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Staff Senate

August 20, 2008

Roll Call

  • Voting Members:
  • Kevin Thane, Chair
  • Jeannette Radcliffe, Chair-elect
  • Bill Van Horn
  • Donna Kelly
  • Diane Helgeson
  • Rose Cain
  • Gale Kinzie
  • Non-voting Members:
  • Michael Dean
  • Ron Brekke
  • Beth Littlefield
  • Others present:
  • Deb Harrison, by telephone
  • Sandy Tetro
  • Sarah Goldberg
  • Sara France

Apologies for Absence

Steve Beasley and Ellen Hall.

Minutes of the Last Meeting

Jeannette Radcliffe moved, and Bill Van Horn seconded, that the Minutes of the July 23, 2008 meeting be approved. The motion passed unanimously.

General Business

  • Follow Up From Last Meeting
    • Dependent Care Spending Account - 83 people have enrolled for Dependent Care accounts as of July 1, 2008 (last year the total was 103). Beth Littlefield reported that the Provost Sponsored Classified Luncheon Steering Committee was considering the idea (as raised in Staff Senate several months ago) of taking MSU benefits as a luncheon topic for spring. Those present today were in favor of this - to help inform employees about things such as the Dependent Care Spending Account - and liked the spring time line relation to CHOICES re-enrollment. It was further suggested that the luncheon could include information about Ombuds.
    • Parking - Staff Senate has heard no more regarding its request that any vehicle (with or without a hang tag) be permitted to park in any parking lot when classes are not in session. Ron Brekke will follow up with Parking Services.
    • President's Executive Council presentation. An outline of Staff Senate's presentation (for August 25th) had been circulated to everyone present at last month's meeting. Discussion ensued and concern was voiced about the time and effort that will be required if Staff Senate takes on the responsibility of coordinating and performing the job fairs/open houses. The sentiment was appreciated and understood but the general feeling prevailed that it is appropriate for Staff Senate to take the lead in this; that the potential cooperation of peer ambassadors at each event spreads the load; that once preparation is complete for one fair it's essentially ready for any number of others; and that Staff Senate intends only to offer a pilot of four events. Further discussion followed regarding the demographics and priorities of new hires and seasoned staff, and MSU's reputation as a local employer. Salary issues aside, it was recognized that the University must undergo something of a culture change to be competitive in the employment market - responding to employees' life/balance priorities, etc. Those present at today's meeting were enthusiastic about this, and the benefits of such a change.
    • MSU Today published an announcement about the existence of the Benefits Calculator feature, but did not take up the invitation of any further information. Sara France will pursue additional publicity about this, as well as for Staff Senate.
  • Shared Governance - Shared governance partners met on August 13. Documentation requesting formalization of the status of shared governance partnership meetings and functions is complete and has been submitted to President Gamble. Shared governance meetings will be held weekly once the academic year officially starts, and the President will be invited to attend next month to discuss the document further.
  • MUSSA Activity - The MUSSA 2008 retreat will coincide with the September 25-26th Regents meeting, in Butte. Staff Senate members and those who regularly participate in Senate meetings will be invited to attend. Sara France will circulate information shortly. Kevin Thane described his wish to raise the possibility of MUSSA initiating a meeting with the various unions and bargaining agencies with a view to sharing information around salary, negotiation, and staff concerns. Respect for organizations' respective roles, and bargaining boundaries was acknowledged, and Staff Senate members expressed support for MUSSA considering such a meeting.
  • FY08 Annual Report - A draft had been circulated to Staff Senate voting members. Diane Helgeson and Sara France suggested two points of clarification. Kevin Thane moved that with these amendments, the FY08 Annual Report be approved for publication. Diane Helgeson seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
  • FY09 Goals - No further discussion was held at this meeting.

  • Outreach Update - Move In Day is scheduled for August 27th. Staff Senate will be encouraging the campus to display Supporting Student Success pins and posters, etc. Posters will also be posted near ASKUS, and on each floor of each residence hall. Everyone is encouraged to participate in supporting student success.

  • Staff Senate By Laws - Kevin Thane, Jeannette Radcliffe and Sara France met to review initial suggestions for updates to the By Laws. There had not been time to work through the entire document, but preliminary ideas for change arose in the areas of: committee representation; inclusion of a formal off-campus rep; officers' terms; procedure for amending the By Laws; filling membership vacancies. Details of any proposed changes will be provided in due course and, meanwhile, Kevin called for suggestions and input from today's meeting. There was none.

Committee Reports

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

NWCCU Accreditation Self Study - Sara France (Standard Six Team) reported that the first draft of the Standard Six - governance and administration - text will be submitted to Joe Fedock and Bruce Morton around September 1. Updates and refinements will continue, and MSU will submit the final self study (all Standards) to NWCCU in about a year's time. Sara will keep Staff Senate informed as composition proceeds.

UPBAC Subcommittee: Streamline Kevin Thane asked for input on suitable arrival/departure times for the Livingston/MSU/Livingston pilot route starting this fall. General consensus was 7.30am/5.30pm.

Space Management Bill Van Horn reported that Romney Gym space has been reallocated to Architecture, and Health & Human Development. There remains no unallocated space in Hamilton Hall, and renovations are expected to run from January 2009 into 2013 (as funds become available). SMC is also working on guidelines for submitting requests for space.

Benefits Committee Ron Brekke reported that enrollment details and full information about the Well Award program have been mailed - sign up during September. Ron also invited input to take to the MSU Benefits Committee meeting, September 4, and to Inter Units Benefits Committee on October 2. Ron was reminded of outreach feedback that the $1500 annual maximum benefit on the premium dental plan was found to be insufficient by some employees.

Provost Sponsored Classified Luncheon Steering Committee Beth Littlefield reported the next luncheon will be held on November 18. Speaker and further details to be announced. Last semester's allocated time run over had been noted, and Beth confirmed that this will not happen at future luncheons.

Facilities Services Advisory Committee Michael Dean reported that the first fall meeting is slated for August 28.

Any Other Business

Kevin Thane gave an update on the status of the potential for faculty to organize. Enough signatures have been received to proceed towards a possible vote, but the appropriateness of having included some faculty groups (such as adjuncts) is currently in question. Further updates will be passed on as information becomes available.

Public Comment

Further emails have been received about car pooling options. These, and previous information submitted, will be sent used as Staff Senate's sustainability and other goals are identified.

There being no other business, Kevin Thane moved, Diane Helgeson seconded, and the meeting adjourned at 10.35 am.


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