June 2, 2011 Minutes

Person Presiding: Tabitha Haynes

Members in Attendance: Sandra Arthur, Cindi Barnett, Corbin Campbell, Michael Frizell, Sandra Johnson, Nadine Jones, Cathy McFall, Janelle Melton, Holly Robison, Teresa Steel, Matthew Stublefield, Jamie Trussell, Andrea Weber, Kirk Whittington, Dixie Williams, Kyle Yates

Proxy Members in Attendance: Allison Overmeyer on behalf of Erin Parrish, Steve Turner on behalf of Donald Clark

Guests in Attendance: Yvette Medley, Jennifer Meyer, Sharon Lopinot, Catherine Beck

Actions of Meeting

Agenda Item: Call to Order

Staff Senate has quorum, and was subsequently called to order by Chairperson Tabitha Haynes.

Agenda Item: Roll Call

Attendance was gathered by sign-in sheet, passed around by Secretary Matthew Stublefield.

Agenda Item: Approval of Agenda

The agenda was emailed in advance of the meeting. Dixie Williams moved to approve, which was seconded by Andrea Weber. The agenda was approved unanimously.

Agenda Item: Open Forum

Vice President of Administrative and Information Services, Ken McClure, addressed the Staff Senate about upcoming pay range adjustments. Ed Choate, Director of Human Resources, was in attendance as well.

While our current system was designed to withstand 1-2 years without pay raises (and compensate accordingly once a raise pool was established), we are currently in year 3 without a raise pool, which our system was not designed to address.

This issue affects the entire state of Missouri—because Missouri State University is a state-funded entity, it typically follows the direction of the state, which for several years has been to have no raise pool. Dr. Nietzel and Dr. Cofer have both approached legislators to find out if having either a flat dollar amount or a percentage (respectively) for raises would be appropriate, but legislators told both that establishing a raise pool at this time was not recommended. While other institutions have elected to give raises regardless of these statements, there is concern that the governor will withhold the amount dedicated by an institution towards raises from future state allocations.

Subsequently, the upcoming budget does not have an overall pay package increase, but it looks like there may be one next year. State revenue is increasing, though it hasn't reached previous levels. A state-level resolution has established a committee to look at what has to happen because the state is so far behind regarding salaries. This committee will begin meeting this summer. Overall, Mr. McClure and others are encouraged by the direction things are headed.

For this year, Mr. McClure anticipates a 5.7% reduction in state appropriation, which is significantly less than the 15-20% we were told to anticipate a year ago, and still less than the 7% we had come to expect several months ago. While bad, 5.7% is not as bad as it might have been. In addition, President Cofer has identified a source of funds for next year that may contribute to a raise pool.

Mr. McClure stated that the pay grid we have right now was established in 2007 and was set up with the expectation of an annual pay package increase. President Cofer is sensitive to the issues with current salary levels and the frustration many have with the lack of pay increases, and he is supporting steps to begin the process towards establishing a pay package increase for next year. The goal is for the mid-range of each salary range to reflect market value for a job, and President Cofer has directed that adjustments be made to salary ranges to achieve this. Pending Board of Governors approval at the June 17th meeting, pay ranges will be adjusted on July 1 by 6.6% cumulative to accommodate the impact of the last 3 years.

This will raise the salary ranges, and there will be some who are below the new minimum for the ranges. At current count, 326 staff will be below the new ranges and will receive an adjustment to their salary to bring them back to the minimum for their salary range. This can be done without violating the no-pay-package-pact and is a good first step towards raises next year.

This proposal will go to the Board of Governors on June 16th. Along with this proposal will be a resolution covering the following:

  • A new provision to deal with reclassification due to changes in job duties. The current policy limits salary adjustments for reclassifications to 5%. The new policy will allow for a change in salary up to 12%.
  • A new provision to deal with offices that have lost people due to reorganization or retirement and in which the position will not be filled permanently. There is currently no mechanism to address the increased workload of the remaining staff in regards to salary. This new provision will allow a 12% increase (based on remaining staff salaries) to be allocated amongst the remaining staff.
  • A new provision currently being referred to as Sustained Commendable Performance. For staff below the middle of their salary range who have received a 4.5 or higher on their ADP for three years, there would be the potential for a 12% increase in pay. This would look at the past 3 years' ADP scores and could be used in the future as well.
  • A new provision to allow for offices to be open while classes are canceled due to inclement weather. Under this provision, even if classes are canceled, the University would have the clear authority to require staff to come to work. If staff are unable to reach campus due to inclement weather while offices are open, they would have to take leave.

Teresa Steele asked about essential employees, who must be at work even if the University is closed due to inclement weather. Mr. McClure replied that their role would stay the same, and that offices would not necessarily be open when classes are canceled, just that this provision would give the University clear authority to open when classes are canceled.

Andrea Weber asked about the potential for litigation if an employee were to be injured due to inclement weather on the way to campus when classes have been canceled but offices are open. Mr. McClure replied that the situation would be no different legally than if someone was injured on the way to campus during a normal day.

