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CEPAC-Staff Senate


MINUTES
December 19, 2007


Roll Call

  • Voting Members:
  • Kevin Thane, Chair-elect
  • Jeannette Radcliffe
  • Bob Monnin
  • Steven Beasley
  • Mary Engel, Chair (arriving at 10 am)
  • Kristine Mashaw
  • Rose Cain
  • Gale M Kinzie
  • Non-voting Members:
  • Ron Brekke
  • Carol Shannon
  • Sheron McIlhattan
  • Judy Van Andel
  • Beth Littlefield
    Others present:
  • Sandra Tetro
  • Sara France

Apologies for Absence

Michelle Larsen, Diane Helgeson Mary Engel (until 10 am).

Minutes of the Last Meeting

Jeannetter Radcliffe moved that the minutes of the November 28, 2007 meeting be approved and Ron Brekke seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

General Business

  • Membership/officer issues - Kevin Thane was confirmed Chair-elect, after balloting all CEPAC-Staff Senate members (as per last month's meeting). Kevin conducted today's meeting since Mary Engel, Chair, was unable to attend until 10 am.
  • By Laws - The revised By Laws are now lodged with CEPAC-Staff Senate, publically accessible via www.montana.edu/staffsenate. Kevin Thane requested that members review the current version (reflecting the name change, etc) and come to the next meeting prepared to vote on their approval.
  • Shared Governance and MUSSA Activity - Shared Governance weekly meetings are suspended until January 17. The last meeting for Fall focused on pursuing recruitment and retention initiatives with the Regents, not least the possible expansion of the Dependent Partial Tuition Waiver. Reference was made to a recent recruitment incident involving a misunderstanding of the eligibility requirements (5 years continuous employment). A discussion ensued at today's CEPAC-Staff Senate meeting. It was felt that there is scope for our campus to become more familiar with the details of these, and the other benefits available to employees. Ways of better conveying information pertinent to benefits were suggested and will be pursued next semester. Meanwhile, Kevin Thane reiterated CEPAC-Staff Senate's commitment to pursuing expansion of the Dependent Partial Tuition Waiver for the benefit of everyone. Further information: Those present at today's meeting asked for information on the cost of tuition waiver benefits. The Dependent Partial Tuition Waiver and the Staff/Faculty Tuition Waiver have a soft dollar cost to the University (staff/faculty fee waiver $300,295 FY07 and $249,531 FY06; partial dependent fee waiver $265,887 FY06 and $263,534 FY07).

    MUSSA held a conference call this week and began planning for our next meeting with the Board of Regents (in March).

  • Goals and Projects Update - The next MSU Friday is slated for January 25. Kevin Thane called for help in promoting another "supporting student success" drive. Buttons are now available for pick up at the Office of Communications and Public Affairs; posters and table tents are on the CEPAC-Staff Senate web site for download. Carol Shannon offered to place appropriate wallpaper on student lab computers. Staff appreciation of the gift-giving campaign of last semester was noted. However, it was decided not to pursue something on this scale this time as it is very labor intensive and CEPAC-Staff Senate prefers not to stress sponsors too often with requests for donated prizes.

    CEPAC-Staff Senate will conduct its biennial survey of if/how staff must supplement their MSU incomes in January (preliminary findings to the Regents in March). A subcommittee was formed to set the questions.

    Committee Reports

    CEPAC/Staff Senate-nominated committee representatives have scheduled agenda time at each meeting to personally report on their committee work. CEPAC-Staff Senate believes maximum communication to greatly benefit the staff and campus, and so also maintains on-line reporting as well as personal contact.

    International Programs, and UFPUB have not met since the last CEPAC-Staff Senate meeting and so no reports were given. Benefits Committee - Ron Brekke gave feedback on issues raised last meeting: (i) The current Vision plan includes five providers in Bozeman (www.eyemedvisioncare.com/memweb/ProvicerLocator). Additional practitioners may also be offering competitive rates. Meanwhile out of network allowances have been increased through the plan in areas where there is no registered provider within 50 miles. (ii) Some elements of the MUS health insurance plans have effective dates other than July 1. This is because the MUS combines with other organizations to provide cost efficient services. Employees should check effective dates, and CEPAC-Staff Senate, via Ron, encourages better notification of such date variances.

