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Minutes - October 16, 2003

Members present: Michael Acuna, Pat Alfano, Vickie Amidon, Mack Andrews, Jan Ballard, Janet Bensman, Alison Louise Brown, Helen Burnette,Alanna Burney, Melba Catchings, Julie Cunniff, Marlis Dagg, Laura Davis, Phillip Dubov, Margaret Evans, Neil Fahlund, Patrice Fox, Phil Gavenda, Royce Gehrels, Sandra Godfrey, Andrew Gordon, Kathy Guajardo, Christy Habecker, Bert Herigstad, Gayle Hight, Dora Hilgart, Thomas Horn, George Hughes, Kim Johnson, Noah Lowenstein, Earl McMannis Jr., Mary Beth Meratoris, Kim Montroy, Pedro (PG) Moreno, Peggy Mueller, Greg Murphy, John Nelson, Sam Owens, Amy Pinkston, Jorge Puig, Ana Raley, Leslie Saucedo, Jennifer Scalora, J.R. Schlesinger, Ann Seago, William Sederholm, Sandra Sleeper, Stella Smith, Sheril Smith, Joe Sosler, Kitty Villa, Erin Waneck, JR Watson, Shane Williams, Glen Worley

Members absent with notification: Karis Beasley, Philemon Brown, Joni Burks, Johnnie Conley, Marlis Dagg, Vicki Heydron, Margaret Hill, Elizabeth Korves, Jim McElroy, Amy Pinkston, Didi Smith

Members absent: Oscar Carmona, Augustin Collazo, Rick Garza, John Hibbitts, Marcus Horton, Frank McIlhaney, Chuck Pearson, Kay Randall, Frank Simon, Jerry Spillar

Guests: Blair Newberry Jones, Production Coordinator, Office of Relationship Management and University Events

Welcome:

Chair Glen Worley called to order the regular meeting of the UT Staff Council at 3:05 p.m. on Thursday, October 16 in Main 212. 53 UTSC representatives were present.

Welcome guests:

Blair Newberry Jones, Production Coordinator, Office of Relationship Management and University Events

Announcements:

Welcome new member PG Moreno, General Libraries, District 130.1
Bruce Volbeda, District 220.1 has resigned as he is leaving UT.

The next regular meeting of the UTSC is November 20, Main 212, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Orange Santa presentation by Blair Newberry Jones:

Orange Santa is now in its 10th year. Departments and individuals from across campus donate gifts which are collected at the Guard Stations. Custodial Service used to pick up donations at the departments but this will change (she will update everyone later as to what the new procedure will be). Last year 329 families and 1215 children were served. Any UT employee or full-time student may apply and applications will be made available Nov. 14 – Dec. 5 by calling Human Resource Services or going to the Web site.

There are several ways to serve:

  • Volunteer via the Web site to help in the Holiday Store -- Dec. 6-9.
  • Organize a donation drive in your dept. Be creative; last year the Education Dept. donated books in Spanish and English – one book to every family plus their two gifts. Jody Conrad and Women's Basketball donated a basketball to each family. Other departments collected money and to make it go further, bought them tax-free by using the UT Tax Exempt Certificate.

There will be an information session on Nov. 6, 3 p.m. in Main 212.

The URL will be available starting Nov. 3, 2003: http://www.utexas.edu/events/orangesanta

For more information call the Office of Relationship Management and University Events at 471-7753.

Chair's report:

Staff Educational Benefit

I contacted Kyle Cavanaugh concerning the courses that are excluded from the Staff Educational benefit. These are:

  • dissertation courses whose numbers end in 99
  • courses available through the Division of Continuing Education (including Extension Credit Courses)
  • courses available through Executive Education
  • courses offered through Option III programs
  • Other educational activities, such as continuing education conferences and seminars, are not covered by this benefit.

Kyle's response:

When the SEB was first established, the Vice President and Dean of Graduate Studies at that time had very strong opinions that the benefit not extend to dissertation hours. The primary rationale that I recall was that there was concern that by putting such a benefit in place could actually be a impediment to completing the PhD which in some cases can languish for years before completion.

The other exceptions were driven from fiscal constraints when the benefit was established. At this point participation has exceeded expectations and there are growing concerns about the actual cost of the benefit.

I suggested that HRS add this information to the SEB Web page.

On September 24, 2003, I was informed by President Faulkner's office that Pat Clubb and Kyle Cavanaugh will present the Grievance Policy draft to the Vice-Presidents' Council in the near future. Exactly when is not known yet as President Faulkner's schedule has been disrupted by his wife's recovery from a fall.

