Montana State University
Staff Senate > Minutes

Montana State University
Staff Senate

Montana Hall Room 106
P.O. Box 171865
Bozeman, MT 59717-1865
(406) 994-6895


Diane Dorgan

Vice Chair:

Bill Van Horn

Program Coordinator:

Joan L. Ford



Staff Senate

Staff Senate Minutes - (unapproved)

A regular meeting of the Staff Senate was held on Wednesday March 16, 2011 in SUB 235 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.  The following, marked with an X, were present.  There were no additions or deletions to the agenda.  Guests, Camie Bechtold and Jo Packham, were present.

Elected Senate Members:                                                                                               (Committee Appointment)


Steve Beasley


Jan Bradley


Deb Harrison


Neil Jorgensen


Donna Kelly (Parking Appeals)


Wendy McCarty (Personnel)


Raechell Nielsen (Planning Council)


Kevin Thane (Facilities)


Justin van Almelo


Bill Van Horn (Space & Univ)


Deb Wilke




Appointed Senate Members:                                                                                          (Committee Appointment)


Molly Anderson (PTAC)


Ron Brekke (Benefits)


Shari Curtis (Benefits)


Irene Decker (Parking Appeals)


Pam Frasier (International)


Many Hanson (UFPB)


Beth Littlefield (Provost Lunch)


Sheron McIlhattan (Budget Council)


Merry Paceley (Personnel)


Carol Shannon (Benefits)


Shana Wold (Marketing)



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


Apologies received from Jan Bradley, Donna Kelly, Merry Paceley, and Shana Wold. 


A motion, made by Pam and seconded by Molly, to approve the February 16, 2011 minutes with corrects was approved. 

Guest Speakers:

Camie Bechtold spoke with the Senate regarding the NCAA Athletics Certification process.  The process is performed every 10 years with the purpose of open communications of athletics to the university community and public; set standards and operating principles for operation of all NCAA Division I athletic programs; and establish sanctions for failure to conduct a comprehensive self-study or correct problems.  The team is currently on step 3, self-study report.  The completion of the certification process is expected by April 29th.  View the NCAA Certification progress at


Jo Packham spoke on the issue of pay frequency with the Senators.  Jo noted a pay survey was conducted in 2003 that resulted in classified employees wanting a more frequent pay cycle, faculty and professional staff wanting monthly.  At that time, analysis of a more frequent pay cycle determined an increased administration need by the departments, payroll and information technology.  After conducting a business process review it was determined to not move forward with more frequent pay cycles. 


Jo stated that this issue is once again being discussed as part of the “One University” plan, which is trying to identify and consolidate four campuses with a single policy, process, and procedure.  She noted that today the Payroll department does one large pay cycle plus a smaller one; in essence it performs 1 ½ payroll cycles.  Currently two MSU Campuses are paid every 2nd Friday and two are monthly.  There are some legislative rules regarding pay cycles and noted that a bi-weekly cycle of the 1st and the 15th would not be acceptable.  HR is conducting a cost benefit analysis. 


Attendance at HR and other training opportunities was raised.  It was noted that some classified staff are being told they must use vacation time to attend.  Jo noted that attendance during work hours is up to the supervisor’s discretion.  Another issue raised was 360 degree feedback/review of supervisors.  Jo noted that it was not a formal process but some departments do use some form of 360 degree feedback or review.


Jo was asked about the change in benefits from Dependent Premium fee waiver to Healthy Montana Kids.  She noted that it was a labor/management decision and made available to all state and University employees.  A reserve fund of $200 thousand has been set aside for those families that fall in the gap between the two plans.  One HMK benefit is a $215 deductible no matter how many children there are in the family.  It was noted that the application process is very complicated and would affect about 168 MSU Bozeman employees.  Jo agreed to contact Connie Welch regarding training.


Jo reported that a VEBA vote would be going out to eligible classified union-exempt employees soon.  Classified union employees would not be voting unless a request to do so was received by HR.  After discussion with the Senators, she agreed to contact Susan Alt and communicate concerns raised regarding the union voters.


In conclusion, Jo stated that there are many changes to the health benefits and rules.  She urged all employees to attend Choices training sessions and computer lab times.  Fliers will be distributed to all employees soon.

