October 22, 2003
PRESENT: Glenn Puffer, Jim Mitchell, Jim Manning, Sandy Rahn-Gibson,
Leslie Schmidt.
ABSENT: Becky Ward.

The meeting was called to order at 2:00 PM by Chair Glenn Puffer.  A
quorum was present.  The minutes of the September 17, 2003,
Professional Council meeting were approved as distributed.

The Chair introduced Susan Alt and Dawn Watkins, Personnel and Payroll
Services, who agreed to attend Professional Council to discuss some
personnel questions that have arisen.

Remarks by Susan Alt, Director of Personnel and Payroll Services.
     - Director Alt would like to attend Professional Council, Faculty
     Council, and Classified Employees Advisory Committee more
     regularly to facilitate communication.
     - The Personnel and Payroll Services website is being updated.
     It contains much useful information for employees.
     - The MSU Benefits Committee has been very active.  Some members
     of the committee, including the PPS Director, are members of the
     Inter-Units Benefits Committee.

Remarks by Dawn Watkins, Assistant Director of Personnel and Payroll
     - In response to an inquiry, the timing of university pay days
     was explained.  Information developed when the feasibility of
     twice/monthly pay was explored was distributed.
          - To pay on the first of each month, the pay period would
          need to end on the 20th of each month.  This creates several
          problems, because a pay check would include part of two
          different months.  Bi-weekly checks would create similar
          problems, crossing months as well as calendar and fiscal
          - To alleviate the problem for new classified employees who
          may not receive a pay check for nearly six weeks after being
          hired, PPS is watching for these hires.  They are included
          on the supplemental payroll to receive a partial-month's
          check soon after they are employed.
          - Banner is able to do electronic PTF's and electronic time
          entry by department.  MSU will move toward that when
          departments and supervisors have more regular methods for
          supplying information needed for electronic delivery.
          - Paying salary twice per month may not completely double
          the work load, but there are other issues to consider.  MSU
          and its satellite campuses each do their own payroll,
          putting heavy demands upon the Banner system.  UM does
          payroll for its satellite campuses, and even though there
          was resistance to doing so in the beginning, it seems to
          work well.
          - There is an operational need to have ten days to process
          payrolls, and if there are holidays or week-ends in the
          period, it is very difficult to have it processed by the
          tenth of the month.
          - There was agreement by Professional Council members that
          moving pay day to the 10th of each month would help, because
          many loans need to be paid by then.  PPS will consider the
     - The benefits inequities for two-employee families at MSU comes
     about because the state puts a certain amount of money into the
     benefits pool for each employee, regardless of family
     circumstances.  Unused benefits belong to the plan, not to an
     individual.  If employees were able to use their benefits
     contribution any way they chose (opt out of the health program
     and use the money for flex credits, for example), remaining
     employees would most likely have to pay more.
     - The Montana University System health benefits are very good in
     relation to most other group insurance.  The program has a
     relatively small out-of-pocket cost and no limit on coverage.
     Health insurance costs are increasing rapidly country-wide.

In response to a question about MAP, Director Alt reported that the
current performance cycle is going much better.  There have been
improvements to the process, and PPS has been able to move more into a
service role.  Improvements in the program will continue to be made.
Benefits to MAP include:
     - The MUS has been able to move away from the state pay plan with
     MAP and negotiate for additional pay, some in the form of the
     0.05% increase at the end of each performance cycle.
     - There is more flexibility with new hires than in the past.

The MPEA did not ratify the $.25/hour increase to be given January 05.
Next week there will be a vote on a new proposal that has been

Report from the University Planning and Budget Analysis Committee -
Jim Mitchell.
     - The Committee is working on a strategic plan, with discussion
     beginning at a September retreat.  In early October, the
     information was categorized.  It will be refined, discussed again
     by UPBAC, and then be shared with the campus community for
     - In the first draft, it was proposed faculty pay increases to
     provide pay levels equal to some benchmark (using the median for
     other peer universities) be included.  A similar statement needs
     to be included for professional and classified staff.  A
     five-year time horizon was recommended for faculty increases to
     move toward the benchmark.

The meeting adjourned at 3:00 PM.  Additional  items on the agenda
will be discussed via e-mail and at the November Professional Council