, but maybe WSU could ask to include pre-existing conditions as a condition for selecting AFLAC as a carrier.


The consensus of the Staff Council was that WSU should move ahead with discussions on this proposal.  Bill said it was worth considering and fairly soon.  He will take the proposal to the administration and get their response to the Staff Council and to Kiel. 


2.    Health Care


Rich Johnson spoke about IRIS, code name for a coordination program with Anthem that went into effect January 1, 2008.  This system analyses data to suggest ways employees might avoid future health problems and to make sure new prescriptions won’t interfere with other medications, etc.  Employees will be alerted by phone or letter if possible drug interactions are found.  Potentially, the program can save money for the university and employees and can contribute to the health of employees.


3.   Staff Development Day (SDD)


Bill Rickert asked about the feedback from the SDD held on December 18, 2007.  Council said that the evaluations from the participants had not been summarized yet, but that it was mostly positive for the various programs held that day.  The lunch speakers were said to have missed the mark, though.  Council members added that there were supervisors encouraging their staff to attend, indicating that Drs. Angle and Hopkins’ message was being heard.  The program offerings included personal and professional development topics and also wellness issues requested by staff.  The Pandemic Program was cancelled due to the speaker being unable to attend.  This will be on the agenda next time.


Bill distributed a list, prepared by Albert Bondurant, HR, of the breakdown by department/area/school of those who participated in the July 11, 2007 SDD. 

4.   Performance Impact (PI)


Several departments volunteered to try using PI, the online performance evaluation system.  Lake Campus has asked to discontinue using it.  All other departments have chosen to keep using it.  Bill Rickert and Allan Boggs, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, recommend NOT going forward with PI at this time.  There are costs involved with the program, and with the budget tight, implementation of PI or other systems will probably be delayed. 

5.   Customer Service Problems in Human Resources (HR)


Bill said that Human Resources will be emphasizing improved customer service in response to concerns expressed by staff.  Although challenges of Banner implementation continue to tax HR’s limited resources, initiatives toward better communication with employees will be implemented in 2008.  Allan Boggs will be developing a phone number and email address that can be used by employees for any HR questions and which will be logged.  Timely responses will be a priority.  Tami Smith also suggested that an email be sent to all employees with the new phone number and with a list of HR reps, the areas assigned to them, and their phone numbers.


The Council agreed that these ideas are worth pursuing.


6.     Questions/Answers from USAC March 2007 Open Meeting


Bill distributed a copy of the questions given to Al Boggs at the March 2007 Open USAC Meeting, with his answers.  These had been promised and were long overdue. 


7.   Payroll Issues


Fran Keeley brought forth an issue with Payroll – an unclassified hourly employee, whose supervisor had not approved her timecard by the deadline, had to wait two additional weeks to receive her paycheck.  The employee had received no email from Payroll about it, and was later told that each employee is responsible for getting his or her timesheet approved on time.  The Council agreed that this is unacceptable.


George Collins, Senior Payroll Clerk, said that the payroll system locks up immediately at a certain time after a pay period ends.  He said that the auditors get upset about the hand-written paychecks that are frequently done when a person’s timesheet is late.  George indicated that Payroll is unable to physically write checks at this time.


It was decided that Bill Rickert will contact Linda Sykes, Payroll Manager, about having her and/or Jeff Ulliman, Assistant Vice President for Finance and University Controller, attend a Staff Council meeting to discuss these issues.



The meeting was adjourned at 4:43 pm.  The next meeting of the WSU Staff Council will be held on Wednesday, March 12, 2008.