March 10, 2004

Roll Call


Sharon Pielaet moved that the minutes of the February 11, 2004 meeting be approved. Eileen Baker seconded and the motion passed.


Benefits Committee - Dawn Watkins reported that Blue Cross Blue Shield will continue to administer the university health benefits program through June, 2005. If Bozeman networking is in place in time, Allegence will take over the program in July, 2005. MSU is ensuring certain criteria are satisfactorily in place before agreeing that such a "network" has been achieved.

Retirees' contributions have been renegotiated, and the increase retirees are paying has been reduced to 9%.

Health Insurance Subsidy Task Force - Dawn Watkins reported that the Mercer plan ("if you earn more, you pay more") is not being pursued. Various options are now under consideration, by the Task Force, in its regular meetings. An indepth proposal (cost, numbers of people involved, etc) for submission to the Interunits Benefits Committee is hoped for by September.

MUS Systemwide Labor Management Committee - Bonnie White spoke of the Labor Management Committee's MUS-wide report on MAP, as submitted to the Board of Regents. The findings in the report are similar to those of CEPAC's recent MAP Survey, though not as detailed. Sara France explained that the MUS-LMC Co-Chair, Bev Hawkins-Llewellyn, will make a presentation to the Board of Regents on March 25. She pointed out that MUS-LMC shares agenda time with the CEPAC/Staff Senates of all the MUS campuses.

TIP Incentive Award Program Committee - The President's Office has confirmed a delay in convening the committee, as a chair has not yet been appointed - this position is linked to another position on campus which is currently in the recruitment process.

MAP Advisory Committee - The President's Office has confirmed that all nominations have been received and members will be appointed towards the end of March.

There were no other committee reports.


Twice-monthly checks issue: Susan Alt sent an update: researching the feasibility of issuing paychecks twice a month has been delayed somewhat because the nature of the research has evolved from a more simple feasibility study into a fairly comprehensive cost benefit analysis, including pros and cons. Departments who would be potentially involved have been resurveyed, therefore, and the deadline for feedback submission was 2/27. A new report stemming from this data will go to Craig Roloff, and then the VPs in due course and will be made public once itís been determined that every aspect of the study has been adequately covered and substantiated. This, unfortunately, could take as long as two months. Dawn Watkins added that an accurate assessment of the costs involved must be ascertained before proceeding. Sharon Pielaet asked whether it would be possible for departments to enter their own payroll data. Dawn confirmed that this is feasible but that amendments to the current payroll authorizations would be required (ensuring appropriate signatures on time sheets, etc) before this could be implemented.

It was agreed that, due to the amount of work on today's agenda, the issue of pursuing CEPAC's goals would be postponed until next meeting. However, Sara France asked whether information for inclusion in classified staff orientation handouts could be pursued now. Dawn Watkins confirmed that orientations are held at least monthly, and the Committee agreed that CEPAC information should be prepared as soon as possible.

Sara France had circulated a draft letter for mailing to staff, faculty and administrative staff regarding CEPAC's role and work. Bob O'Driscoll moved that the draft be sent as is. Sharon Pielaet seconded and the motion passed. Sara France will dispatch the mailing under Bonnie White's name, but with the CEPAC membership listed.

Dr. Gamble had asked to be invited to return to CEPAC to discuss staff recognition celebrations. He will attend the regular CEPAC meeting on April 14 from 10-11 am.

Representatives from University Police, Intramurals, and Wellness have been invited to address CEPAC. Bonnie White explained that she will be out of town on the regularly scheduled May meeting date. Sharon Pielaet moved that the meeting be moved to Wednesday, May 5 from 9-11 am. Eileen Huber seconded, and the motion passed. Sharon Pielaet moved that Bonnie White invite Robert Putzke, Larry Martin, and Kirk Keller to each make a short presentation (maximum 15 minutes each) and to prepare for 15 minutes of questions/answers from the meeting, on May 5 beginning at 9.30 am. Ray Byerly seconded and the motion passed. Sara France will announce the date change in the Staff Bulletin, and Bonnie will reserve the Bradley Conference room, having confirmed its availability on the 5th.

