Staff Congress
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OCTOBER 3, 2005


Ed Beam *Shannon Harr Linda Kegley Amy Moore Dallas Sammons Jonell Tobin
Lisa Caskey Rosemary Hinton *Donna King Pam Moore Doug Snedegar Terry White
Rhonda Crisp Phillip James Margaret LaFontaine April Nutter Stephanie Stewart Elizabeth Williams
Ray Crum Kristie Jenkins Jeffrey Liles Darlene Ramey Todd Thacker
*Kim Fultz David Jessie Rhonda Mackin William Salazar Cindy Thompson

*Denotes member was absent

Guests: None

Chair Jessie called the meeting to order at 1:02 p.m.  A quorum was present. 

Motion: To approve the September 12, 2005 minutes as submitted
  Proposed:  Rep. James Seconded:  Rep. Ramey
Called for Vote: Passed


Chair's Report Chair Jessie reported that he met with Mike Walters about the two proposals we voted on at our last meeting.  He hasn't heard anything back yet.  Mr. Walters was going to talk with President Andrews and the Cabinet.  Hopefully, he will hear something this week.

On September 22, Chair Jessie represented Staff Congress at the Septemberfest ceremonies held in ADUC.  The Septemberfest program honored the Declaration of Independence.

The President's Council meeting for September 28 was canceled and rescheduled for October 12.  He will report on that at our next meeting.

Rep. A. Moore will report on information received from Roger Barker during her committee report.

Vice-Chair's Report Vice-Chair Beam reported that he will be putting together a Staff Congress newsletter and sending it out to staff once a month.  Please email suggestions for the newsletter to him.  He will try to get it sent out within the next two weeks.
Secretary's Report Secretary Crisp reported that $62.06 was spent during September for refreshments, leaving a balance of $2,516.37 in the supply account.


Committee Reports

Credentials and Elections No Report
University Standing Appointments No Report
Fiscal Affairs No Report
Personnel Policies and Benefits Rep. A. Moore reported on several issues:

1.  The decision will be made this week concerning who will be the provider of the new FSA/HRA accounts.  Two vendors did a demonstration.  The new program will offer a debit card and Web-based accounts to show what claims have been made and what the balance of the account is.

2.  Three vendors did a demonstration for the wellness initiative.  It will be announced this week who was selected.  The committee is working with the administration to see what incentives there will be for the program.

3.  As of last Monday, the University went out to vendors with a proposal for health care to take us from a self-insured entity to a fully-funded entity.  We're expecting three responses from that RFP.  The possibilities are:  CHA, Bluegrass Family Health, & Humana.  For years we've asked Roger Barker to look at and see what the possibilities are pricing wise.  They are now taking our initiative and doing that.  When we get the numbers, at least we will know if it is worth being self-insured.  The responses will be back on Wednesday.  The Personnel Policies and Benefits committee will meet with Roger Barker next Monday.  Email Rep. A. Moore with any changes you would like to see made to the health insurance prior to Monday.

4.  There has been a question about reclassification and whether someone is coming to campus to do that.  Human Resources said they have had an RFP answered by companies and those are on Mike Walters desk.  He is reviewing them at this time, so nothing has been finalized, but it is still in the works. 

5.  PP&B will bring forth two recommendations today.  We will vote on these recommendations during 'New Business'.  The recommendations are as follows:  (1)  We recommend that the amount of dollars that are awarded for degrees and advanced degrees be evaluated.  PP&B's recommendation is that the current awarded amounts be doubled.  (2)  That the service award gifts, given at the pinning ceremonies, be reviewed and updated.  (If approved, this recommendation will be passed on to the Service Committee for consideration.)

6.  It was sent to committee last month about adding retirees to our life insurance plan.  The committee did some research and found out that currently when people retire, they have the option of purchasing $5000.00 of life insurance for 75 cents per month.  They also have the option to continue the life insurance they have through MSU at market value cost.  Even if the individual is ill or has a pre-existing condition, it is still offered and is a guaranteed policy with no physical required.  Human Resources is checking on rates of adding retirees to our policy, so this motion has been tabled until we get the numbers back.  When this information is received, it will be evaluated and a recommendation will be made.

Regent's Report - No report.

Old Business - None

New Business 

Motion: That the amount of dollars that are awarded for degrees and advanced degrees be evaluated.  PP&B's recommendation is that the current awarded amounts be doubled.  Current rates are: Associates degree: $300, Bachelor's degree: $400, Master's degree: $500, PHD: $1,000.
  Proposed:  Personnel Policies & Benefits Committee Seconded:  None needed.
Discussion: Points discussed included:

GED's, professional certifications, and specialist programs have a dollar amount and they should be included and doubled also.

Bonus and added-to-base awards should both be included.

