Staff Congress
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3 April 2000

**Scottie Barker, Sharon Beller, *Larry Besant, Thelma Bumgardner, Vincent Butler, *Joy Cecil, Dan Connell, *Patty Eldridge, Lois L. Hawkins, Stephanie Stewart, Rosemary Hinton, Betty Sue Hurley, David Jessie, Della Johnson, Linda Kegley, Velda Mabry, *Rhonda Mackin, **Zach McClurg, *Pam Moore, Carole Morella, Joel Pace, Belva Sammons, Dallas Sammons, *Wilma Stegall, Larry Stephenson, **Jack Templeman, *Todd Thacker, Madonna Weathers, Kenny White

*Prior Notification **No Notification

Guests:    Roger Barker, Director, Office of Human Resources

                 Gene Caudill, Staff Regent

                 Ruth Robinson

The meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Stephenson at 1 p.m. Minutes of the March 6 meeting were reviewed.

MOTION:  March 6 minutes were accepted.

                    Proposed: Rep. D. Sammons;     Seconded: Rep. Weathers

Called For Vote: Passed






Standing Committee on Appointments – No Report.

Credential and Elections Committee – Staff Congress election is Wednesday, May 10, 2000. Committee Chair Stephenson reviewed the memo distributed to all Staff Congress Representatives dealing with the Nominations for Staff Regent and Representatives of Staff Congress. There are three candidates for the position of Staff Regent. The candidates are: Roger Barker, Larry X. Besant, and Gene Caudill. One person will be elected for a three-year term. In the At-Large Category there are five positions to be filled: Executive Managerial (2), Secretarial/Clerical (1), Technical/Paraprofessional (1), Service Maintenance (1) and Professional Non-Faculty (0). Candidates running in the At-Large category are: Sharon Beller, Service/Maintenance; Stephanie Stewart, Secretarial/Clerical; Madonna Weathers, Executive/Managerial. These three representatives will serve for three-year terms. Executive/Managerial Category two people are running Gene Caudill and Carole Morella. This position has openings for one representative for a three-year term and one representative for a one-year term. Professional/Non-Faculty has five candidates with one representative serving for a three-year term. The candidates are Jeff Barker, Lois L. Hawkins, Margaret LaFontaine, Belva Sammons, and Michael Wetherholt. Secretarial/Clerical has one position for a three-year term; L. Lenore Dixon nominated. Service/Maintenance Category, Betty Sue Hurley, this category has one representative position for a three-year term. Skilled Crafts has two representatives for one three-year term. Candidates are Tim Smith and Ricky Joe Williams. Technical/Paraprofessional Category has two positions available but no candidates to consider.

Absentee ballots may be obtained starting April 5, 2000.

Committee Chair Stephenson did suggest looking at Staff Congress Constitution and By-laws for the number of EEOC positions allowed in the At-Large category and equal representation in the Professional Non-Faculty Category. The Committee proposes having an Ad hoc Committee to review this. Review of Constitution and By-laws is highly recommended.

Staff Regent Caudill did ask about campaigning through e-mail, mailings or by phone. This was discussed and a motion was presented by Rep. Stewart and Seconded by Rep. Jessie that campaigning through e-mail, mailings, or by phone can be done by candidates for Staff Congress positions.

Called For Vote: Passed

Fiscal Affairs Committee – Committee Chair B. Sammons stated a Budget Planning Meeting was set for April 12. Staff Regent Caudill will be there as will Committee Chair B. Sammons. Carol Nutter is the Chair of the Committee that represents Faculty Senate Fiscal Affairs. Senate Fiscal Affairs Chair Nutter called requesting that Staff Congress put forth a motion saying if the University has just a 2% salary pool that instead of having merit considered that the full 2% be based on the cost of living index and be given across the board. It was noted that Staff Congress had asked for and had not been granted this request. Chair Nutter stated that this had never happened before with Faculty because there has not been just a 2% pool for faculty. The committee recommends to Staff Congress that when more information is available it will make a recommendation that if the salary pool does not meet the consumer price index that it will ask that raises be across the board rather than broken with merit. Committee Chair B. Sammons stated she was putting this in a form of a motion for Staff Congress to approve.

