MSU PROFESSIONAL COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES 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 Services. - 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 years. - 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 possibility. - 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 negotiated. 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 comment. - 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 meeting.