April 14, 2004

Roll Call

President Gamble joined the CEPAC for about 45 minutes in the middle of the meeting. Matters minuted are reported in relation to the subjects covered even though each component of discussion on an item may not have taken place in the exact order as recorded here. As time for regular business was reduced, CEPAC had addressed some agenda items, via email, prior to the meeting.


Ellen Huber moved that the minutes of the March 10, 2004 meeting be approved. Bonnie White seconded and the motion passed.


Twice-monthly checks issue: nothing to report since March 10, 2004 minutes.

Update on CEPAC goals: in our meeting with Commissioner Stearns, March 22, we have reviewed the goals set in September. With the original copy for new classified staff information packets, sent to Lisa Buss (PPS) on March 23, and the "Getting the Word Out" campus mailing of March 22, our planned action for 2003-4 is complete.

Confirmation of Wellness/Police/Intramurals meeting: Bonnie White has arranged this for Wednesday May 5 - CEPAC's regular meeting has been moved to May 5. Larry Martin has cancelled but Robert and Kirk will be present.

Professional Council's survey of MAP supervisors: Bonnie White and Sara France met with Personnel and Payroll Services and Professional Council representatives on March 30 to offer suggestions on the draft supervisors' survey. In her capacity as a member of both CEPAC and the MAP Advisory Committee, Sara met with the PC reps again, 4/2. Sara's understanding is that every supervisor of a MAP-covered employee will be asked to participate. Sara has requested, on behalf of both CEPAC and MAP-AC, that questions be included to address the major outcomes of CEPAC's survey, so that a complete picture of these issues might be obtained. The PC reps were receptive to this idea. Formulation of the survey has not happened as quickly for PC as was possible for CEPAC, and Sara has recommended to MAP-AC, the PC reps, and now to CEPAC that the survey not be conducted until it is quite ready nor at the beginning of summer when supervisors might be on leave. No definite plans have been announced regarding either the time frame, or the format of the questionnaire but the PC reps have indicated that a draft will be circulated for final input.

MAP survey outcomes to Personnel and Payroll Services: Susan Alt replied to CEPAC's memo of March 10. A discussion ensued in which the meeting agreed that some of the survey outcomes will be progressed in small steps, aspects of some issues are already being addressed by PPS and that, working together, enhancements to the MAP program can be achieved. Bob O'Driscoll, referring to Susan's response to CEPAC's recommendations and making specific reference to critical job elements in goal-setting, asked Susan what guidance would be issued to the campus in time for the next Performance Evaluation cycle. Susan said that HR Liaisons would contact staff at all levels, and Susan would personally email department heads and directors. Messages would include reminders of the existance of the performance evaluation form (revised July 2003) and of ongoing training. The meeting suggested including the role description in the goal-setting process. Sara France reminded the meeting that documentation of CEPAC's progression of the MAP survey project is available on the web but said that the status of CEPAC's efforts in this regard would be known only to those employees who have followed the committee's work. The meeting emphasized CEPAC's intention of ensuring that all MAP-covered classified staff be aware of the imminent beginnings of definite action as a result of their participation in the survey. Later, when President Gamble joined the meeting, he asked that Susan and Craig Roloff meet with him to pursue this matter.

MAP survey outcomes to the MAP Advisory Committee: A draft list of items for the MAP Advisory Committee had previously been circulated to the Committee. Issues recommended by Susan Alt for MAP-AC were added and the complete list was reviewed.

Clara Sprague and meeting guest, Dan Wise, raised specific examples of how flexible pay options don't always cover job description changes. Susan Alt reviewed how the flexible pay options work. She referred to a difference between the previous grading system (BFM), which allowed for changes in duties to result in increased pay, and MAP which offers rewards for growth and a resolution to retention issues. The meeting reviewed how Progression Pay is awarded when a job description meets certain growth criteria. If an individual's change in duties don't match the criteria, then strategic pay or lump sum bonus are the alternative. MAPS's design was also examined with respect to the intention that MAP does not remediate departmental staffing level problems, nor cost of living salary issues. Dan questioned whether the Board of Regents might use Achievement Pay as an excuse not to raise salaries by citing an Achievement Pay award as sufficient payment for the year. Those present at the March 25 Regents' meeting reported their experience of the Regents' reaction to CEPAC's MAP and salary issue presentations, and confirmed this not to be the impression conveyed.

A brief impression of the procedure by which centralized funding for non base-building bonuses is operating had been circulated to CEPAC prior to the Committee. There appear to be contradictions between the policy for lump sum bonus applications made via the "pool" funds as compared to those made via the regular MAP process. Later, President Gamble asked about the status of the centralized funding. Sara France reported that the policy was entirely new this year and that CEPAC inquiries in February had likely contributed to its creation. Sara told President Gamble that CEPAC was recommending MAP-AC review the policy and procedure, as a matter of course with new policy, with a view to minimizing conflicts in procedure.

Ray Byerly reiterated his recommendation, expressed at previous meetings, that the advantages of cohesion across campus be recognized - pointing out that not every classified staff member is covered by MAP. Susan Alt confirmed that bargaining units who have yet to agree to accept MAP are regularly offered the opportunity so to do.

