CEPAC MINUTES: 4/13/05
CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEE PERSONNEL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
April 13, 2005
- Matt Blazicevich
- Bob O'Driscoll
- Eileen Baker
- Sara France
- Sheron McIlhattan
- Dawn Watkins
- Bonnie White
- Ray Byerly
- Dan McGuire
- Carol Shannon
- Kerry Evans
- Genevieve Burmeister
- Sue Martin
- Jeanne Wagner
MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
Eileen Baker moved that the minutes of the March 9, 2005 meeting be approved. Sheron McIlhattan seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.
Apologies for Absence - March - none were received.
- Board of Regents Meeting, March 17 - Bob O'Driscoll gave a short report on the meeting. A more comprehensive report is available at www.montana.edu/staffsenate/bor3-17-05.html.
- Commissioner of Higher Education visit - Sara France reported that the Commissioner's Office had rescheduled the visit from April 28 to April 26. All original itinerary arrangements remains the same, with one or two room alterations. Suggestions for topics of conversation should be emailed to Sara. Bonnie White suggested responding to the Commissioner's previous mention of supervisor training programs; Carol Shannon suggested a discussion about the components of the MAP program following MPEA's recent membership contract ratification; Dan McGuire suggested a legislative update. A topic of discussion, at lunch, might be ways to increase the State percentage of salary funding.
- Elections - Bob O'Driscoll announced the names of the new CEPAC members (commencing their terms July 1, 2005): Janae Heap (Technical/Paraprofessional), Steve Burk (Classified Professional), Mary Engel and Michelle Larsen (Secretarial Clerical).
This was the culmination of Kerry Evans' and Sara France's work with Allen Porter, ITC, to operate the elections electronically. Some difficulties with nominee communications were experienced. The electronic method of election was, however, deemed far quicker, easier and cheaper than the paper system, and appeared to result in improved voter turnout and exposure for CEPAC. Ambivalent candidates were known to be on the ballot under the paper system, although objections were not registered in that era. Some "teething" problems should be anticipated in introducing new procedures. Overall, PPS, ITC and CEPAC staff involved agree that the advantages of the electronic method far outweigh the setbacks experienced during this first process. Recommendations: (1) Ensure nominee agreement before compiling the final ballot. (2) Examine the pros and cons of candidates' submitting biographical information. (3) Explore whether it is possible to encourage more/better participation in the nominations procedure.
Sue Martin raised a further communications problem: that of the majority of staff in her area not receiving messages via the classified listserv. Omissions from the listserv, on a departmental scale, had come to CEPAC's prior attention, but Sara France had been under the impression for some time that these were resolved. Carol Shannon looked into how the listserv draws information. It is unclear how the listserv was originally populated, but it utilizes the email address shown via MyInfo. Employees may change this address themselves to ensure that listserv messages are sent to the appropriate address.
- By Laws - Kerry Evans reported having sent the amended By Laws to Craig Roloff's Office. From there, the progression is to Legal Council for invitation of public input, and then adoption.
- Open House Follow-Up - Sara France reported having contacted the administrative assistants of all the administrators invited to the Open House, providing further information about CEPAC and offering any/all appropriate assistance to their departments.
- Research Center Follow-Up - Sara France reported having sent an email to each of the seven attendees at the March 8 meeting, updating them with new information on the topics of discussion.
- Professionals' Draft Pay Policy Documents - Sara France reported having asked President Gamble how he wished to collect input on these policies (the Regents had also invited staff input). CEPAC will be included in the circulation of the latest draft documents (from the Commissioner's Office) and asked for input at that time.
- MSU Branding - Sara France reported that rumors, previously brought to CEPAC's attention, that the blue and gold color combination was to be replaced, were untrue. A discussion about the branding process ensued and questions raised by staff members, to CEPAC, reviewed. Bozeman community opinion was also mentioned. Bob O'Driscoll will bring the topic to University Governance Council and compare constituent input.
All committee updates may be reviewed via our Committees Page. Below are specific discussions held at today's meeting:
UPBAC - Jeanne Wagner attended the meeting to give an UPBAC update. She described this year's change in the way the Board of Regents is handling MUS budgets this year: MSU was given a budget figure for FY06. If the amount proves insufficient, the Regents recommend raising tuition. If there is money left over, after all essential commitments are met, the Regents will approve how the surplus is spent. UPBAC us not considering any budget amendments for FY06 as it expects there to be no surplus in the budget. In the unlikely event there are extra funds, UPBAC will propose they be put towards projects requiring significant expenditure.
Third Party Administrator - Dawn Watkins gave an update on the ID number issue. Despite Dawn's dogged efforts to persuade them to the contrary, Allegiance continue to maintain that they must have employee social security numbers. MSU-Bozeman's Third Party Administrator Transition Team considers this to be a simple technical issue, and Dawn strongly supported the notion that it could be resolved. MSU-Bozeman Personnel and Payroll Services is undertaking to offer its employees a way to insist that Allegiance does not use their social security number. Details of how to do this will be part of employees' CHOICES packages, to be distributed soon.
