Staff Senate Minutes - approved 4/23/10

A regular meeting of the Staff Senate was held on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at Wilson Hall, Bradley Conference Room 2-257 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, Shana Wold, Carol Shannon, Molly Anderson, Shari Curtis, Ron Brekke, and Pam Fraser

A motion, made by Jeannette and seconded by Bill, to approve the February 24, 2009 minutes with corrections, was unanimously approved. 


Goals and Directions - brainstorming groups.
Training and Employee Recognition, (Bill, Neil, and Jan) Bill reported the team will meet with President Cruzado on April 1st.  Bill researched recognition opportunities and found that many departments are doing staff acknowledgements.  In addition, each year the Employee Recognition Awards Program, through the Human Resources Department, honors outstanding performance and contributions by Montana State University professional (non-instructional) and classified employees.  At the next meeting, Neil will provide an update on training opportunities.

New Hire Policy, (Kevin and Deb) Kevin raised the issue of new hire compensation, as controlled by the MUS New Hire policy, at the lunch session with the Board of Regents on January 14th.  The next step is to raise this issue through MSU Bozeman leadership; then make a formal proposal to the Regents requesting a language change to the policy.  During discussion, concern was expressed regarding existing employee compensation and the fact that HR can veto a department’s raise recommendation.  In the opinion of the group, it foresees retention issues, with both the lowest wage as part of the new hire policy and HR restrictions on raises for existing employees.

Voluntary Time off, (Jeannette and Steve) Jeannette reported they will be meeting with Jo Oudshoorn regarding a FAQ section on the HR website and cleaning up the policy language.

Pedestrian Safety, (Kristine and Ron) Ron stated that Kristine will have an update at the next Staff Senate meeting.

VEBA, (Kevin and Carol) Kevin reported they will be attending a VEBA meeting later in the day.  He reported that union employees voted down VEBA and the union exempt employees passed VEBA with a narrow margin. 

MSU Within the Community Context – no update.

Committee Openings – Kevin announced there are two committee openings.  They are the Recreation Sports Advisory Board which meets monthly and a new committee, Fitness Center Oversight Committee, which will meet two or three times per year.

President Cruzado will attend the next Staff Senate meeting – Kevin confirmed that President Cruzado will attend the next Staff Senate meeting which will be on Friday April 23rd, instead of Wednesday April 28th, to accommodate her schedule.  The group brainstormed possible topics they would like addressed, such as her vision of shared governance and how and where classified employees fit into that model, retention and hiring, parking, Streamline, review of operational units for workload, and centralizing benefits.

MUSSA (Montana State University Staff Association) – had a conference call on March 1 for the upcoming Board of Regents meeting in Dillon on March 4 & 5.  Kevin noted that MSU Great Falls recently expressed an interest in becoming involved in MUSSA.  For details see

Board of Regents – Kevin highlighted items from the Board of Regents meeting.   He noted that the budget is a moving target.  He referred to a news article this morning, stating that “Montana accepted Arch Coal’s $86 million bid for the rights to a vast tract holding a half-billion tons of state-owned ‍coal”, noting it could have a positive impact on the state’s budget.  The University Leadership Council discussed the consolidation efforts between MSU campuses, Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, and Havre.  MSU reported potential cost saving, possibility of changing from monthly to bi-weekly pay, and projected continued increases in student enrollment.  The vote on the deferred compensation package for President Cruzado and bringing President Dennison’s pay up to par passed.

ASGL (Association of Shared Governance Leaders) –President Cruzado attended the March 9th ASGL meeting.  She shared some of what she has learned during her “Listening and Learning” sessions and outlined her thoughts on shared governance and what needs to happen to elevate it to the next level.
Temporary Chemistry Labs – no update. 

Committee reports:

University Marketing Committee, meeting in April per Shana.

Facilities Services Advisory Committee, Michael reported that the committee is continuing to discuss their budget and possible cuts.  Dan Stevenson talked at this committee meeting about energy savings and conservation.

Space Management Committee, meeting in April per Bill.

MSU Benefits Committee, Ron reported that IUBC met February 25th in Helena.  IUBC is continuing to look at budget losses and how to manage the benefits programs more cost effectively.  Shari reported that the Benefits Committee met March 4th, noting meetings about changes to the URx plan are being held March through April. Complete notes are online

Parking Services Advisory Committee, meeting later in the day per Molly.  She did attend a parking forum which outlined how MSU compares to other like campuses, in regard to the number of spaces, violations, and citations.  The issue of a parking garage was raised, it was noted that the cost per square foot is much higher than any other options.  They are trying to balance availability, convenience, and cost of parking.  Ron reported, according to the snow removal contract, parking lots are cleared after hours when there are no cars in the way and snow is not being pushed back further on the Gatton lots because of potential damage to the underground sprinkling system, thus shrinking available parking. 

International Programs Committee, meeting next week per Pam.

Other Business:

Kevin announced elections for new members will happen in April and officer elections will be at the May 26th meeting.

A motion, moved and seconded, to adjourn the meeting at 11:05 a.m., was unanimously approved.

Next meeting:  Friday April 23, 2010 from 9 to 11 a.m. in SUB #236.