The discussion returned to the MAP Advisory Committee, and CEPAC agreed that in handing these items over to PPS and MAP-AC, CEPAC's role of gathering and disseminating information about MAP is at an end. CEPAC will continue to take an interest in the progression of the project, but its time will now be spend on other classified staff concerns. Sara France will prepare a memo to the MAP Advisory Committee incorporating issues for their attention.

March 11 meeting with the President: CEPAC officers met with President Gamble prior to hosting Commissioner Stearns' visit, and prior to presenting at the Board of Regents. President Gamble said he felt CEPAC was representing the university well, and he considered the committee to be doing a professional job. He said he was delighted with that he'd seen and the way CEPAC was "showing how the campus works" (referring to the collaborative, open management style he prefers). With reference to our "Getting the Word Out" mailing, President Gamble suggested researching the possibility of kiosk-style online information stations for retrieving email. He thought this might make things easier for employees who don't use computers in their regular job, and place communications in a more ATM-familiar environment. Mark Sheehan, Director ITC, was very helpful when Sara France contacted him in this regard. He said ITC has little experience of kiosks, but thought something could be found that might work. Mark also said that in a year or two MSU should be able to offer email read by a computer-generated voice over the phone. This would require only basic telephone skills and no computer access at all. The estimated cost would be $15 set up per phone and $5.25 per month thereafter. Each staff member would require a dedicated phone line so there would be additional charges where a dedicated phone line needed to be established. There was insufficient time to review this research with President Gamble at today's meeting, but Sara France will send him the information by mail.

March 22 meeting with Commissioner Stearns: Bonnie White reviewed CEPAC's meeting, and officers' lunch with Commissioner Stearns.


Space Management - Rose Waldon submitted a report

TIP Incentive Award Program Committee - has been formed. First meeting April 19.

MAP Advisory Committee - has been formed. First meeting was March 31. The charge is to serve as a source of input, analysis, and campus representation for Personnel and Payroll Services. The committee will assist Personnel and Payroll Services with an ongoing assessment of the actual and/or potential impacts of various elements of the MAP program, both as they currently exist, as well as those being considered and/or proposed for future adoption. In addition, the Committee will suggest methods to improve the MAP program, and other related performance development programs and processes. The Committee will meet again on April 23.


Comments Box: four communications were expressed via the web site comments box this month. Matters raised related to CEPAC's salary research (both personal experience issues and provision of community references), and suggestions regarding staff recognition. There was also a recommendation resulting from our "Getting the Word Out" campus mailing. The committee was grateful for this staff input.

Thank You letters: Letters thanking President Gamble, Susan Alt and Craig Roloff for supporting CEPAC with their presence at Board of Regents have been sent. Bonnie White is composing another, to the Commissioner, thanking her for meeting with us March 22. Sara France recommended that similar "thank yous" be sent to non-CEPAC members who have been particularly helpful(working to extremely tight, CEPAC-imposed, deadlines) in pulling together research information. The meeting agreed and Sara France will prepare the letters.

Parking: Carol Shannon raised the issue of a recent change in parking policy whereby permit-carrying cars are no longer allowed to park in any lot during breaks between semesters and, specifically, how notification of the change of policy was inadequately circulated. The issue will be placed on the agenda for next month's meeting, with University Police.

2004-05 Committee: Bob O'Driscoll reminded the meeting that the academic year is drawing to a close, along with several CEPAC members' terms. Bob asked that an agenda item be added for May to include formation of a "nominating committee" for next year's officers, and of a "goals committee" preparing next year's goals.


Meeting with President Gamble
Bonnie White welcomed President Gamble to the meeting, and asked him to give an overview of his impressions of the March Board of Regents meeting. In reference to the CEPAC/MUS Staff Senates' agenda time, President Gamble said he saw CEPAC's presentations as professional and very well prepared. He commended Bonnie White, Bob O'Driscoll and Sara France on how well they represented the university, powerfully demonstrating to the Regents, and the other campuses, shared governance in action. President Gamble described CEPAC officers' interactions with the Regents as having made him very proud. He then went on to speak of the Regents' meeting in general, including the continued problem of the football stadium debt service, and the issue of insufficient time allocation for addressing funding for the proposed chemistry building.

