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CEPAC-Staff Senate

April 23, 2008

Roll Call

  • Voting Members:
  • Kevin Thane, Chair-elect
  • Diane Helgeson
  • Jeannette Radcliffe
  • Kristine Mashaw
  • Bob Monnin
  • Steven Beasley
  • Non-voting Members:
  • Ron Brekke
  • Sheron McIlhattan
  • Sandra Titro
  • Beth Littlefield
    Others present:
  • Deb Harrison (by telephone)
  • Sara France

Apologies for Absence

Michelle Larsen, Rose Cain, Gale Kinzie and Mary Engel

Minutes of the Last Meeting

Diane Helgeson moved that the minutes of the March 26, 2008 meeting be approved. Bob Monnin seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

General Business

    Kevin Thane, chairing the meeting in the absence of Mary Engel, introduced and welcomed Deb Harrison, classified staff member from Western Ag Research Center(participating today by telephone from Corvallis).
  • Shared Governance - Most recent discussion has focused on (a) child care for employees. ASMSU Day Care recently presented at University Governance Council, outlining limited existing services on campus for faculty/staff. In-keeping with campus "family friendly" sentiment, Shared Governance partners are increasingly interested in assessing employee child care needs. However, for the time being, the potential use of such information has not been determined; (b) formalizing the status of Shared Governance partner meetings and collaboration. The current weekly meetings of faculty, professionals, students and staff have become a critical part of practicing shared governance at MSU but there is no documentation describing or requiring them. Shared Governance partners would like to rectify this, aiming to do so before submission of MSU's NWCCU accreditation self study.
  • MUSSA Activity - MUSSA will soon begin preparations for the May Board of Regents meeting, and hopes to incorporate feedback from the Commissioner's Office regarding Pooled Resources, as requested for May 1.
  • Board of Regents Meeting Schedule - CEPAC-Staff Senate, as a part of MUSSA, has been informed of a reorganization of the Regents' meeting schedule, as part of an effort to condense and streamline the meetings. MUSSA, along with other interest groups, will have agenda time at one less meeting per year, but will have opportunity to speak during Public Comment any time. Since most MUSSA representatives work year-round, January and May were chosen for our agenda time, leaving academic year meetings for faculty and students. Discussion ensued and everyone at today's CEPAC-Staff meeting agreed that the new schedule made sense and, further, that staff representatives could still have a useful presence at other times - hopefully with the coordinated attendance of MUSSA. Diane Helgeson moved that CEPAC-Staff Senate ensure it attend at least three Board of Regents meetings each year. Jeannette Radcliffe seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
  • Outreach Update - Sara France reported on Rose Cain and Gale Kinzie's outreach with Harrison and Hannon dining hall staff, respectively, as well as on her own meetings with Plumbers and Painters, and at the Heating Plant. Issues arising included CHIOCES plan changes and enrollment; the growth of electronic communications (direct deposit, CHOICES enrollment), salaries and cost of living. A lengthy discussion then took place. Staff experiences (both on campus and at remote locations) collecting pay checks and accessing electronic pay stubs were relayed, and some Payroll Department isses were considered. Further, CHIOCES online re-enrollment snags were raised, and useful Help Session information shared ( Sara France was asked to inquire further into current processes with a view to finding ways to help improve delivery of both checks and stubs; as well as into how any CHOICES enrollment hitches are being rectified.

    Steve Beasley reported his perception that CEPAC-Staff Senate outreach meetings were important to, and well received by, the staff.

  • Committee Representative Recruitment, and CEPAC-Staff Senate Membership Elections - No interest in serving on the Debt Planning and Management Committee had been shown in the recent committee representative recruitment effort, but a volunteer was forthcoming from today's meeting. This completes the list of nominations to be forwarded to the President for his approval and all committee rep vacancies should now be filled for the start of each new term (most commencing July 1).

    CEPAC-Staff Senate membership elections were completed on April 17. The new members are Ellen Hall, Bill Van Horn, Donna Kelly, and Mary Engel. Although their terms don't commence until July 1, they may participate in officer elections and membership introductions at the May 28 meeting.

