Staff Congress
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FEBRUARY 3, 2003


Darlene Allen Lisa Caskey David Jessie Pam Moore Dallas Sammons Willis Taylor
Sharon Beller Joy Cecil Linda Kegley Carole Morella Rhonda Sloan Jonell Tobin
Brad Bennington Gaylena Cline M. LaFontaine Lora Pace Tim Smith *Barbara Ward
Larry Besant Rhonda Crisp *Rhonda Mackin Darlene Ramey Doug Snedegar *Maurice White
T. Bumgardner Mike Hopper Tina McWain Belva Sammons Stephanie Stewart Rick Williams

*Denotes member was absent

Guests: Gene Caudill-Director of Physical Plant, Roger Barker-Director of Human Resources

Chair Pace called the meeting to order at 1:03 p.m.  A quorum was present. Guests were welcomed.

Motion: To approve the January 6, 2003 minutes as submitted
  Proposed:  Rep. Kegley Seconded:  Rep. Allen
Called for Vote: Passed


Motion: To approve the January 27, 2003 Special Salary Distribution Meeting minutes as submitted
  Proposed:  Rep. LaFontaine Seconded:  Rep. McWain
Called for Vote: Passed


Chair's Report A memo was given to Carol for Dr. Eaglin at the University Council meeting on Monday afternoon concerning the salary distribution pool recommendation from Staff Congress.  Copies of the memo are available up front.

On Thursday afternoon, Chair Pace attended a Faculty Senate meeting.  They thought we should show a united front from Faculty and Staff concerning salary distribution.  The president was there and intended to attend Staff Congress today, but he is in Frankfort.  He plans to attend at a later date to discuss the budget as well as salary distribution.  He talked about a lot of things that pertained to Faculty since it was their meeting, but he is very committed on the staff side.  A state budget will probably not be passed until the special session in April.  Nothing will be settled until then concerning salaries.  Chair Pace feels the President will be fairly accepting of what we sent forward.  It is very similar to what Faculty Senate came up with.

Concerning parking: Faculty and staff can ride the bus to campus from the outer lots. It might take a little longer to get here, but it is available if needed.  Faculty Senate invited Chair Pace to their Executive Council meeting in reference to parking.  Joe Cline and Myron Doan were also present at the meeting.  They have decided to put together an Ad-Hoc Committee to look at parking in general.  They asked for a Staff Congress Representative to serve on the committee.  Rep. Snedegar was asked to serve on this committee and he accepted.  He will report back at the next meeting if warranted.

We talked before about having 'job descriptions' put online.  We need to explain to Roger Barker what we would like to see online during the 'Discussion' portion of our meeting.  He has some information we can discuss at that time also.

After our last meeting, Chair Pace sent a memo regarding weekly payroll to Dana Baldridge, Director of Payroll.  She is willing to come and talk to us, but is concerned that her employees can't get everything done by going to a weekly time period.  They would prefer not to go to a weekly payroll.  She said it is not true that employees would save taxes by getting paid weekly. She said, "The tax charts are entered based on annual withholding.  The system annualizes all amounts and breaks down into biweekly amounts.  There should be no savings associated with pay frequency."  If Staff Congress wants to pursue it further we will talk about it during 'Discussion'.

Chair Pace attended the University Council meeting and as stated before, the budget is up in air at this point. There are training sessions being offered for anyone who deals with administrative processes.  The processes are becoming web-based.

Vice-Chair's Report No report
Secretary's Report The month of January, $60.00 was spent out of the supply account to add copies to our account.  There is a remaining supply balance of $2,075.09.  There was money spent for our luncheon January 27, but the final total has not come through from catering.   That amount will be reported at next month's meeting.

The new committee information has been added to the Bylaws.  The information is as follows:  University Standing Appointments Committee.  This committee will be responsible for recommending to Staff Congress appointees to University Standing Committees.  The committee will be responsible for creating, distributing, and evaluating University Standing Committee interest surveys that will be sent to all staff each spring.

On page 6 of the bylaws in Section 2.C., 'three standing committees' needs to be changed to 'four standing committees'.  It will be changed on the website as soon as possible.  You can go to the website and print out a new copy or change it on your current copy.


Committee Reports

Credentials and Elections Rep. LaFontaine provided two handouts, 'Attachment #1 Staff Congress and Staff Regent Election Guidelines' and 'Proposed Revisions to Staff Congress and Staff Regent Election Guidelines'.  The Credentials and Elections Committee met last Thursday to go over 'Attachment #1' and iron out some discrepancies and make a few minor changes.  The end product is shown in the 'Proposed Revisions'.  A motion will be made in 'New Business'.
University Standing Appointments No report
Fiscal Affairs No report
Personnel Policies and Benefits Rep. Besant  reported that there has not been a meeting of the University Employee Benefits Committee.  The Personnel Policies and Benefits Committee met on January 22 and talked about the possibility of asking Human Resources to come up with a proposal for health insurance where there would be a deductible for the two-person base plan that would lie between the single base plan and the family base plan and to look again at the single basic contribution for 'every employee regardless of which plan the employee has'.  They passed the information along to Human Resources and asked for an analysis of these as well as other options in time for next years health insurance proposals.  The Personnel Policies and Benefits Committee would like to have the information well ahead of time next year. Roger Barker agreed.

