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Minutes for March 2007
March 8, 2007 at 2 P.M.
Avaya Auditorium-ACES building
Members Present: Timothy Barber, Joe Barroso, Denise Berry, Sharon Bernard, Steve Brahm, Linda Breining, Layne Brewster-Smith, Drew Carls, Lisa Camero, Gus, Castellanos, Johnnie Conley, Vickie Drake, Lara Eakins, Nelson Fahlund, Christine Gauger, Lisa Gentry, Claudia Gerardo, John Goutier, Chrissi Guerrero, Philip Guerrero, Bretna Hackert, Tom Horn, Troy Johnson, Shelton Lewis, Debra Madden, Gary Martt, Cynthia May, Alan McKendree, Joyce Moyer, Linda Overton, Pamela Owen, Eric Patkowski, Elaine Rafferty, Martha Ramey, Janet Reed, Ben Rodriguez, Chris Scherer, Nadine Schulte, Mark Smyth, Allison Supancic, Dixie Terry, Barbara Thompson, Mindy Thompson, Salwa Uzri, Kim Wallace, Erin Waneck, Deborah Warden, James Watson, Ashley Williams, Blake Willms
Members Absent With Notification: Greg Browning, Danielle Fournier, Mark Gonzalez, Sara Jackson Watson, Dreya Johannsen, Kelly Liao, Terry Moore, Rita Moreno, Heather Pafk, Monica Peña-Mercado, Evan Turner, Kim Williams
Members Absent: Vanessa Cobb, Tommy Downey, Patrice Fox, Bob Hemby, Mari Johnson, Richard Lee, Candace Legge, Michael McFarlin, Kim Montroy, Carol Roell, Feliz Sanchez, Sandra Sleeper, Olen Smith
Meeting Commenced at 2:03 PM with quorum
- Erin introduced the new members of the council.
- HR and Nominations and Elections are working together to make the election cycle more streamlined for the upcoming elections.
- A table at the UT Advising day is meeting resistance, but it looks like UTSC will be able to have a table on the porch of FAC. Communication committee members will volunteer, with additional help from other UTSC assistance, as necessary.
- Erin recommends a possible UTSC open forum in the free speech area, to broadcast UTSC and outreach to staff and other UT community.
- Brochure is coming along, will need to take pictures to insert in.
- HR has moved forward with the employee discount programs. Now will be trying to gather support from businesses to include and to advertise program.
- Secretary asked for discussion on November minutes, none forth came, motion and seconded, November minutes passed.
- Secretary asked for discussion on January minutes, none forth came, motion and seconded, January minutes passed.
- 2007-1: Lactation Rooms: the EAP, under the guidance of Connie Deutsch, is looking into establishing lactation rooms for breastfeeding mothers on campus. The EAP is folded under the new Work/Life Services department, and Julien Carter is giving a presentation to the campus at large on work-life balance, in March.
- Recommendation: Chair sends a letter on behalf of UTSC to Work/Life Services in support of the establishment of lactation rooms.
- 2007-2: Reprimands without Evaluations: Issues committee chose not to validate this issue, due to the wording of the issue. The committee felt it was close in wording/spirit to issue 2006-24 (Elimination of Staff Evaluations) and also the issue would limit the ability to reprimand new employees who would not have evaluations yet.
- Allen McKendree mentioned Comp and Class is going to suggest the creation of an ad-hoc committee to study the evaluations process.
- Motion was called to NOT validate the issue, seconded and passed. Issue dead.
- 2006-27: Recommendation to Preserve the Physical History: Issues Committee recommends validating and sending to Facilities.
- Chris Scherer mentioned the additional cost in order to compensate for the increased time, having delays will kick the cost up higher
- Tom Horn: area of central Texas has been habituated for thousands of years, and would be nice to know the impact of demolishing/rebuilding.
- Motion passes, sent to Facilities.
- Sections 4 and 6 are being improved, have sent changes to Executive Committee and incorporating suggestions. Motion to waive reading in favor of written version. Any changes from the UTSC members should be emailed to Tom Horn BEFORE the next meeting. Significant updates to it will require a reading at the April meeting before approval can be motioned, however if no major changes are suggested, will be voted upon at April meeting.
- Grievance committee met on March 7th with Julien Carter and Sam Echevarria-Cruz, went through some of the outstanding issues with them. They discussed the dispute resolution surveys, to get the results from those surveys. The Grievance committee brought a revised form of the survey to the meeting, and agreed to use the Likert scale for tabulating. The Grievance committee would like the surveys to be published on the web,
- HR using the survey data to create annual reports. HR agrees in principle with sharing the reports yearly with UTSC.
- Distribution of DRP results are currently kept in employee's file only, committee wants to be put in supervisor's file as well.
- Employee Relations procedures: how facilitated discussion works. HR has flow chart on website to help explain.