VC Stephenson stated this has been suggested by Staff Congress a number of times already with the results being denied. Rep. B. Sammons stated that with the Senate asking for the same thing this could either help or hurt Staff Congress. Staff Regent Caudill stated that he believed they would accept it for non-exempt but would not consider for exempt. Rep. Morella asked what happened to the serious consideration that was to be put toward exempt staff salaries? Faculty has been brought up and non-exempt has been brought up when will exempt employees be considered?

Committee Chair B. Sammons recommended a meeting be called for April 17 to report on what happened at the Budget Planning meeting held April 12 and possibly vote on salary recommendations.

Rep. Morella asked if any discussion or consideration for exempt staff be given a bonus or catch-up one-time money. Staff Regent Caudill stated he had made that recommendation due to having more non-reoccurring money available than reoccurring. This suggestion has not been well receive by any top administrators. This would be a good management tool, moral builder, and a way of rewarding people or catching them up without committing the University for the next 25 years. President Grote did give all faculty and staff a bonus one year at Christmas and it was one of the best moral builders ever. Vice Chair Stephenson stated the bonus was based on enrollment. Rep. Morella stated Staff Congress should give Committee Chair B. Sammons recommendations, alternatives or suggestions to take to the April 12 meeting.

Committee Chair B. Sammons reminded Staff Congress Reps that there was a motion on the floor that needed to be something with. Do we vote on the motion, table that motion but an action needs to be taken?

MOTION: Staff Congress recommends that if the salary pool does not meet the Consumer Price Index all Staff raises be across the board.


A meeting will be scheduled for April 17, 2000 at 1 p.m. in Riggle Room unless notified otherwise.

Personnel Policies and Benefits Committee – Committee Chair Hawkins has attached to the Staff Congress minutes a list of questions submitted to the Director of Human Resources, Roger Barker, to answer before Staff Congress. These questions are being used for discussion no voting will be required. The questions are as follows:

1.  How many staff members are re-employed at the University as of 3/23/2000?

Mr. Barker: There are 6 employees but they are not all staff. Two are faculty and four staff. This does not include early retirement people. Early retirement personnel are not what is being discussed. This is retired re-employment not early retirement. This policy is for MSU employees that decide to retire and to come back to work part-time. Under this plan they are currently receiving benefits which include vacation and sick days.

VC Stephenson asked:  "What is the difference in re-employeed and part-time employment?"

Mr. Barker: Part-time has no benefits and does not have tuition waiver access. Re-employed receive vacation and sick days, tuition waiver access, and can purchase dental insurance as well as tickets to events, bookstore discounts, etc.

Staff Regent Caudill asked:    What is the qualification for this?

Mr. Barker: Must be approved through department, meet a need of the University, and must be a match to University needs. Employee applies for it and if supported by the unit or VP the President approves. The position is similar to a part-time position basically. Fixed term contract.

VC Stephenson: What is the advantage of having one or the other for the employee?"

Mr. Barker: For the employee the tuition waiver but the waiver does not transfer to a dependant or spouse. Very little difference than the part-time employee program.

Staff Regent Caudill: Why do we even have this program?

Mr. Barker: Sort of an incentive to folks that leave with great skills like Ruth Robinson that has skills very beneficial to the University to come back part-time.

2. What is the reasoning for deleting the benefits listed below for re-employed personnel?

In the packet sent to the Personnel Policies and Benefits Committee relating to the consolidation of Personnel Policies PG 43, Retired (Staff) Re-Employment Program and PAc 25, Retired Faculty Re-Employment Program into PG 57, Retired Faculty and Staff Re-Employment Program other provisions were also proposed for amendment. Please see statement quote below:

"It is proposed that the payroll deduction privileges related to life insurance, dental and annuities; and vacation and sick leave earnings be eliminated, or for employees currently in the program, phased out effective June 30, 2000. Tuition waivers will continue to be granted to re-employed retirees."

"With the exception of the tuition waiver privilege, the benefits available to re-employed retirees will be identical to those of all other part-time employees resulting in a single system of benefit tracking administration. Of course, KTRS and KERS employees have access to health and life insurance through their respective retirement plans."

Mr. Barker: The tracking of sick and vacation days were near impossible.

What will the savings be to the University with the deletion of benefits for re-employed personnel?

Mr. Barker: About 20% per employee. Approximately 18 days per year vacation and sick days.

3.    On page 2 of PG 57, "The member’s performance will be evaluated utilizing the same evaluation instruments as used to evaluate regular full-time employees."