I was contacted by Mark Alpert, chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee concerning representation by a staff member on his committee. I appointed Andy Gordon, Chair of the UTSC Insurance Committee, as our representative to the Faculty Welfare Committee meeting held on Thursday, October 9. Andy reports that Dr. Mark Alpert (Chairman of the Faculty Welfare Committee) is conducting his annual survey concerning satisfaction with current benefits. The survey will be sent to a sample population of faculty, staff, and graduate student employees. The UTSC Insurance Working Committee will relay the results to the UTSC when they become available.

At this point Ana Raley/Dist 202 asked Glen if Andy Gordon had been appointed to the Faculty Welfare Committee. She made the point that her committee needs to know decisions like this so that they can include them on their report to the Faculty Committee on Committees.

As chair of the Staff Council, I attended the annual riverboat cruise on Lake Austin for new faculty. President Faulkner introduced me, along with the chair of the Faculty Council, deans, and vice presidents, to all the new faculty members present. This is another example of the administration's efforts to include the Staff Council as part of the University of Texas at Austin community.

President Faulkner will be a guest at either the February or March Staff Council meeting depending on which best fits his schedule.

I am greatly encouraged by the Daily Texan coverage of staff issues. Their coverage has served to put the Staff Council activities in a very good light.

Report on the UT System Employee Advisory Council

On October 13 and 14 Ann Seago and I attended the UT System Employee Advisory Council meeting. Ann filled in for Phillip Dubov who could not attend.

UT System Employee Advisory was started in March of 2001 and consists of two staff members from each UT System component and meets three times per year. The EAC also meets with the UT Regents once a year to bring forward issues of concern to staff. EAC has four standing committees: Benefits, Communications, Compensation, and Policy. Phillip Dubov is on the Benefits committee and I am on the Communications committee. Web site is http://www.utsystem.edu/eac/

Ann and I attended the new member orientation and got an overview of the UT System as well as a history of the EAC.

There was a presentation on the UT Telecampus or UTTC. This is very popular at some of the smaller components as one can take classes from other components if they are not offered at the 'home' institution. You must be admitted to the UT campus offering the course. For more information see [link no longer available].

Most of the work done by the EAC is done in committees. Brief summary of each committee reports follows:

Benefits –

  • Employee Educational Assistance proposal was submitted to Academic Affairs and is still in that office. Action will not be taken until effects of tuition increases, if any, are known.
  • A survey of Wellness programs on each component campus will be conducted.
  • Health related links offered by various components will be added to the EAC Web site.
  • Report on amnesty program for staff having ineligible dependents on their insurance: Have 30 days to remove them before action may be taken. Could be required to reimburse UT for all expenses (including premium sharing) for ineligible dependents.
  • UT System is preparing RFP for new life insurance and flex fund administrator with the possibility of having a debit card for UT Flex funds to reduce paper work. There is also a possibility that flex funds could be used for over the counter medications.
     
  • Discussion: Jennifer Scalora/Dist. 262: are Summer classes included.
    Peggy Mueller/Dist. 130.2: no, only the long semesters: Fall and Spring, Summer is excluded.

Communications –

  • Will work to improve communications about EAC to components
  • Encourage realistic access to information technology for all UT System employees

Compensation –

  • Urge UT System HR to maintain and update the Best Practices document compiled by the EAC. This document details innovative ways that some components recruit and retain staff.
  • Research non-monetary awards for staff (e.g. Exemplary award) within and outside of UT System
  • Legislation SB 1652 – components that don't have pay for performance plans (e.g. merit raises) may have to fund them. HB 3442 mandates an average manager to employee ratio of 1 to 11. UT System is creating a task force to look into how this will affect us.

Policy –

  • Will help with research in areas mentioned by other committees.

On Wednesday, October 15, 2003 , I attended the Orange Santa steering committee chaired by Blair Newberry Jones.

Vice Chair's report:

No report from Phillip Dubov

Recorder/Secretary:

Minutes from the previous meeting: Ann Seago

The minutes of the September 18 meeting were approved.

Committee Reports:

Standing Committees: (Issues; Bylaws; Committee on Committees; Communications; Nominations and Elections)

By-Laws: William Sederholm and Stella Smith

In response to Issue 2003-12 regarding UTSC Issue Resolution Process, the Bylaws Committee recommends the following action for each of the issues raised:

1) Regarding the length of service of an ad hoc committee.

Currently: Ad Hoc committees will be appointed by the Exec. Committee or UTSC as the need arises. The Ad Hoc Committee will elect a chair and the time span of the committee will be determined by the matter under consideration and will be disbanded when the purpose has been served. The minimum number of individual members' as well as length of service will be determined by the UTSC.