The next two items will require action by Staff Congress in 'New Business'.  The Committee recommends that Staff Congress request that Human Resources change the wording 'continuous service' to 'accumulated service' as a factor for vacation and sick leave accumulation or other Human Resources policies or practices where the changes would benefit MSU employees.  Secondly, the Committee recommends that Staff Congress request that Human Resources adopt a policy where excess employee vacation days (over 30 days) transfer over to the 'sick leave pool' rather than the days being lost.  

Rhonda Mackin resigned from the Personnel Policies and Benefits Committee because of pressing business and the committee tabled several other items for further analysis.


Old Business - None

New Business

Rep. LaFontaine read the 'Proposed Revisions to Staff Congress & Staff Regent Election Guidelines' document.  

Motion: To approve the Proposed Revisions to Staff Congress & Staff Regent Election Guidelines as submitted
  Proposed:  Credentials & Elections Committee Seconded:  None Needed
Discussion: Suggestions/Comments:

Rep. B. Sammons would like to see an 'informal forum' instead of an 'open forum' or 'informal reception'.  Also, #3 says 'any campaigning must take place off-campus'; maybe it should say within so many feet of the polling place instead of off-campus.  Some people never see other MSU employees off-campus.  The way this is stated, even employees on their lunch hour could not campaign on-campus.  It we get this picky, no one will want to run for Staff Congress.

According to Chair Pace, the 2001 election guidelines do not address online voting or the fact that ADUC is now unavailable.  The guidelines were not followed during the last regular election even though they are supposed to be for the regular Staff Congress Elections and the Staff Regent Elections.  We want the guidelines to be very clear, but there seems to be a lot of confusion at this time.

Rep. Moore said these guidelines were originally drafted for the Staff Regent Election only.  She didn't like the guidelines then and she doesn't like them now, but the competition that went on in 2001 did generate more interest in Staff Congress than she had ever seen before.  Also, she thought we had gotten away from 'polling places' last year with the online voting.  Chair Pace clarified that 'polling place' is the area where paper ballots are available.

Rep. Morella recommended that the proposed revisions be changed to make the Staff Congress and Staff Regent election guidelines separate.  These are two different issues and we are mixing them.  We don't want to discourage anyone from serving on Staff Congress.  In reference to using university resources, she feels she should be able to pick up the phone or send emails, etc. and encourage anyone to run for Staff Congress.  The Committee should go back and be very general and encouraging in the guidelines for regular Staff Congress elections; for Staff Regent elections we should have the forums or gatherings.

Question Called: Rep. B. Sammons
Called for Vote: Defeated


Motion: To send this proposal back to the Committee and that the Committee submit a list of proposed revisions at the March meeting.  There should be separate guidelines and conditions for the Staff Congress and the Staff Regent Elections.
  Proposed:  Rep. Morella Seconded:  Vice-Chair Jessie
Called for Vote: Passed


Motion: That Staff Congress recommend that Human Resources change the words 'continuous service' to 'accumulated service' as a factor for vacation and sick leave accumulation or other Human Resources policies or practices where the changes would benefit MSU employees  
  Proposed:  Personnel Policies & Benefits Committee Seconded:  None Needed
Discussion: Rep. B. Sammons asked what 'accumulated service' means.  Rep. Besant said it meant the time a person had worked for MSU previously plus the time worked upon rehire. 

Rep. Hopper explained that there are a number of  employees who previously worked at MSU and when they came back to work they were considered new employees and started accumulating vacation and sick leave as such.  If MSU awards service pins for 'accumulative service' then they should allow employees to accumulate sick leave and vacation for 'accumulative service'.  He will be getting a 15-year service pin, but is accumulating sick leave and vacation as a five-year employee.

Rep. McWain mentioned that if a person decides to leave MSU it is their choice.  Why should MSU treat them as anything but new employees?  Vice-Chair Jessie and Rep. Moore agreed.  What about all the temporary employees?  Rep. Hopper wondered why prior service is recognized for anything then.  If it is recognized for awards such as service pins, why not award benefits on that same basis.  Why should employees be penalized for years of prior service?  They were valued enough by the university to be rehired.

Rep. Morella thinks if Human Resources awards pins for years of total service, that is a loophole to recognize these individuals and support that they go to 'accumulated service'.

