Staff Congress
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November 6, 2000


*Jeff Barker

Sharon Beller

Larry Besant

Thelma Bumgardner

Vincent Butler

Gene Caudill

Joy Cecil

*Dan Connell

Lenore Dixon

Patty Eldridge

*Rosemary Hinton

David Jessie

*Linda Kegley

Margaret LaFontaine

Velda Mabry

Rhonda Mackin

*Zach McClurg

*Pam Moore

*Carole Morella

Joel Pace

Darlene Ramey

*Belva Sammons

Dallas Sammons

*Tim Smith

Stephanie Stewart

Todd Thacker

Madonna Weathers

*Kenneth White

*Rick Williams

*Denotes member was absent

Guests: Roger Barker, Ken Sexton,  Mike Hopper

Chair Weathers called the meeting to order at 1:08 p.m. A quorum was present. The September minutes had been distributed at the October 30th special called meeting. Corrections were made as follows:

The "Point of Information" in the Chair's Report of the Oct.6th minutes was made by Chair Weathers in a review of the minutes.

MOTION: October regular scheduled meeting minutes were approved as amended.

Proposed: Rep. Thacker Seconded: Rep. Jessie

Called for Vote: Passed

The special called meeting of October 30th minutes were distributed for review and corrected as follows by representative Caudill:

Paragraph 4 of the minutes should read as follows: "Dr. Eaglin's goal for next year is to try to increase salaries 5% and with the university's contribution to employees' health care benefits this will amount to an approximate 7% increase.

MOTION: October regular scheduled meeting minutes were approved as amended.

Proposed: Rep. Stewart Seconded: Rep. Dixon

Called for Vote: Passed

CHAIR'S REPORT - Chair Weathers had talked with Dr. Moore and Vice-President Daily regarding the Fall Break that Staff Congress had requested be given to staff as well as students and faculty. She was informed by VP Daily on Oct. 12, that Fall Break would not be scheduled in the future. (see attached memo.)

Chair Weathers sent the Staff Congress's recommendation to support the increase of the university's contribution to employee's' health insurance to the appropriate offices.

Flu vaccines are expected to arrive at the health clinic in approximately two weeks. The health clinic is working to identify the high-risk population on campus, so they may receive flu vaccinations first. The health clinic hopes to have a flu vaccine clinic for the entire campus community before the Christmas Break. Faculty/staff and their spouses are eligible to receive the free vaccinations.



Committee Reports

Credentials and Elections Committee – Co-Chair Beller announced that Mike Hopper would be recommended to replace Rep. Wetherholt who has resigned his position with the university.

Standing Appointments Sub-Committee – In the absence of Chair Hinton, SC Chair Weathers reported that Standing Appointments Committee is sending a new survey to university staff asking them to select university committees they would be willing serve on. The survey is ready to be mailed to staff members

Fiscal Affairs Committee - The FA committee had been asked to review the current probation and sick leave policies to see if there is a way for probationary employees to accrue vacation time and take sick leave and use it sooner than stated in the current policy. The FA committee is not recommending any change in the current practice since the policy is very lenient and does reflect a similarity to policies in business and industry.

The request for a bi-annual employee evaluation was also reviewed. The committee felt that as long as merit pay is tied to employee raises, an annual evaluation would need to be made on each employee.

Personnel Policies and Benefits Committee – No report. The committee is still reviewing a recommendation of consultation days for staff that is similar to the faculty. The committee will be re-submitting the tuition waivers for retirees recommendation.

Ad-Hoc By-laws Committee Report - In the absence of Chair B. Sammons, SC Chair Weathers referred the congress to the October minutes, page 2, Ad-Hoc By-laws Committee Report, which will serve as a written presentation of the recommended by-law changes. The Committee will present a specific report at the November meeting regarding these changes and indicating where they will be placed in the by-laws.

Ad-Hoc Staff Regents Election Committee- No report

Dr. Ken Sexton and Roger Barker made a presentation on the Civility Committee. The committee has been meeting for over a year on the Civility issue. The committee envisions the entire campus community, students, faculty, and staff, treating each other with a measure of civility that may not be prevalent across campus. Several different ideas have been discussed. The committee is currently looking at a poster campaign. Also they have a theme "How Do You Measure Up". The committee will be sponsoring a "civility contest" launching off of the Random Acts of Kindness initiative and creating an infrastructure that others can nominate people they see doing something right. Dr. Eaglin will be addressing this at the Spring Convocation. A budget has been established for this project. The entire campus community is encouraged to join in the campaign. Dr. Sexton explained that the committee was started as a result of a staff member having a negative experience with a student. Dr. Sexton passed out a Campus Civility Campaign poster listing the members of the committee.