Sara France had circulated a draft letter to UPBAC in support of the principle of central funding for classified training and development. Susan Alt had previously mentioned the possibility of a budget amendment being submitted to UPBAC in this regard. However, the amendment will not be forwarded. Hence, CEPAC's writing in support of the principle of funding, rather than of an actual funding request. Bob O'Driscoll moved that the draft be sent, as is, under Bonnie White's signature with the CEPAC membership listed. Ray Byerly seconded and the motion passed.

Sara France had received confirmation on the status of Professional Council's survey of MAP supervisors. Formatting of the questionnaire has proven more challenging than anticipated, but the project is progressing.

As had been previously noted, some outcomes from the MAP Survey are pressing with regard to implementing programmatic amendment before the start of the next MAP cycle (July 1). These items, as well as other matters for possible resolution at the campus level, were identified and will be passed to Personnel and Payroll Services. A list was compiled. Ray Byerly moved that the list be adopted and forwarded to PPS. Bonnie White seconded and the motion passed.

Discussion then moved to outcomes to be forwarded to the MAP Advisory Committee. It was agreed that CEPAC members would attend the April 14 meeting prepared with their suggestions for what a list of this nature might include. Meanwhile, Sara France will circulate to the Committee the very preliminary list compiled at today's meeting.

A brief discussion took place regarding the recent notification on campus that centralized funds are available for non base-building, one-time bonuses through the MAP program. CEPAC acknowledged satisfaction at seeing this resource utilized but noted some potential complications in its proposed implementation.


Bonnie White reported how she had recently invited Commissioner Stearns to informally visit CEPAC, and the Bozeman campus. The University of Montana Staff Senate (CEPAC equivalent committee) was entertaining Dr. Stearns today, and Bonnie, President Gamble and Susan Alt thought it a good idea, and wanted to invite her to Bozeman. Bonnie will compile a loose agenda for the meeting (March 22 at 10 am) and circulate it to CEPAC. Once finalized, Sara France will forward it to Commissioner Stearns' office (in Bonnie's absence, next week).

Bonnie, Bob O'Driscoll and Sara France were already slated to meet with President Gamble over lunch on the 22nd to inform him of what CEPAC will present to the Board of Regents (March 25). Since Commissioner Stearns will now lunch with them, Bonnie White will contact Dr. Gamble to reschedule the meeting. It may also be appropriate to mention, to Dr. Gamble, CEPAC's agenda for Commissioner Stearns.

Preparation for the March 25, 2004 Board of Regents meeting then commenced. Sara France confirmed that she would make a short presentation about the MAP Survey, based on the letter sent to the Regents, February 12. She explained that she will highlight the matters raised in the letter and invite questions about the survey as a whole, but not raise other specific issues at that time.

Discussion then moved to the salary information collected, by Personnel and Payroll Services, at CEPAC's request. Sara France reminded the meeting of the purpose of this data compilation. The CEPAC/Staff Senates within the MUS have agreed to present a topic, in common to all the campuses, each time they go before the Board of Regents. This time, the subject will be "classified salary raises". To this end, each campus is collecting actual salary data, asking staff whether they need to work another job in order to meet their families' basic financial needs. How the presentations will be made is unclear at this time, but will be finalized at a CEPAC/Staff Senate meeting, in Dillon, two hours prior to our agenda time. Meanwhile, Sara France has agreed some tactics with the Billings Staff Senate (Havre and Great Falls don't have one) and is coordinating this project. CEPAC today asked Sara to prepare a handout for the Regents, based on the MSU 4-campus data. She will circulate this by email for approval before the March 25 meeting. CEPAC then concentrated on the textual feedback from staff received in relation to the "two jobs" question. In light of the responses, the Committee is aware that alternative questioning might have produced more readily quantifiable data. However, the quality and depth of the information received is significant and of potentially great value to President Gamble in his efforts to increase staff salaries. Sara France will draft a supporting document to submit to Dr. Gamble. The full text of the comments will accompany it, once all identifying statements (such as references to departmental identity, etc) have been removed.

No new issues had been raised via the CEPAC web site comments box this month.

There being no other business, the meeting was closed.


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