What is the reasoning for re-employed personnel being evaluated in the staff evaluation process when employment depends on an annual rejustification?

Mr. Barker: Couple of different ways of looking at this:

  1. Wants the ability to evaluate anyone who works for you; it needs to be written that you cannot use some other type of instrument that you develop yourself this will keep evaluating consistent

  2. People employed on a part-time basis can be evaluated for salary increases if done on a consistent written basis. Can also be used for a renewal of contract.

4.    Why on March 7 was the wrong information given in a memorandum to the Chair of Staff Congress for review of these policies?

Mr. Barker: Correct at the time the information was written but the change was not corrected when material revised.

5.    On page 1 of PG 44, the Job Classification Appeals Committee has been deleted.

What is the reasoning or rational for deleting this Committee?

Mr. Barker: One of the reasons for it was that it was recommended by the Mercer Group when they came in to abolish the Appeals Committee. Another reason is that the President wants it abolished. Another reason is that it is considered by many to be less than an effective use of resources for the people that sits on the committee. They are not "as trained" in making this kind of a technical decision as the folks in Human Resources.

Vice Chair Stephenson: Why did Mercer make this recommendation?

Mr. Barker: For the reason that committee members are not as qualified to make that determination as Human Resources professionals. Here is what we should do? We should offer an alternative for abolishing it. That alternative should require or suggest that the President does not make the final decision. That would be my recommendation, if you feel strongly, as I know Staff Congress feels strongly, as I felt when I was on Staff Congress that this should not be abolished.

Vice Chair Stephenson: Why does the President think the Committee should be abolished?

Mr. Barker: He thinks that Human Resources is the only one qualified to make the reclassification decision.

Vice Chair Stephenson: But Roger you all make the decision on the initial reclassification now you all want to be the judge, jury and executioner.

Mr. Barker: I am not going to defend it in any way. I have put it out there just exactly the way it stands. There are people that want it abolished and I think if we want to keep it intact we need to change the way it looks.

Rep. Morella: The President is the authorizing official of the University. He signs everything, he signs it all. Why would he want to not have this authority to make the final decision? I don’t see any indication of him not wanting to sign. Why doesn’t he want to sign this?

Mr. Barker: He does not feel qualified to make that decision.

Rep. Hawkins: Chair Thacker wanted me to bring forth before Staff Congress that juries that sit for our judicial system trials are not trained they are given guidelines. If there is a problem with the training and the term length of participants on this committee then we provide more training and extend the term length.

Staff Regent Caudill: Over the years there have been as many turned down as have been approved. This shows me that this is a viable committee.

Vice Chair Stephenson: When this committee was originally started many years ago it was not formed as it is now. The Committee consisted of a represented from each division of the University, the Director of Human Resources or designee, Staff Congress Chair, and a staff member of HR that prepared the evaluation of the reclassification material. Then it got changed about the time Virginia Wheeless took over to what we’re trying to deal with now. I don’t know if that type of committee would be better than what we have.

Rep. Weathers: Our concern then was you have the Vice Presidents and everything was "I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine". My remembrance was everything got approved. They are now in the process.

Vice Chair Stephenson: They were in the process but at that time they became the appeals body.

Mr. Barker: That is real interesting information about the VPs because what I have written in the UAR that will go along with this if it is abolished is that final appeal process will be the VP. The affected VP will make his argument to Human Resources. Then Human Resources and the VP will make the determination.

Rep. Morella: Why would you think the VP would be any more knowledgeable than the President?

Mr. Barker: Closer to the employee.

Rep. D. Sammons: I am on the Committee and last year we did not meet. The year before on June 15 we were given a stack of appeals that were to be decided by June 30.

Staff Regent Caudill: That is exactly why the procedures were changed on the reclassification process. If you go by the process you are supposed to have an answer by the end of January. We have not followed the process yet. If Human Resources makes the determination why do they go back to the VP?

Mr. Barker: It is going back to the VP for input. I cannot give you training in the classification system between now and 3 o’clock. We probably do need to have that as part of our development program. I would be 100 percent for that but right now the system is in place and all we are trying to do is administer it. I am not defending it; we’re just trying our best to do it the way of whoever developed it set it out to be done.

Staff Regent Caudill: One big weakness of the reclassification system is productivity means nothing. We were told in one of our appeals, we have a young lady that does payroll for 250 employees, that that did not mean anymore than someone entering payroll for 2 employees. Work load is not a gradeable category.

