February 4, 2010 Minutes

I. Call to Order
Konya Knackstedt called to order the regular meeting of Staff Senate at 1:30PM on February 4, 2010 in Plaster Student Union, 313. She announced that a sign-in sheet was being passed around for all in attendance to sign.

2. Roll Call

Present - Konya Knackstedt, Tabitha Haynes, Cindi Barnett, Sandy Arthur, John Avery, Debbie Branson, Donald Clark, Corbin Campbell, Mike Frizell, Marian Green, Nadine Jones, Charles Klarr, Cathy McFall, Janelle Melton, Kate Mendenhall, Dale Moore, Erin Parrish, Terry Plank, Teresa Steele, Jamie Trussell , Lynette Walker, Kirk Whittington, Dixie Williams, and Mary Ann Wood, and Christopher Herr.

Absent - Debbie Casada, Dennis Perry, Kyle Yates, and Chris Polley

Guests - President Mike Nietzel, Vickie Anderson, April Babington, Kelly Barnts, Beth Bruner, Cindy Caddy, Pamela Campbell, Wilma Catlin, Ron Clark, Ronnie Climer, Ellen Collier, Noel Derrick, Dr. Earle Doman, Cindy Elliott, Guy Fox, Ann Fuhrman, Barbara Gressel, Nila Hayes, Paul Kincaid, Kevin Laswell, Shannon Mawhiney, Ken McClure, Leonard McGownd, Harry Monzella, Laree Moore, Kristi Oetting, Sophie Pierpoint, Peggy Preston, Lin Qi, Donna Ray, Holly Robinson, Sheryl Ruff-Hensey, Susan Scott, Marie Sellers, Art Spisak, Bret Steele, Jan Sudholt, Steve Turner, Jerry Varner, David Vaughan, Dennis Ward, Margaret Weaver, Sonny Welch, Paula Wilhelm, and Julie Wright.

3. Dr. Nietzel – Open Question Session for Staff

Konya Knackstedt introduced Dr. Nietzel.

Financial Updates

  • FY10 (7/9-6/10) – As stated at the October 2009 Town Hall Meeting, the estimated shortfall will exceed $500M. It is actually down $793M as of 1/10. This is the biggest 1 year drop in revenue in Missouri’s history. January’s receipts dropped approximately 12%. This year, higher education is at an advantage due to the agreement with the governor to not withhold funds if schools did not increase tuition. The Governor used $104M in federal funds to bridge the shortfall so there will probably still be no withholds this year.
  • FY11 (7/10-6/11) – Based on revised estimates, still over $200M behind what Missouri had in FY09. Higher education is now getting $50M from federal stimulus funds which will no longer be available so cut will be 5.2%. Missouri State will need to cut $5.5M of which $800,000-900,000 are funds that will have to be reallocated for items such as MOSERS, utilities, and faculty promotions. This is a cut to colleges of 2.1%
  • FY12 – All federal stimulus dollars are gone. Legislature will want to fund K-12 education. Higher education cuts could be as much as 15-20%.
  • How much do you bet on economic recovery? Current projections are still going in the wrong direction.

Other News -

  • Enrollment at Missouri State has continued to increase, so funds have increased.
  • Furloughs are voluntary, not required.
  • The voluntary retirement incentive package for faculty is still open and may save as much as $1M. The goal is for the University to save ½ of the cost to implement the program. The average salary of eligible faculty is $75,000.
  • The previously proposed one-time salary increase for staff will not happen given the current financial situation.

Reminder: Monday, 2/8/10; 3:00PM - 5:00PM in the PSU Theater, Paul Wagner, deputy commissioner of the Missouri Department of Higher Education, will speak to the Missouri State campus community about the budget challenges facing the State of Missouri, and higher education in particular.

