April 22, 2009

Approved – June 10, 2009

Roll Call
Voting Members:

  • Kevin Thane, Chair
  • Jeannette Radcliffe, Chair-elect
  • Bill Van Horn
  • Diane Helgeson
  • Steven Beasley
  • Raechell Nielsen

Non-Voting Members:

  • Michael Dean
  • Kathy Sobrepena
  • Shari Curtis
  • Beth Littlefield
  • Mandy Hansen
  • Kristine Mashaw
  • Carol Shannon
  • Shana Wold

Others present:

  • Sandy Tetro

Apologies for Absence
Mary Engel, Ron Brekke
Minutes of the Last Meeting
Bill Van Horn moved, Carol Shannon seconded to approve the March 22, 2009 minutes, as amended by Jeannette and Beth.
General Business – Follow up from March meeting:

  • Ron Brekke sent a letter to Kevin expressing interest in continuing to serve as Benefits representative which was unanimously supported by the group.
  • Changes in Membership – Jen Jensco moved to a Professional position and gives up her position in Staff Senate as Marketing Advisory Board rep.  Rose Cain asked to step down from her position as an elected member.
  • UFPUB – Mandy reported from last meeting.  A suggestion was made (in subcommittee) to move the temporary Chemistry Buildings to Faculty Court.  UFPUB did not support that and took a vote:  10 in favor of keeping them (in their current location), 9 opposed, 1 abstention.  The ASMSU representative voted in favor of keeping, which was contrary to ASMSU’s position.  That rep was spoken to by the ASMSU president and he will write a letter to President Gamble changing his vote and explaining why.  Michael Dean again brought up the fact that any buildings going through remodel have to pass an A&E review (in Helena).  They are being called “mid-term” buildings and according to the NIH grant, they only have to be up for 10 years from the remodel to qualify.  The buildings were built at a cost of one million dollars and the (authority to spend) 7.5 million will bring them up to University standards.  Money will be for interior remodel only - nothing will be done to the exterior.
  • VEBA – Carol is the Chair of the committee; Diane Heck also asked to join the committee.  Carol reported there are a variety of employees represented on the committee (union, non-union, etc.).  Carol met with Maggie Spinelli, Lisa Crow, and Jo Oudshoorn and they asked for input/suggestions about what direction to take.  The VEBA contract with the state is different from MSU’s contract.  One person can ask for a revote to change VEBA for the upcoming year.  As a result of this meeting, HR realized we need ongoing informational meetings on retirement.  Jo suggested we ask Marsha Gedding for input.  Marsha is with Extension Service.  Melanie Denning is the state rep for VEBA (Carol tried to contact her).  HR doesn’t have answers because they haven’t been asked.  Kevin researched the state statute regarding VEBA and found that there are no specific delineations between groups.  VEBA has been in place for four years and has been totally set up by HR.  Defining groups seems to be the critical piece (union, non-union, PERS, TIAACREF).  Sandy reported that, according to the state, there is a way to disband VEBA, but that wasn’t pursued.  Carol asked for recommendations (after feedback from constituents) from Staff Senate.
  • Program Coordinator Search update – no news to report, but progress is being made.
  • Board of Regents – meeting in Bozeman at MSU this Friday at 10 a.m.  Kevin submitted five names to Shari McCoy.  BoR wants more input at the ground level.  Regularly scheduled regents meeting on May 28 & 29 in Great Falls.  We have agenda time with regents – are there any issues we want brought up?  If so, send an email to Kevin or Jeannette.  A MUSSA conference call is scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 11.  We will let BoR know that Staff Senate has a committee working with HR to investigate VEBA further.
  • President Search – process has slowed down a bit because the BoR wants to be involved.  Sheila Stearns ask for a “crisp” paragraph describing why a candidate would want to come to MSU.  She also suggested we offer a higher starting salary.
  •  Outreach – Kevin asked for someone to go to HR at 11 a.m. on Friday to give a 10 minute talk to new employees.  Jeannette agreed to sub for Kevin.  The outreach with Financial Aid on April 20 was well received - Kevin and Jeannette facilitated.
  • Legislative Update – Republicans want to cut budgets, Democrats want to increase.  The governor will call a special session if a budget is not agreed upon by Monday, April 27.  CHIP and Education funding are major issues.

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.
Benefits Committee – HR is prepared for upcoming Choices workshops to be held in EPS 259.
Recreational Sports & Fitness – Kathy Sobrepena reported that the $100 Well Award may increase to $150 in the future.  Regarding the issue of youths using the gym, they will do a trial for children aged 15 and older to use the gym for the summer without parents present.  They will also conduct a training program for gym use by youths.
Provost Sponsored Luncheon – The Provost sponsored luncheon on April 9 was very well attended with good response for the speaker and topic.  They will have a meeting in early May to schedule the Fall luncheon.
Facilities – They met March 26 and set a target date of June 26 to take over responsibility (from MSU Police) of key management on campus.  They discussed badges and badge readers as an alternative.  Other issue was the renovation of the top two floors of Cooley Lab being postponed because the bids were too high.  Will rebid entire building if NIH stimulus money becomes available.
UFPUB – A landscape plan was presented for a Bobcat sculpture to be created.  The Alumni Association is paying ($75,000) for the sculpture and will recoup the money by selling smaller versions.  Jim Dolan would like to donate a sculpture to MSU as part of a “grand scheme” he has for MSU.  He envisions “Walt Whitman sitting on a park bench.”
Communications – Shana missed the meeting but said that new templates are available through Communications and Public Affairs.
Strategic Planning – Kristine reported they are looking at the five-year document.  Draft is not yet available, but last year’s vision is still available.
UPBAC – Meeting was on April 7; Kevin reported they are looking at enrollment numbers for next year.  The best indicator is the number of housing deposits received to this point.  Currently, they are down by one as compared to last year.  They speculated that it could be because Financial Aid award letters were two weeks late getting out so the numbers could be affected by that.  They feel the enrollment should be about the same as this past year.  The deficit isn’t as much as they expected it to be.
Any Other Business

  • The next Staff Senate meeting will be May 27 in SUB 236.

Public Comment
Sandy had a request from the Library about what they could do increase use by classified staff.  Possible suggestions included making a presentation at NEO (new employee orientation), or to create a printed “fact sheet” about services the library offers.  Sandy asked you send any ideas to her.
Michael suggested a digital recorder be used in future meetings for accuracy in note taking and to take the pressure off the person taking minutes.
Bill Van Horn moved, Diane Helgeson seconded and the meeting was adjourned at 11:00 am.