February 25, 2009

Roll Call

Apologies for Absence
Mary Engel, Kristine Mashaw, Judy VanAndel
Minutes of the Last Meeting
Bill Van Horn moved, Rose Cain seconded approval of December minutes.
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.

Since President Gamble is scheduled to visit this meeting at 10 a.m., committee reports were addressed first.
Office of Facilities Services Advisory Committee – Update on tree removal on campus:  160 infected trees were removed and treatment was applied to remaining trees at risk.  Plan to replace a number of trees with a more resistant species.
Benefits Committee – There was a Benefits meeting in Helena on February 12, 2009.  Two EBF (evidence based formulary) companies were interviewed in Helena on January 29.  Notes from the meeting were presented.  Members will have the opportunity to move from brand name drugs to generic.  This flexibility will drive the utilization of drugs that are more effective (evidence based) and if drugs of the same class are equally effective, then to the more cost effective medication.  MUS benefit changes for next year (effective 7/1/09) will be reviewed and discussed at the IUBC meeting on February 26th in Helena.  However, Ron said that increased coverage or benefits will likely result in increased premiums.  Donna revisited the issue of getting “Wellness points” for procedures (blood work, mammograms, eye exams) not done through Wellness.
Recreational Sports & Fitness – Advisory board met on 28th of January.  Kathy S. addressed Jeannette’s question about an affordable way for non-members to take advantage of gym membership.  The position from Rec Sports & Fitness is that  membership is affordable (compared to private gyms) and everyone who wants to use it should pay.  Much discussion among the group about ways to facilitate participation – suggestions about paying for individual classes, or a punch card for limited use as possibilities.  Shana W. asked Kathy to explore use of the Fieldhouse for walking during winter.
Provost Sponsored Luncheon – Beth Littlefield reported that Keith Tolar will replace Sara France’s vacated position on the committee.  The next luncheon is scheduled for April 9 in Ballroom D.
Space Management Committee  - Did not meet.  Bill reported that work has started on Hamilton Hall to restructure the foundation.  Next meeting is scheduled for March 6.
General Business

President Gamble arrived at 10:00 a.m.
President Gamble said that the website, www.mus.edu has a link to the 2009 Legislature, which takes you to a “Bills of Interest to the Montana University System” link.  President Gamble has given testimony and has gone up four times since then.  Revenue projections have been changing month to month.  Our budget is sitting in full house appropriations with a current funding level that is slightly below present law adjustment.  HB 2A looks at the stimulus package.  The pay plan (as of December budget projections) is historically the same as the state.  A one-time bonus of $450 per employee making less than $45,000 annually is proposed for higher education.  The state will pay only 42% of cost of health benefits.  MSU will find the remaining money through tuition increases, etc.  Eighty-five bills are being tracked by the President’s Office.  Some of them are:  HB4; HB 12 (requires employers to make retirement contributions if rehired by MSU); HB 13 (pay plan for employees); HB 228 (citizens’ self defense firearms rights); the Amethyst Initiative to lower the drinking age to 18; HB 400 (revises the alcohol content of beer).
Enrollments are high, but students are taking fewer credits.  Michael Dean brought up the fact that students are not being served.  For example, Architecture requires a trigonometry class, but MSU does not offer trig.  Same for drafting courses – not offered.  Geoff reported record applications; up 100 over last year and 1,000 out of state applications more than last year.  He has approached donors to give some one-time donation to scholarships.
Retention – MSU gets $4,000 per student.  We have the best rate in the state, but could still improve.  Geoff wants to keep the tuition increase under 5%.  Central pool for raises for small departments was brought up – Geoff said he would look into it.  He said he doesn’t anticipate layoffs at MSU (beyond the normal 6-7%).  Museum of the Rockies is the only exception since their operating funds come from private donations.  President Gamble guaranteed there would be no increase in parking fees next year.  He said there would be very few, if any, new fee increases.
Any Other Business

Public Comment

Kevin moved, all seconded, and the meeting adjourned at 11:02 am.


NEXT MEETING: March 25 IN Strand Union 236 AT 9:00AM