President Gamble then spoke to employees salaries. He continues to ask the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Regents to make a 5-10 year plan, based on institutional research. He explained that a vision for future salaries could be established, using good data, and then a plan be constructed to achieve the vision. Dan McGuire remarked that such a plan would be reliant upon appropriate funding allocation and President Gamble agreed that part of the plan would include prioritizing the entire budget to provide funds. He went on to acknowledge that there are only two possible sources for salary funding: the State and student fees. He spoke of other universities where students have voted for fee increases specifically for salary funding. Bonnie White asked whether MSU could produce its own plan. President Gamble replied by explaining how his request to UPBAC for provision of 0.5% classified achievement pay and to cover inequity issues for faculty had brought criticism from the Commissioner since written Regent approval had not been obtained. President Gamble stood by his decision, however, saying it was the right thing to do. Bonnie then referred to her questioning the Regents, during CEPAC's agenda time, on how salaries might be brought up to cost of living. She reported her disappointment that the Board had offered no response of any kind. President Gamble referred to the Regents' apparent belief in the "Montana Factor" (salaries across the state are low) and how this has contributed to MSU's uncompetitive status within the employment market. He spoke of the Regents' implication that national salary and cost of living data are irrelevant to Montana. Dan McGuire spoke to Montana's history with respect to a six year period during which pay raises were withheld and an occasion, in 1956, when classified staff had been laid off. Dan explained that the "Montana Factor" has always been present and referred to it in direct relation to MSU's recruitment efforts out of state (potential employees don't always believe that the salary being offered is non-negotiable). President Gamble acknowledged this (though he was shocked to hear that pay increases had been withheld for as much as six years, historically) and remarked that recruits want to work at MSU because they believe in what we are doing. He referred to his collection of local salary comparison data and to the powerful content of our report on classified staff working two jobs. Dan McGuire remarked that he thought the salary comparison data would be especially useful in a year or two that, perhaps, in light of political history, it might now be a little ahead of its time. Meeting guest, Dan Wise, spoke of a classified staff perception that the university's priorities were administration, then faculty with the last priority being classified staff. President Gamble suggested that CEPAC look at budget data during his term of administration. He said there had not been disproportionate spending in administration, nor undue increases in that area. He stated his priorities as faculty, staff and then administration. He regretted this year's lack of equity funding for professional employees whom he thought were included with "administration" in this discussion, although he seems them as slightly separate. President Gamble spoke of this year's centralized lump sum bonus monies, and of base increases for classified staff despite the across the board salary "freeze". He acknowledged that MSU is staffed by people who want to be part of the team and to be challenged - if money were the driving force, potential employees would probably be better suited to jobs elsewhere, he said. President Gamble reiterated that he continues to fight "tooth and nail" in an effort to have the salary issue more actively considered by the Commissioner and the Regents.

Bob O'Driscoll referred to CEPAC's meeting with Staff Senates, prior to presenting to the Board of Regents, last month. He explained that the higher cost of living in some locations was alluded to but that the concept of salaries being higher in some areas than others was vehemently rejected. President Gamble remarked that "one size does not fit all" and that he is confused, when he travels for instance, by community reluctance to support the university system based on the idea that it is of no benefit to local residents. He spoke of the economic growth in communities where universities exist, benefitting the community as a whole. However, he also recognized the additional cost of living inherent to the growth. Once again, President Gamble referred to not understanding the Legislature/Regent reliance on the "Montana Factor" and asked how he might look at the argument in a different light to bring him that understanding.

The President's time with CEPAC being limited, Bonnie White suggested the focus of the conversation move on to other matters. President Gamble guessed the issue of supervisor training to be a priority for CEPAC. He referred (as he had during the January 29 meeting with CEPAC officers) to the dilemma of mid-level supervisors moving up a career path and finding themselves in a supervisory role without training or educational support. He spoke of the contrast with high-level managers whose personnel and budgetary experience is scrutinized during recruitment (and a current MSU policy to provide specific training, such as dealing with emotionally charged situations) and the mid-level managers who are largely unprovided for. He regretted the lack of training, saying "we must have it". He said he would like to see seasoned supervisors direct workshops on a year-round basis. He described his vision of employees not moving into mid-level supervisory positions without training and educational support provided by the institution. Sara France referred to Craig Roloff's response to CEPAC's letter to UPBAC (copied to President Gamble), remarking that CEPAC was uncertain as to whether the response was in Craig's capacity as Acting VP for Administration and Finance, or as a member of UPBAC. She said that Craig had acknowledged the importance of supervisor training but that a budget amendment from within his division had not been awarded highest priority and therefore had not been forwarded to UPBAC. Sara asked whether this precluded UPBAC from funding such training independently. President Gamble said no, but that funding might be more readily forthcoming were the issue viewed as an institutional priority. He suggested that, once the VP for Administration and Finance position is filled, he would be better placed to have this considered. Sara asked for President Gamble's recommendation regarding CEPAC's further action. He said CEPAC should register continued interest in base budget funding of such a proposal, giving him "ammunition" for pursuing the issue in the future. Bonnie White raised the question of grant-funded training, and also suggested that MSU start a program of "super supervisors" from within the institution who might provide education and training on and off campus. President Gamble liked the idea and was enthused at the thought of potential income resulting from such a service!

In December, President Gamble had asked to be invited back to CEPAC to discuss ways of improving staff recognition. He now mentioned the University of Vermont's week-long schedule of dinners hosted by various sponsors and VPs. Bonnie White volunteered her idea of periodic lunches with the president to which a number of classified staff, selected from a variety of departments and jobs, could be invited. President Gamble expressed enthusiasm for this idea. Since a pre-scheduled conference call with the Regents was imminent, President Gamble was obliged to leave the meeting at this point. Sara France offered to write to him with the committee's other suggestions, and with items not covered in the time available.

There being no other business, the meeting was closed.

please note the change in date for the May meeting:


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