OLD BUSINESS -The replacement of Michael Weatherholt.

MOTION: The Credentials and Elections Committee is recommending Mike Hopper to replace Michael Weatherholt on the Staff Congress.

Proposed: C & E Committee Seconded: Rep. Stewart

Called for Vote: Passed

Rep. Caudill requested that representatives receive an updated membership list.

NEW BUSINESS - Rep. Stewart asked that the staff congress review the way the university allows employees to carry vacation days as to the way state government employees accumulate vacation days. According to Rep. Stewart State government employees can accumulate vacation days based on the following formula:

0 - 10 years of employment - 30 days per year

11 - 14 years of employment - 45 days per year

15 - 20 years of employment - 60 days per year

After 60 vacation days are accumulated the vacation days can be rolled over to sick days which can be used toward retirement. As an agency of the state, the university sets their own policy regarding the amount of vacation/sick leave that employees can accumulate. Rep. Caudill asked that the limitation of accumulated sick days for those employees in Teacher's Retirement be looked into also. Chair Weathers will talk to Roger Barker regarding this issue, requesting information specific to the different retirement systems, what the MSU regulations are and comparative information from other universities.

Representatives Thacker and Caudill brought before the congress the issue that Human Resources is changing the university policy to require persons in exempt positions to have an associates degree or higher. This information was given to the Physical Plant office when they began reorganization of a department. Rep. Thacker felt this would make it difficult for the university to recruit persons for positions in Physical Plant due to the technical requirements of the positions. Rep. Thacker felt that if this was true, the non-exempt salary grades should be expanded. Human Resources had indicated that requiring a degree for exempt positions was a requirement of the Federal Labor Standards Law. Rep. Hopper understood the Federal Labor Standards Law to read that if a position is salaried it is classified as an exempt position. If the position is paid on an hourly wage, it is classified as non-exempt. Classification was not related to a degree. Rep. Caudill indicated Physical Plant had received e-mail from Human Resources informing them that for a currently advertised position, applications would be accepted only from applicants with a degree. Chair Weathers will check with Human Resources regarding this matter.


Remember to vote on Nov. 7

Pre-registration week is Nov. 13-17

Random Act of Kindness Week in the Residence Halls - Nov.13-17

MOTION: Adjournment

Proposed: Rep. Dixon Seconded: Rep. Cecil

Called For Vote: Passed. Meeting adjourned at 2:40 p.m.

Minutes by: Dallas F. Sammons, Secretary




October 9, 2000



TO: Dr. Michael Moore

Mr. Porter Dailey

FROM: Madonna Weathers, Chair

Staff Congress

RE: Fall Break Proposal

When I made my report to the Staff Congress on the proposal that had gone forth from the ad hoc calendar committee there was discussion on the issue of fall break. Concern was voiced that staff be given the same consideration for time off during the fall break as was being afforded the faculty.

The printed Fiscal Year 2000-2001 calendar this year indicates that Monday, November 6, 2000, fall break, is a day that classes are not held but offices are open. It is not indicated to be a faculty workday. Staff Congress recommends in the future the proposed two-day fall break be treated as spring break is, as a holiday period. Congress members had strong feelings that the same rationale that led to a decision that a fall break would be beneficial for faculty and students would also apply to staff.

After some discussion the following motion was approved by the congress:

"Chair Weathers will talk with the appropriate administrative offices to ask that staff are given the same consideration and time off for fall break as faculty. The understanding will be that essential staffing, as during spring break, would occur as appropriate to individual office/unit situations."

Thank you for your serious consideration of this issue. I would welcome the opportunity to further discuss this with you and others involved in making the final decision on the matter.

I do request that when the decision concerning this matter is made that I be given information in advance of publication to share with the congress. If the decision is one other than would reflect their recommendation I would hope to be prepared to present it to them with an understanding of the rationale used by the decision makers.