Staff Congress
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FEBRUARY 6, 2006


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

*Denotes member was absent

Guests: Gene Caudill-Staff Regent & Director of Physical Plant

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

Motion: To approve the January 9, 2006 minutes as submitted
  Proposed:  Rep. K. Williams Seconded:  Rep. P. Moore
Called for Vote: Passed


Chair's Report Chair Jessie reported that there was a President's Council meeting on Wednesday, January 25.  Items discussed included:

*There was a Power Point presentation on the Study Abroad Program at MSU.
*They gave an update on the 2006 spring enrollment.  As of January 25, the enrollment is down 1.7%.
*Target enrollment for the fall is 9,700 students.
*They are wanting to add three or four more online classes this fall.
*Attendees received a copy of the 2006-2007 Scholarship Guide.
*There is an RFP out for document technology.
*The online phone directory is not finished yet.
*March 14 is Founder's Day.
*February 22 is the luncheon for units with 100% participation in the campus-giving campaign.  It will be in the Crager Room from 2-4 p.m.
*April 29 is the Gala.
*Dr. Andrews talked about the University's new strategic plan for 2006-2010.  It is called "Aspiring to Greatness".
*Digital Information Systems and e2 Campus were discussed.  This involves email and text messaging between the university, students, faculty and staff.

Chair Jessie met with VP Walters and discussed the following:

*Tuition Waiver for Retirees Issue - this will be introduced to the cabinet at the budget session
*Reclassification Committee Issue - Talked to VP Walters and Roger Barker and has been trying to reach Stephanie Stewart about this.  Chair Jessie will speak to Jeffrey Liles, Vice-Chair of the Standing Appointments Committee, after the meeting. 
*Talked with him about including the Fiscal Affairs Committee of Staff Congress in the budget process.
*Evaluation Assessment Tool for Upline Administrators Issue - Everyone should have picked up a copy of a document off the Internet from Baldridge as they came into the meeting.  Faculty Senate is looking at the document now.  Members of Staff Congress need to look over the document and email questions or concerns to Chair Jessie.  This will not be the wording we will use, but it will be laid-out in this format.  There will be an online evaluation and a paper copy as well.  Employees would be evaluating upline administrators in their own unit.
*Educational Bonuses Issue - VP Walters will look at this and get back with Chair Jessie.  Roger Barker in Human Resources said that less than $12,000 was spent last year on educational bonuses.  Hopefully at the March meeting this will be addressed.

Vice-Chair's Report No Report
Secretary's Report Secretary Crisp reported that $66.46 was spent during January for refreshments and a name plate for new member Lloyd Hammond, leaving a balance of $2,263.73 in the supply account.


Committee Reports

Credentials and Elections Rep. LaFontaine reported that the committee will be in the process shortly of setting the timeline for the 2006 election.  This year we will not only elect staff representation, but also the staff regent.  Preliminary plans include:  election being held on Wednesday, May 17, the Wednesday after finals and nomination forms being sent out the first week of March.
University Standing Appointments No Report 
Fiscal Affairs No Report
Personnel Policies and Benefits Rep. A. Moore reported that she spoke with Jane in the Wellness Center about employees having to pay to use the Wellness Center and their verbiage on the Web site.  The site said full-time and part-time faculty and staff with no health benefits would be charged $120.00 annually.  Jane agreed that this was misleading.  The intent was full-time and part-time staff with no university benefits would have to pay.  The Web page has been updated and the wording is clearer. 

The Personnel Policies & Benefits committee is looking at bringing forth a recommendation that faculty and staff be offered reduced or free athletic tickets to help boost attendance at ballgames and benefit the employees.  They will bring forth a recommendation at a later date.

Employee Benefits Rep. A. Moore reported that the committee met about the sick leave pool.  The policy was written in 1992 and hasn't been updated.  It needs to have better clarification as far as the role of the Employee Benefits Committee.  Currently the policy states that everything is under the Director of Personnel Services.  They are going to make a recommendation on how the policy is run and clarify a few things such as what is eligible for the sick leave pool and what is not.  There are a couple of lines that need to be drawn and those will be written into the policy.  They are working on rewriting it and will come back together to bring forth a recommendation. 

Dan Seth, a member of the Employee Benefits Committee, has taken the lead on trying to draft something and talk to Dr. Andrews about urging St. Claire Regional Medical Center to call the 'Fast Track' an 'Urgent Care Center' or bill it out as an 'Urgent Care Center'.  Roger Barker said he has not been successful and it would have to come from beyond him to get that kind of a change.  Our insurance does cover urgent care as opposed to emergency room visits. 

The committee is going to evaluate a life insurance policy that has a long-term care rider.  A vendor will be coming on-campus to do a demonstration.  Holders of this policy could draw from the death benefit prior to dying for elder care.  This would be an optional policy for employees.

