Wright State University Staff Council Minutes

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

 

 

The WSU Staff Council met on Wednesday, January 14, 2009, at 2:30 pm, in Room 267 University Hall.

 

Present:  Council Members:  Barbara Bullock, George Collins, Mary Healea, Joanie Hendricks, Fran Keeley, Curt Pederson, Vickie Slone, Michael Sullivan, and Chris Wydman; Convener, Bill Rickert, and Staff Liaison, Albert Bondurant

Guests:  Allan Boggs, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, and

Tamara Jones, Director Employment Services and Human Resources Operations

 

1.  University Mutual FTE Reduction and Alternative Work Schedule Program

 

Council reviewed this draft policy that would be completely voluntary on the part of the employee.  Allan Boggs explained that the program offers flexibility that can benefit some employees, while helping to address our current budget challenge.  However, not every job would lend itself to such an arrangement. 

 

Possibilities might include four 9-hour days, job-share positions for two employees at a certain percentage FTE each, or reduced hours during the summer.  It may be possible for an employee to lower his or her FTE temporarily for an agreed upon period of time.

 

All agreed that such a policy should be straightforward, and people need to make informed decisions.  The Council does think the program is a good idea, but to emphasize the words voluntary and mutual. 

2.  Adoption Assistance Program

 

The university will pay $4,000 to an employee toward the adoption of a child.  Details are available on the Human Resources website.

3.  Anthem Healthcare Insurance Cards

 

Tamara Jones said that the delivery of the new Anthem healthcare insurance cards to employees was delayed, because the university’s group number had to be changed.  If any issues come up, employees should call their HR rep to resolve them.

 

Allan Boggs said about 10% of employees chose the HDHP.  There were some implementation problems, but both Anthem and Fifth Third Bank have been responsive to HR’s calls to them.  HR wants employees to let them know about any problems they have with the HDHP, so they can seek solutions and keep others informed of problems that may impact more than one employee. 

4.  Budget Concerns

 

Bill Rickert said that Wright State had been prudent with its budget before the current crisis and has taken further steps to remain as flexible as possible.  Fewer faculty and staff searches have been approved, for example, some vacant positions will remain vacant or will be eliminated, other budget cutting measures are being taken throughout the university, and still more are being considered.

 

The university will avoid layoffs to the extent possible, but the future budget situation remains uncertain.  If it becomes necessary to lay off any classified employees, the university will follow state procedures for bumping and layoffs according to seniority.  Tamara Jones of HR had recently spoken to a CSAC meeting on this issue.  If any unclassified employees are laid off, they will be provided notice according to the university policy.

 

Barb Bullock asked if the university and a union can open a bargaining agreement, and Bill said that was possible to do.

 

Curt Pederson stated that student employee increases have been greater than those for classified employees, and Bill explained that these have been in response to changes in the minimum wage.  Recent compression raises given to many classified employees in January 2009 are a step in the right direction.

 

Governor Strickland and Chancellor Fingerhut have limited budget cuts to higher education, but some significant cuts have already been extended to the university and others are almost certainly coming.  Barb Bullock added that increases in enrollment have been one positive factor. 

 

Joanie Hendricks said that Wright State staff can suggest ways of saving money for the university, and all agreed.  Each employee has a difference angle of vision that could lead to budget cutting ideas.

 

5.  Changes in First Opportunity Policy

 

The Internal Promotions policy to replace First Opportunity postings has been submitted to the Board of Trustees and then must be posted before going into effect, most likely in March 2009.

 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 pm.  The next meeting of the WSU Staff Council will be on Wednesday, March 11, 2009.