Questions asked by senators and guests

  • Will the extra days given at the end of the year and summer continue? Dr. Nietzel believes it is a good policy for the end of year extra given days off and will recommend maintaining this policy. He is not sure about the extra summer leave days.
  • What about the HB1583 insurance coverage for retirees? This is for State employee healthcare workers and does not include higher education. Missouri State’s healthcare is self-funded.
  • What might be next? 67% of Missouri State’s budget is salaries. The University will look at reallocation/attrition of staff positions.
  • Will the retirement incentive be opened to staff? Not next year. He does not know about the future. It cost more to replace a long time staff member when they retire, therefore it is not a savings to the University.
  • In the Presidential Search, why did the board ask for recommendations for staff senate members and then not use them? Dr. Nietzel mentioned that this was also the case with the faculty recommendations. Along with the recommendations from faculty and staff senate, there were other individuals from major cost centers on campus who were considered too.
  • I am not sure what the purpose of Staff Senate is? What do we accomplish? Dr. Nietzel discussed that Staff Senate does have a voice on campus. Konya attends the Executive Budget meetings and is kept in the loop with other members on campus. He discussed that there are universities which have a unified senate which includes faculty, staff, and student representation. However, there are pros and cons. A con is that staff cannot vote on academic issues. It is important, however, that no matter what the model, ideas should be brought to the President for consideration and a senate serves this purpose. Konya mentioned that just because you do not see accomplishments, it is not because they are not in the works; it takes time for ideas to go through the process.
  • How will the new smoking policy be enforced? Dr. Nietzel believes that other campuses have a policy such as the new one being implemented and that Missouri State will be able to do so as well. The changes being made in fall of 2010 make the policy in 2011 much easier.
  • Where are the funds coming from for the new facilities being built on campus? The University Recreation Center is budgeted with student fees. The Darr Agriculture Center funds for the operational side will have to be found.
  • With the implementation of Banner, and the change from staff monthly pay to hourly pay, is it possible that there is a loss of retirement funds? According to Dr. Nietzel and Human Resources, retirement was not affected as base pay was divided into hourly amounts and this actually increased the amount for some.
  • Why are new employees hired in at the same rate as those who received pay increases in 2007? The 2007 pay increases were to bring current employees closer to the average for their position. In some cases, this is now the same as the starting wage for a position. Marketing value and wages compression is something that is inevitable.
  • Can the McDonald employee fitness space be open more hours? This space is for academic use first. Student staff is only available to cover limited hours and not available during breaks. However, it is something we can look into for faculty and staff.
  • How can Missouri State partner with the Springfield community? We currently do this. Missouri State is involved with a city-wide sustainability committee.
  • With all the negativity about budgets, do you have anything positive for us? Unlike other Missouri institutions, we have had no layoffs, no reduction in benefits, and no mandatory furloughs. We have jobs. It has also been recommended by the Governor to keep The Missouri Fine Arts Academy.
  • Since the USA program is such a motivator for staff, is it possible to add more people to the program? Would need to check on that.
  • If I take a voluntary furlough for a month, would I still keep my benefits? Yes, however all furloughs and the length of time taken off must be approved by your supervisor.
  • How will the FY12 budget shortage be addressed? Discussion has started on ways to change business operations that would save money. This may include incentive retirements, layoffs, and some benefit costs be picked up by faculty and staff.
  • In looking for ways to increase our students and since the Engineering program is so popular, can we increase the number of students admitted? The numbers of students is limited to the agreement with Missouri State has with Rolla.
  • Why do we support a Defense & Strategic Studies program? This program actually makes it on its own by a higher tuition rate. The University contributes only $50,000 to that program.
  • The new arena seems to be a place to generate revenue, why are we not booking more shows like the bull riding and concerts? Actually the arena shows are not big revenue generators although you will be seeing acts booked increase in the near future.
  • Can the new Recreation Center be open to the public to generate revenue? Probably not because it is a student-funded project and first priority will be the student population.

4. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 2:30PM.

Next meeting: March 4, 2010, PSU 313 at 1:30PM