Chair Jessie saw in the newspaper that CHA has been sold.  By the end of April, Humana should have controlling interest in CHA if everything goes through.  He asked VP Walters and Roger Barker about this last week and was assured that nothing will change for this year.  Any concerns will be addressed in the fall when they go through the process.

Regent's Report - No report

Old Business - None

New Business 

Rep. P. Moore said that Cingular offers a discount on service if a person works for a certain company, but MSU is not on the list of employers offering this.  Would MSU consider helping employees get this kind of a discount?  Rep. A. Moore said that would be a rider on the university contract and at this time, MSU does not have a contract with Cingular.  MSU buys off a state contract.  Since we don't have an individual contract with Cingular, they won't offer any kind of discount to personal plans of employees.  MSU is not looking at it at this time because the state rates are so cheap.  We can't get lower monthly rates than what the state offers.  Currently, the state offers a plan for $10.00 per month. 

Rep. Thacker reminded members of the Ad-Hoc committee that the At-Large category of Staff Congress is overburdened with Professional/Non-Faculty members.  Rep. LaFontaine said the Credentials and Elections Committee is already looking at this.  There are a few things in the by-laws, in reference to the composition of Staff Congress, that have been overlooked in the past. 


Rep. King announced that she has been appointed Chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee to revise the by-laws.  Other members of the committee include:  Jeffrey Liles, Doug Snedegar, Todd Thacker, Pam Moore, and Cindy Thompson.  She reported that the committee has met once and reviewed the bylaws and looked at things they thought need to be considered, updated, or reworded, etc.  They are going to get back together and rewrite some of the things.  The reason the committee was created is because it was brought forth that some people would like to have the election moved up.  The committee would like to know how members feel about this.  Should the election be moved to March or leave it in May?  They do not want to take a vote today.  Rep. Sammons asked what the purpose was for wanting to move up the election.  Rep. King said it was to allow people who are elected, to attend a couple of meetings to get to know the membership before officer elections.  That would be an advantage.  The way we do it now, new members attend the June luncheon meeting and in July we elect officers.  They have had only one opportunity to participate in a meeting and observe who has leadership capabilities.  One idea the committee had was to invite people who have been nominated to run in the Staff Congress elections, to attend as guests, so they can become familiar with the other members.  Staff Regent Caudill suggested that the officer elections be moved instead.  Maybe the elections could be in September instead of July.  There might be something in the by-laws about the officer elections being held in July.  It would have to be checked out.  Rep. King would like suggestions or comments emailed to her on the revision of the by-laws and moving up the elections.  The elections would not be moved this year. 

Rep. Sammons said with the conversion to Datatel, there could be a problem with elections being online this year.  Someone will need to check on this.  She likes the idea of nominated people attending meetings.

Rep. P. Moore thinks we should get the word out that Staff Congress meetings are open to anyone.  If a guest has an an item they would like discussed, they need to notify the Chair or the Secretary.

Rep. LaFontaine said she was absent when the Ad-Hoc Committee was put together, but she was wondering if any consideration was given to putting Philip James on the committee since he is parliamentarian.  Since he knows Roberts Rules of Order, it might be appropriate.  Rep. Sammons added that when it comes time to move the changes through and have a vote, it would be helpful to have him on the committee. 


Chair Jessie announced that there is an MSU and Eastern game tonight.

Rep. Liles announced that there will be an open house on Saturday, February 25 and the enrollment goal for the fall is 9,700 students.

Rep. Liles announced that the priority deadline for scholarship applications is February 15.  Share this information with everyone you know.  Sometimes qualified students miss out on scholarships because they apply late to MSU.  Rep. King said that high school students get information about this through Admissions staff visiting the schools and Financial Aid nights.  Also, Financial Aid sends letters to prospective students.  Rep. Tobin asked for information to be given to the off-campus centers because this is the first time she has heard this deadline date.  Rep. Hinton asked if students have to have their tax papers filled out before they apply.  Rep. King said they do not; they can estimate their income.   

Staff Regent Caudill said MSU needs a presence at the All-A classic tournament.  MSU is missing out on a tremendous opportunity to advertise.  Twenty some scholarships are given away at this tournament.  Rep. Liles said when we contract with the tournament, we should have an ad in the booklet, in theory.  Other schools have booths set-up and Rep. Liles said MSU is looking at participating in the event part. 

There is an open house on March 11.

Rep. White said he thinks our policy to remain neutral on prevailing wage is a mistake.  Construction jobs are very costly.  For every job we do, we could save money and pay for a lot more things to be done.  We need to let our legislator's know that.

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

Minutes submitted by:  Rhonda Crisp, Secretary