The awards have not been adjusted in a long time.

Amendment to Motion: That the amount of dollars that are awarded for degrees and advanced degrees be evaluated.  This includes GED, Associate's degree, Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, professional certificates and specialist programs.  PP&B's recommendation is that the current awarded amounts be doubled.  This includes bonus and added-to-base awards.
  Proposed: Rep. Thacker Seconded: Rep. A. Moore
Called for Vote: Passed


Motion: That the service award gifts, given at the pinning ceremonies, be reviewed and updated.  Possible considerations we entertained were:  redesign of the pin, MSU athletic tickets, reduced parking decals, bookstore gift certificates, leather portfolio with MSU logo, and instead of providing you an honorary brick, the University should establish an area on campus where bricks are placed for people that are alive.

If approved, this recommendation will be passed on to the Service Committee for consideration.

  Proposed:  Personnel Policies & Benefits Committee Seconded:  None Needed
Discussion: Points discussed included:

The list of 'possible considerations' are only ideas for the service committee to consider.

On the level of awards, are there options of what an employee can receive?  Some people would prefer one gift over another.  A choice would be nice.

The service committee needs to consider employees who work at off-campus centers when making service award decisions.

Called for Vote: Passed, 1 nay

Rep. Stewart brought up the issue of employees driving university vehicles home.  Points discussed included:

* Some employees have university-wide responsibilities as opposed to responsibilities in one department.
* This is a fringe benefit to these employees.
* This is a taxable benefit; they have to pay taxes on the vehicle.
* Gasoline is expensive, maybe these employees should drive their own vehicle home.
* Coaches have cars supplied by a dealership, so there are probably only three employees who drive cars home:  the director of the physical plant, the police chief, and the environmental health and safety person.  These people have to come in nights, weekends, etc. to take care of problems.  Chair Jessie will check on that number if wanted.
* We can't blame the employees who drive the vehicles home for this, the university offered a vehicle to them as part of their job.  The supervisors of these people made the decision.
* The employees should not use the vehicle for personal errands.


Rep. Tobin brought up the issue of donating days to the sick leave pool.  She was wondering if the HR staff are confident that sick leave pool days are awarded where it is deserved.  She has heard about people literally burning all their days and then expecting to use the sick leave pool. 

Points discussed included:

* The policy says sick leave pool days must be for a catastrophic illness and the employee must have a note from a physician saying they cannot work for a period of time.  Even if an employee 'burns their days', if they have a catastrophic illness they are as entitled to these days the same as anyone else.  We should all pull together and help someone with a catastrophic illness. 
* The policy reads the ultimate decision lies with the Director of Human Resources.  It would be better if the Employee Benefits Committee or some other governing body got to vote on awarding sick leave pool days instead of one individual making this decision.  This has been discussed with Roger Barker and he agrees.
* If someone has worked here for 20 years and has no vacation or sick days, that is a history of abuse.  If there are no major illnesses in a person's record, that should be considered in a sick leave pool request.
* There was a question of whether a supervisor signed-off on a sick leave pool request.  Chair Jessie said supervisors do not sign off; he has had employees request days from the sick leave pool and he has never been asked to sign off on the request.
*Are there a certain number of times a year an employee can request days from the sick leave pool?
* Some people won't donate to the sick leave pool because they think there is abuse in the system.
* Maybe the system should be revised to allow employees to donate days to a specific person so they would know there was no abuse.
* Can sick leave pool days be requested for use if a spouse is very ill and the employee needs time off because of that?  That would be FMLA; sick leave pool days can only be used for the employee's own illness.
* For everyone that abuses the system, there are some people who need it but don't get it.

Chair Jessie will ask Roger Barker to attend the November meeting and give us information as well as address these concerns.


Our next meeting is November 7.  We may need to schedule a special meeting about health insurance.  If so, it will be announced.  Mr. Barker said open enrollment could be the month of November.  Once open enrollment is set, everyone will be informed.

Homecoming starts next Thursday.  The parade will be Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. and will be coming down Main Street.  There will be no pep rally this year after the parade.  Friday will be the Hall of Fame Banquet and a student luau prior to that.  Saturday is the football game and a tailgate prior to that.  Everyone should have gotten a homecoming brochure by campus mail.  If not, one can be picked up at the Alumni office. 

Ginger Hall re-roofing starts tomorrow.  There could be some disruptions in traffic flow behind Ginger Hall for 30 days up to two months.

University Games concluded with the cook-out.  T-shirts are in and will be distributed to participants.  190 individuals participated in at least one event and several people participated in three or four events.  Participation might have been up a little this year.

Motion: To adjourn
  Proposed:  Rep. Kegley Seconded:  Rep. LaFontaine
Called for Vote: Passed

Minutes submitted by:  Rhonda Crisp, Secretary