Rep. Morella: What recourse do you have if a VP turns down a strong recommendation you make on an employee?

Mr. Barker: I will report at the next meeting after this happens.

Staff Regent Caudill: There are two problems here. Every employee on this campus deserves the right to feel that their job is being classified properly, due process. Because their supervisor does not like them, the supervisor should not be able to stop them from ever having their job reviewed. The employee deserves the right to make a review request to Human Resources no matter who says no. And second of all, they need an appeals committee to make the people feel comfortable that there is somebody on this Campus that they can go to to make a case for themselves.

Rep. Morella: A lot of people on Campus do not know how to write a job description or file a job reclassification appeal. I think the Office of Human Resources could do training to help people them write it so they can be classified where they should be. You all would get a better product, reduce your workload, and reduce the amount of review time by training us to do a better job.

Mr. Barker: Okay, how do we fix this appeal committee? Are you all going to come up with a recommendation?

Vice Chair Stephenson: The next meeting of Staff Congress is May 1, we will give a proposal at that time.

6.    On page 3 of PG 44, "The Director of Human Resources shall review each request for exception to the entry level and approve or disapprove any salary request up to the midpoint salary."

What justification is there for the Director of Human Resources to have the power to approve or disapprove what a Vice President has the desire and the money to do in terms of a new hire’s salary?

Mr. Barker: The VP has to approve this now and then the President makes the final determination for anybody hired above entry level. I think this is a little time consuming and needs to be in the new policy that the Director of Human Resources will approve it up to mid-point. That is not eliminating the VP it has to go through the VP first. I do not get it until the VP has already approved it.

Rep. Connell: Roger could you elaborate why you feel the ultimate decision should be HR versus the VP who would follow the policy and have all the justification and would say yeah or nah?

Mr. Barker: Because of our classification system. That is the reason we do it now. If Human Resources tells the President that this would skew our classification system, make it unequible, then chances are it’s not going to be that salary most likely it would be what Human Resources said was the right salary for that job. Not always but generally speaking. That is the reason the policy is set up the way it is is to maintain equity in the classification system. There are reasons why you do it.

7.    On page 4 of PG 44, "Employees whose positions are submitted for reclassification because of significant changes in their job duties should not be allowed to begin the new duties until the reclassification is approved. For employees in positions that reclassified, the new pay rate shall become effective on the first day of July following approval of the reclassification." Why is there not a procedure in effect for those situations that demand new duties be added to an employee before reclassification has been approved? (This type of reclassification is not due to reorganization? )

Why would the employee have to wait for reclassification approval and July 1 to receive pay if they are performing the new duties?

Mr. Barker: This is a reclassification request to change a job and a person should not be doing duties associated with that job until the request has been approved.

Part of question 7 was answered and question 8 was not answered by Mr. Barker due to time constraints.

8.    On page 4 of PG 44, "Retroactive pay adjustments shall be made on a case-by-case basis and based upon justification being provided by the employee’s supervisor and approved by the appropriate Vice President." Has the penalty to employees receiving retroactive pay been considered? Being paid retroactively increases tax liability for employee, thus penalizing the employee for work performed. Also, does retroactive pay mean effective July 1? What is the mechanism for handling reorganization that happen in the middle of the year?

What happens to the employee’s compensation for performing new duties prior to reclassification approval if retroactive pay is denied?

Rep. Morella: Based on our discussion, will the Personnel Policies and Benefits Committee come back with some alternatives and suggestions in response to this?

Vice Chair Stephenson: The Personnel Policies and Benefits Committee will respond by the May 1 Staff Congress meeting.

Rep. Morella: I ask that the information coming from the Personnel Policies and Benefits Committee comes to us five days in advance of the May 1 meeting.

OLD BUSINESS – No Old Business

NEW BUSINESS What is going on with the Civility Committee? Rep. Connell stated the Civility Committee met before Spring Break. Poster and flyers are being developed by Ken Sexton and have not come back from the printer yet. Staff Regent Caudill asked who gave the committee a budget? Rep. Connell said he did not know the answer to that question.


May 1, 2000 Staff Congress Meeting – Riggle Room

MOTION: Adjournment 3 p.m.

Proposed: Rep. Kegley Seconded: Rep. Butler

Called For Vote: Passed

Minutes by: Lois L. Hawkins, Secretary