  • FY09 Officers - Nominating Committee - volunteers were solicited to compile a ballot for officer election at the May meeting. Bob Monnin, Kevin Thane, and Mary Engel comprise the Nominating Committee.
  • Bylaws Review - Deb Harrison's participation in today's meeting, by telephone from Western Ag Research Center in Corvallis raised discussion of the benefit and appropriateness of having a regular recognized representative of MSU's staff who don't work on campus. There are around 80 such employees and, outreach over the last couple of years with Research Center and Extension employees (during their conferences in Bozeman) has alerted CEPAC-Staff Senate to the diversity of remote staff issues. The CEPAC-Staff Senate bylaws call for representation by EEO category, but everyone present at today's meeting agreed that formalizing Deb's participation, representing this group, should be explored. Further, that this would be a good opportunity to review the bylaws in general, since this has not been extensively undertaken in about four years. Kevin Thane will lead the effort and report back next month.

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.

University Facilities Planning Board - Sheron McIlhattan explained that a new UFPUB secretary has been appointed and minutes are now up to date. Highlights include potential sound polution from the exhaust system resulting from the Cooley Lab renovation (the system is "back on the drawing board"); Howard Hall landscaping and electronic signage; temporary buildings accommodating instructional labs for chemistry students during the Gaines Hall renovation; and identification of a location (on Lincoln) for the new ASMSU outdoor recreation center. Those present at today's meeting agreed that the noise issues described are of concern to Staff Senate, and Sheron was specifically asked relay this to UFPUB.

Benefits Committee - Ron Brekke reminded the meeting of the CHOICES re-enrollment period ending May 5. He also pointed out the applications of the Medical Care Flexible Spending Account, and the CHOICES help lab schedule ( A podcast detailing Plan changes is available at

Recreational Sports Advisory Board - Diane Helgeson reported on behalf of Kathy Sobrepena. Club sports (e.g. rugby and lacrosse) are voicing concern over field space availability.

UPBAC - Sara France gave an overview of the April UPBAC meeting and asked for feedback, in particular related to three items: (i) Streamline Transit's request for $100,000 annually from MSU; (ii) campus police critical staffing issues; and (iii) MSU's energy conservation obligations under the Governor's "20 By 10" plan, and the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. Useful comments were offered. Sara was asked to find out more about the Parking Program budget including Fund Accounting, use of income from parking fines, and any justification for a recent implication of an association between possible parking hang tag surcharging and potential transit and/or police funding. Further, CEPAC-Staff Senate was interested in more information regarding how emmissions reductions will be measured, including base levels to which they will be compared. The suggestion that savings from energy conservation might be reallocated to transit was particularly popular at today's meeting.

A discussion ensued regarding the University's financial and critical needs; the undisputed benefit of mass transit and energy conservation; together with staff recruitment and retention, and employee salaries in general. Recent and very relevant Board of Regents and Commissioner's Office activity and initiatives were commended. After consideration, Bob Monnin moved that the Minutes reflect that due to current, well established, housing and cost of living burdens on staff salaries, as well as recruitment and retention issues related to low entry level wages, Staff Senate strongly opposes surcharging parking fees as a means of raising funds. Diane Helgeson seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Other Business

  • The CEPAC-Staff Senate meeting time conflict with OSP Round Table was observed. Sara France was asked to coordinate as necessary with OSP to avoid this for next fiscal year.

Public Comment

There was no public comment from the floor, but two emails had been received:
  1. Consideration of Staff Senate support of a request to establish free bus service for employees and students between Gallatin Gateway and Bozeman. After discussion, those present at today's meeting concluded that the MSU community resided all over the area, many living beyond (or with schedules outside) transit services. It was considered appropriate for Staff Senate representatives to continue discussion at the Shared Governance meeting tomorrow recommending, rather than advocating addition of one route, that volunteers be solicited from various residential areas to coordinate car pooling.
  2. Consideration, following the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's recent series on the economy, wealth and cost of living in the area, of writing a newspaper editorial highlighting the plight of MSU employees with regards housing costs. After discussion, it was conccluded that relevant information is published online and similar articles have already appeared. Active efforts are being made at all levels to improve salaries. Staff Senate has no media-focused public relations function. Those present at today's meeting did not consider it appropriate to submit an article at this time.

There being no more time, Jeanette Radcliffe moved to adjourn. Kristine Mashaw seconded, and the meeting closed at 11:15 am.


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