Committee Reports:

Association of Shared Governance Leaders – did not meet per Bill.  Full report available at


Debt Planning and Management – the duties of this committee have been rolled into the Budget Council per Sheron. 


Facilities Services Advisory – did not meet per Kevin.  Minutes of the OFS meetings at


International Program – met per Pam.  The committee is working on drafts of two certificates, International Engineering and Global Action.


MSU Benefits & IUBC – Jo covered the important items per Ron, Shari, and Carol.  Full report available at   


Parking & Transportation Advisory – met 2/23 per Molly.  The committee reviewed possible changes to the violation fee structure, opportunities to reduce parking demand, and scheduling future meetings with the various governance groups.  Notes from at


Personnel Advisory Board – did not meet per Wendy.


Space Management – did not meet per Bill.


University Facilities Planningmet 3/1 per Mandy. Melinda Peirce presented information regarding the Campus Beautification Project.  The only item voted upon was a request to park a vinyl wrapped limousine on Centennial Mall as “signage” for the Chamberlain Rail Jam. The request was denied.   The 3/15 UFPB meeting was cancelled due to spring break. Minutes of the UFPB meetings at

University Marketing – Sheron reported that the apparel focus group met and discussed affordable MSU logoed apparel with the MSU Bookstore.  The focus group looked at examples of quality polo shirts in the $20-$25 range.  The team discussed employee discounts, logos and colors.  The group would like to have merchandise available in fall 2011.


Budget Council – has not met per Sheron.  Minutes of the Budget Council meetings at


Planning Council – per Raechell, MSU is in the process of reviewing its mission statement and drafting a new mission statement & core themes, in part to comply with new accreditation requirements. The University Planning Council is coordinating this effort quickly in order to meet approaching accreditation deadlines. All are invited to participate in a survey by visiting, deadline is March 27, 2011.  Minutes of the Planning Council meetings at


University Council – the Council met 3/2 per Bill.  Topics included; President's climate commitment, telephone book Task Force, overview of Discrimination and Harassment Training and Implementation Plan, and New Fair Labor Standards Act Rules.   Minutes of the University Council meetings at

Other Committee reports – Beth announced that the Provost-Sponsored Luncheon is Tuesday 3/22 in the SUB.  Also, the committee is seeking a classified employee representative.


New Business:
Nomination Committee – Bill requested a minimum of two volunteers to participate on this Staff Senate standing committee.  Their charge would be to determine which members of Staff Senate are eligible and willing to run for office (chair and vice chair) for the next fiscal year.


Bylaws Committee – Bill requested a minimum of two volunteers to participate on this Staff Senate standing committee.  Their charge would be to review current bylaws and recommend updates and/or changes as needed.  Recommendations will be reviewed and voted on by the Staff Senate at the next earliest meeting.


Continuing Business:

Training Task Force – Justin and Neil continue to meet with various groups around campus. 


Public Relations Task Force – the Kudos web pages are ready to go and Senators were invited to test the pages.  Bill noted that President Cruzado has been discussing staff recognition with the Professional Council.  Staff Senate is on the President’s agenda in April and will bring our program to her attention.  The Senate office was directed to explore spending rules as it applies to purchasing gift/awards for this program.  Gifts/awards have been discussed as a monthly drawing for those nominated during the same time period.



MSU within the Community Context – Kevin announced the 2009 document was complete and emailed to the Senate office.


Pay Frequency Survey – results were handed out at the meeting.  There were 1,005 classified staff responses and 353 student employee responses.  63% of classified staff favored a bi-weekly pay cycle verses 37% for monthly pay and 75% of student employees favored bi-weekly pay verses 25% for monthly pay.


Other Business:

Bill announced that elections for Senators whose terms end 6/30/11 will be held in early April.  Ballots will be sent to Secretarial/Clerical (2 seats) and Classified Professional (1 seat).


Bill announced that Regent Todd Buchanan is tentatively scheduled to be a guest at our April Staff Senate meeting.


Wrap Up

A motion to adjourn at 11:05 was made by Pam and seconded by Raechell.


Next meeting:  April 20, 2011, 9-11 a.m. in SUB 235