Staff Senate Minutes - approved 6/23/10

A regular meeting of the Staff Senate was held on Wednesday May 26, 2010 at SUB 236 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.  The following, marked with an X, were present.   Guests present at the meeting were Anne Milkovich, Susie Taylor, Sharon Stoneberger, Chantelle Mahan, Betsey Pitts, and Stacey Scott. 

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 not present.
Appointed Committee Members:  Kristine Mashaw, Beth Littlefield, Carol Shannon, and Pam Fraser.   Apologies received from Shana Wold, Deb Harrison, Donna Kelly, Steve Beasley, Mandy Hansen, and Ron Brekke.  Jeannette offered to take notes in the absence of Joan Ford.

Kevin welcomed newly elected members Wendy McCarty and Deb Wilke.

A motion, made by Jeannette and seconded by Bill, to approve the April 23, 2010 minutes was unanimously approved. 

Guest Speakers:

Neil, Training and Employee Recognition team member, as part of Staff Senates Goals and Directions Committee Reports, invited Anne Milkovich, Susie Taylor, and Sharon Stoneberger to speak about retention and training of employees.  Anne explained that the Training Council, an unofficial name, is a self appointed grass roots effort.  About a year ago Anne started contacting key people to form a group of interested people.  The first step was to take inventory; put together a curriculum; certification procedure to start, e.g. MSU certified Administrative Assistants track, or MSU certified Accountant tract, etc.  Some problems the Council brainstormed included; training won’t get you a raise, but might help you get another job on campus, may not be well received by some supervisors, and any fee charge would kill the program.

Kevin interjected their idea is similar to the Pooled Resources effort started in 2005 which died in 2007.  UM Missoula volunteered time to organize identified resources but due to changes in personnel, etc. it didn’t go any further.  Staff Senate presented the idea to the Board of Regents and asked for funding which did not get approved.

Training Council’s first presentation was “Difficult Conversations”.  Anne asked if Staff Senate would support a “Supervisory Training”.  This training would include not only the “rules” supervisors must follow, but, more importantly, how to be a “good” supervisor? She asked how we can encourage supervisors (especially those who would most benefit) to take training, should it be mandatory?  Jeannette suggested asking employees to evaluate their immediate supervisors, and that it needs to be endorsed/required by HR or the Training Council.  Susie talked about retention and has collected data regarding the cost of hiring and training new employees.  Sharon said it’s about 3 times the employee’s salary.  Kevin added that Staff Senate tracks retention on classified employees and approximately 50% leave within the first 5 years.

Staff Senate supports the concept of this training and recognizes the hurdles.  Kevin offered that we could provide ideas and try to move the program forward.  Kevin offered to present this idea to the Regents for funding to coordinate and conduct training (facility costs, training materials).  Discussion was held regarding creating an assessed fee to create a “budget” for this training, having a “track” system i.e. safety for custodians, safety for facilities employees, safe vehicle use, etc.  The certification idea was supported; it was suggested that the Job Service might be able to conduct testing.  Sharon noted that HR also conducts that testing but it does not involve training.  Neil’s committee was asked to continue to meet with the Training Council to continue developing these ideas.


By acclamation Bill and Raechell were elected Chair and Chair-Elect respectively.

Shared Governance:

The Board of Regents meeting is in Havre on May 27 and 28.  MUSSA members will be making a presentation to the Regents at a 7:00 a.m. breakfast on May 27.  MUSSA members had a conference call to discuss presentation topics and decided to talk about the effects of budget cuts on classified staff using examples regarding being short staffed and retention. 

Guest Speakers:

Kevin invited Betsey and Stacey from Professional Council, to make a presentation about wearing name tags on campus.  Betsey stated they believe it is a constructive, positive idea and a way to recognize and appreciate employees and it’s not just for professionals.  She noted concerns expressed to date included: some did not want to identify themselves to disgruntled students or other people on campus, start out as a voluntary, but could be mandated.  The Professional Council doesn’t see it as something that should be mandated but as an option, e.g. on MSU Fridays to welcome students/parents.  Other ideas they have heard so far include:  first names only, not wearing on personal times (like lunch hour), not wearing “pins” (magnetic is better). 

She asked for input and to address concerns and/or objections to this idea.  They also wanted to hear our ideas about letting employees know they are valued.  Discussion held included that the name tags might not have credence if they were optional; many positions on campus are not exposed to students and parents.  Carol noted that during MSU Fridays, move-in day, etc., all employees are encouraged to wear “Supporting Student Success” buttons.  A motion made by Raechell and seconded by Bill, to support the provision of name tags on a voluntary basis (by request) if centrally funded, passed with 10 votes for and 5 opposed.

Committee Reports:

MSU Benefits Committee, Carol reported that Paul Bogumill resigned as Director of Benefits effective July 1.  Complete notes are online  

Space Committee, Bill reported via email that the committee met on June 4.  First was a presentation by Montana PBS (Eric Hyyppa) regarding future space needs.  Craig Roloff updated the committee regarding the CoT/two-year program and its possible space needs. It was indicated that space already allocated on the second floor of Hamilton Hall would be the starting point, and that space would be freed up in Culbertson Hall. A review of that space would be coupled with a space inventory which could then serve as a model, of sorts, for an update of the campus space inventory.  Discussion then turned to space in AJM Johnson Hall and the occupancy limit of Gaines 101.

University Facilities Planning Board, Mandy reported via email that a draft Heritage Building and Sites Policy was approved. The policy is posted online for public comment.  The Public Art procedures were approved to the previously approved policy.  A building Noise Criteria was approved, to be included in the Design Guideline and Construction Standards.  The Iris Garden was approved in concept minus the proposed amphitheatre. They expect the amphitheatre to come back as a separate proposal in a later phase.

UPBAC, the President formed five work groups (Research, Academic, Budget, Planning, and Governance).  Her plan is to have the work of these work groups completed and the five Councils up and running by July.  Governance Council is only one on which the President will sit.  Kevin feels Governance is designed to make decisions “for the good of the University” as a whole. Although not decided, the Governance Council was proposed as a voting council, however, there are some that believe it should be advisory.

Other Business:

Kevin stated we have a number of Committee vacancies and suggested we keep current members for another term if they do not object.  Kevin will send a request to current committee representatives to ask.

A motion to adjourn was made by Bill and seconded by Raechell at 11:00 a.m.

Next meeting:  Wednesday June 23, 2010 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. in SUB #236.