Rich Stafford talked about the legislative sub committee that visited campus on January 29th. The committee was running late so the time allotted for the different groups to speak was cut short. The Professional committee addressed losing classified staff due to wages. Rich brought up fee waivers for families of MSU employees and incentive programs. Rich said he would be attending the Board of Regents meeting in Helena on March 20th. The Faculty Council will speak at this meeting. CEPAC will have the opportunity to speak at the April meeting in Great Falls. There was a discussion on what Rich, as the representative for CEPAC, should present when he speaks to various groups. At our next meeting we will discuss the March 20th meeting and come up with items to have Rich bring up in April.
Sara France asked where we were in regards to a list serve for classified employees. This is an excellent way to get information out to everyone involved. It was confirmed that Carol Shannon had offered to extract classified only emails from the faculty/staff listserv and send mailings whenever CEPAC desired. It was decided we will send out a statement to the list serve, which will explain what CEPAC does and where to look at our minutes. The list of committee members will have email links so people can contact any of us with concerns they wish to have addressed. CEPAC needs to communicate with our constituents to find out what issues are out there and let the regents and legislators know. Sara will put a counter on the web site. Minutes will be posted on the web site stating "approval pending at the next meeting".
There was discussion on budget/benefit issues at the Legislature. Rich mentioned that the education budget is usually set last as it is the easiest to change. Some of the issues were a 4% raise verses a specific dollar amount per person. Also, subsidizing the insurance program was discussed. Dan Wise asked that Rich try to get the number of people putting into the pool verses the number of people eligible for subsidy. People could opt out of the benefits but they wouldn't get anything back. Another possibility would be to stagger retiree benefits depending on length of service.
With the new attitudes of the Regents, we (CEPAC) need to get aggressive on issues affecting classified employees. Employees could make suggestions on ways to increase revenue, ie sales tax. Bonnie White asked if CEPAC is politically neutral. Could we have the option of listing bills and have employees vote on bills to use as leverage? Rich will see if Cathy Conover can give a briefing on what's going on with the legislature. This could be a written or personal progress report.
The recent legislative committee visit to campus was delayed by the committee's late arrival. CEPAC's presentation to the committee was therefore cut short. Dan moved that we write a letter to the president with a copy to the legislative committee stating CEPAC was not happy with not being allotted the amount of time we were told we would have. Rich and Bonnie attended the meeting so they will work on a letter.
Ray Byerly suggested getting departments to enhance the benefit employees have of taking classes.
NEXT MEETING APRIL 9, 2003 IN THE BRADLEY CONFERENCE CENTER AT 9:00AM