Staff Senate Minutes - (approved 2/24/10)

A regular meeting of the Staff Senate was held on Wednesday, January 27,  2010 at Strand Union Building Room #236 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.  The following, marked with an X, were present.

Elected Members:


Steve Beasley


Gale Kinzie


Jan Bradley


Raechell Nielsen


Mary Engel


Jeannette Radcliffe


Deb Harrison


Kevin Thane


Neil Jorgensen


Justin van Almelo


Donna Kelly


Bill Van Horn

Attendance Code Key:  X = Attended     A=Apologies for Absence       Staff, Joan Ford, was in attendance.

Appointed Committee Members:  Michael Dean, Kristine Mashaw, Shari Curtis, Ron Brekke, and Shana Wold.
A motion, made by Bill and seconded by Jeannette, to approve the December 9, 2009 minutes, was unanimously approved. 

Goals and Directions - brainstorming groups.

  1. Training and Employee Recognition –Bill, Neil, and Jan are gathering information from both MSU and other Universities.   Dr. Cruzado has some recognition ideas. 
  2. HR Policy change - Kevin and Deb are working with Human Resource to clarify the use of the new employment classifications, “Classified Short-term Worker” and “Classified Temporary Fixed-term employee”.   It appears that a Classified Temporary Fixed-term employee may be used just as Temp Hourly was under the old definition except the Classified Temporary Fixed-term employee will be eligible for paid holidays.
  3. Voluntary Time off - Jeannette and Steve reported that MSU’s policy refers to MT Code Annotated (MCA) but the language is vague.  It appears the policy and MCA are referring to long-term voluntary leave not short-term.  The policy varies from department to department and leaves the approval of a leave requests to the supervisor’s discretion.  Jeannette and Steve will continue to investigate the effect time off would have on health insurance, sick and vacation leave.  An HR training session would be helpful.   The need for individuals to use all of their annual leave before taking LWOP will be investigated. The group suggested looking into the requirement to take a week without pay before donated sick leave is used with an eye toward changing the policy so it does not impact an individual when they are most in need of funds. 
  4. Pedestrian Safety - Kristine and Ron have not met.   A meeting is being arranged with Facilities Planning.  The meeting will discuss current pedestrian traffic standards and how bicycle and skateboard traffic safety issues are addressed in the Campus Master Plan, and also snow safety.
  5. VEBA - Carol Shannon and Kevin will work with Human Resource to have VEBA be an educational topic.  There are still a number of VEBA options that need to be explored.

MSU Within the Community Context - Joan reported that the document is about 85% done.  Kevin and Joan need to verify statistics, write the “Recommendations” section, and proof read.

MUSSA (Montana State University Staff Association) – had a conference call on January 7th and met with the Board of Regents on January 14th in Helena.  For details see
Board of Regents – MSU Bozeman, MSU Northern, UM Missoula, and UM Helena College of Technology Staff Senate leaders met with the Regents over lunch in Helena on January 14th.  Each campus made a presentation on the state of classified staff on their campus and how each campus is doing more with less staff.  Kevin highlighted the MUS Compensation Plan, Pay Guidelines.  It was noted that the MSU-Bozeman Staff Senate supported the fact that MSU's new president was hired because of her experience and expertise and was compensated accordingly.  The Staff Senate position is that the current policy concerning hiring new staff prohibits compensating a new employee for experience that person may bring to the job and as a result diminishes the possibilities for retaining experienced staff once the economy recovers.  It is the position of the MSU-Bozeman Staff Senate that this policy should be amended to allow hiring new classified employees at any level between the low and high entry rates established by the MUS Human Resource Directors.

ASGL (Association of Shared Governance Leaders) – met on January 25th;  Kevin reported that Professional Council is working with MSU News Services to create a video with sound bites from students on the impact made in their lives by faculty and staff members.   ASMSU will be conducting a student survey to find the strengths of each MSU campus.  ASMSU is considering a statewide marketing campaign, based on the survey.   The group talked about uniting the four MSU campuses and centralizing efforts.

Temporary Chemistry Labs – no update. 

University Budget and Planning – The Regents are considering changing the reserve policy from 2% up to 5%.  Kevin noted that state revenues are being projected to have a $270 million shortfall.  If the state budget remains the same, it would use all but around $16.9 million dollars of the states reserves.  The Governor has requested a 5% across the board budget cut.  Montana University Systems requested that each campus submit plans on actions they will take to fulfill the 5% budget reduction.  Kevin reported UPBAC met on January 25th to discuss what the UPBAC Workgroup has gathered as budget reduction suggestions.  He handed out the UPBAC Workgroup report and UPBAC Workgroup Suggestion Tables from that meeting (also available on the web at ).   He announced a public UPBAC meeting on 2/9/10.  Individuals wishing to speak at that meeting should contact Jim Rimpau to be put on the agenda.

Committee reports:
Strategic Planning Committee, Kristine announced the group met to evaluate the progress of goals.  The group wants to evaluate the Plan and get Dr. Cruzado’s input and views toward a new Strategic Plan following the Funding Plan.
MSU Benefits Committee, Ron and Sheri reported on Choices benefit changes.  Information sessions on the change to the prescription plan will be held soon.  Prior to re-enrollment, information will be disbursed via President Cruzado’s Monday Memo and emails from other groups, Wellness newsletters, Wellness Fair in March, Posters and possibly included in the Choices handbook.   Complete notes are online (    
Parking Appeals Board – Donna reported that revenues are down and that the majority of collections come from individuals who fail to register their vehicles.  She noted that the number of parking slots is down due to snow.  Several Senate members noted that the company contracted to perform snow removal in the parking lots are not pushing the snow far enough off the north and south Gatton lots which is reducing the number of usable parking spots for those lots.
Space Management Committee – Bill reported the College of Business and the College of EHHD have come to an agreement regarding the use of space on the top floor of Reid Hall.  The subject of building closures has come up and the unofficial consensus is that it isn't really a likely area for savings with the possible exception of some of the older family housing units.  Many of the vacated spaces (such as the basement of Traphagen) cannot be reoccupied and may revert to storage space.

Other Business:
Kevin announced that there are several committee representative openings and that he would be emailing solicitation information to classified staff soon.  Joan will mail hard copies to groups without email.

Kevin will invite Dr. Cruzado to a Staff Senate meeting.

A motion, moved and seconded, to adjourn the meeting at 11:00 a.m., was unanimously approved.

Next meeting:  Wednesday, February 24, 2010 from 9 to 11 a.m. in Wilson Hall, Bradley conference room.