    Traffic Appeals - Carol Shannon described the theme of the last meeting. Parking rule violators were commonly not reading Reserved Parking signs and missing the difference between 24-hour reserved parking and 6am-6pm spots. Provost Sponsored Classified Luncheon Steering Committee - Beth Littlefield said that planning for the spring semester luncheon will begin next month.

Special Guest: President Gamble

President Gamble joined the meeting to review CEPAC-Staff Senate's work in general, and to share updates on some points in which members have expressed particular interest. He began by saying that CEPAC-Staff Senate continues to be well regarded within the University System. It is seen as a trusted source of analysis and data, relied upon at all levels. He urged members to "don't stop doing what you're doing", saying that without CEPAC-Staff Senate's presence current progress wouldn't have been made on some issues. "You have a very strong voice", he remarked.

A brief update of CEPAC-Staff Senate research was offered, and a copy of the MSU Within the Community 2007 Update report will be delivered to the President as soon as it is published (next month).

President Gamble spoke of the OCHE Recruitment and Retention Task Force work, and was encouraged by the recognition of campuses' individual needs conveyed within its report. He confirmed that progress is predominently being made, at this stage, on salary issues, but that various other initiatives are also under discussion. He spoke of huge progress, since he joined MSU, but understood the likely staff frustration at what appears to be the slow speed of bureaucracy. The President explained that change would likely coincide with the biennial budgetary structure of the MUS. He said that the Commissioner's staff and the Governor's Office are in regular dialogue, and that pre-budget planning meetings are taking place. With reference to CEPAC-Staff Senate's prior discussion of tuition waivers, President Gamble was asked his opinion of that particular Task Force recommendation. He supports it, and felt it to be widely popular across the MUS as well. (He also suggested other methods of providing similar benefits, with different budgetary implications, such as scholarships). He feels other initiatives, for instance day care, are popular but very complex. In response to the question "how can CEPAC-Staff Senate keep the progression of the initiatives upper-most in the Regents' minds", President Gamble referred to MUSSA agenda time with the Board, as well as well thought out CEPAC-Staff Senate written submissions to the Board, and the possibility of participating in Staff and Compensation Committee public comment periods.

The President referred next to affordable housing. He said that discussion continues with the hospital, and that the MSU Tomorrow vision (possible development of MSU land west of S.19th) is being explored. Several lengthy steps are involved in obtaining permission to use University property, including input from the State Land Board, which might slow but not necessarily prohibit progress. A discussion followed on the possibility of environmentally friendly (e.g. electric) shuttles from any MSU housing development, as well as remote unimproved parking lots in the vacinity of same (with employees not resident there also utilizing shuttles). The possibility of opening Family and Graduate Housing units to employees was raised today, but generally considered by those present as infeasible, due to student demand.

Long range building planning was raised, in the context of accommodating climate change. The President confirmed that MSU is becoming increasingly environmentally aware, and a new sustainability committee is now being formed. It will partner with the city, school district, and county. He said that a CEPAC-Staff Senate nominated representative would be invited to become involved. Many MSU buildings are old and very hot in the summer. Ways to accommodate both health issues and the carbon footprint will become an ongoing consideration for shared governance. It was agreed that a culture change is necessary if we are to deal effectively with these kinds of issues (an example raised in today's meeting was to alter the working hours of the day). President Gamble invited staff to submit ideas to him, or to the sustainability committee as it comes on-line. At 11 o'clock, Kevin Thane thanked President Gamble for sharing his thoughts, and time, with CEPAC-Staff Senate, and the President asked to be invited back in the future.

Any Other Business

It was noted that January's meeting will be held on the fourth Wednesday of the month, in SUB 274 (all spring semester meetings will be held in the SUB, although not always in room 274. Please watch agenda notices for venue confirmation). At 11:05 am, there being no further business, the meeting adjourned.

NEXT MEETING: JANUARY 23 IN SUB 274, AT 9:00AM


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