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Staff Senate

September 24, 2008

Roll Call

  • Voting Members:
  • Kevin Thane, Chair
  • Jeannette Radcliffe, Chair-elect
  • Bill Van Horn
  • Donna Kelly
  • Diane Helgeson
  • Rose Cain
  • Gale Kinzie (until 10:00 am)
  • Steven Beasley (from 10:00 am)
  • Non-voting Members:
  • Michael Dean
  • Ron Brekke
  • Beth Littlefield
  • Shari Curtis
  • Kristine Mashaw (from 10:00 am)
  • Mandy Hansen (from 10:00 am)
  • Others present:
  • Deb Harrison, by telephone
  • Sandy Tetro
  • Sarah Goldberg
  • Ron Ramsfield
  • Sara France

Apologies for Absence

Mary Engel.

Minutes of the Last Meeting

Diane Helgeson moved, and Bill Van Horn seconded, that the Minutes of the August 20, 2008 meeting be approved. The motion passed unanimously.

General Business

  • Follow Up From Last Meeting
    • Parking - Kurt Blunck responded to Staff Senate's request that any vehicle (with or without a hang tag) be permitted to park in any parking lot when classes are not in session. The Parking and Transportation Advisory Committee decided not to enact the request, for financial reasons as well as to avoid confusion over when it is permissible to park without a hang tag. Considerable discussion ensued today, including questioning whether hang tag holders would foot the bill for any associated loss of revenue. There was also concern that S&B hang tag holders may have difficulty parking in S&B lots should visitors, E, F or D hang tag holders monopolize those spaces. At the end of the discussion, it was agreed that Staff Senate would request further information about usage and associated finances.
    • President's Executive Council (PEC) presentation, August 25th regarding Staff Senate's Recruitment Outreach Initiative (ROI) - the presentation was well received and PEC asked Staff Senate to consult with Human Resources and then to create a detailed plan of the various resources required to execute its proposed pilot program. Kevin Thane, Jeannette Radcliffe and Sara France met subsequently with Jo Oudshoorn, Interim Vice President for Human Resources; Sara France also represented Staff Senate at a meeting of HR reps from various departments across campus and, at their suggestion, with Julie Kipfer, Director of Marketing. Sara has also consulted with Ronda Russell, Admissions Director, with particular reference to recruiting in high schools, and is drawing information in preparation for the submission to PEC - scheduled for October 20th. Meanwhile, Kevin requested Staff Senate input into attracting high school students to work at MSU. A short discussion followed regarding the faculty/staff tuition waiver as a recruitment tool for all employees.
    • Sara France has not yet pursued Staff Senate exposure through MSU Today, pending the outcome of the second presentation to PEC, and the MUSSA retreat, when Staff Senate will have more to report.
  • Shared Governance - President Gamble will attend the October 2 meeting of ASGL - shared governance leaders (Faculty Senate, Professional Council, ASMSU, Staff Senate) - to further discuss the formalization of the group and its activities. Meanwhile, recent ASGL business includes consideration of (i) a new procedure for the distribution of IDC income. (It was agreed, at today's Staff Senate meeting, that Staff Senate would further research the revised procedure and report back in October); and (ii) University Appeal. Jan Bosch has met with ASGL describing the program's wish to increase employee participation - not necessarily in the amount employees donate, but the number of individuals active within the program. MSU's employee participation is lower than on other campuses. Ideas such as staff donations being used for a scholarship for the child of a classified employee were raised with ASGL. (It was agreed, at today's Staff Senate meeting, that sensitivity towards issues of salary is appropriate in any fund raising activity).
  • MUSSA Activity The 2008 MUSSA retreat will coincide with the Board of Regents meeting being held at Montana Tech tomorrow and Friday. Unfortunately retreat attendance looks disappointing, with only four campuses being represented, because staff can't take the time away from their jobs to participate. Kevin Thane, Jeannette Radcliffe, Donna Kelly, Michael Dean, and Sara France will attend from MSU and, for the first time in several years, Montana Tech will be represented within MUSSA. The retreat will combine MUSSA agenda items with those of the Regents, with delegates networking and participating in a mix of both events. Details of the retreat will be available on line in due course.
  • FY09 Goals There was insufficient time to discuss goals during this meeting.
  • Outreach Update Sara France reported on a very successful outreach event with MSU Leadership, on September 17th, in the form of a shared governance panel discussion involving Faculty Senate, Professional Council, and Staff Senate. In addition, outreach is scheduled with the College of Nursing for September 30th, and with Financial Aid (date pending). Human Resources has devised ways to improve the New Staff Orientation experience, including expanding participation at orientation meetings to entities previously only represented by handouts or flyers. As part of this, Staff Senate will present at orientation meetings, beginning next week.
  • Staff Senate By Laws Review Kevin Thane introduced his proposed amendments, but there was insufficient time to discuss them at today's meeting. Copies of a draft document (itself somewhat incomplete at this time) were circulated for discussion at next month's meeting.