Regarding salary range adjustments, Corbin Campbell asked about the recent stories in the Springfield News-Leader regarding individuals who had recently received "big pay bumps." Corbin was curious how the University could express concern about the political issues surrounding pay increases to staff over the last several years but seemed to have no problems with these large pay increases as reported by the Springfield News-Leader. Mr. McClure replied that he did not have a good answer and that he could not address the academic side of the house.

Teresa Steele asked for clarification regarding the potential 12% pay adjustment available for offices where a redistribution of work duties had occurred due to retirement or reorganization: would that be available in the event that someone had been laid off rather than the vacancy being caused by retirement or reorganization? Mr. Choate replied that the requirement of the provision is that the position be lost due to "permanent reduction."

Teresa Steele asked if this information could be shared publicly. Mr. McClure replied that it can and should be, with the understanding that the resolution(s) have not yet been approved by the Board of Governors and is still subject to change and/or rejection.

Cathy McFall asked if a staff member can get both a reclassification raise as well as a merit raise under the Sustained Commendable Performance system. Mr. Choate stated that there is no prohibition on granting both, but that raises would be up to the department. Mr. McClure stated that this is still very much a work in progress.

Nadine Jones asked for clarification regarding the goals of the current steps: the goal of current actions is to get people to the minimum of their position, correct? Mr. McClure confirmed this goal.

Corbin Campbell asked when staff could know for certain if a raise would be forthcoming next year. Mr. McClure stated that it would be included in the budget for that fiscal year, so we'll know when that budget is published.

Jaimie Trussell observed that faculty can receive equity adjustments and asked if there was any similar provision for staff. Mr. Choate stated that this has not yet been addressed for staff, though sometimes equity for all staff in a given position within a department is addressed when a new staff member is hired into that position.

Agenda Item: Approval of Minutes (4/7/2011)

The minutes were emailed in advance of the meeting. Holly Robison moved to approve the minutes, which was seconded by Jaimie Trussell. The minutes were approved unanimously.

Agenda Item: Executive Committee Report

Tabitha Haynes reported on the Shared Sick Leave proposal. This proposal is currently under review by Human Resources, which is seeking to address some operational issues regarding the application process, determining who would be eligible, and other details.

Outgoing senators will receive a certificate after it has been signed, and we sincerely thank them for all their hard work and dedication to Staff Senate. Our outgoing senators are:

  • Janelle Melton
  • Terry Plank
  • Donald Clark
  • Tabitha Haynes
  • Cindi Barnett
  • Dale Moore
  • Cathy McFall
  • Teresa Steele
  • Jaimie Trussell

Agenda Item: Committee Reports

Dixie Williams, Director of Staff Senate Relations, reported that baseball tickets for Staff/Faculty Appreciation Night are currently on sale for $6. Checks can be made out to Missouri State University and mailed or delivered to Dixie in Carrington room 104. The game will be on July 7th.

Agenda Item: Unfinished Business

Matthew Stublefield, Secretary, reported that elections for senators have concluded with a surprisingly good voter turnout rate. Despite having only one nominee for each job family, the following individuals were elected:

  • Peggy Jones for Job Family 1 with 17% voter turnout
  • Erin Trotter for Job Family 2 with 3% voter turnout
  • Scott Fiedler for Job Family 4 with 15% voter turnout

It was noted that the last local election for Springfield received 2.5% voter turnout.

Matthew Stublefield will write Peggy, Erin, and Scott to congratulate, thank, and welcome them to Staff Senate.

Staff Senate still needs one representative in the following areas:

  1. Job Family 1
  2. Job Family 2
  3. Job Family 4
  4. Administrative and Information Services
  5. Student Affairs
  6. Financial Services
  7. University Advancement

Cynthia Hail will return as Faculty Senate representative in September. Michael Frizell will contact Student Government Association (SGA) for a new representative from their body.

To fill the above positions, we will operate under Article III, Section 2, subpoint H of the Staff Senate bylaws. These might be amended at a future meeting to allow Staff Senate to fill vacancies more quickly.

Agenda Item: New Business

Matthew Stublefield announced that an amendment would likely be presented at the next Staff Senate meeting to amend the bylaws to accommodate the new Chair-Elect, Dixie Williams, whose term will officially end after next year before she assumes the role of Chair. Once the amendment has been submitted to the Director of Staff Senate Operations, it will be forwarded to a bylaws workgroup for consideration, then will need to be presented to Staff Senate for a 2/3 vote. If passed, the amendment would go to the President of the University and to Administrative Council for approval. This amendment will hopefully be on the July agenda.

A guest of the Senate, Sharon Lopinot, requested that agendas and draft minutes be published on the Staff Senate website and/or blog more in advance of the upcoming Staff Senate meeting. Matthew Stublefield replied that he will begin doing so.

Corbin Campbell requested a monthly email to staff announcing the posting of this information. Tabitha Haynes stated that Staff Senate used to send such an email, so there is precedent for doing so. Matthew Stublefield will begin sending this out as Secretary.

Agenda Item: Announcements

Cathy McFall announced that the new Chartwells Dining Services contract includes a Faculty/Staff Meal Plan. Chartwells has matched Sodexo's previous plan of a block of 10 meals for $35.00. The plan is designated for use in Dining Centers (Blair-Shannon, Garst, and Kentwood only).

Adjourned