Rep. Stewart said that in state government if you leave and come back you are considered a new employee.

Rep. Besant said the key point is that the people who come back to work at the university like it here and the university would like to have them back.  There is not a better endorsement of previous employees than that the institution would hire them back.  It is hypocritical for the university to give a service pin for total years of employment, but not give vacation and sick leave for these total years of service.  It is a morale issue.  It seems like a relatively small thing that is in conflict with something else the university does.   

Rep. Williams feels it is the employees choice to leave, but what if the employee was laid off?  If he comes back, he would be a new employee.  Rep. Besant said that is a valid point.  The university is rewriting the mandatory lay-off policy.

Gene Caudill asked about the people that retire and are rehired.  They would have to be included.

Question Called: Vice-Chair Jessie Seconded:  Rep. B. Sammons
Called for Vote: Defeated

Since recognition of 'continuous service' seems to be an issue, Rep. B. Sammons would like for Human Resources to review the process for recognition of 'continuous service' and define it and bring that definition back to Staff Congress.  Roger Barker said 'continuous service' is service that extends longer than one week.  'Accumulated service' is used for the service pins.

Motion: That Staff Congress request that Human Resources adopt a policy whereby employees excess vacation days be transferred to the sick leave pool rather than simply being lost
  Proposed:  Personnel Policies & Benefits Committee Seconded:  None Needed
Discussion: Rep. Stewart said for several years she has tried to get MSU to look at how state government lets employees carry time over.  For more than 20 years of service, state employees can carry over 60 days, etc.  She would rather see us go to something like that instead of rolling excess days over to the sick pool.  Some employees do not want to donate time to the sick leave pool and would be against this motion.

Rep. Moore said some employees do not want to donate to the pool, but if the time could be put into the individual persons sick leave it would be better.

Question Called: Rep. LaFontaine Seconded:  Vice-Chair Jessie
Called for Vote: Defeated

Rep. Besant asked Roger Barker how many vacation days go over 30 and thus are lost annually on average.  Roger prints a report that tells how many people are at 30 days, but it does not tell how many days are lost.  Rep. Stewart asked if we could increase the number of days we are allowed to build up.  Gene Caudill said that would result in a budgetary issue.  Rep. B. Sammons thinks we should be very careful as a Congress what we ask for that costs money this year with the 9% budget cut facing us.  Gene Caudill said if days roll to sick leave it could have budgetary ramifications down the road when people retire.  


In reference to 'job descriptions' being online, Chair Pace asked members to convey to Roger Barker what we would like to see on the web page.  Rep. Moore would like to see the grade level and entry-level salary online along with the job description.  Gene Caudill thought the class of the job would be better than the salary.  Roger said every job title and grade scale is available now, and he hopes to have the job descriptions online by the end of the year.  He does not want to put the salary right on the job description because those change frequently and that leaves room for error.  The job description should contain the date and approval stamp from Human Resources or it might not be accurate according to Rep. Morella.  Since the salary is not usually published when ads are run, Rep. Besant said people need to understand that they have to go to another location online to find the salary.  Rep. Allen said the pages could be linked together.  Roger said we need to take it as we go and see how it all works out.

Rep. LaFontaine was wondering if MSU is thinking about exclusively using online applications.  Roger Barker said we use online applications, but he doesn't know if that will ever be exclusive.  

Rep. Stewart asked if the buses quit running at 5:15 p.m.  From that point on, what do faculty and staff do if they need to get back to their car?  Gene Caudill said Vice-President Weathers said that Public Safety will provide a shuttle van if needed after 5:15 p.m.  Employees need to call Public Safety and request a ride.  The shuttle van was purchased by the Parent's Association.

Gene Caudill said he doesn't understand why there is such a catastrophe with parking.  We lost 31 spaces on the boulevard and picked up 90 one block away for faculty and staff, but everybody says there are no parking spaces.  Rep. B. Sammons said that is not the issue.  The issue is that students are taking the spaces illegally and not getting towed.  

In reference to the typing test issue,  Roger Barker said Human Resources found a software program that allows corrections.  The cost is $200.00 per copy.  They are going with the recommendations of Staff Congress.  There will be no pass/fail on the test, they will allow corrections, etc.  They are getting three copies of the software, but it can't be moved from one computer to another.  It will cost about $1,000.00 to implement the new testing.  Someone will need to come up with the money to purchase this software. When it is available they will have to change all the job descriptions.  Human Resources is  ready to move on this as soon as they get the money needed.

Rep. Williams asked if Dana Baldridge could attend our next meeting to talk about going to a weekly payroll. Chair Pace will invite her.

Regent Report - No report


There is a women's basketball game tonight.

Motion: To adjourn
  Proposed:  Rep. LaFontaine Seconded:  Vice-Chair Jessie

Minutes submitted by:  Rhonda Crisp, Secretary