Proposed Change: Ad Hoc committees will be appointed by the Exec. Committee or UTSC as the need arises. The Ad Hoc Committee will elect a chair and the time span of the committee will be determined by the matter under consideration and will be disbanded when the purpose has been served. THE UTSC WILL DETERMINE WHEN THE COMMITTEE'S PURPOSE HAS BEEN DISCHARGED AND WHETHER THE COMMITTEE SHOULD BE DISSOLVED . The minimum number of members' as well as MEMBER length of service will be determined by the UTSC.

2) Regarding the process for issue resolution.

The Bylaws Committee feels that this process should not be written into the bylaws but rather be provided as supplemental material for Council members. In this way UTSC will have the flexibility to change the process based on unique situations that might arise as we work with administration to get legislation approved.

This proposal was referred to the Issues Committee, to draft a process, based on their experience with issue resolution that can be given to the council.

In response to Issue 2003-25 regarding Eligibility to vote in Staff Council Elections, the Bylaws Committee recommends the following action:

"That the length of service at the University to be eligible to vote in Staff Council elections be changed from 12 months to 6 months (the probationary period), so that any employee that has completed their probationary period will be eligible to vote in Staff Council elections."

Peggy Mueller/Dist. 130.2: In the Bylaws -- these proposed resolutions will have to be published before they can be voted on at the next meeting.

Staff Council members referred the recommendation for vote at the next meeting.

Issues: Erin Waneck

This committee has one new issue to bring forth to the UTSC and one old issue to bring back and discuss:

Issue 2003-20 -- Paying for temporary disabled parking permit.

Upon calling Parking and Transportation, it was found that A permit holders do pay a separate fee for a temporary disabled parking permit. It is felt that if other types of permit holders do not pay a fee for this permit, neither should the A permit holders.

Action: accepted and referred to Misc. Benefits.

Issue 2003-27 -- Staff Emergency Fund presented by Neil Fahlund

To determine whether these emergency relief grants to employees are taxable and if they are, to see how this could be changed (as they should not be).

Action: accepted and referred to Misc. Benefits.

Nominations and Elections:

Glen Worley announced that Noah Lowenstein and the Nominations and Elections committee will now liaison with Linda Casarez of HRS regarding the status of vacant districts.

Communications: Phil Gavenda

Reported that the problems with the group email lists are now fixed. It seems that the HR lists for the Districts were empty so when used, no email messages were sent out. In the future, please contact Phil if you sent messages out using these lists and no messages are received in 24 hours.

Working Committees: (Classification and Compensation, Grievance; Insurance; Miscellaneous Benefits; Parking and Transportation; Retirement)

Parking: Marcus Horton

Reported on the availability of telephones in parking garages: upon investigation, it was found that there are campus phones located within the garages that can be used. Attendants are supposed to point those out to you.

The Occasional Parking Plan, where UT staff can park in the garages for a reduced fee (use limited to a few times a year) is still in the works and will, he thinks, come to fruition in January.

Marcus is also on the UT Parking and Transportation Policy Committee and the Shuttlebus Committee. Two of the other members of the Parking Committee will serve on the Bicycle Committee. He reported on what was discussed in the UT Parking and Transportation Policy committee meeting: there will be a rate increase for all permits with the biggest increase in the Garage F permits – as much as 25%. This action will make this permit the same amount as the Faculty surface permits. He will vote against this. It was decided that the F11 lot will go “permit required” at all times and be restricted after 5:45 to A, F, D, etc.

Report from the Bicycle Committee: it was decided that the pedestrian dismount zone will only be enforced from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. M-F.

The Shuttle Committee: fees will also be going up. This will mainly affect the students. Also the shelters going up around campus (i.e., the one in front of Rec/Sports) are being paid for and donated by CapMetro.

Unfinished Business:

Shane Williams/Dist 190.1 asked clarification on Peggy Mueller's reading of the bylaws concerning voting on the proposed changes/additions to the Bylaws. As he understood it, we needed to vote that this vote will take place at the next meeting. Peggy then clarified that we don't need to do this, we do need to publish the changes/additions three weeks in advance of voting on them at the next meeting.

New Business:

Kitty Villa/Dist 142 announced a contest by CamCo where if you share a ride or ride a bike, etc. you can enter to win prizes. Deadline to enter is October 17.

Kathy Guajardo/Dist 302 stated the she had sent Bobby Stone of PG1 e-mails asking him to fix the situation in that garage's stairwells. There are no lights and it is very dark and dangerous at night.

Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 3:45.

The next regular meeting of the UTSC is November 20; 2:00-3:30 p.m., Main 212.

 


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