Parking Task Force - Further public meetings are scheduled for April 25 and 27. A discussion about the project's progress to date took place, and input is encouraged via the public meetings, the CEPAC-nominated committee representative, Sue Martin, and email@example.com.
- CEPAC's Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) - Bob O'Driscoll reminded CEPAC that it now has budgetary and reporting responsibilities. Sara France has spoken with Craig Roloff's Office, and the Department of Planning and Analysis regarding CEPAC's budgetary justification obligations, etc. Part of departmental annual reporting can involve a peer comparison of which, essentially, CEPAC has none. Considering that CEPAC is now a small-scale revenue consuming entity at MSU, Sara and Bob have discussed the appropriateness of conducting periodic performance reviews of CEPAC's work. These will also be helpful in service planning, of course. As such, a series of surveys producing a 360 review (drawing constituent input - randomly selected, as well as the views of shared governance partners, regents, and CEPAC-equivalent organizations') had been created and circulated to CEPAC members. Sara and Bob had worked with Planning and Analysis in producing these drafts, and the President and Craig had been invited to have input. It had been decided to create the CEPAC-equivalent organizations' survey in collaboration with those groups, which can be done in due course. However, timing is important in the other cases, so as to receive input before employees leave campus at the end of the academic year). At today's meeting, Bob reiterated that CEPAC's decision to conduct such a 360 review is voluntary, and asked for members' input. Expressions of support for the idea were offered, and no-one objected. Bob instructed Sara to proceed with the venture.
- Nominating Committee - Bob O'Driscoll appointed Bonnie White as chair of the nominating committee, and charged it with presenting a list of officer nominees at the May meeting. CEPAC members are invited to contact Bonnie to participate in the nominating committee's work.
- Shared Governance - Bob O'Driscoll updated CEPAC on Warren Jones' (Chair, Faculty Council) proposal to reorganize University Governance Council (UGC) to include CEPAC and ASMSU as voting members. Currently, UGC is charged by Faculty Council (FC), comprises FC and Professional Council (PC) voting membership and largely addresses faculty issues. Discussion of the proposal has been a regular agenda item at University Governance Council Steering Committee (UGCSC), attended by Bob and Sara France (ex-officio, of course). CEPAC will be kept informed as to progress in this regard.
- VEBA - Sheron McIlhattan requested a discussion of how CEPAC might provide increased information about this retirement benefit. Sheron had been surprised by the low attendance at a recent meeting of eligible retirees (about 7 out of a possible 36 or 38 staff participated). Dawn Watkins briefly described VEBA: the Montana University System has adopted a policy whereby eligible retiring employees are offered the opportunity to place the tax free monetary equivalent of their sick leave "pay out" at retirement into an account for payment of medical bills, insurance out of pocket expenses, etc., rather than receive the taxable cash pay out. A majority of votes received from the eligible retirees makes the decision for the entire group. I.e. if the voters approve translating sick leave into such a tax free account, then the entire group does so without exception. Currently, MSU-Bozeman is the only campus utilizing VEBA. MSU-Bozeman's "groups" are (1)Extension, (2) Faculty aged 60+, and (3) Classified nonunion aged 55+. MSU-Bozeman's Personnel and Payroll Services have asked the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education to give a ruling as to whether or not union-covered classified personnel may participate. (4) a group for Professional staff is the next to be formed. There are fees and regulations related to VEBA, and Sara France will work with Dawn Watkins to help make comprehensive information available via CEPAC. VEBA FAQs.
- Concerns Raised via the Comments Box - no new concerns received
- Board of Regents Faculty/Staff Fee Waiver Policy - Sara France reminded CEPAC of the outcome of the Fall 2003 Fee Waiver Survey, and of CEPAC's attempts to pursue staff requests (ie to pass the waiver to dependents, to include extended studies courses, and to offer pro-rated eligibility to halftime staff). The first request is catered to in the Dependent Fee Waiver policy. CEPAC has made little progress in furthering the other two items, largely due to confusion between the two fee waiver policies and to priorities being placed on salary negotiation rather than other benefits. Sara asked what priority CEPAC now places on this issue. She was asked to bring usage information to the May meeting.
- Future Agenda Items - Sara France confirmed that President Gamble will attend CEPAC's June 8 meeting, and asked members to come to the May meeting prepared to discuss possible topics for conversation with him.
ITEMS TO PROGRESS
No discussion was held in this regard.
CEPAC BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING
Sara France reported that Craig Roloff, Vice President for Administration and Finance, has undertaken to continue to finance (unbudgeted) the CEPAC Administrative Associate and Operations for FY06. Bob O'Driscoll has sent a letter of thanks for this support, pending UPBAC reverting to a budget amendment process in the future.
NEXT MEETING: MAY 11, 2005 IN THE BRADLEY CONFERENCE ROOM, WILSON HALL AT 9:00AM
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