- Debra Kress working on a dispute resolution handout, especially with emphasis on the non-biased nature of the office.
- Also, the issue of employee rebuttals to evaluation statements was broached, to be kept in all official files. Being pursued by HR.
- No Library Committee Report.
- Tom Horn: Timetable for handout? Will ask.
- Survey? Summary/analysis vs. raw data? Would be a summary, not raw data. To get raw data, would have to submit FOI.
- Erin suggested UTSC create their own survey, have it online, so anonymous results and raw data may be obtained. Tom motioned to make this happen; it was seconded, and approved.
- Tom: Evaluations: what goes in evaluation is up to supervisor, and no way to rebut any statement in the evaluations. Motion to have chair write a letter to HR in favor of allowing rebuttals and ask for a response, seconded and passed.
- Ombudspersons for staff are quite common in the peer institutions that were benchmarked.
- Recommendation for Chair to write letter to President and UTHR in support of establishment of a staff ombudsperson.
NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS:
- Nomination period begins week after Spring Break for odd numbered districts.
- Paperwork needs to be received by district contact by Friday, March 23 5PM.
- If only one nomination is received, that nominee will fill the seat and there will no election held.
- If an election is held, the results will be validated by the Exec. Committee.
- At the February meeting, President Powers outlined his important issues that will be presented to the Legislature: budget, tuition, top 10% rule changes, and the standardized tests for University graduation.
- President discussed the UT/A&M faculty council's joint work on these concerns.
- The standardized tests issue establishes a standardized test that graduating seniors take to test their knowledge. However, there are no penalties for not doing well, so there are no incentives for a student to take it seriously. However, it does impact an institution's funding.
- Dean Woodruff is the head of Undergraduate Studies and is working to develop signature courses (interdisciplinary), however these require funding.
- Faculty council has 80 voting members.
- Gary Martt, chair of Resources committee, is going to do training about the group email system for the new members after the meeting.
- Tom Horn wanted to reiterate what a great job the Bylaws and Procedures committee have been doing, and wants to elicit suggestions to the bylaws changes.
- Allen McKendree wanted to give the report from Compensation and Classification.
COMPENSATION AND CLASSIFICATION:
- Cleaning up old issues. Salary issue: submitter no longer is with UT, and the committee recommends the issue be revoked. However, the UTSC has already validated it as an issue, so it still needs to be researched.
- 2005-19: travel policies: committee looked into how an employee traveling on business can avoid being out of pocket up front.
- Get a Diner's Club card in your name and use it for the expenses, then submit that for reimbursement.
- Get a cash advance from the University, by estimating the expenses ahead of travel.
- Jose: regarding the cash advances, there are limited numbers of employees who handle cash advances, and won't be able to handle them if everyone wants them. Also, it can be a problem, as an employee may be given more money than entitled to before travel, and could be in the hole owing money to the University. As well, the Diner's Club expenses have to be reconciled, which takes more staff if everyone uses it.
- Joyce Moyer: issue came in because departments are not advising travelers about options.
- Erin suggested a FAQ for education of employees with regard to this issue, or perhaps a "did you know" email to staff.
- Tom asked about direct billing for payment, is it not the norm to handle this?
- Debra Madden explained that direct billing is not available when traveling out of town. Adopting a travel credit card (Procard?)
- Debra Madden suggested a letter to budget office to outline problems with travel, motion to write a letter to Lee Lodin, seconded and passed.
- Jose had some confusion over issue of overpayment to travelers, to get a cash advance, there is a form to fill out and justification for cash advance, from Chair
- Allen suggested that did not seem to be a problem, as travel would be University business.
- Dixie Terry mentioned that UT doesn't advocate them to get a cash advance at Pickle. Her department gives a % of allocation for travel in advance, even on short notice.
- 2005-22: Outsourcing of employees: met with Julien Carter, and waiting for results. Training for those employees impacted in a reduction of workforce.
- Picnic or ice cream? Who would rather have an ice cream break during work time than an after hours picnic? Majority picked ice cream.
- Ben Rodriguez mentioned Libraries has an annual ice cream social and last year Amy's catered it very well.
- Liberal Arts employee: employee came in and was moved to a different department in Liberal Arts with no prior warning. Support for Chair to write a letter to Provost's office to suggest more humane business practices, such as more advanced warning.
- Debra suggested writing it up as an issue to be presented.
- Tom asked if that could really happen, someone moved without prior warning.
- DeeDee Berry suggested that it may happen due to security issues?
MEETING ADJOURNED AT 3:30PM.
Watch the web recording of this meeting at e-rtsp://18.104.22.168/ut_staff_council_8Mar2007.mp4 (you will need a plug-in, which can be downloaded from http://webcast_plugin.theacesbuilding.com)