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.

University Facilities Planning Board - Mandy Hansen reported on UFPB's last meeting, including: (i) a roundabout at 11th and College (those present at today's Staff Senate meeting were concerned about the appropriateness of the location, as well as the need for driver education for roundabouts in general); (ii) recycling efforts - currently predominantly led by ASMSU, but the whole campus needs to take a role; (iii) a facilities planning publication detailing financial and other information; (iv) improved functionality of service drives; (v) Town & Country grocery store's wish to work with MSU regarding a new store, restaurant and office space, proposed for the Campus Cinemas' site.

Strategic Planning Committee - Kristine Mashaw reported on SPC's first meeting of the academic year. It discussed the declining numbers of high school students anticipated for Montana over the next 10 years. Low freshman enrollment stays with MSU for four years, and SPC considered the funding implications of this; as well as reduced income from various research sponsors, primarily due to national cuts. Other issues under consideration by SPC include: updating the Five Year Vision; the possibility of adding a Foundation member to SPC; and SPC goals and performance.

Office of Facilities Services Advisory Committee - Michael Dean reported on OFSAC's first meeting of the year, including employee recruitment issues (City and County experiencing problems similar to MSU, but seeing some increase in locally available workers, coinciding with recent economic events).

Benefits Committee - Ron Brekke reported that the Well Award sign up (for the possibility of receiving $100 for wellness activity) closes September 30th. Ron will follow up on Staff Senate's concerns, today, that health-oriented activities as described by Well Award but not conducted through the Wellness Program, don't qualify for credit towards the $100. Deb Harrison was asked about Wellness participation for remote staff, and she confirmed that the program provides Well Check events etc at remote locations.

Ron reported on the $1500 dental maximum, which some staff members had raised as being adequate. Ron had consulted the chair of MSU's benefits committee as well as the director of benefits for the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. No plans currently exist to alter the benefit for reasons including: any increase in coverage must be funded by increased premiums. Only 4% of people covered by the MUS dental plan exceeded or hit the $1500 maximum last year. There is currently no deductible applied to the MUS dental insurance policy. Ron said that the Benefits Department would be happy to present further information to Staff Senate/MSU (it was mentioned at today's Senate meeting, that Faculty Senate are looking into arranging something like this).

Ron also mentioned that IUBC meets October 2-3.

Space Management Committee - Bill Van Horn reported that SMC is discussing drafting space management protocols. Other items for SMC include the Hamilton Hall renovations. These will be in accordance with 2006 earthquake code. There is no unallocated space in Hamilton Hall, but offices for both Faculty Senate and Staff Senate are slated to be included on the first floor post renovation (likely ready for occupation in the summer of 2009).

Any Other Business

Sara France raised the question of November's Staff Senate meeting falling on the day before Thanksgiving. Several meeting participants indicated they would be unable to attend. Sara was asked to move the meeting to a more appropriate alternative date.

Public Comment

There was none.

Bill Van Horn moved, Rose Cain seconded, and the meeting adjourned at 11:00 am.


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